The popularity project
So I was scanning through all the movies in my laptop since I was so bored and at the end I managed to come across a movie entitled “The Geek charming”.
I know, it’s a movie that a person of my age shouldn’t be watching since I’m already way off my teen stage but I was not in the mood to use my brain cells so I decided to watch it again. The story was about a film geek and a popular girl who worked together in order to reach both their goals with all the lovey-dovey stuff (unimportant) on the side.
It was a so so movie (I probably loved it when I was watching it 5 years ago) but the movie actually had me thinking about human being’s pursuit of popularity.
It all starts at age 9 to 15. This is where loving children turn into little monsters. This is also the stage in our parent’s life where they get frequent headaches and has an increased investment on pain killers and migraine medicines. This is where life becomes fun for every household regardless of your race. During this stage, children will hate their parents and parents will dislike their children as well.
The onset of adolescence brings a degree of alienation from self, parents, and family. It’s funny because I think my parents read a bunch of hate letters from both my sister and I over our adolescent stage. I don’t know about my sister but I wrote at approximately two hate letters a month. That’s 24 hate letters in a year and 144 over the past six years. I should feel bad for my parents but I feel worst when I think about the trees I used up trying to write those hate letters. In my defense my parents only read 20% of them. The rest I threw away for my own safety. I didn’t even want to be at home during those times. I’ll grab every opportunity to get out of the house and hang out with my friends. For some reason when you’re a teenager your brain is conditioned to hate your parent’s voice and to just shut them out of your world if you could. It feels like every word they say is toxic even if it’s not. Even if my mom is talking to me I feel like she’s nagging me or something (it’s so annoying). It became suffocating at some point.
This is why teenagers cling to the company of their friends but finding friends, and keeping friends, and staying friends can become a challenge since everyone is changing just like you. Everyone is feeling more alienated from family, is filled with self-doubt and is feeling cast adrift into a world of acting mature. Insecurity creeps in and thus social connection becomes desperately important.
This is where popularity comes in. Teenagers think that if they become popular all their problems will be solved. If you have a place to hang out and friends who want to be with you then you’re part of a gang. However, during this stage characteristics such as good grades, following the rules and working hard will not save you a spot in the popularity circle, especially when it’s a group of friends who place greater value on looks, confidence, outspokenness, possessions, dress, knowing what’s “in,” being athletic, and acting social.
When you are unpopular people will tend to stay away from you. There’s this feeling that popularity and unpopularity are contagious and the latter is not something you would want to catch. This is why popular people stick together. They stick together like barnacles but sometimes there are disadvantages when it comes to being popular. Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.
I got this from psychology today: common costs that sometimes come with being very popular
Popularity requires pleasing – you must strive to be nice to people who you want to keep liking you.
Popularity brings pressure – to belong you have to conform, being like, behaving like, believing like other members of your group.
Popularity takes being current – you have to look cool, keep up with what’s happening, and stay cutting edge.
Popularity is precarious – people can vote you in and they can vote you out, and “elections” can be held at a moment’s notice when you accidentally offend or someone “better” comes along.
Popularity is partly unpopular – while some people admire you, othersenvy you, can get jealous, and want to bring you down.
Popularity attracts imitators – people act like you so they can be liked by you, and liked by others by acting like you.
Popularity breeds insincerity – you may often fake being nice to people, and people may often fake being nice to you.
Popularity is confusing – sometimes you wonder if people want to be your friend because of who you are or because you’re popular.
Popularity attracts attention – you are noticed more, judged more, your flaws and failings are more closely observed, and you are more gossiped about.
Popularity is competitive – since so many people want to be popular, you have to perform your best against your rivals every day.
Popularity can go to your head – popular people can believe their own reviews and act special or entitled, injuring friendships they thought secure.
Popularity can be limiting – the more you invest in popularity at school, the less you are likely to invest in creating a social life outside of school.
Popularity can be demeaning – people who pursue popularity will sometimes accept mistreatment from more popular people just to be accepted.
So in every evil popular bitch turned nice girl movie, we should always remember that there is a difference between popularity and friendship. You don’t need an entire cheering squad to feel like you belong; you just need a few close friends that you enjoy spending time with and trust. At the same time enjoy your own company. Popularity is about rank; friendship is about relationship. One more thing, you don’t have to hate your parents. In the long run they’ll become your closest friends and I think its way cooler to have that kind of relationship with your family. Heck, they are that lifelong group that will still be with you long after most of these peers go on separate ways.
So I guess there will a part in our lives when we’ll lose track of what really matters. We’re human beings, that’s natural. We are always a work in progress. We have our hierarchy of needs that needs to be checked but aside from this needs the final stage will always be self-actualization and contentment. Sometimes there is emptiness in popularity and acceptance of oneself is important before others could accept you. You can still feel empty and lonely even in a middle of a huge crowd or even with a lot of people.