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Stanley cups are tearing apart middle schools

Middle-school aged girl has her hand in her face because her peers are making fun of her across the schoolyard.
Some middle schoolers report they're getting made fun of because they don't have the latest Stanley Quencher cup.fstop123/Getty Images
  • The Stanley Quencher has become a status symbol for middle schoolers.

  • The $45 cup was a popular holiday gift for tweens. Now that they're back at school, it's creating rifts.

  • "They only talk to me in the morning when I'm holding my Stanley," one tween told The Cut.

I'm not sure it's hyperbole to say that Stanley cups — the colorful 40-ounce water vessels — are tearing apart the fabric of our society.

There were near-riots to get limited-edition colors of the Stanleys at Target, and people snapped up a Stanley-Starbucks collab cup and resold them at sky-high prices.

Now Stanleys have come for our nation's children.

The Cut reported that Stanleys had become a status symbol for middle-school girls. Julia Reinstein talked to teachers, parents, and kids who said Stanley mania was wreaking havoc on schools:

"Every day when I get into school at like 7:45 a.m., everybody comes over to me like, 'Oh, my God, I like your Stanley!' or 'It's so cool, I want a Stanley just like yours!'" the 13-year-old, who is in eighth grade, said. "It makes me feel like I'm famous and being swarmed by paparazzi."

The company has been making insulated cups for 100 years, but its 40-ounce Quencher cup, which has a straw, blew up in the past few years thanks partly to a blog called The Buy Guide. The cup became a hallmark of the TikTok "clean girl" aesthetic.

Stanley cups for sale on a shelf
Stanley Quenchers are so popular that some stores limit the number of them customers can buy. They're now a big hit with Gen Alpha.Matt Fowler KC/Shutterstock

The Stanley was popular this holiday season, when it seemed to be the most common gift that Gen Z talked about wanting and receiving for Christmas.

But Casey Lewis, who reports on youth consumer trends, said the fact that younger Gen Zers were getting the cup might mean the Stanley trend had peaked.

Basically, once middle schoolers have it, teens and college kids will move on to something new (perhaps the Owala cup).

Lewis' prediction seems spot-on: The cup is now the hot item for middle-school girls — a demographic not exactly known for kind behavior if you deviate from the norm.

God forbid you have a Stanley "dupe."

Reinstein reported:

Another woman, Jamie Sherman, said her 11-year-old niece was bullied by her classmates for bringing an off-brand version of the cup to her New Hampshire middle school — basically the exact same product, minus the Stanley logo.
"When girls pass her in the hallway, they laugh and point, and they say, 'That's not real,'" Sherman said. "Now, she doesn't want to bring it to school and she doesn't want to use it."

Middle school is when kids can be ruthless about who has or doesn't have some arbitrary status symbol or style, whether it's Uggs or folding the waistband of your gym shorts the right way.

That a water bottle is such an object of obsession for Gen Alpha (kids 13 and under) might make some sense if you consider that these are the kids who grew up with their own water bottles with them at all times since they were toddlers. (Back in my day, we — gasp — used the school water fountain.)

Finally, one last excerpt from The Cut will likely leave you feeling icier than water in a Stanley cup left in a car that caught on fire:

Dahlia, in Dallas, loves her cup, but has mixed feelings about her newfound popularity. "I wouldn't say any of them are actually my friends," she said. "They only talk to me in the morning when I'm holding my Stanley."

Brrrrrrr — 🥶🥶🥶🥶.

Read the original article on Business Insider