Have you ever heard that song Miss Popularity by Jordan Pruitt? Does it make you think back when you were in high school (or just about it, if you’re still in it)? Do you think about that perfect girl? The one that was pretty, popular, probably head cheerleader, that had any boy she wanted and was the guide of school gossip? The epically popular girl that was all that and an utter nightmare? Who made your life, or the life someone you knew, a living hell?
This is something I’ve been thinking a lot about, since it’s a theme of a lot of YA stories that take place in high school or an environment akin to school. The MC is usually the normal Jane, or nerdy Nancy, because most of us can sympathize with them. Then there’s also that character, sometimes a major player in the story, or just a minor one — the perfect girl. The one that has the perfect body, gorgeous face, probably head cheerleader, and is an absolute bitch towards the MC.
Most of the time I’m just like ‘whatever’ and move along with the story. But it always makes me wonder, is that really as big of a problem as the media makes it out to be? In all the teen TV shows that are based around a normal girl (not Gossip Girls or Pretty Little Liars or something like that) there’s always that amazingly popular mega bitch. Same goes for movies.
But does miss popularity really exist? Was there a girl like that at your school? I’m really interested to find out how many people actually had a problem with Miss Popularity.
There wasn’t one at mine. My high school wasn’t anything like the ones on TV or in books, but I guess it wouldn’t make for a good story either. At my high school there were cliques, sure, but they weren’t definite. You could be in the artistic clique, math geek one, Hispanic one, and athletic one.
Granted, I was really pretty much not invested in anything that happened in my high school. I had less than no school spirit. I was pretty oblivious to the “important” things like home coming and prom. I didn’t have a hard time finding friends because I already had my group from middle school. I didn’t just stay with them, I expanded my circle. I met my best friend to this day in my sophomore World History class.
I was a pretty shy kid back then and also going through my demi-goth phase. Yeah, I did that. I tried on personalities like I did clothes through my teen years. I was a preppy little girl that wore bright colors in middle school, a goth-wanna-be my first few years in high school, then I phased into me. I’ve grown as a person since high school, matured in college, learned a lot through my times spent abroad, but I haven’t changed into a completely different person. I’m pretty much the same as I was when I graduated from high school, just more responsible, not as quick as to share my opinion when I don’t know what I’m talking about (oh, I loved doing that in my teen years) and I don’t hold grudges anymore (I was really great at that, too).
Still, I never had any real problems. Sure, when I was in high school I thought I did but it really just boils down to a bunch of pointless, stupid, tiffs I had with my friends over silly things like boys. When it came to the popular kids, at my high school, they were only popular because they were nice to everyone!
Come on, the definition of being popular means lots of people like you. How the hell can you be popular by being a bitch to the little people? The little, normal, people that consist of most of the school. And believe me, they popular kids at my school were the stereotypical beauty queens and kings with really rich parents. I grew up in a very nice county and decided to go to Northwest high school (where all my friends went and my older brother) which is the richest of all schools in my hometown — even though my house was in the East district, which is average.
My little brother, on the other hand, when to North, the poorest school in the district. Trust me, “poor” in that county isn’t really poor — it’s average. I was lucky to grow up in a place that put a lot of money and effort into public schools. Anyway, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who was more nerdy than my kid brother, Nick. When he started high school, he had acne, a huge head, big glasses, and braces. He is also the smartest person I know, so he got easy As in everything. Also, he was awkward — really, really, awkward — in his early years. But did he ever get picked on by the popular kids? No. He had a great time in high school.
Back to my high school: My main clique was the 21st century program clique. I was studying computer animation at the time, so those were my people. Though, I don’t know why I was doing that. It probably had everything to do with the fact that that’s what my older brother picked to do (I even picked Japanese as the language I studied, which he was). You know how that is, older brothers (and his hot friends) are pretty awesome. Especially when you’re at the phase when your big brother want nothing to do with you, that just makes him more fun to be around.
Anyway, my point in saying that is those 21st century folks, including myself, were pretty nerdy. When I took Intro to Fashion (as I was giving up on my demi-goth stuff), I was in the middle of all the popular girls. Everyone but me and my friend Sherrie were in that popular clique in that class, most cheerleaders or on the dance squad. If they were like the ones on TV or in books, then wouldn’t they have been mean to me and my friend? Isolate us out of conversation, tease us when the teacher wasn’t looking, and being general mega bitches?
Guess what? They didn’t do any of that stuff. They never teased us, I doubt they even talked about us behind our backs. I wasn’t cool or into their music (I was staunchly against pop/rap music back then, alternative rock was all I’d listen to) and I was pretty much anti-anything popular just because. Thus, I didn’t watch any of the “cool” shows or movies. Still the most popular girl in my grade (perhaps the whole school) was even in that class with us. And she was the sweetest girl ever, sure she was beautiful, sure she was rich, sure she was dating the best looking guy in the whole school, but she was a very nice girl. Hence why she was so popular.
I’m not saying my school was some fantasy world, where everything was perfect. Teens still did the same shit they always did, but it was just little drama (that seemed big back then). Girls played their mind games with other girls, but it was usually within their group of friends. Bullying did happen, but it was mostly between boys and almost all centered on one boy at my school, Jared.
And before you feel sorry for Jared, keep in mind the only reason he was made fun of was because he was an asshole. A racist, bigot, asshole that thought all Muslims were evil, who thought all Hispanic kids were illegal immigrates, and was ignorant to the fact that most of the Indian population in our area were Hindus and not Muslim. In short, he was a redneck prick that was very annoying to be around. I tried to get along with him, we had a math class together senior year, but I couldn’t. One of my best friends was gay and another was Chinese, and believe me, Jared had a very narrow minded opinion on both things.
I’m sure that there was some other bad stuff going on in my high school. There was this time when this really geeky girl got elected home queen but apparently it was a joke. I completely missed this happening (shows how much I pay attention) but I don’t see how that’s mean. She got to say she was home queen, and I’m sure that there were a lot of nerds that voted for her in good faith. Still, there was never that mega bitch. There were bitches at my school, but they were far from perfect — and probably that’s why they were the way they were.
So, does Miss Popularity really exist? Or is it just one of those things that are made up and help make a story more interesting? (Though, I’m sick of that in YA books. It’s just not original).