Sunday, January 12, 2014

Who Are You? Surviving Cliques and Labels

An Excerpt From the Award-Winning Tell-All
Lucy and CeCee's How to Survive (and Thrive) in Middle School

Lucy: Cliques are social groups of tight-knit circles with characteristics often defined by attitude, clothes, and music. Common ones throughout the ages are preps, goths, emos, oddballs … what else, C.?

CeCee: Hipsters, delinquents, VIP popular kids, couples, loners, geeks, band people—

Lucy: Bookworms, nerds, punks, skaters, drama people, choir people, nonconformists—

CeCee: Who, by virtue of nonconforming, are, in fact, conforming—irony alert!

Lucy: Tomboys, jocks, grade repeaters, cheerleaders, wannabes—

CeCee: I think that about covers it, Luce.

Lucy: So, CeCee—why do you think there are cliques to begin with?

CeCee: Because it’s a universal law that everyone wants to belong and feel a part of something. In this respect, cliques are normal and healthy.

Lucy: Are you implying that some cliques are abnormal and unhealthy?

CeCee: Absolutely! Cliques can squelch individuality, promote exclusivity, and frown on clicking outside the clique. This is not normal and healthy.

Lucy: Rightsies.

CeCee: So when choosing a clique, make sure to find a group of people who embrace who you are as a person—

Lucy: And let you pick your own peeps. You don’t want a clique that’s all exclusive and controlly.

Lucy and CeCee: Because cliques are a big part of middle school and only get more intense in high school, we’ve taken five basic ones and analyzed them.

WARNING: These analyses are based on general stereotypes that should not be applied to individuals. They are merely personas, like what you see in movies and television shows. That said, there may be tiny hints of truth to each, so really think about who you are before committing to a clique.

Punky Goth Types
Distinguishing Trademarks: Rockin’ the black fishnets, Manic Panic hair dye, loads of eyeliner, combat boots, multiple piercings, and anarchy tattoos. Punks and goths are more distinguished in high school, whereas in middle school, they pretty much run together. The basic difference is punks are more political and rebel against authority. Goths are into fantasy, Victorian/vampire-y things, and shop at Hot Topic.

Why They’re Cool: Punky goth types have a strong sense of self and don’t really care about what others think. Since they relish in being atypical, they are immune to silly trends and rages.

Downside: A little too gloom and doom. They experience a lot of “black flack” from parents who don’t understand the whole “what’s the point of life” attitude. Some PGs suffer from a gothier-than-thou syndrome and are very tiresome to be around.

Distinguishing Trademarks: Pants pulled up high with a belt, shirt neatly tucked in, hair slicked back and gelled, and, of course, the thick-framed tortoiseshell glasses. They say things like “nifty” and “neato.” These number crunchers are always on the honor roll, into sci-fi marathons, and sometimes persecuted for their superior intellect.

Why They’re Cool: Nerds are walking encyclopedias who don’t answer to anyone but their computers. They have bright, productive futures that include graduation from MIT, inventing something “nifty,” and getting filthy rich like no one’s business. Also, they’re the only clique with a candy named in their honor.

Downside: Nerds aren’t exactly known for their fun side, and some would argue with the exception of D&D parties, they have a nonexistent social life. Some nerds fall victim to wedgies, swirlies, and other pranks.

Distinguishing Trademarks: Superperky, glossified, flirt-in-a-skirt types. They do herkies for no particular reason, talk with tons of emotion, and sprinkle their conversations with lots of words like “totally,” “soooooo,” and “OMG.”

Why They’re Cool: Cheerleaders are always happy, hyper, and superflexible. They make pep rallies and games entertaining and don’t mind living up to their stereotypes.

Downside: Cheerleaders are hypercompetitive and not known for their astronomical IQs. Occupational hazards include twists, sprains, and breaks.

Distinguishing Trademarks: Always clean, neat, and well groomed with classic, soap opera-y names like Amanda, Charlotte, Walker, and Blake. They wear shirts with little alligators and polo dudes on them. Preps are superconfident, ambitious, and image conscious.

Why They’re Cool: They see “preppiness” as a lifestyle choice, not a clique. They are classy, refined, and smell nice. Most preps are very friendly.

Downside: Some are money obsessed and snobby but will attempt to hide it for the lower classes so not to appear impolite.

Distinguishing Trademarks: Physically large and muscular; hair is styled in a crew cut. Since they tend to be BMOCs, jocks/sporties walk with an arrogant strut. Like their female counterparts (cheerleaders), they dwell at the top of the social ladder. They listen to the coach like he’s god and act like there is no point to life but sports.

Why They’re Cool: These able-bodied athletes are also natural-born leaders. When you have them on your team in gym, you will most likely win.

Downside: These “muscle heads” are supercompetitive and act like it’s the end of the world when they lose. Some may be mean to their polar opposite persona—the nerd.

To find out more about surviving cliques and labels, read Lucy and CeCee's How to Survive (and Thrive) in Middle School…

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