"Same with Gretchen: the meaner Regina was to her, the more Gretchen tried to win Regina back. She knew it was better to be in the Plastics, hating life, than to not be in at all. Because being with the Plastics was like being famous... people looked at you all the time and everybody just knew stuff about you." Mean Girls
There is a reason that cliques triumph.
It feels good to be in. On a joke. On the gossip. On anything. It's a lot better to know what's going on on the inside than to be trying to figure it out on the outside.
This is one of those few things that people of all ages have in common.
In Mrs. Smith's kindergarten class, two boys, Alex and Carl, were playing at the Legos table. Legos were one of my favorite activities to play with my brothers, Duke and Sam, so I thought maybe I could join in. Sadly, though, when I tried to play, they told me that the Legos table was No Girls Allowed.
Right then and there, I had my first lesson in Darwinism. If I wanted to make it through kindergarten, I was going to have to prove to be the fittest. Not everyone could be the line leader with me. Not everyone could sit at the same lunch table. If I wanted to be in, someone else had to be out. (At the time, I think I looked at Alex and Carl and their Legos, looked at the dolls in the corner, and realized I had better options. Maybe I didn't get it completely just yet).
Middle schoolers get a bad reputation because of their blatant cliques, but they're certainly not the only culprits. No matter who you are or what you're doing, it definitely feels better to have the option of being included. (Even if you're too cool to choose to be in. Then you're that person that makes it better to be out than in and it changes the whole system. But, the point is, you originally had the option of being in.)
Along with this feeling of inclusion is a feeling of kinship with those around you. Inside jokes never get old because those who get the joke not only have a funny memory, but also have a sense of community with those around them. It's an understanding of something good and a feeling of togetherness.
Essentially, exclusiveness is the reason so many groups prevail. No one other than an IU student can understand the crazy karaoke lady at Bear's on Thursday nights. No one can understand just how incredibly insane Little 5 week is. No one can understand the traditions and spirit of being a Hoosier- it's our own little 30,394 person clique.
It's the same reason that religions are so strong. No matter how many times I ask my roommates Emily and Katie to tell me about their Birthright trip, I will never get it. They were there together, experiencing the oldest aspects of their religion. Regardless of how hard I try, I will not fully grasp the situation without physically going to Israel and reliving the trip with them.
In a way, it's what makes a generation strong. No one other than a Generation Y kid
can understand what it was like to watch TRL while talking on AIM to all of the people you spent the entire day with, everyday after middle school. (While wearing Soffes-rolled twice.)Similarly, Generation Y will never comprehend what it would be like to go to class without texting throughout the lecture. We will never know what it was like to grow up during World War II or Vietnam.
And our kids will never realize what it was like when the Twin Towers fell. It's inexplicable. We lack the ability to completely convey our emotions and this shortcoming ensures that some people will always be in, and others will always be out.
As much as I hate the hurt that immature cliques can cause (especially in middle school), maybe there is some good to it all.
I mean, who would want to work so hard in medical school if we could all magically experience the feeling a doctor has when he saves a life or delivers a baby? Grasping that incredible moment and being part of something so amazing makes us all strive for more.
Why would anyone take the risk of skydiving (without a parachute) if we could all experience the rush of wondering if you were going to survive? Who would run a marathon if we could all have the inexplicable runner's high without actually moving? Wanting to feel it, to be on the inside, is a reason to try harder.
Maybe cliques equal motivation.
I guess Regina George was really on to something...
Oh, you haven't seen Mean Girls? I would try to explain it, but you probably wouldn't understand.