The most popular girls at school photographed by Lauren Greenfield
“This picture was taken in 1998, at a time when people were just beginning to realise what “mean girls” were, and how brutal and cliquey and excluding they could be. I was on an assignment for the New York Times magazine, for a special issue about being 13. They sent me to a place in Minnesota called Edina, right in the heartland of the US. It was so interesting: in a book I did called Fast Forward, I had been taking a look at how kids grow up really quickly in Los Angeles. But in Minnesota, where life is supposedly not as fast-paced as in LA, I found kids who were equally precocious.
This group of girls were in the popular clique at their school. Popularity was very codified: all the kids knew you had to shop in three particular stores, and that you needed to be blond, thin and blue-eyed. The girls were on their way to their first big party of the seventh grade. I spent a lot of time inside one of their houses, photographing them doing their makeup and combing their hair. Then we came outside. In the beautiful late-afternoon light, they lined up and started posing – it was very much their idea rather than mine.
What I love is that each girl has a different personality in the image, and you can read into it what their status is in the clique. Hannah, the third girl in the purple, was actually deemed the most popular girl at school. But she told me later that she wasn’t actually sure about her group of friends: they could be mean, and people would get criticised if they didn’t look a certain way. Even if you’re in the place everyone wants to be in, as she was, there’s still a lot of pressure to keep up the grade. In a way, she felt it was bad to be popular.”
I’m a barista at a coffee shop and you wouldn’t believe half of the things people say to me.
Now I’m a fairly well liked person, a bit sassy to my friends and nice to whoever comes through the door of my shop.
I have been called a bitch because the store ran out of the beans a lady wanted. I have been called an incompetent idiot because the hot drip coffee had just ran out and I had to make a fresh batch for him. I have had a customer threaten to throw boiling coffee on me because she had to wait in line like everyone else. I have been called a fucking whore in front of a woman’s own child because the woman couldn’t order her own drink right. I have been sexually threaten because the man’s coffee order was forgotten in the mayhem of a busy morning. I have been called a sinner and would be going to hell because I told I customer I didn’t want to talk about religion while at work. When I spilled burning coffee on my leg a woman said I deserved it because I dressed like a whore; I was wearing a knee length skirt.
These are just some of the things that have been said to me. I could write a book about every awful thing that has been said to me in the last 2 years I have worked at that coffee shop.
Now what I don’t understand is how people think it is acceptable to say these things to someone who is just getting the drink you wanted. Can someone please give me an answer because I can’t think of one good reason to verbally abuse someone you have just met.