The second arc of my main story has to do with popularity, bullying, and society but I don't know how popularity work since I'm wasn't the most popular in school ever like I have the typical idea of it, attractive, talented, and "likable" people are usually the most liked. I guess cliques exist in some capacity (I was kinda integrated with the art geeks) People usually get bullied for standing out (being "ugly"/ being "weird"/ has a marginalized trait)
okay okay, give me a bit to type this up, but incoming info dump from a popular kid
okay so there are varying levels of popularity
sure, you've got your cliques, and the cliques that are full of rich kids or kids who like to pretend they're popular, but they're only semi popular. also a good thing to note is that for every joke about stereotypical popular kids made, there's thirteen waiting for the kids who seem to think that the world hates the for 'being outcasts'. no, nobody hates them. there are the 'outcast' types who are just fine sticking to their small groups of friends, or who just really like punk music lmao
then there are the kids who are self-isolated, or were isolated because they're just plain weird. for the former, they cling heavily to their own self-labelled outcast title. like annoyingly so. they listen to sad music and wear black, there's literally nothing wrong with them. what is wrong is that they somehow got it into their heads that they're So Different and like, nobody likes them, and they're just consistently obnoxious about it even when people try to be their friend. for the latter, you can guess what's up there. they're the kids who are sorta avoided because they're creepy. they don't know the meaning of personal space, will start arguments just to be like 'no ur wrong lmao' or be insulting. like the kids who sit there and pull the 'dark humor' joke in order to be blatantly horrible
and of course, there is a certain stigma against people who are 'ugly' or don't dress a certain way, and sometimes good kids get tossed into an outcast situation for being 'weird' even though they aren't, but that's usually because of rumors started. it's a misunderstanding, as opposed to the kids mentioned above that nobody wants to be around
now, onto popularity. there's different types here of course!
personally, i was told i was popular despite not realizing i had been. i was just a really friendly person, maybe a bit of a pushover here and there(that's a thing to mention, for sure), and i was always willing to help and talk to people. so i made a lot of casual acquaintances and people talked to me. if i was walking through the hall with a friend, they'd often comment on just how many people waved at me, said hi, or greeted me in any other way. so in a way, yeah, i did have that popularity.
another type is through fear. which sounds so dramatic but like. hear me out.
most people prefer to avoid conflict, are even scared of it. some people are so caught up in this idea that popularity is important, and that they need to suck up to people to be popular. hence, people like regina george, who exist in some capacity, if they aren't near as insane.
so anyway, ask any questions you have, i'd love to answer!