October 16, 2007
By Emanuel Albeik, Bryant, AR

Every time I look in the mirror I manage to find something different to criticize. Like most teenagers, I make an effort to look my best for school, but every morning there seems to be another flaw in my reflection. My hair is too “poofy,” or there is a new blemish ruining the chance of a good day. Whether we acknowledge it or not, we’re all critical of our appearance, but there is a point where so much emphasis is put on what’s seen through our eyes that we blind ourselves from what makes a person truly beautiful.

Depression is a plague to the teenage generation, which is fixed on trying to keep up with the models on the magazines and the celebrities on television. They are the unattainable standard that you are supposed to compare yourself to. We have constant discussions in school of how superficiality is a poison in our society blinding us from a true appreciation of life. Yet, it is an ongoing tradition in our school to vote for the most beautiful, best dressed, best smile and most sociable, not to forget Mr. and Ms. Bryant High. Who’s Who. Sure, it’s just a game and we shouldn’t take it seriously, but in reality, what we’re really asking is who’s best on worldly standards. Our focus on the “hott girls” or the “good-looking guys” is ultimately a distraction we’re all a victimized by. In what is supposed to be an academic environment, why don’t we recognize awards like best writer, or most likely to be a scientist? We criticize the world around us for being numb to deeper thinking, but we’re unknowingly encouraging this shallowness to our youth.

What does it take to be a homecoming queen? Your peers must admire you. You have to possess some superiority over the other girls. Then you buy a sparkly dress and display this supremacy to a crowd. This ritual represents indelible line drawn in the world between the exalted and the unnoticed. As we praise a certain group of people, we simultaneously deem another average and less noteworthy. But how can you argue with tradition?

Our campus is already segregated enough by popularity without us lifting up these few even more. Aren’t they praised enough? What about the people who are never recognized? It doesn’t help them to sit in the shadows while the “beautiful” people stand in the spotlight. Honestly, isn’t it the same people being recognized for every little award? Our “High School Heroes,” live it up in their private paradise. That’s what high school is about for some, classification of people based on beauty and popularity.

Strive to be recognized. See how many times you can get in the yearbook and get as many people to sign it as you can so you can remember how popular you were. That’s the goal right? Isn’t that how you play the game? Be the prettiest, the most sociable, best dressed, anything to ensure that you are significant to other people. Just be sure to remember who you really are underneath the mask.

It will always be this way, not only in the fantasy realm of high school, but throughout our lives. There will always be one group of people hovering above others. When we enter college, there will be intimidations from fraternities and know-it-all professors who want us to envy them. As we begin our careers we will find that other people have it easier because of who they know or how they look. Our burden in this life is trying endure this arrogance, and struggle to overcome whatever inferiority we possess. The subjugation we face in high school is only preparing us for the unchanging world where we are judged by who were supposed to be, rather than who we are.

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This article has 1 comment.

Joyce said...
on Nov. 9 2010 at 9:06 pm
wow! We do think alike! I applaud you for your well written article! Good use of voice to emphasis your points. I enjoy how you relate high school popularity with the real world, and it's true. High school is just a stepping stone to the real world, which is not as pretty as one thinks. there will always be popularity at school, unfortunately. I know at times I want to be popular, at least popular that I am special and unique. I know a lot of people and have many friends, but I don't find myself popular. The ones that are popular at my school are the ones in ASB, which you get in by being popular. It sucks. It really does. Yes, I agree with you. All the "pretty" people get the goods at the end of the day. Homecoming queen and king. 1000 friends on FaceBook. Controller of the high school universe. 


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