Though many parents tell their teens that popularity is not the only thing that matters, not wanting them to compromise more important things in life to fit in and be subject to peer pressure, I think in a way they are deceiving themselves.
If popularity is not that important to us as parents,
where did our teens get this idea?
Grownups compromise a lot to gain popularity at home, at work and among their friends and family. Most extended family struggles runs around popularity. Siblings fight to be the most popular kids and the most popular grandchildren. When a couple divorces, there is an immediate struggle for being the most popular parent and most couples, unfortunately, compromise many of their values and much of the wellbeing of their precious kids just to gain imaginary popularity over their partners. Whether you like to admit it or not, you compromise a lot and are subject to social pressure yourself.
I think popularity counts, not because I think it should, but because it just does.