According to Merriam-Webster, popularity is the state of being liked, enjoyed, accepted or done by a large number of people. In adolescent peer social worlds popularity usually refers to peers that are more liked or accepted than others.
But what makes someone popular? Obviously being “popular” means to be liked or revered in an upper status or more so than others, but what are the enabling factors of popularity?
Most popular teens come from families with a lot of money. Money is the main enabler for popularity because it can be used to buy many of the other hallmarks of popularity.
Clothes & Accessories
Wearing the “right” clothes is also an enabler for popularity. Determining which clothes are “right” is usually based on what is trendy in pop culture, Hollywood, and the fashion industry. Clothing that is name brand and more expensive are usually sought after as “popular” because they are less attainable.
Cars & Technology
Much like having the trendiest clothing, having a new and expensive car or the latest electronic gadgets is an enabler of popularity.
Usually, popular teens are in relationships. Whether they change boyfriends or girlfriends every week, have steady relationships or just engage in “hook ups” admiration and romantic linkage to a partner increases popularity. Most often, popular relationships are heterosexual.
Athletic ability is often prized over academic ability in teen peer social worlds, therefore teens with superior athletic ability are usually more popular than those that excel in academics.
Many popular teenagers are considered “good looking” by society. This means females are usually blonde or at least have shiny hair, are tan, thin and have symmetrical facial features, clear skin and straight teeth. Males are usually tall and muscular with either blonde or dark hair, are tan and have chiseled features, clear skin and straight teeth.
While many factors of popularity seem to be inherent, popularity can be fluid. Increase in cash flow; acquiring material hallmarks of popularity; and participating in fitness routines, health plans, beauty and skincare routines, or event getting plastic surgery could increase a teenager’s popularity.