Many of us have dealt with the social anxiety of wanting to be considered “cool.” From an early age all the way up to college, we have been faced with the pressures of trying to be in the spotlight and to be accepted by our peers.
But what are those characteristics that decide such an important social standing? Is it how a person looks? How they act?
It is unclear and can be answered in dozens of ways, but what many people believe to be favorable behaviors that are socially accepting usually fall under the same umbrella of characteristics that have not altered significantly over time.
Hairstyles and clothing trends have certainly changed throughout history; from neon pants and big hair to body jewelry and bucket hats. Although what seems to have not changed is the invisible governing system that decides out of a group of people who is the fairest of them all.
According to Julian Garcia, an adjunct of communication, the idealistic “cool” person has definitely changed between his generation and ours.
“I do think ‘what’s cool’ has changed significantly over time. All you need to do is watch a movie like ‘Grease’ and you will see how times have changed,” Garcia explained.
As we all know, the movie Grease portrays a “cool kid” as a T-Bird or a Pink Lady who never cares about anything, who has a cool car and leather jacket, and that pushes people around who are different and do not necessarily fit in.
Garcia added, “It used to be cool to fit in with the crowd. Now it is cool to be yourself and not be afraid to stand for what you believe in. It is cool to stand out from the crowd now.”
Some would say that our generation is the most accepting, as well as the most judgmental. Because there are so many different interpretations of people and their individuality, some believe that people still find one particular group and “look” superior to others.
Cassondra Giarrusso, a freshman math and education student, believes that people still socially categorize. “I think that the idea of what’s cool has always stayed the same. The trends change so the people change with the trends, but I think the overall image of who is cool and why they are cool has never really changed.”
In universities especially, many students believe that those who are taking full advantage of the college experience are the ones who can be considered cool.
“I think that they are the people who go out every night and party and have a huge group of friends. Usually these people all look, act, and dress in similar ways,” Giarrusso commented.
Although our generation is more dynamically accepting than past generations, the social tradition of picking one group above all others has seemed to fall through the cracks.
On the other hand, some students view being cool as something that is an individual’s behavioral decision.
Jacqueline Petro, a freshman psychology student, has a more positive view of her peers. “My definition of a cool person is someone who is comfortable with expressing themselves in a unique way. Anyone who is able to fulfill their dreams without worrying about the judgment of other people would fit into the category of ‘cool.’”
It is believed that our generation has been fostering the idea that all people must cultivate their own uniqueness and originality, and by doing so can be accepted as one of a kind and perceived as successful.
“People worry too much. If you are happy with who you are, that’s all that matters,” said Petro.
Our society has become so dynamic with style and personality that the one ideal “cool” person can be viewed in different ways. Whether it is going to all of the parties or just following along with the crowd, this generation has given us the freedom to decide what it means to be cool and whether we want it to strongly influence how we view ourselves and each other.
PHOTO TAKEN from wardrobeadvice.com
PHOTO TAKEN from ell.h-cdn.co