Triggered by this music video.
Okay first, yes that song is fantastic. I’ve been listening to it on repeat for a while already and I don’t intend to get bored any time soon. But I still have a big issue with its premise.
I feel like there’s this really broadly accepted notion in nerd communities that they have the right to hate on the stereotypically “cool” jocks, cheerleaders, prom queens, etc. and no one takes a moment to realize how freaking hypocritical that is. I come from a somewhat unique background: I was a cheerleader in high school and in a sorority in college, but I have always been a nerd as well. Other than my two best friends from cheerleading, all of my high school friends were from my AP classes. I was asked to prom first in a poem that referenced Gears of War, then in a calculus problem. I just love loving stuff, whether it’s Harry Potter or Portal or Scrubs or Nerdfighteria.
Anyway back to the point. I think I had pretty average style for a high schooler–I wore jeans, a shirt from some popular store, and flip flops pretty much every day. I didn’t stand out on either end of the spectrum. I’m short and I walked to class alone, so I didn’t give anyone a reason to talk to or about me.
That is, until I put on my cheer uniform. No, high schools aren’t like Glee, we didn’t wear our uniforms every day. We did, however, wear them on game days, so that meant every Friday for the first few months of every school year. I would go from nobody to “that cheerleader bitch” overnight. I hadn’t changed in the slightest. I just wanted to get to English class early so I could get some more reading done. But suddenly, people didn’t like me. People who didn’t know me and wouldn’t recognize me any other day of the week suddenly got the courage to be assholes to me. I was called names and pushed around in the halls because I was a cheerleader and people thought I deserved it.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some awful jocks/cheerleaders out there. They pretend to date losers for a laugh, they make fun of the smart kids. I still see them around when I’m in my home town because they dropped out of college and now work at chain restaurants and grocery stores. But that’s not all of them. Plenty are smart and interesting and ambitious and silly, but also genuinely enjoy the things that make them part of the popular crowd.
But so many other nerd or otherwise “uncool” crowds seem to thing that they’re entitled to lump the whole football team and cheer squad and every girl in an Abercrombie shirt into a big one-dimensional “vapidbullypromiscuousgoingnowhereasshole” mob. Being a victim does not entitle you to treat others horribly, no matter what side you think you’re on.
That’s what I hear when I hear songs like this: nerds are better because they’ve been picked on. Jocks are awful human beings because sometimes, in the movies, they’re assholes. It encourages the nerd/jock dichotomy, but tries to make “nerd” the preferable side to be on. And I don’t think either group wins in that battle.
Can’t we all just be people?