Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Thursday, January 24, 2008

By Mashiat Rabbani

Ask any adult about their opinion on “peer pressure” and they will instantantly reply that “peer pressure is ruining their kids, destroying their mentality, it's the worst thing ever and blah, blah!

However, the adults, despite their hard words, had once been subjected to similar kind of torture because peer force is something that is inevitable.

Peer pressure, as I see it, is when a person is being influenced by their friends to do something that they themselves might not have done. However, when we do feel pressurised by our friends it is not necessary that our peers would be creating that atmosphere for us intentionally because they might themselves be unaware of it. Peer pressure builds up when there are inequalities between friends like for instance some friends are more popular than the other or considered ‘cooler’. This socialising force can affect us in many ways and here is an elaboration of the very common ones.

In studies
This is the major sector where peer pressure has the most effect. Our friends have a tendency of labelling any good student as a nerd. And once you are called that, your future is a black void! At least, when it comes to your friends it is.

The friends who have their heads filled with Hollywood movies and hip hop and rap and metal music will go beyond their limits and farther to make you realise how boring, uncool and backdated you are and how you don't understand the oh-so important things of life. These words are the deadliest of all weapons because they come from people we consider to be just like us.

The criticism slowly creeps into us and gnaws at our brains eventually turning a teacher's pet (you don't have to be one) to an obnoxious little brat. However, according to the Oxford dictionary (nerdy, I know) the word “nerd” means “a person who is boring, stupid and unfashionable. Well for this statement I will say that good students can be a bit boring, a tad bit less fashionable but they are never, ever stupid and thus it proves that they are not nerds! See what I mean?

In fashion.
This is one of the oldest and most renowned form of torture when it comes to our good buddies.
“OMG! You have never been to Aarong?”
“I bought this from Singapore! Don't you think it's cool?”
“You wore that t-shirt in last year's class party right?”
They just know where to hit with their knives! Now, if you do fall for these and start copying them by wearing expensive t-shirts, buying tons of high heeled shoes, get some piercing and start hanging funky bracelets all over you, in the end you will end up with nothing but a whole lot of disapproving looks from your elders, a few toothy smiles from the opposite sex, a few jealous glares and of course a huge loss of money.
Now you decide what you prefer.

In relationships (of any sort)
If you are a girl you must have a guy displaying his crush on you and if you are a guy you must have a crush on a girl. When someone has a crush on you, you have to ignore that person and insult him/her in all sorts of ways and if you have a crush on some one, he or she will have to be a real beauty. It's as if they have created a rule-book for all these insanely weird ideas.

In the virtual world
Last but never the least, “THE NET”. People without the Internet are considered completely old fashioned to some of our friends. And those knowing the ins and outs of the Net are the hot and happening ones. But it's not enough to have Internet only! There's more to it. You have to have something like at least 70 friends in your messenger, over 100 friends in hi5 and Facebook and of course at least two online admirers!

These are the must-have things for some of our friends but that doesn't mean that they are bad or “chachra polapain.” It's just how they think. If we think differently then we can put our thoughts forward just like them.

The best way to stay away from peer pressure is to create our own style and to have a blast in our own way.




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