11 February 2013

What's in a Word: Prep

Today, I came under fire in my Sociology class. Okay, maybe not "under fire", but our debate got a little heated. We've been talking about social groups and classifications and had to share aloud a group that we have observed on campus. Just my luck, the first group named was the Preps. While I don't necessarily group myself with the Preps at my school (who are only classified as preps because they are popular), I wanted to argue the idea that there are ANY groups of true Preps at my school. I needed to defend the label!

Before I go any further, let me clarify the area that I live in. It's not exactly lower-class, but no Gossip Girl upper East side, either. It's a suburb out of a nice city, but it's kind of an awkward area: farms mixed with city doesn't mix well. The groups mentioned today included the trashy kids, skaters, rednecks, and farmers. And with that, I'll replay today's in-class debate.

While Prep is another word for popular here, I know the true definition. Most people didn't even realize that Prep came from privileged, East Coast prep school students. Ridiculous? I'd say so. They went on to say that Preps are stuck up and rude. The truth is, true Preps are not stuck up; true Preps live a lifestyle not easily related to. Vacations to Martha's Vineyard and the Hamptons, large endowments, and old money are all custom to the classic, WASP Preps.

Then, there are the new Preps: The Southern Preps. They live in lavish homes on the beach with palm trees shading their beautiful pools. Lilly Pulitzer everything decorates their homes and bodies as they sun themselves on the beach. Once again, their lifestyle is quite challenging to relate to.

Regardless of the Prep lifestyle, I feel that it is a widely misused label. Those who are Preps where I live would be a disgrace to a real Prep. What's in the word Prep? It's money, power, and class. While I can hardly classify myself as a real Prep, I am a prep for where I live. While it may have been meant in a derogatory term, I enjoyed arguing the label today and will forever wear my plaid and Lilly proudly!

What'd you do today that strengthened who you are?