I was once one of you. When I was a child I would have done anything to be popular. I probably would have bit my own finger off just to be told I was cool by a "popular" kid. Of course, I was one of those people who tried their hardest to be popular and that just made me even less so.
There is an obvious secret everyone older and wiser than we know- popularity isn't everything. In fact, being popular in high school really has no effect on our future lives (other than possibly giving us higher confidence, sometimes so much so that people become arrogant and self-centered). So why do teens and even some adults try so hard to be popular?
I believe this phenomenon is caused by a multitude of factors. In my mind, I believe that it's caused mostly by the association of popularity with happiness, a connection that I really don't think exists anywhere in the world. Popular people are some of the most miserable people I've ever met because they try so hard to make sure everyone likes them. It is impossible to make everyone like you, to be able to please everyone simply because everyone wants and needs different things. Another reason I believe this phenomenon occurs is because of America's addiction to media, including television, news, fame, and music (although I love music deeply). I don't think the famous singers, models, and actresses/actors were ever meant to be copied. And yet, teens strive to make sure they look as perfect as the photoshoped famous people look in magazines and on t.v. Most countries famous singers are as crazy as some of ours are, but the folks in most other countries seem to realize that these famous people are not meant to be copied, but only to be admired for their achievements and talents. So I must ask, what is so wrong with America that our young people feel the need to twerk, dress promiscuously, and say everything a famous person believes is the same thing as they believe?
I love America, don't get me wrong. We have so many freedoms that we take for granted and one of those freedoms is the freedom to be ourselves. We are losing that freedom only because our young people are choosing to copy and imitate unreachable famous people, setting themselves up for failure.
As we get older we realize that you have to be ourselves for us- for our own happiness and own sanity, regardless of whether others like that person or not. I am a happier person for being who I am and having a few close friends than I was when I was popular and had a multitude of "friends" who didn't even know my name.
Also, do not admire people because they dress neat or fashionably. You should admire people because they're a great composer (like Eicca Toppinen from the band Apocalyptica), a great artist (like Tommy Lee and M.C. Escher), a great author (like Brandon Sanderson, H.P. lovecraft, Laurie Faria Stolarz, and so many more), and/or a great friend (like Hannah, Stephanie, Lexxie, Dru, and Meagan).
So, I as a young American, beg the teens of our country to try to be themselves. Everyone on this amazing planet deserves the right to be happy. When you force yourself to conform to the standards the media has made, you force yourself to be unhappy and unoriginal. You are unique and weird in your own special way! Being weird is not always a bad thing. I get called a "freak" and "weirdo" by people everyday, but it doesn't bother me because those words are simply synonyms for "different" and I am proud to be different. So next time someone tries to hurt your feelings by telling you that your lame, weird, freakish, or uncool do what I do and smile then say "Thank you!". If they look confused (like most will) explain to them that you are glad that you're different compared to them because you are different enough to not want to be cruel to others who are unlike you.