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Peer pressure

Dictionary.com defines peer pressure as “Social pressure by members of one’s peer group to

take a certain action, adopt certain values, or otherwise conform in order to be accepted”.



My interpretation of this definition is that people are influenced by members from a peer group to change their attitudes, values or behaviours. The verb ‘pressure’ has negative connotations, linking to someone being intimidated or influenced to do something they would not usually do. The topic on peer pressure is quite broad, however, I feel that it is something seen amongst a lot of young people. It is also something I experienced in my early/ late teen years and would like to touch on it, but from a fashion aspect.

In this blog post I will be focusing on teenagers being peer pressured into having the latest items that are classified as being ‘cool’.


According to the BBC, they state that most people give into peer pressure because they ‘like to fit in’ and it can often be hard ‘being the only one doing something different’. They also address that people may be peer pressured because they are worried that they will be bullied if they do not follow the crowd or will lose their friends. Additionally, ‘other times people buy stuff because they think their friends will like them more, or because their mates are doing it so it seems normal’.

(BBC, 2018)


Real life experiences


In order to capture real life experiences and responses to peer pressure, I have spoken to three people I know, and what they faced as teenagers.


Do you feel like you were peer pressured into conforming to wear the latest brands when you were in college?

Person A (male)

  • Yes, I surely was peer pressured into conforming and wearing the latest brands, especially in college.

If yes, why did you conform and how did you draw away from it?

  • I had to conform because if not you’ll always feel like the odd one out, especially going to a college predominately full of black British young people. I was able to draw away from It until I got into uni then I realised the brands you wear don’t make you. After all the money spent on purchasing, these brands become worthless especially when you don’t have places to wear them.


Person B (male)

Do you feel like you were peer pressured into conforming to wear the latest brands when you were in college?

  • Yes

If yes, why did you conform and how did you draw away from it?

  • I thought it was cool to wear such brands until I figured lol it’s really just clothes.

  • I was buying into it because of the name


Person C (female)

Do you feel like you were peer pressured into conforming to wear the latest brands when you were in college?

  • No.

If yes, why did you conform and how did you draw away from it?

  • No, I didn’t feel peer pressured, but I could understand why people do; due to the fact a lot of people wore the latest stuff to impress others.


Analysis

According to Warrington and Younger (2010), “Boys and girls construct and negotiate their identities in response to a whole host of factors”. They also pinpoint that ‘Being “part of the in-crowd’, sustaining an image which allows integration and inclusion with peers who are valued and esteemed, adopting behaviour, dress and roles which are fashionable and conform to the latest trends, are all crucially important to many young people”. This suggests, that although peer pressure can come across as being bad, for some people the need for inclusion; such as “wearing voguish clothes and the right designer trainers…” is necessary in helping to “validate membership of the group and legitimise a sense of belonging and week-being”. (Renold 2005; Swain 2004; Willott and Griffin 1997).


Moving forward

I have decided to not include ways of overcoming peer pressure in this post. However, in my next post I will touch on ways you can take ownership of your thoughts and how you should not allow others to make you feel following a trend is the right thing to do. Furthermore, in this time I will do conduct small research, whereby I will ask 20 adolescents how they overcame peer pressure when they were teenagers; and what they believe is the best approach for teenagers of today.


Bibliography

1. BBC Advice. (2018) Peer Pressure. Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/2Q8sK6t9xg5wrhysSMqH7bt/peer-pressure (Accessed: 7th November 2018)

2. Dictionary.com. (2018) Peer pressure. Available from:https://www.dictionary.com/browse/peer-pressure (Accessed: 7th November 2018)

3. Warrington.M and Younger.M. (2011). ‘Life is a tightrope’: reflections on peer group inclusion and exclusion amongst adolescent girls and boys, Gender and Education, 23 (2), pp. 153-168, doi: 10.1080/09540251003674121

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