Clique Culture in High School

The movie,

Photo provided

The movie, "Mean Girls," comments on clique formations in high school.

Shabeeba Kasem, North Staff Writer

“Mean Girls” is arguably one of the greatest movies one can watch. It is an hour and a half of relatable and overly simplified  humor and cringe-worthy punchlines that people can roll their eyes over and laugh hysterically at in the same movie minute. However, the cheap comedy in the movie can be dissected to highlight the cutthroat nature of social orders and competition between people and cliques in high school. In fact, the movie not only critiques social normatives and hierarchies, but it also promotes acceptance and integration.

School, by nature, is an environment that encourages social activity and friendship-building. In schools that have a large student body, students have more variety and choice in forming their social hierarchies, cliques and in-and-out groups. This process is called self-segregation.

Daniel McFarland analyzed clique formations in schools and found that social hierarchies are products of schools, not the students. As schools divide individuals by academic standing and performance, students form an even tighter clusters of classmates that they take with them through every year of high school. Social organizations like clubs create large islands of people operating under a similar interest or goal.

But this is not always a bad thing; in fact, forming groups and clubs can help individuals find people with shared interests. Clubs are a great example of this as they provide an environment for kids to meet up and discuss all the issues and topics they care about. They also offer team-building experience and allow people to share their experiences and passions with others across socioeconomic, cultural, racial and age barriers.

Kate Roberts, a junior at North, explains how friendships are forged early on in a child’s life and can carry over well into his/her years in highschool and beyond.

“ I have had the same tight-knit friend group since middle school, and we are all very close. I think our relationship gets stronger every year as we go through different parts of our life together. I don’t see all of them as often as others, but when we do meet up we always have a great time because we can always connect on a very personal level.” Roberts said.

Whether or not you choose to binge watch Mean Girls this weekend, keep in mind the message behind the film. Mandated exclusivity is not necessary in forging important relationships. People can form friendships anywhere and at anytime. Next time you see someone sitting by themselves or searching for an empty seat in the cafeteria invite them to join you. You might just find a new best friend.

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