TikTok trends: The death of oneself

As a continuation of my first post about the topic of trends online, the echo chamber of trend-chasing extends far beyond a lack of originality in online spaces and posts on TikTok; it affects the very way of how we present ourselves, act, and even shape our appearances. The rise of social media trends doesn’t just stifle creativity; it homogenizes the way we look, dress, and even behave, taking away the individuality that we are supposed to celebrate.

Take hair and hairstyles for example. Traditionally, they were ways for self-expression, to shout your uniqueness to the world. Hair was a statement; it was an extension of who you were. Everybody has different genes for different kinds of hair and back then, people worked with what they got and showed the uniqueness off, now, it’s just a few clicks away from conforming to the latest trend just like the rest of the world. One viral hairstyle and suddenly, we all look the same, no room for the features that once made us stand out.

Fashion, too, used to be a playground of personality. It was your way of expressing yourself, your identity shown to the world, a portrayal of your individuality and creativity. But with TikTok and other platforms dictating what’s trendy it’s become a factory of sameness. Everyone’s wearing the same jeans, the same tops and losing the chance to show people what makes them, them. Why take risks with trying new clothing combinations, why look for original statement pieces that show off you as a person when online you can clearly see an outfit that 80 people in your surroundings have already tried out for you.

Now following trends is of course nothing new, look at the 70s and 80s and the fashion and hairstyle trends that were popular then. People have been following trends for as long as we have existed on this planet. The difference between now and then is that where the origins of fashion and hair trends used to be a way of going against the norm, it looks like the opposite is happening right now. Where people used to follow new trends to rebel against conformity, now people follow them with the intention to conform.

The Pandemic accelerated this. During those lockdowns, screens became our windows to the world, our primary method of communication. For the newer generations growing up during the pandemic, online was where they spent their time, their school, their socialising. With limited physical interaction, the need for self-expression died down, where people were constantly spending their time on social media and going out into the ‘real’ world less, people didn’t have to express themselves and also couldn’t see other people expressing themselves. A great number of people they would see were influencers online and as the name suggests, they got influenced.

Where before the pandemic we would go out and could look at every random person and take inspiration from a bunch of different people with unique looking styles, during the pandemic the list of references to take inspiration from got very small with people only really looking at influencers.

Now after the pandemic is ‘over.’ Only a select few have developed their own style. Now everyone goes outside and sees everyone looking the same, dressing the same and acting the same which creates an echo chamber people don’t dare to step out of.

To refer to my last post; uniqueness diversity and creativity is what makes us so special and when everybody just wants to look and act like everybody else, that specialness goes away. If you want to take away anything from my posts, please just do your own thing, show off what makes you you and dare to be different than everybody else.