It is to be expected that (people in general, and especially) teenagers follow the lead of people around them.
Styles of dress, modes of speech, taste in food, just about anything a person does is often colored by, if not geared toward, the opinion of others (again, this is true for nearly all people, and especially so for teenagers).
Calvin and Hobbes aficionados will fondly recall this as a recurring theme in that great work.
Why, then, is there a tendency in some circles to denigrate Yeshiva bachurim for following the crowd? Is there something wrong with the idea that teenagers in Yeshiva strive to become the stereotypical Yeshiva bachur (AKA teenager in Yeshiva)? Why are some people so bothered by the fact that many Yeshiva students are so concerned with others’ opinions of them? THIS IS NORMAL HUMAN BEHAVIOR!
Yes, Yeshiva bachurim are engaged in the most sublime of activities, and aspire to attain the greatest of spiritual heights – but they do not pretend already to have accomplished their goal! They are still nothing more – or less – than idealistic young men who hope one day to outgrow the pressures and inclinations with which they currently struggle.
I wonder if those who so freely disparage Yeshiva bachurim have ever contemplated that the tendency to follow the crowd is so much more urgent (and dangerous!) in all other high schools…
Thanks for the edit – Had I been aware of its other meaning, I would not have used that idiom.
“Why, then, is there a tendency in some circles to denigrate Yeshiva bachurim for following the crowd?”
Those circles who denigrate Yeshiva bachurim for following the crowd, also denigrate Yeshiva bachurim for any other pretext they can find. They simply don’t like yeshiva guys and will take any opportunity to knock them.