Saturday, April 18, 2009

Membership

Exclusivity.


That's usually the reason why people join clubs. The more expensive, the harder to access, the better. It gives the member a feeling of belonging and superiority. It is very hankered after, people do what they can within their power and sometimes beyond their power to get in. What do they do when part of a club? The really hard core ones would pretend that the only world that exists is within the walls of the club and anything outside of that is inconsequential.

And those from the outside who look in, whether it is because of jealousy of not belonging or whether it is pure disapproval cannot wrap their heads how a collective group of people can be self-absorbed or imagine the world is that small.

Bring it down a notch and group dynamics are the same.

Those in a group think nothing about it. Those who watch from without, either yearn to be within or bitch about why it is a big deal. Those who yearn will then either bitch or find ways to worm their way in. Often this happens by preying on the most harmless, nicest person within the group. Be friends with that person and hope that pays off in group dividends. It doesn't matter if a new persona has to be adopted, after a while, it fits like second skin. After a while, the chameleon becomes so comfortable in the persona she adopts, she forgets who she is.

Enter the world of Gossip Girl and Queen B and Queen S. Where they knowingly or unknowingly exclude the lesser-bees and do not bother how their excluding others hurts them. TV mimicking the real world group dynamics. One wonders if it's a sense of cluelessness, entitlement or just maliciousness.

It's not hard to observe, in any social setting. And even within the group, there is an inner core and the hangers-on. The inner core are secure in the knowledge of their membership. The hangers-on try and work hard to make sure that they are at the right places, do the right thing, wear the right clothes, eat the right food and look the right way.

I keep seeing it around me. I see it in school, with the kids. How there are the groups that are loud to attract attention. How there are people who always glare at them but if you looked close enough into their eyes, you saw that it was not just annoyance but envy at being able to belong and being able to be known. I see the ones that have been turned away because they are too independent, too individualistic, too non-conformist; being too secure in their self-identity to be 'made-over'. And even those feel a sense of hurt and rejection because they are after all human.

Social psychology is interesting that way. It teaches you to read crowds and people in the crowd. It teaches you to distinguish the ring leaders and to actually look beneath and examine the motivations. It teaches you also to understand why the ones that don't belong, behave in a certain way and how it inadvertently affects who they are. Social psychology also teaches how as an individual, each person within a group has the potential to be nice and to be cruel and usually on their own, they are on good behaviour and they could be your best of friends. Put them into a group of like-minded individuals and strangely, 2 and 2 does not equal 4 but possibly 22. The safety of the group's unwritten regulations allow them to then get away with behaviour which could be cruel, appalling and juvenile. And worst of all, they do it because they know they can get away with it. They know that no one can point a finger at any one of them because, after all, on their own, they're all nice, decent people.

Guys and girls, men and women are affected in the same way. I hear of wives telling of how their husbands being bullied in school created in them a wall that has taken that long to penetrate. Men, themselves who hate being in group situations and prefer the company of their spouses and families because they rather not be put into a situation where they are made to feel like they are back in high school. Girls who are mothers and successful and accomplished in their own fields reduced to an insecure puddle of tears because they are brought back to the days where they were awkward, tongue-tied and excluded just because they weren't involved in the same ditzy pursuits as the in crowd.

It's difficult to comfort those who have this particular skeleton in their closet. It's not something that can be chucked out or overcome, come spring-cleaning. The only thing they can do is pretend it doesn't bother them and hope that it is years before they have to go through another ordeal of rejection again because that's how long it would take them to recover depending on how small they were made to feel.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 10:04

1 thoughts...

1 thoughts...

At 3:01 pm Blogger Olie said...

"the ones that have been turned away because they are too independent, too individualistic, too non-conformist; being too secure in their self-identity to be 'made-over'. And even those feel a sense of hurt and rejection because they are after all human."Ah! This strikes a chord! :)

 

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