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  1. MilesTro

    MilesTro Senior Member

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    Highschool Nobody Girl

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by MilesTro, Mar 31, 2021.

    How do you make a cute highschool girl a nobody in a believable way? I have seen high school movies and shows with hot loser girls being treated unfairly by popular kids, no matter how attractive they look. Examples: Freaky, She's All That, and Carrie. If I want to use that trope, how can I make it better for a story with a high school setting?
     
  2. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Active Member

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    If it's a book why would it be a problem? I wouldn't consider Sissy Spacek 'hot' but maybe in the book it was different.

    In my experience, a girl in high school that is really hot will almost automatically be popular. But (and I can't really speak to this) for guys it seems lack of status and other factors may cause some conventionally attractive guys to get lost in the crowd. I think that's rare for girls in high school, but have no idea what it's like today.

    I'm not saying girls need to be hot to be popular, just that if they are hot, they will be popular, unless they have some really serious social problems.
     
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  3. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    female actors, especially young ones tend to be on the hot side... homely girls don't generally go into holywood, hence why you tend to wind up with high school misfit girl being far hotter than she would be in real life (this applies to guys too, but to a lesser extent), also if the misfit girl is the lead it is unusual for a leading star in that kind of film to not be attractive because pretty people sell films

    in a book however you don't have that problem... so if you want her to be plain jane, write her as plain jane
     
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  4. J.T. Woody

    J.T. Woody A Certain Shade of Green Contributor

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    i watched a korean Japanese mini series (12 episodes) that was about high school and was really well done, especially because it had age appropriate actors/actresses (like, teens playing teens, not adults playing teens).

    the "popular" girl was very sweet kind and everyone liked her.... except the unpopular girl, who was fat and mean, and kept to herself. she always wore her hair in her face and was just really scary. she made a wish to switch bodies with the popular girl. so it happened. she woke up in the body and life of the popular girl..... and slowly became unpopular because of her ugly personality.
    meanwhile, the popular girl wakes up in the other girls body and life and sees how hard it was for her. she ends up making the best out of the situations, and she eventually becomes popular, and the rest of the students start to see her as beautiful because she's always smiling and keeps her kind personality. there was no make-over scene or anything (except for this cute scene where a class mate lent her a hair clip and she clipped her bangs back and everyone said "you have a really pretty face! you should wear your bangs back more often!")

    long story short... it was the personality, not the physicality.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2021
  5. MilesTro

    MilesTro Senior Member

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    Interesting series.
     
  6. Whitecrow

    Whitecrow Member

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    My thoughts.
    In life, successful or not successful consists more of a state of consciousness than of talents or appearance.

    Even if you are beautiful, if you dress up like a goblin and take a shower once a month, they will shy away from you.

    Even if you are ten times talented, it does not matter if you yourself do not consider yourself talented and think that everyone is lying to you.

    People are flexible, and the result depends on the effort expended. But there are people who do not want to spend efforts even on basic things, most often out of indifference. They do not see the point in achieving success.

    Here the problem is not only that those around them have a negative attitude towards these characters, but they themselves have a bad attitude towards themselves. And it is not clear where this broken cycle began. You treat yourself like trash and people around you start treating you the same way, or they treat you like trash and you start thinking of yourself as trash.

    Usually in life such people are broken more on the inside than on the outside. Even if no one does anything bad to them, they will still suffer because of their own demons. Someone needs to do much more than just not harm, someone needs to literally pull a person out of the prison of his own mind, and prove that everything is not at all the way his mind draws.

    But no one usually wants to waste time with defective people, broken and constantly negative. Waste time with a person who will constantly push you away and run away from you.
    Why if there are many normal adequate people around whom you do not need to spend so much time and energy. With whom you can have fun together. Or suffer alongside someone who thinks they don't deserve a fun time like everyone else.

    The outcast, in turn, develops a very cynical and sinful view of the world. There is nothing good or kind in this world. All fakes. Friendship is a lie where someone wants to get something from you, and then forget about you. Get rid of you like a used napkin. Love is another lie. We all know that no matter what accomplishments you go for for the sake of someone you have feelings for, they will never have enough, and at the same time, they will never reciprocate. They will simply suck everything out of you that they can get, and they will also forget. Because there is no such thing as love or friendship. We are locked in concrete boxes, and even if you scream, no one will hear you. Why do you need the respect or love of these people, people who will betray and thrust a dagger into your back as soon as you turn away. If you do not trust anyone, then no one will betray you. Fear overpowers everything. Fear fills everything.

