Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Ins and Outs of Cliques..

-Eric Lucier

I had to suspend my disbelief to get through the chapter in our Sociolgical Odyssey text about preadolescent cliques. My thoughts were that only sociopaths could possibly act the way they described these groups of young girls. They painted this grim picture of a "queen bee" sitting in a position of inscrutable power over her would be peers. I had to laugh to myself a bit. Of course we've seen girls acting this way on screen, but this only happens in movies. Right?


After reading some of what I thought was ridiculous gibberish invented by Adler and Adler to some female friends, I gained some surprising insight. They didn't find it nearly has hilarious and ridiculous as I did. In fact, they all recalled situations in which a clique had destroyed they're confidence in some way, at some point in their adolescence. Most of them could even give the first and last name of the "queen bees" who made their lives miserable so many years ago. I was shocked. Most of the stories I heard could have easily been sold to Hollywood and marketed as "Mean Girls 2."

I needed to know more. I decided to go right to the source. I had a very powerful research tool in learning about in and out crowds, I called my twelve year old sister.

I asked her to tell me about what was cool in her school and to explain the dynamics of some of the cliques she's encountered. She regaled me with stories and details of the "cool kids" in her school that I couldn't fathom. She cited Hollister clothes and off the shoulder shirts as necessities for anyone who hoped to be accepted as the in crowd. She told of what amounts to a vetting process in her group comparable to the hazing of college fraternities. And of course, about the queen bee. A seemingly sneaky, manipulative little girl, who, from what I gather, may just be a sociopath after all.

"And what about the boys?" I asked. "What are their cliques like? Do they have their own in and out crowds?"
 "Not really. The boy's don't really have cliques. They kind of either get along, or they don't."

Is that why I didn't experience this in my youth? Are boy's blind to the actions of these ambitious, maniacal girls? In my slightly biased opinion, it must be a girl thing.

I'm not saying I've never experienced any type of "cliques". As an adult I've seen fraternities, country club members, professionals, etc. who prefer to socialize together. The exclusivity, however, is what really intrigued me. These groups of girls seem to socialize exclusively in their own groups. I suppose that degree of elitism is just something I didn't expect from twelve year old girls.

At any rate, I'm very excited to hear some feedback on this topic. Have you guys experienced any extreme types of cliques? Be it in your youth or adulthood? Are the ones my sister and female friends described as common as it now seems to me that they are? And my biggest question, why do boy's seem to be immune to this type of exclusive grouping?

Thanks for reading.


  1. I would have to agree with your post. I remeber in grade school pretty much all the boys in my class got along and were friends. The girls on the other hand were all divided. In my class nobody really got bullied.

  2. Yes i would definitely agree with this. I could see that in school that girls seemed more segregated into different groups and boys were all in one group. I guess this just shows the differences between boys and girls. Girls care more about style and fashion than boys do. Also many boys have a similar music tastes and like sports.

  3. I agree with your post also. I can rememer the girls that bullied me, and I witnessed many other girls being bullied as well. There were those main clicks who just belittled anyone who was a little different then them. Girls can be vicious and cruel. Boys on the other hand, don't come with all those emotions. Lucky them. Most of them seemed to go with the flow, and didn't really care about the rest of the drama.

  4. I also agree with your post Eric! Back in 1995 there wasnt a lot of cliques in my school and probably wasnt a lot of bullying either. I mean we had kids that would laugh at someone's shoes or their hair that never seemed to be combed but they would kind of say it and that would be it. In 1995 i was in high school but that was 15 yrs ago and what seemed to me as i got older to be so untrue, has turned out to be so true today. Kids are being bullied so badly that they are bringing guns to school or simply killing themselves.
    I was never bullied in school and neither, so far, is my 13yr old 8th grader. I didnt have the attitude that i was the "to be bullied" type. I never really had friends and i stayed to myself! i had the "leave me alone" attitude and it showed on my face (i have that same face today)so maybe that is why i was never bullied. My daughter carries herself the same way in school! She is being taught to stick up for herself, NEVER fight a battle that is not hers, NEVER engage in riduling, either by laughing at someone who is being teased, shaking her head or just smiling, and to mind her own business. I listen to her stories from school and i correct her immediately when i feel that she was wrong or that a situation could have been handled differently.
    With that being said, she has not gotten to high school yet and i can only hope that all these little lessons she has been getting over the yrs will help decipher what is right and wrong and that her high school yrs will be filled with happiness and A's & B's!!!!!

