Stereotyping: Crowds

Why do we make crowds?

The purpose of crowds is to create a social structure in the school. This social structure gives teens a place to belong. They also help a teen define their identity, whether for better or worse. They steer teens towards other teens that are like them. Someone in the “popular” crowd is more likely to be friends with a “jock” than with a “nerd” or a “stoner”.

Teens know who they might be friends with because they know what crowd they are in. This can be good and bad. Although it helps to know who you might be compatible with, it cuts off opportunities to meet people outside your crowd.

Are crowds the same in every high school?

For the most part, in the United States and Canada, the crowds formed are generally the same. Different schools might give the crowds different names, like “preps” instead of “populars”, but they are made up of people with the same stereotype. However, in other countries, the crowds are a little different. For example, in Europe, there is no crowd for “nerds” or for “jocks”. There is no “nerds” category because teens who work hard in school in Europe don’t get made fun of as they sometimes do in the United States. The lack of “jocks” is due to the lack of school sports teams in Europe. The similarity in culture and school structure throughout the United States, results in the formation of similar crowds as well.

Is there any truth to stereotypes?

A teen usually gets stereotyped into a certain crowd simply based on his or her reputation or appearance. Although he or she may not share all the characteristics of the crowd, it helps him or her form an identity, whether good or bad. Even though at first these stereotypes may not be entirely true, they may become truer as the teen’s identity develops, especially if they are basing their identity on the crowd they have been put into.