When I entered high school a few years ago, my impression of it having been moulded by High School Musical and Mean Girls, I didn’t have very high expectations of the years to come. In my mind, I had created a hazy image of girls in pink dresses plotting to overthrow the administration using high heels and hair clips, football jocks bursting into songs like “Bop to The Top” and “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria” during the game and computer nerds hacking into the System to steal the Principal’s secret M&M stash while he moonwalked with the nurse in the Photocopy Room.
Having graduated high school a few days ago, I realise now that I have never been more accurate about anything in my entire life. I was wrong about only two things:
- Contrary to my expectations, I absolutely loved every single minute of it.
- The football jocks didn’t sing “Bop to The Top”; they sang “Let it Go”, and occasionally, “I Am 16, Going On 17”.
Both Mean Girls and the High School Musical franchise portrayed high school cliques as being a terrible thing. At actual high school, however, I found that these are nothing but uncorroborated stereotypes created by Hollywood. I found it outrageous that Hollywood would do this without consulting me first, so this provoked me to make some uncorroborated stereotypes of my own.
High School Cliques, According to Mushroom Sup
Depiction in traditional high school movies: Pun(n)y little bespectacled kid, referred to as “Nerd”, “Geek”, “Give me your lunch money or I’ll give you a noogie, $%#&” or “It”.
Manifestation IRL (In real life): The high school bourgeoisie controls the dispensing of all knowledge to ensure the perpetuation of their intellectual supremacy in society. They hold too much power; they are invincible. Notes, homework, books: you wouldn’t survive high school without them. Forget bullying, you have to laugh at their terrible jokes – usually puns – if you want (to stay in) their good books. If not, expect no mercy: they’ll sic you with science and, to add injury to insult, they’ll beat you.
Catchphrase: “Flunked a class? Was it the middle class?” followed immediately by “Laugh to pass, $%#&”
Depiction in traditional high school movies: The meanest of them all. They somehow have access to dangerous medication such as prescription sleeping pills and cough syrup, which they will sneak into your morning coffee (just because they’re evil) using tactics even the Navy SEALs would be in awe of. This involves wearing camouflage miniskirts and halter-tops.
Manifestation IRL: Completely harmless. The closest they’ll get to dangerous medication is pimple cream. No one admires them more than, well, they themselves, and their favourite verbs are ‘to Instagram’, ‘to Snapchat’ and ‘to #LetMeTakeASelfieBecauseIFeelSoPrettyRNLikeCommaIReallyDo’. You feel nothing but sympathy for them as you watch them stumble about in high heels looking for the perfect lighting and the perfect backdrop and the perfect hashtag to caption the perfect selfie.
Catchphrase: “My instagrammed Starbucks cup got fewer likes than hers. Do you think I should ask the Starbucks guy to spell my name wrong next time?”
Depiction in traditional high school movies: The bullies. The football jocks. The ones who should really set up a bank account or ask for an allowance because they’re always short of lunch money.
Manifestation IRL: A major loss in status after the Nerd Revolution means that they are good for nothing but their entertainment value. Obsessed with (their own) facial features a day spent with the Douchebags means that you are likely to overhear things such as “Sick jawline, bro”, “Eyebrows on fleek” and “CHEEKBONES duuuude”. Football has been long abandoned in favour of the Mutual Admiration Society and giving noogies to nerds can absolutely destroy your nails. Basically, they’re the New Age Mean Girls.
Catchphrase: “Do these shades make my eyes look big?”
Depiction in traditional high school movies: Also known as The Crazy Ones, the Fringes are usually arrested for snorting crushed sugar cubes off the Principal’s desk or storing the body of their mummified cat in their lockers or attacking the football goalpost.
Manifestation IRL: The Fringes are the most sought-after group. No Starbucks Lovers or Douchebag group is complete without at least one Crazy One – they’re the personal jesters. This may even amount to wars amongst sub-groups: who has the Craziest One? The Fringes themselves don’t usually know that they’re the subject of the war; they’re too busy sacrificing goats in honour of their Great and Glorious Lord, Jaden Smith. Or miming. They love miming.
Catchphrase: “Are we humans or are we dancers?”
Teacher’s Domesticated Homo sapiens
Depiction in traditional high school movies: In the moves, for reasons unbeknownst to me, they always put an apple on the teacher’s desk. Why? No one wants to come to school and be given an apple (although it’s quite big and heavy so it might be useful to throw at students sometimes). Anyway, they’re the ones who follow the teachers around, ratting out The Crazy Ones when they bite the lunch lady. Again.
Manifestation IRL: Integral part of the social hierarchy – they’re the middlemen. Negotiating deals between the administration and the Plebeians is what they were born to do. Students want less homework? Teachers will listen to no one’s pleas but theirs. Teachers want higher pay? Sure, as long as they get a 15% cut. 20% if it’s the weekend.
Catchphrase: “An apple a day makes me rich beyond my wildest imagination.”
To conclude: Of course, these are stereotypes from my little corner of the world but if you look carefully enough, I hope you’ll find yourself reflected in one of these, perhaps even in the front cameras of the Starbucks Lovers, or in the reflecting shades of the Douchebags or even in the shiny apples of the Teacher’s Domesticated Homo sapiens.
God, I’ll miss high school.
I’ll have to find a new place to hide my mummified cats now.