  5. It think it's always eye-opening to realize that others have different thoughts and issues that affect how they relate to the world. I think that both men and women tend to think that there is one way of seeing and that there isn't really any difference in how gender affects that. Until we start asking and getting a bigger picture. I used to think that girls were just fishing for complements when they would complain that they were fat or felt ugly despite the fact that they were neither of those things. Then you come to realize that these really are issues that deeply affect them in ways that you don't really get; because you just don't have the same issues.

  6. Michelle De'Brue

    Interesting and very detailed to the truth! I must add to your truth from experience by watching my 14yr. old daughter and her friends struggle with what I like to call "the joneses"!Yes they too feel the need to follow the trends of their peers in school such as the hollister clothing, the latest nike's, and just looking like everyone else to be considered the cool kids in school. Which was the same issues I seen most of my peers face in high school. Eventhough it doesnt there it goes on the corporate world too just under different terms/trends! However I guess being your own person only exist to YOU! Great Job on the blog!!

  7. Olaitan Okusaga

    I agree with you Eric. I can remember back then in my school in Nigeria, if you have a TM shirts, a laptop, a Blackberry phone with an Ipod touch than your parent are super rich and you have to join one of the big boys clique in school cos apart from the fact that the school is super expensive been able to afford those stuff automatically make u one of them and that really do pissed me off cos students on the other hand start to think on how to join the cliques rather than thinking about their school. So to answer your question, YES, guy used to do that but mostly on materials things.

  8. I agree with this post ! I have never been in a clique, but as a child and teenager I do remember who the nerdy people were and who the popular people were. I never got into all that jazz. I was just me. The girls are catty. and like you also had said, the boys either get along or they don't. Females are way worse when it comes to cliques and drama.

  9. Iqmat Adediran
    I so very much agree with this post! Back then in high school I can remember this group of girls in my class whom everyone want to be like. They know the latest fashion in town, the latest gist and everything new. It was as if the world revolved around them only they weren't mean like in the movie "mean girls." But nevertheless looking back then i can only imagine how so much the world has changed now and people are still striving to become someone else.But this does not apply to girls only even the guys are very involved and it was like only people in the "in-group" could chat freely with themselves if you don't belong then that's it you can never belong even if you buy a fake Gucci bag

  10. Brittni Green
    I agree with you 100% percent Eric. I graduated from a Suburban NJ high school in 2009 which wasn't too long ago and I still remember all the different cliques. There were the Cheerleaders: who seemed nice and bubbly on the outside but on the inside were sadistic and conniving. The "Jocks": who were all about sports sports sports (there were a many girl jocks too). The "Smart Kids": who were already talking about grad school. The "Druggies": who were ALWAYS talking about what they were gonna experiment with that weekend. The "Ghetto" Black Girls: who were usually snarky and always acted like they were from the "streets" but in actuality grew up in suburban New Jersey along with the rest of us. The "Bourgeois" Black Girls: who never associated with the "Ghettos" and were all about their image.. (I admit I was embarrassingly a main member in this clique for my first 3 years of high school). The "Preppy" White Girls: who liked to pretend they were from the valley in California. The Band Geeks who were always practicing for the next competition. And of course the kids who considered themselves "Guidos/ or Guidettes": who OVERLY obsessed about being from NJ. I guess if the clique I was in senior year had a name it would be the "Others" people who got a long with everybody from the smart kids to the cheerleaders. In essence every clique had there own norms and bonds and it was almost impossible to be a part of some of them. Cliques are way more common with girls because girls were and still are CONSTANTLY competing with each other not even necessarily for boys attention but rather to be better, prettier, more stylish than ONE ANOTHER. My 11year old sister Lauryn is in 6th grade and dealing with cliques lately. Shes recently become close friends with the "most popular girl" in her school. However Lauryn's old friends are uncomfortable with that because they think she'll grow apart from them.. Hopefully she will find her way and be friends with everyone. But anyway I agree with you Eric it definitely is a girl thing more so than a boy thing.