Emma Chamberlain, Alexa Demie, Olivia Rodrigo; These girls determine what we think is pretty, what we listen to, and even what we hate. The influence of these ‘girls’ has been amplified through the mass use of social media. There is a perpetuated idea that we all need to fit this idealistic stereotype. There is nothing wrong with being influenced, but why has this consumed our daily lives?
Social media is being consumed at a rapid rate. Most of us start and end our day with TikTok, and those who do not probably have another source of media, whether it be Snapchat or Instagram. These platforms have become less about keeping up with our friends, and more about the way we see what is happening in the world, through the lens of celebrities or influences. The aesthetic TikToks that show up on our ‘for you pages’ make us feel some sort of way about our lives. Personally they make me realize how disheveled my life is and how it could be so much more glamorous. The fitness accounts force us to evaluate the way we take care of ourselves; even though there are some days where it is better for us to stay in bed and relax than go and overexert ourselves in the gym. This is honestly the worst aspect that has come out of all of this; the constant expectation to be busy, yet perfect all of the time.
I truly am the worst person to be talking about this as I define the “goodness” of my day by how much I get done/how filled my schedule is. If my schedule is not totally filled and I barely have time to eat, then I feel as though I have wasted the day. This idea of “busyness” and productivity has definitely been affected by my family growing up, but in recent years I think it has been perpetuated by social media. I do not believe I would have this relationship with productiveness equalling goodness in terms of my day if I did not constantly see those on social media equating these two things. Many people want to live up to these standards that have been set for them on social media, even though they are not realistic. This “it girl” has become anyone who is wearing a trendy outfit, color-coding their schedule, or glorifying their day to day life.
The easy solution to this would be to delete social media, right? Except for the sheer fact that the media has consumed all of our culture. Most of my conversations with friends include at least one TikTok reference, or a comment about the latest influencer news. I certainly know people who have deleted it, or even neglected to download it at all. These people do not seem too lost in conversations, and they definitely still hear/see TikToks through people sending and showing them. It is also easy to say to take these videos with a grain of salt; obviously these people are only showing the best parts of their days, but it is not always that easy. We often do not even recognize how much these videos are infiltrating our subconscious. I find myself often observing the world through this lens of what is “trendy” and who is following what, even if I do want to do this.
After much contemplation, I do not believe that there is one sole way to be “uninfluenced.” Someone somewhere will have an impact on your life, even if it does not happen through social media. So if there is no way to avoid it, maybe embracing it is the best route. Own up to the fact that you bought those Uggs because you saw a girl wearing them online; take time to observe how you observe your day, and what thoughts are coming from something you’ve seen. I think being your own person and following trends are not mutually exclusive.