Posers: They’re out there, a rampant danger to the forces of authenticity everywhere. Your friends, your teachers, your parents: All could conceal the lurking threat of poser-ism within, professing to have complicated, thoughtful, cutting-edge opinions on indie music, hair, comic books, whatever, when actually they’re just saying that they think or feel those things they said. Indeed, the evils of the poser lifestyle are so insidious that even you, dear reader, might be one, without even knowing. But how, we wail to the heavens, can one find a way to gatekeep even unto oneself?
Luckily, ’90s teen magazine Sassy is here to help. (For a value of “here” that includes the fact that it stopped publishing in 1996, and a value of “help” that includes ruthless self-evaluation of your attitude toward scenesters.) Sassy’s “Are You A Poser?” quiz, recently unearthed from the dustbin of teen-publishing history, asks all the really hard questions, like, “What do you do if your friends drag you to a lousy Ween concert at the local community college?” or “Why aren’t you horny for Stone Temple Pilots’ Scott Weiland?” Like lots of Sassy’s content, the quiz is both tongue-in-cheek and fascinating archaeologically, offering up a window into a very particular set of ’90s-era teen anxieties. (“How do I feel about the fate of the Pumas revolution?!”) And so we present for consumption all the hardest-hitting questions of the day, plus their ranking on the poser-dom scale, and also what turns out to be, in our opinion, an extremely long walk to get to a Far Side joke in that very first question.
Seriously: It’s a jog.
If there’s one thing teen girls love, it’s bullying their friends and eviscerating frogs for science.
Credit where it’s due: Sassy didn’t turn away from the hard questions, like peer pressure surrounding sex, or self-trepanation.
Good news: At no point did popularity end up killing Ween.
One thing we unambiguously love about this quiz: The answers are set up so that the posers can’t fake a good result just by picking “c” every time, which would be just such a poser thing to do.
Like lots of Sassy’ content, “Are You A Poser?” is perfectly happy to poke some self-aware fun at its audience—without ever slipping into cruelty. (Although there’s actually some academic research about the ways quizzes like this are designed to either create “problems” that reading the magazine itself can fix, or reward readers for fitting a particular paradigm the editors want to encourage—yes, we went on JSTOR for this.) Certainly, there are worse attitudes to encourage in young readers than “Hey, think for yourself,” even if the end result might cut down on how much of your day you spend perusing French Vogue for the latest hair-hacking tips.