    Let's admit that we are all egoists, and we think first about ourselves and then about others. Even now, I am sure that in your environment there are one or more people, lone wolves. Those who seem to just want to be left alone. Losers who believe that they are incapable of anything, while being the most competent people in their field. Jocks who cannot pass through the doorway with their shoulders, but considering that this is not enough. Walking skeletons that think they are fat. People who constantly apologize for everything. And many others. All these people live separately from you in their reality. They see and hear the world differently from you. They see and hear a distorted version of the world. We humans are incapable of defeating our own demons. What does it take to defeat the demons of other people? And do you or anyone want to do this? The fact is that each of us is alone in his endless nightmare.

    PS: There was a novel and an anime based on it. "My Youth Romantic Comedy Is Wrong, As I Expected". In it, the essence is well revealed with a change in the outlook of an outcast person. I advise you to read or watch. Among the interesting moments, how the character often made himself an outcast, or forced himself to suffer for the benefit of others.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2021
  7. marshipan

    marshipan Contributor Contributor

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    Being an attractive girl doesn't really have much to do with being popular in high school. The popular group is a clique like any other where similar interests have brought them together. The popular high school girls, in my experience, were involved in a lot of social and well seen things--sports, yearbook, fundraisers, student politics. They surrounded themselves with attractive, outgoing boys who were also involved in similar ways and they dated/had confidence with the opposite sex. They were known and seen by teachers and students alike because of how involved they were.

    There were plenty of very attractive girls who weren't in the "popular crowd". Hell, half the popular girls weren't even overly attractive compared to a lot of the other girls in school (although they did take pride/care in their makeup, hair, and clothes).

    I think movies really aren't that off base. The unpopular attractive girl lacks confidence and experience, she prioritizes her "art" over socialization, and wouldn't run in the same circle as a popular boy. It would be sort of surprising if the hot jock everyone wants suddenly started dating someone completely out of his social circle no matter how hot she was because how did they meet? Why are they suddenly interacting when they never did before? It's weird. I had some random guy from the good-ole country boy group in high school suddenly ask for my number and it was a big wtf moment because we didn't even know each other. Plus he had literally just called my friend [bad] names. And when some guy comes calling that you appear to have nothing in common with, then you start wondering what they are after. The only reason girls give the jock the time of day in teen romances is because of his grand appeal and because she's usually harboring a secret crush on him.
     
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  8. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    Just adding to what's been said already, giving it my own spin—popularity isn't so much about attractiveness but about confidence and social skills/social mobility/wanting and trying hard to belong. Someone can be very attractive and have body dysmorphic disorder or low self esteem or any number of neuroses and they'll be rejected by the popular crowd.

    In the case of Carrie it was because her mom was a religious nutcase and brought her up like an Old Testament zealot. As a result Carrie had no experience with dating or having friends (she was embarrassed to bring anybody home, and probably nobody wanted to be friends with her anyway). And she was so clueless about what was happening when she experienced her first period that the other girls had to either take pity on her or make fun of her, and nobody was willing to take a chance on showing her pity, they'd just be ostracized alongside her.

    Males show aggression directly and are willing to back it up physically (the masculine ones I mean) and females tend to do it indirectly through social ostracism and reputation destruction (the Mean Girls types).
     
  9. J.T. Woody

    J.T. Woody A Certain Shade of Green Contributor

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    These responses are giving me flashbacks to highschool.....
    my anxiety is going through the roof! :dead:
     
  10. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    :friend:High school was a long time ago. It's ok now..
     
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  11. dbesim

    dbesim Contributor Contributor

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    It’s not too difficult if you give her a certain set of flaws and play on her insecurities. Tell us why she thinks she’s inadequate when she compares herself to other people. Why does she feel insecure? Why does she think people don’t like her? Is she too introverted?

    Think about her flaws and what those could be. Is she rubbish at sports but really good at science? Maybe there are things she hates about her physical features when she compares herself to others? Maybe she dwells too much on that while someone else thinks she’s perfect. I think you can bring her flaws out even more when you dwell on her insecurities and the reasons she does not feel adequate. You might just have to figure out what those are. Not everyone can do everything perfectly and be perfect all the time. Some people are just better are hiding it than others. But will that be your MC? I think it’s up to you to figure out what her flaws or strengths are going to be. Try not to be too cliche about those. GL.
     
