I find most of my music on Q100 or the top songs list on ITunes. I never get to brag about having listened to a song “like forever ago before it became popular.” I mostly enjoy artists that are household names. Hi, my name is Lexi Nickens, and I listen to mainstream music.
Numerically, I am in the majority, yet, I am often ridiculed for my choice in music because it’s TOO popular. I no longer discuss music with my friends because I will look like a fool when I haven’t heard of the unknown artist that they all know.
Quite frankly, I am downright confused. I’ve always been taught that to fit in, I should just go with the mainstream, but now I’m being told that its better to be a little weird. For example, look at Nickleback (not that I’m saying that I like them because I don’t.) We know that they’re selling a great deal of records, but admitting to actually enjoying their music is essentially social suicide. How does it make sense that you could be an outcast for being in the majority?
This phenomenon can be blamed on the growth of the “hipster” movement. Today, it’s cooler to be different, so everyone tries to stand out. However, if different is normal then it stops being different, and then we’re just left with chaos.
The problem here is that normal doesn’t have a static definition; its meaning varies from culture to culture, generation to generation, and even person to person. However, when you’re young and struggling to fit in, a clear definition of normal seems comforting. Unfortunately, we’re searching for something that doesn’t exist, and our quest for this holy grail is becoming unhealthy.
James Madison once argued that there is a greater amount of factions in a larger body of people. These factions create a society controlled by many minorities rather than one dominating majority. Although Madison’s arguments were political in nature, they can easily apply to high schools. Despite what movies tell us, high schools aren’t made up of a few clearly defined social groups that consist of the same one-dimensional person. Rather, there are hundreds of groups consisting of many unique individuals.
One mainstream can’t possibly exist in this type of environment, and yet, we are obsessed with fitting a rigid definition of normal into our fluid social structure. It’s like trying to grab water: it’s messy and confusing and not a good idea.
You can try all you want to be as normal, or as abnormal, as possible but you will quickly find that you still can’t make sense of where you fit. If you just want to fit in, stop basing your personality off of a contrived definition of normal. Don’t feel ashamed to rock out to Nickleback if that’s what you’re into (again, not that I listen to them). Be yourself. It’s a whole lot easier than trying to be normal.