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The Norseman

The Norseman

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Overconsumption, social media creates cookie cutter culture

Individuality has become a thing of the past due to mass production, overconsumption, and social media taking over the world. Regional differences are disappearing and, more importantly, so are people’s unique identities.

I was walking in the hall earlier this week, and the three girls in front of me all had the same outfit, including but not limited to claw clips, North Face backpacks, leggings, Air Forces, and Nike sweatshirts.

Now don’t get me wrong, did they look cute? Yes. Are there outfits comfortable? Yes. And are lots of the things they are wearing good quality products? Yes. But the thing that bothers me is the lack of personality.

Now, before all the people who are “sO InDiE” get all excited, I just want you to know your dyed hair and septum piercing aren’t as original as you think.

The reality is that people are heavily influenced by what they see online. No matter what subculture you are a part of, whether preppy, indie, or coastal grandma, you likely heavily resemble the stereotype. And I am not saying I am any different; it is hard to avoid being influenced by the hundreds of videos showing the next “hottest item.”

The thing that mega-corporations have discovered is that if they label a product with some sort of lifestyle change then they can get more people to buy it. For example, they say “this new water bottle will make you drink more water,” or “these athletic shorts will make you work out,”. In reality, these changes take a lot more willpower than a purchase, but people eat it up every time.

The idea that your life will change for the better because of the purchase of a product is also linked to increased overconsumption and anxiety. When people see their whole For You page covered in a product, it makes them subconsciously anxious to get their hands on it so not only can they be like everyone else, but their lives can magically become better.

Again, I do think a lot of items get popular for a reason, whether they are good quality, a good price, or simply just cute. But, the issue for me is when people buy stuff they don’t need simply because it’s trendy. Not only is it a waste, but it also causes people all over the world to slowly start looking the same. Trending clothes, makeup, and even lifestyles are spreading at an alarming rate all over the world, so going to new regions is no longer as exciting and unique as it once was.

In the past, trends would pop up in big cities such as New York or Los Angeles, and they would slowly diffuse out over the country. Because the process was slow and took time, sometimes years, to reach areas, a trend would change and adjust to each region’s personal style. Now, since everyone is getting their inspo from platforms like TikTok, trends spread everywhere and anywhere at the same time, leaving no room for unique variations to develop.

Overall, I think there is nothing wrong with replacing your old things with new things you find cute and that may just so happen to be trendy (we all need that dopamine hit sometimes), but it is important to be conscious of your purchases and to make sure to still add a little something of your own to your look.

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Lillian Smith, Assistant Editor
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