“Popular” Is Not a Swear Word | Teen Ink

“Popular” Is Not a Swear Word MAG

November 20, 2015
By rachelzerdin BRONZE, London, Other
rachelzerdin BRONZE, London, Other
4 articles 0 photos 0 comments

For years, the word “popular” has been demonized and made synonymous with Regina George-esque, nail-buffing, mini-skirt-wearing, kale-munching head cheerleader types. Today, teachers and parents inform children that being popular is irrelevant, unnecessary, and a sure shortcut to woe, misery, and death. And stars such as Ariana Grande and MIKA describe popular students as the ones most likely to burn out and end up working in a movie theater, while their less well-liked counterparts enjoy a life of wealth, stardom, and fame.

However, the Oxford English Dictionary defines popularity as: “The state or condition of being liked, admired, or supported by many people.” This sounds like a lovely thing, and do note, reader, that neither “Burn books” nor three-way phone calls are mentioned in this definition.

In fact, it is a truth widely acknowledged that young people who feel liked and supported are significantly more likely to achieve impressive feats than those who feel lonely, unvalued, and irrelevant socially. So why, then, is popularity given such a bad rap? Why is this state of well-likedness so demonized?

Fundamentally, the abhorrence shown toward what appears to be a very pleasant thing is caused by lack of understanding. When we, as viewers, see our Regina Georges and Sharpays on TV and in films, we recognize them to be popular. These characters, if not exactly liked, are greatly admired by their peers (albeit for perhaps dubious reasons). Our mistake comes when we try to comprehend their cruel and unkind actions using the deduction method, correct practice of which eludes us still. Humans are fallible, and even the most intelligent mind is open to deception via a very small slip in logic. Unfortunately, this occurs here with stigmatizing results.

We first establish that a character is popular. Since this is essential to the plot, it is constantly emphasized, leading it to be the most prevalent thing in our minds when we consider the character. Later, we see that character do something unkind. The character’s most prominent attribute (in our minds) is his/her popularity. And now the character is mean and unkind. This character is popular. Therefore, we make a small inductive leap that popular people are mean and unkind.

Things such as exclusion, rumor-spreading, and sniping are terrible and should always be seen in a very serious light. However, it is important to recognize that these are not the behaviors of popular people, but bullies.

So, in summary, do not be afraid to be popular and have many friends. If you are kind to everyone and treat others with respect, there will be few who can fault you, for being widely liked is not a curse but a blessing. Just remember that being popular does give you a degree of power, and with great power comes … something … Oh yeah, a large electricity bill!

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JoeBiden said...
on Feb. 15 2021 at 11:29 am
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