Tuesday, April 28, 2015
By Nicolette Danzy
Mirror, Mirror, on the wall, who’s insta pic is the best of them all? As the years continue to go by, new social media apps are being invented every day. But with the increase of social media comes the increase of image shaping. It’s 2015, and people still care more about which Instagram picture looks better or how “turnt” their Snapchat story makes them look, compared to what they look like on a day to day basis, or if they are actually enjoying themselves. We are the generation of “what looks better to you?” versus “what makes me different from the rest?”
It’s almost safe to say we have forgotten who we really are. Image is a top priority of many people these days. With social media outlets such as Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Tumblr, and now Snapchat, the goal of many young people is to simply be noticed and be labeled “cool.” You can be “insta famous” based on how many likes you get from people by simply posting pictures of yourself from a good angle. Many of these “insta famous” people put an excess focus on what they look like. Whether it be the way they contoured their face in makeup or the outfits they wear, the goal at the end of the day is to get as many likes and new followers as possible.
Yes, this could be used as a good platform to set off a career, I mean look at Kylie Jenner, she doesn’t go to school or have a job besides being the little sister (an almost spitting image) of social media selfie expert, Kim Kardashian, and still has made a following of 21.6 million on Instagram. But for us less fortunate folk that have older sisters that are struggling grad students, with only a following of 3 including me and the two cats, we look at this as easy, quick money for simply doing, well, nothing.
So what do we do, we copy. Yes we are the carbon copies of normal people who we sensationalize through social media based on how they look and dress. We see them and how famous they got off of it, so we try the same thing. If you don’t believe it, just look up the hashtag #KylieJennerChallenge and you will see preteens with swollen lips trying to look like the 17-year-old social media mogul. But even she had to get her ideas from someone, such as Heather Sanders, owner of boutique, SoSorella.
Down to the makeup and pose, we find someone who we believe has the perfect style and we try it for ourselves. We shape our images to ones we think look better and will make us more popular. This isn’t only seen on Instagram but also on other social media blogging platforms such as Tumblr.
With a variety of images to copy from, as you use Tumblr over the years you start to notice more and more how much everyone is beginning to look alike. What started out as great platform to start a career in writing or photography, or simply a way to self-express, Tumblr has seemed to do a backwards spiral and create an army of clones, instead of helping generate the idea of individuality. As a user going on now five years, it is safe to say that I know of the many categories that “Tumblr people” fit in just by seeing a few pictures that they reblog.
There are the “stoner druggy kids” with dyed hair who reblog pictures of illegal substances, and take dark dingy pictures in creepy basements that praise Lil B. The “90’s nostalgia kids,” who filter their pictures to make it look like an old VHS video. The “hippy kids” who reblog VSCO filtered pictures of themselves in crochet tops on a beach, in god only knows where. The “extreme girly girls” with pink backgrounds and pictures of couples and old love quotes. The “street model wannabes” who take pictures in random spots of SoHo in expensive name brand clothes, most commonly BAPE and Stussy.
And then there are the kids who reblog pictures of cats, coffee, and pizza, which seems to be all of Tumblr’s favorite food. While there are many different groups, they are groups of a bunch of kids who seemingly are all exactly alike, in clothing, music, and activities. So sorry, if you’re reading this list and I just described you down to the T, but hey maybe you needed the revelation that you could be part of the cliché. There is a big difference in following the trend of a group and being an individual who just prefers people of similar interest.
Even though I see the army of clones on my dashboard every day, I still believe the idea of individuality is something a lot of people care about. They just don’t know how to fully execute it, hence why they take to social media to find inspiration but that quickly turns into copying. It’s all a part of finding yourself. Which can be hard these days when even some careers come with image requirements.
The myth goes, people that want to work in certain industries are more likely to get noticed if they dress like their job. For example, a person who would want to be a sports journalist is most likely going to walk around in some type of active gear and maybe spice it up with a high fashion piece. Like the common outfit of running spandex with a pair of Nike Roshe’s shoes, and a leather jacket to make it cool. Or an Under Armor top with joggers and a pair of Jordans, matched with Ray Ban sunglasses, for the high fashion athletic aesthetic. But running shoes are definitely the requirement, so they say.
Anyway, there is technically no rule saying you have to dress a certain way for people to take you seriously about what you want to do in life. It is just the common idea in our generation of, if your image doesn’t fit, neither do you.
We thrive on the feeling of knowing people care about what we do and what we look like, and that isn’t a problem. I was once guilty of that too. But it has now come down to enhancing bodies, wearing hair a certain way, buying clothes that are just like someone else’s or a celebrity’s, even slicing our lips open from sucking on bottles to get that Angelina pout, just so we can get a lot of views and followers. We start to lose the idea of who we really are.
We all want to be different, but try so hard we end up being the same. If there are too many followers, who will be the leader? So brace yourselves, because I am going to challenge you to something that may be harder than you thought. I dare you to try a new challenge, the #OrginalityChallenge.
Nicolette Danzy is a Communication Arts major and Journalism minor student at St. Thomas Aquinas College. She is working her way up to becoming a columnist and feature article writer, as well as a screenplay and script writer.