The world has a habit of group-ism and it isn’t a sole voluntary behavior, rather it is a combination of our surroundings, choices and sub-conscious outlook. First, we grouped ourselves into countries, then colors and languages. Obviously, this was not intentional but a gradual development arising due to differences between thoughts, location and time. At times these differences are cast upon by one group on to the other; like the Aryans stereotyped the Dravidians as monsters and European colonizers typecast the colonized as barbaric monsters. Both the Aryans and Europeans created this division between themselves and the natives as superior v/s inferior or literate v/s illiterate. Years later, these boundaries dissolved to create powerful nations, sub-divided into states and territories unlike the earlier kingdoms. In India, now we have 29 states and 7 union territories and each state represents a different group of individuals which form a society. Yes, the groups are free to inter-mingle with each other on equal grounds but this mixture is not a clear homogenous solution. We constantly hear people identifying themselves as Kashmiri, Gujarati, Marathi, Bihari or Assamese and usually even in a mixed society; people of same group tend to be closer to each other. On a more minute scale are the groups we see in our classrooms. Each class has already been divided into sections for proper student/teacher ratio and also for proper management. But, within these classrooms are more groups, the visible yet invisible ones. The gender divide is a major borderline, something much huger, but i am not here to discuss that. In this article i will discuss the small friend-circles, as it might be called, among women and girls in colleges and schools. These friend-circles are similar across schools or colleges around the world with the only difference being the extremity of these group-differences and the girls studying there.
I will discuss the major groups one sees in the schools and colleges, though it would sound stereotypical yet, if you pay attention to your surroundings you will notice how true it is. Most of you might even be aware of these differences. I will name these groups according to my choice of words, but in different regions or institutions people might address them with other names. The groups are:
The trendy group
These are considered the most sought after group of women. Almost every woman in the class wants to be a part of this group. Many who are unable to join this group usually “bitch” about them by divulging in unnecessary theories and rumors. The women of this group usually are from a well-off family, are cheerleaders/ dancers and are walking-talking fashion magazines. Many people might refer to them as bimbos out of envy but the women I have met were extremely focused and intelligent. Some of them are sweet but most are snobs and are choosy about the people they count as friends. The group usually has a few women who prefer each others company, though they might not like each other much. They seem very confident and are very trendy in the schools or colleges. The juniors try affiliating with them to appear similar to them.
The social group
These come second in the hierarchy chart. The group consists of different kinds of women who can be from upper, middle or lower-class; intelligent or average; nerds or humorous. Thus, it’s a kind of a mixed fruit bowl. Some women choose to belong here because they feel comfortable while others always seem to belong here even though they fight tooth and nail to belong to the trendy. This group is the largest one but is not close knit. There are further sub-divisions within this group, depending on one’s interests they can be termed as nerds, tomboyish, singers, painters or sports-women who are comfortable with each other. The group also harbors the one’s who are perfectly average in everything, be it studies or looks. Some of them can be fashionistas and some really sweet or beautiful. Most of them are above average in studies and are usually the one’s who get into good colleges on merit. Some of them are popular and are considered among the sweetest people. Some of them are very hard-working and also teacher’s pet.
The invisible group
Not many people know their names and the popular one’s among them are not popular for any good reasons. They are usually the butt of all jokes and the trendy group does not even look at them. Usually, only the middle or lower-class belongs to this group. They try being friendly but some of them become too desperate for attention which only works against them. Some of them prefer staying to themselves. They might be beautiful or intelligent but lack confidence. They live a very invisible life in these institutions.
Each group has a few members (say ambassadors) who have the divine right to cross these group boundaries but they communicate with only the immediate neighbor. Thus, the trendy group ambassador and the invisible group ambassador are friendly with a few social group members. The social group ambassador has the advantage of communicating with both the group members: trendy and invisible, because both are its immediate neighbors.
There might be a few women who were able to transcend these divisions or sub-divisions to change the course of their groups. But there are certain conditions which led to this mobility:
- They changed the school/college/ city and the new location allowed them the mobility. A social group member could become a trendy member in a rural institution and visa versa.
- A real change in personality due to self awareness and hard work. But, for this condition to apply the member must have originally been able to enjoy the flux between two groups. Also, this criterion only works for one level movement and not a jump from invisible to trendy.
- A different group member is your old-good friend and knows your expertise in the skills required to be a part of that group (beauty, intelligence, dancing, sports) might help you to join that group but this is a very rare situation and works only when you are new to that institution.
Thus, intr a group flux is possible but in most cases one stays in the same group all their life and this constancy even affects any chances of flux in the future because the person is unaware of the norms of the other groups. At times when a person experiences the flux and finally finds himself among the crowd/group she wants to be in, she realizes the fake illusions she had and finally returns to her original group. So, one might change their groups and return voluntarily on finally being enlightened of the myth of the other side.
I have not tried to demean anyone because if you were busy trying to fit in yourself in one group or the other, it was you that was categorizing yourself. I have merely tried putting my thoughts in this article but you, my dear reader, have agreed to all that i wrote and at times disagreed to me but at the same time tried to be a part of this article. Hence, even if you disagree to this group-ism it exists because everyone wants to belong somewhere, as you tried in this article and do the same in your life. And there is nothing to be ashamed about belonging somewhere because sitting on the fence, looking below at the world only makes you lonely and its better to belong rather than be a passive viewer.