Hype Culture

Last week I lay in bed, unable to sleep, when I scrolled past Kylie Jenner posing with some bright blue bear-shaped hair supplements in her mouth. Now, the last thing I need is hair supplements – having the Indian gene leaves one with no shortage of hair (I’m currently undergoing hair laser to avoid continuous maintenance). Still, whilst I didn’t buy the bottle, I did lay there feeling curious. I thought about ordering some, simply for taste. To put a few on my tongue and take a full-faced,  triple-filtered selfie and show everyone my deliciously bright blue gummy bears. Luckily, with the knowing that spending £25 on Kardashian branded vitamins would be a complete waste of time and money, I set my phone to flight mode and let myself drift…

I wish I could bury my brain in the sand so I didn’t spend sleepless nights worrying about the world; beating myself up for not having even tried. I couldn’t call myself an activist due to all the missed protests and countless times I’ve stayed silent before ignorance; a belief that monthly donations will be a sufficient way to “play my part”. Sometimes it’s just a matter of not knowing where to start: which cause weighs most heavily on my conscience and will I ever have the selflessness to tackle it?

HYPE CULTURE. I’m a born and bred Londoner who understands that whilst our country has seen brighter days, we are by far one of the most privileged. The fact that we mostly feel safe enough to live here enables us to neglect widespread contextual issues; most of which we view through manipulated images, scattered along the pages of a third-party source. We understand things as if they aren’t really happening; are we being accurately informed or simply brainwashed? Is the aim to make us fear or keep us grossly entertained? Whatever truth is out there, there’s one thing for certain: our culture permits us to focus on whatever we want…Complete and utter bullshit.

I’m trying to emphasise how much time we spend on things which don’t need our attention. A deliberate trap, which we fall in to every single time. Here are some examples of what I believe to be HYPE CULTURE – the nonsensical trends of which we follow like sheep:

1. Trendy hashtags. It doesn’t take more than one minute for me to scroll through Instagram before seeing hashtags such as: #Yaaaaas, #CoupleGoals, #OOTD etc. Yes I know, Twitter created the hashtag, but WHO THE HELL decided to adopt and repost such words and phrases?! Meh, #HatersGonHate.

2. Maya Jama & Stormy’s relationship. Okay so before my entire social circle disown and deny my existence, yes I find this couple cute and yes – they seem to be nice people. But still – COME ON! What’s with all the “Relationship Goal” retweets? It’s very common for two young people to stay together for a couple of years, you know. Do we idolise them based on our obsession with celebrity culture, or do we model our goals on what we see and don’t know.

I’ll tell you who really is #Goals though: My best friend’s parents. Not only have they been together for 30 odd years, they’ve maintained a healthy, loving relationship. They have date nights, go for walks, hold hands and enjoy the fruits of their labor. For me, THAT is real goals and despite actually knowing these people, I would still never retweet their photos. #Weird.

3. Terrible music, like “Swalla” by Jason Derulo. Agh god, shoot me in the face already. Has anyone even listened to the lyrics of this songs? Don’t get me wrong, I love a little two-step to Drake at times, but I draw the line at lyrics that go:

Shimmy shimmy yay, shimmy yay, shimmy ya (drank)
Swalla-la-la (drank)
Swalla-la-la (swalla-la-la)

Seriously, what the fuck is going on?

4. “Woke Veganism”. Okay, before I get hunted down with the spearhead of an asparagus, my mother introduced us to veganism FIFTEEN years ago! It was not cool or common or trendy back then, and we got treated like absolute weirdos. These days, it just seems like everyone has jumped on the preachy plant-based bandwagon, and I’m the last person who needs to hear about it. Initially I thought it was a pretty cool movement, until I realised I was being looking upon by those who, just last week, were stuffing their cheeks with Big Macs and McNuggets. Just because you now eat bags of kale whilst standing on your head, doesn’t mean I have to do the same to feel “enlightened”. Live and let live brothers and sisters. Or write a self-righteous blog. Namaste.

5. Branded Clothing. I stepped out in an Adidas T-shirt recently and EVERYONE went bananas like “Yes Chels! Strong Tee you got there” or “High five Chels! Wicked shirt!”.

My top was fake.

It was fake and nobody realised which made me wonder: if nobody can differentiate between what’s real and what’s fake, what’s all the fuss about, then? Don’t get me wrong, I love Adidas and over the years have built up quite a fine collection, I’m just not sure why it’s so important to be recognised in the recognisable. Maybe we’re all just inadvertent followers, throwing money into the palms of large corporations and then wondering why we can’t deposit a one bed London flat, sigh!

6.  Finally, my BIGGEST critique which I am so riled up by I MUST ADDRESS: Snapchat Filters.

Ah yes, the best way to ruin a girls self-esteem. I am sick of countless filters adding halos, garlands, red lips and all the rest of it. I know it all seems like a bit of harmless fun, but think about how many of us have changed our profile pictures using generic benchmark filters. You reckon we’re doing so because yellow floating leaves above our heads is a good look? Or is it because we believe we look better using reconstructed filters? These filters refine our noses, remove our bags, lighten our skin; enlarge our eyes. It’s disgustingly demeaning, yet we’ve normalised this trend.

Well, thanks for correcting everything physically wrong with my face, Snapchat. The pressure to adhere to current beauty standards isn’t hard enough already.

Maybe I’m stating the obvious but it feels we develop habits without questioning why we’re doing what we’re doing; we allow ourselves to be swayed and lead. We lose our uniqueness to cultural trends and numb ourselves to things desperate for our attention. I know I probably sound really negative and moany right now, it’s just that I’m constantly having to remind myself that there is so much more to life. I’ve stopped being the girl who ignores her friends at dinner whilst staring into her smartphone; the moment I feel curious about meaningless hype I withhold; afraid to fall in.

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