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  12. Kehlida

    Kehlida Member

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    I originally had a longer reply, but failed to submit before the site went down for maintenance.

    I would just like to compliment @big soft moose when he notes how most characters we see on screen are usually played by pretty people. I saw you named Carrie following your point about " hot loser girls being treated unfairly by popular kids," assuming you mean Carrie White from Stephen King's novel I must say... It stuck out to me because in the first few pages of the book alone, Carrie White is not described as beautiful at all- quite the opposite. Besides being described as having manners similar to an ox and having a froggy voice, there are also these direct lines:
    "Carrie stood among them stolidly, a frog among swans. She was a chunky girl with pimples on her neck and back and buttocks, her wet hair completely without color."
    "She looked around bovinely. Her hair stuck to her cheeks in a helmet forming shape. There was a cluster of acne on one shoulder."

    He's one of the few authors who don't go out of his way to paint his characters as unrealistically gorgeous but film adaptations tend to portray most characters as objectively good-looking unless it's crucial to the plot otherwise.
     
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  13. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    A high school 'nobody' isn't necessarily somebody who is bullied. A bullied person usually stands out in some way that unfortunately makes them a target. A Nobody just doesn't get noticed, except maybe by close friends, or teachers, etc.

    I was essentially a Nobody in high school. I'm trying to remember if that bothered me or not. I don't think it did. I was bothered if somebody I had a crush on (never one of the high powered popular people, incidentally) didn't want to know. That's always hurtful. But I more or less kept my head down and got on with it.

    Popular kids didn't really notice me, or give me grief. I got good grades, but not top grades. Socially, I was handicapped by my controlling mother (not quite like Carrie, but similar) in that I wasn't allowed to choose my own clothes or hairstyle, or to some extent even my friends—so I wasn't really allowed to be me. Somehow I knew this situation would not last forever, so I just waited it out, paid lip service to what I was expected to do and be. Once I went away to college I finally had day-to-day freedom. And after I left home for good, that was that.

    I don't look back on my high school years with any sense of horror, but I have very few friends dating only from that period. It was one of those periods that was less influential on my life than what came before (grade school was much more interesting) and especially what came after. High school is often a time when kids can't really be 'themselves' yet, because their home and family situation still orders their lives. Do I regret my time spent there? No. Am I sentimental about it? No. Would I go back? Absolutely not!

    I do wonder about some of the 'popular' kids and what their lives are like now. As somebody once said about the situation, "If you're beautiful, why change?" Funny, but actually true. I'm the one who changed, who had lots of adventures, and who now lives in a foreign country. Many of them are still in my home town. Some are still wearing similar hairstyles to what they had over 50 years ago! Funny.
     
  14. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    Remember when Jeneane Garofalo was Hollywood's idea of a homely girl?
     
  15. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    Once again, I got caught up in responding to things people were saying and failed to pay attention to the original post.
     
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  16. J.T. Woody

    J.T. Woody A Certain Shade of Green Contributor

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    I think it also depends on the type of high school. Public school is different than Private.

    I was the kid who came from a public school on the other side of the city. 90% of them had gone to private school all their lives and everyone knew each other.

    My first day, i wore the "winter" uniform (oxford shirt, plaid skirt, blazer). I got laughed at. I didnt know, and my mom and aunts who'd told me to wear it only said "you look so cuute! Like a little doll!"
    That made me stand out in a bad way. Even my own cousin that i went to school with (our grandma drove us both to and from school), didnt want to be seen with me. Like everyone else, he'd been in private school all his life and my uniform mishap embarrassed him.
    Then the upper classmen knew i was new to the whole uniform thing and played a prank on me. The girls told me i could wear brown tights and socks.
    So i did.... And got in trouble. My mom had to leave work to buy me the right color tights so that i wouldn't have in-school suspension.
    I also openly got into a debate with the religion teacher my first year, and from that day on i was labeled a "atheist" and "that devil girl". Then a teacher who was cool with the popular kids said in class to me "why are you so fricking weird!" And then i became "weird girl" to everyone.

    I had a medical handicap and was put on crutches. I could walk without them, but the doctor wanted me to use the crutches to not make the issue worse.
    The kids stole my crutches and told me to walk for them and said i was just faking to get attention.
    I ate lunch in the hallway to avoid people, and shutting down seemed to make things worse. Didnt matter if i made straight A's. Didnt matter if i made honor roll or deans list, or if i was an athlete, art club, writing club, volunteered for homecoming, volunteered at soup kitchens, made team captain of my track team senior year, etc.
    I was an "other" that didnt even make it into the yearbook....

