Getting Past the Popularity Contest

September 24, 2007

Let’s do a little free association. What words come to mind when you hear the words “student council election?” Hmmm . . . how ‘bout “popularity contest?”

Studies have shown that young women are more likely to pursue politics later in life if they get involved in student government. It’s good training for later campaigns and it can actually be fun. But who wouldn’t cringe when your opponent might be the captain of the football team, has flunked U.S. History, and runs with a slogan like “Vote for Todd, He Rocks!” It makes your civic minded, way-more-mature brain cells want to just scream.

But hold on! You can still win!! The key to every political victory is knowing your target demographic. If you wouldn’t characterize yourself as one of the “popular people,” fear not! You just have to do some grassroots work. The best thing about not being one of the popular people is that you are actually in the majority. This means more votes for you if you know where to find them. You may not hang out with the band kids, the jocks, the art crowd or whatever other species exists in your high school’s ecosystem, but you all probably share one thing in common: you can’t stand people who assume superiority based on nothing more than their physical and behavioral “cuteness.” So unite with your peers and convince them that they have everything to gain by your representation.

One final thought about the whole popularity thing. Why shouldn’t a smart, articulate, responsible young woman be popular? You might not be giving yourself enough credit and you may be more popular than you think.

If anyone has had some student government election success, let’s hear about it! Post your experience!

Kelly Keenan Trumpbour

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