Keeping Up With the Joneses

Sophomore expresses feelings on societal pressures

Ava McGuire, Staff Writer

On top of showing how she keeps a unique perspective on life and remains truly confident in herself, sophomore Mattie Thornton provides her stance on the stresses of trying to fit in.

In the modern-day and age, the influence and pressure that society provides to the young and impressionable can make them feel that fitting in — for example, acting and looking a certain way — is the only path to contentment. This can be classified as trying to “keep up with the Joneses.”

“I feel like being a young girl, and having Instagram models and things like that, society does pressure me to look a certain way, and do things a certain way to fit in,” Thornton said.

Striving to keep up with those surrounding oneself can allow for the erasure of individuality and uniqueness. Thornton believes amongst other qualities she has, a physical trait she possesses is her striking hair, which helps set her apart from others.

“I’m a little ginger, and there’s not a lot of those,” Thornton said. “I also have curly hair, which I used to straighten every day to be more like others. But now, I’m embracing my natural hair.”

According to “The Psychology Behind Keeping Up With the Joneses” by Craig Guillot, it is human nature to look to others for confirmation of one’s social and economic status. Wanting to be on the same level or even exceed those perceived as “perfect” because of materialistic standards can often lead to only caring about material things and the obsession of putting up a picture-perfect front. Thornton believes to stay true to oneself and not be intimidated by the compulsion of perfection “you just gotta stay confident with yourself.”

However, staying true to that originality isn’t always as easy as it presents.

“Everybody has struggled to stay true to themselves at least once in their life, sometimes more than others,” Thornton said. “[It’s not necessary] to try and please society. You were made the way you are for a reason — you’re made to be different. If everyone’s trying to be the same, it’s just boring.”

While it may seem like an uphill battle trying to combat the pressure to conform to what society deems as perfect and efficacious, Thornton wants those who are young and feel that “keeping up with the Joneses” is the only way to be satisfied to know this: staying confident is key. 

“I know that’s hard  — easier said than done,” Thornton said. “But, you were made that way for a reason. Not everyone can be the same. There’s got to be some diversity. There really is no need to keep up with the Joneses.”