Cliques of Eighties Teens

This page is an attempt to summarize the different cliques that could be found in an eighties high school environment. The Breakfast Club and Heathers are both great reference material for this type of page and were my inspiration. I had started this as a complement to the glossary of eighties terms page that I started, and realized that not all groups had their own lingo, so I broke it apart.

These are the Cliques Currently Defined

Stereotypical Eighties Cliques

  • Hacker (a subset of the nerds group)
    The geeks had their own language, and it was rarely verbalized. Around the time that Wargames reached mall movie theatres around the world, the BBS scene had given rise to a whole new class of speech. Mostly this subset relies on misspellings of common words, some extremists would actually substitute every o in their words for zeros. The required equipment for this type of person seemed to be a Commodore 64 which was the machine of choice for teenagers who didn't know better.
  • The Jocks
    This crowd consisted of the athletic geared people in any school. Most of them prayed for scholarships if they wanted to go onto college, most that didn't get them, ended up working in less than glamourous jobs. Jocks generally had their own events (athletic in nature of course) and could be seen at most popular group functions as well
  • The Losers
    These were generally the type of people who were rebelling against any authority figure they could. They generally spent their time cutting classes, and had awful academic performance. They rarely were invited to parties, but were known to show up anyways. They sometimes threw their own, but mostly they would just find a good hiding place for small drinking parties for the members of their group.
  • The Nerds
    Also known as "the geeks". Mostly filled with students of higher academic pursuits, they were generally lumped into one catch all category. Some in this group could actually move into other groups, such as the popular group or the jocks, but would still be labeled as that particular groups nerd. Hackers, when actually at school, would fall into this group as well, since most tended to be the academic sort (at least in computers and math). Generally their outward appearance set them off from the rest of any group since they were never dressed quite like the rest of the groups.
  • The Outcasts
    Generally someone who didn't dress like everyone else was dressing, and had a little fashion sense would easily fit into this group. This was the group with the most artistic inclinations, and tended to be the type of people who weren't real interested in going to a kegger. This group usually remained low key and could almost go unnoticed. Unlike the the nerds, this group didn't require academic performance to be of high standards. Usually though, members fell into the middle of the road academically though.
  • The Popular Group
    This was generally the crowd that came from middle and upper class families and consisted of people who generally were well liked by most groups except those that they came in direct contact with. Generally they gravitated towards the jocks when it came to invites for parties, and some people were generally considered to be members of both groups. In California valley girls were also included in this subset, in the "Valley" of course. Outside of it, they were tolerated, though not always considered to be acceptable. Since nationally, the Valley Girl phenomenon lasted a short period, most imitators generally fell in line with the rest of the popular group.
  • Rapper
    As rap music gained popularity, so did the parlance surrounding them. Mostly fans of rap music could be found talking like this. This is real unfortunate when it's a skinny white loser in a mall who thinks he's cool. Anybody who doesn't grow up in the 'hood shouldn't talk like this without risking looking like a poser.
  • Skater
    Typically this is someone who actually skates. Emphasis is on the word "dude" which is used a lot like the word "like" is by valley girls. Slang is mostly skating related. Depending on the region of the country and their attention to clothing, they could be considered a subset of other groups as well.
  • Surfer
    Typically this is someone who actually surfs. I've rarely seen imitators of this type. Mostly limited to California, received wide recognition when Sean Penn's character in Fast Times at Ridgemont High was introduced. Slang is mostly surfing related, which dates to the sixties for the most part. Generally considered to be a subset of the loser group since their academic standing was sub-par due to excessive hanging time on the beach.
  • Valley Girl (a subset of the popular group)
    Popularized by the Frank Zappa song of the same name with his daughter Moon Unit. Before this song, it was a regional dialect limited to the "Valley" in California. Afterwards however, teenagers across the country were unfortunately imitating (or at least attempting to). Watch the movie of the same title to get a good solid look at a "Val" in action. The pre-requisite to being fluent in Valley-speak, would be a lobotomy and Daddy's credit card. The word "like" is often repeated and has several different meanings depending on the context in which it is used.