    My husband and i went to the same high school. He wasnt the most popular but he was still popular. Everyone knew him. He was always surrounded by friends. He played soccer and lacrosse, coaches liked him. Teachers liked him. But he didnt do any extracurricular activities other than athletics. Even though hes super smart (even tutored me on my math homework), he never tried academically, only doing enough just to pass. Me dating him didnt do anything socially (not that i wanted it to). In fact, when people found out i liked him, they told him infront of the class, and they laughed at me and laughed at him and he said out loud that he didnt like me.
    But, like everyone else, he'd been in private school all his life and didnt stand out.

    From my observation, it seemed like you were popular if you were related to someone popular; attractive; followed the " social norm" of the environment; downplayed brains; played up "jock-ness," were a novelty (i kid you not, there was 1 white guy in the whole school when i started HS... Which was weird because coming from public school, I'd been in school since pre-school with all kinds, asian students, hispanic, Italian, there were so many kids from eastern european countries like turkey, kosovo, ukraine, azerbaijan, etc.... Anyway, the white kid stood out to everyone, but in a good way. Everyone thought he was "exotic", with his punk rock look and everyone wanted to date him. He was popular with the girls); ditzy was "in" the only exceptions were if you fell into the "novelty" category. If you were "novelty" but serious, you got a pass for not being ditzy. You had to have that "i dont care" attitude.




    The irony is that i was student embassador my senior year and welcomed incoming freshmen, giving them tours and talking to their parents about how great it was to go to this school:bigmeh:


    Double wammy was that after graduation, i got facebook messages and texts saying "i always liked you" and "i wanted to ask you out" and "you were always the cute one"
    DUCK OFF, ASSHOLES....:wtf:
    I still ignore friend requests from people i went to high school with and throw away all high school reunion mail.
     
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  17. Aile

    Aile New Member

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    Sometimes moving and thus switching schools can result in being an outsider/nobody.

    I remember discussing childhood friendships with my fiance - he was 9 when they moved to another town, which means he had to find himself in a new place, among people he didn't know nor had any connection to. Not exactly high school years here, but I think he felt a little lonely for some of those years. And if you happen to be more on the introverted side, perhaps having a specific hobby, etc, you can easily become an outsider, or well... "nobody". However, this is really only in the eyes of the other students then, and perhaps not even all other students, but only some.

    In my high school I remember only one girl who I'd describe perhaps as nobody (I strongly dislike the term, so struggling with that... "outsider" is more doable in my opinion). She was shy and a quite lonely, hard-focused on the grades and not super-talented so she had to study a lot to get these. But I know outside the school she had a boyfriend, and her family had a lot of social events on the weekends, so I don't know if she really cared so much about how it was at school.

    Another girl, although again, more of an outsider really, she struggled a little in social situations so sadly she was sometimes being made fun on and she was likely lonely due to that. She might had Asperger's or something similar, being very straight in some situations which was perceived as awkward I guess. I still remember meeting her on a street once after graduating, and I wanted to hug her but she didn't hug back! This was awkward haha, for my anxious mind. Her sister was one of the most popular girls in high school (they were close in age, <2 years apart) so this was an interesting contrast. However, I know she went on to find a small group of friends and she spent a lot of time with her sister and the friends.

    The situation of becoming a nobody of sorts can also be caused by the others, if they have very rigid groups of friends and for some reason not just willing to let the person in question in. Doesn't necessarily mean bullying, sometimes it's just circumstances and perhaps sometimes not entirely conscious behavior. You have your own group and just do not pay much attention to others because you're busy with your own life.
     
  18. Carthonn

    Carthonn Active Member

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    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

    You don’t necessarily have to tell the reader through description that the character is beautiful. You can have a character recognizing the characters beauty, whether physical or inner, tell it to the reader.
     
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  19. GraceLikePain

    GraceLikePain Senior Member

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    You've got to give her some characteristic that makes her unpopular. Like, she doesn't really like to hang out with others, and so they think she's weird for being alone all the time. Or she's really good at something weird or boring, and people lose interest in her. Maybe she's obsessed with knitting or something, and everyone's like "don't you do anything besides knit?" and she's like, "nah." and she becomes Knitting Girl until she graduates.

    Or she has a social phobia and tends to try and get away from people if they talk to her for too long. I don't know.
     
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