^Video – ASOS website
With the Kardashians plastered all over media and Brexit-Trump drama proving Government is dodgier than ever, it’s no surprise the youth of today feel cold and bitter.
Beauty businesses have ridden this wave of cynicism and are profiting from the viral feel. At big brands like Asos, Boohoo, Missguided and French Connection, you can purchase sassy slogan tees and relish in diva Instagram quotations all you like.
Being miserable has never been so trendy.
Many, like the Huffington Post, have argued this generation is more materialistic and less interested in work than ever. Young adults feel hopeless and trapped in a bubble; complaining to social media as opposed to rebelling or inciting a change.
This has been reflected in viral quotes and images online, and now in young people’s fashion and consumerism.
Sites such as Instagram and Tumblr in particular, pay homage to tragic standoffish slogan tees, ‘don’t look at me’, ‘stressed, depressed but well dressed’, ‘cute but psycho’ and ‘In memory of when I cared’.
Young women are bombarded with images of clothes, make-up and curvy/slim/toned bodies online but also of body positivity posts and love yourself campaigns. As a result, young women are trying to embody a flawless, fierce diva, who is also honest, humble and effortless. It’s a tricky business and has led to major cynicism and self-absorption.
Women are presenting themselves online often as bitchy, pizza/chicken nugget loving, sociopaths with a love for black clothing and beauty products over guys and well, life in general. When did eyeliner and brows surpass tolerance and manners?
At the end of the day, the only people winning in this situation are consumer brands such as MAC, Topshop, Life Tea etc. Marketing teams on social media reinforce the ideals that ‘life is awful but your eyebrows don’t have to be’. They project our moaning of men, of life, our love of wine and cats. Whilst playing make-up and clothes as the saviour. They act as our sisters or friends, but it’s just business. Missguided has actually released a ‘babe bible’:
And this is just a snippet of a wider issue. It’s not just women and t-shirts, it is the whole of Generation X according to last year’s Pew Research Centre study. As the Guardian reported,
“More than half of millennials, 59%, described their generation as “self-absorbed” while 49% said they were “wasteful” and 43% said they were “greedy”.”
On Facebook, young viewers gravitate towards memes and trolls, though there is humour in these posts, the constant stream of negativity on your feed daily can’t be good for your mental health.
In fact, studies show social media is linked to issues such as narcissistic tendencies, need for instant gratification, anxiety and depression.
Thankfully there are those who have also followed this bizarre behaviour and are wanting to remind the internet generation that
is still possible.
Emma Stone, at the Premiere of ‘Lalaland’ had said she wanted her new movie to encourage young people to “work hard and achieve their dreams instead of being cynical”.
Obama also has said young people need to “reject pessimism and cynicism” and “know that progress is possible and problems can be solved”.
It’s not always cringe and hippy to share some love online. And moreover, life isn’t a competition and your future doesn’t have to be bleak. Even as negativity is on your social media, promoted in consumer marketing and pasted on your t-shirts, it’s important to filter out the bad.
Marek Axton, Daryl Adams, Kyean Matthews, Laurynas Misevicius and Claire McAndrew give their views on the topic: