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Stormwashing



Imagine an influencer with a large amount of followers. Marketing. Commercials. The product up for sale is opaque. Amount of clicks. Likes. More followers. The person is pretty. Seems happy. There's a vase that's on trend. Someone is made to believe that if they buy this vase, they will somehow feel happy too. Commercialism. But not the usual kind. It's different. It's deeply psychological. Praying on people's insecurities. What's real? Is it the world behind the screen or the world surrounding it? The boundaries are turning into a mist. She is depressed, but it's like a car crash, it makes her sick just looking at it, but she can't look away. Just one more. One more. If I do this, then I will be happy. Then I will make it through to the other side. To some sort of top. Just like them. That perfect vision on the other side of the screen. The screen is inside her head. Like a record on repeat, day in and day out. Laughing at her. Or is she laughing at herself? Telling herself why she'll never be good enough. Why she'll never look like them.


It's not real and yet it's become even more real than reality. Just like Baudrillard predicted. Young girls are depressed and suicidal. All because of a marketing. All because of a lie. All because of money. Because someone else is profiting off them. Capitalism. Consumerism. The idea that more is more and that happiness means being rich. Some people are getting paid to market insecurity to impressionable people who are - in a sense - paying to be depressed.


One thing we know with a fair amount of certainty is that we will die, that life comes with an expiration date. So two of the paths that one can take is either to enjoy life to the fullest and be a hedonist or to work in order to improve life and the world for everyone. Both right now, and for the future. But research suggests that the happiest people are those somewhere in between, those who lead a balanced life. Those who don't have to worry too much about bills, but whose life make them into driven people. Growth. Besides, many valuable pleasures fall away when focusing all the attention on temporary satisfaction. Pleasures that we used to value more. Pleasures that might feel even more satisfactory and that are more valuable. Sure - we might tell our kids how to live. Like pay attention in school, because it's right, because they tell you so, but you might be too young to understand.


At the end of the day - maybe most of us want the same thing? A better world and a better life for all of us. But now some people contribute more while others use people in order to pull themselves up. They lie or manipulate people in order to achieve satisfaction. Are commercials okay when the one being influenced by the commercial is unaware of what's going on? And if commercials are acceptable to some extent, at which point does it turn into something else? Psychological manipulation threatening to tumble over into a whole new category of theft or bullying - or possibly something else altogether? Instagram is making money off children. Facebook is making money off me.


Why do so many people dislike influencers or even the fashion industry? Is it because they pray on other peoples insecurities? Few rules regulate the internet. Fake news. Polarization. The pandemic as another step in making our society even more digitalized. If the Internet is lawless in some aspects, is it safe for children to use it? Is it even safe for adults? Most of us don't look thoroughly at the sources of the information that we perceive as fact. If an influencer states something untrue and someone believes it, it makes it a convieved truth - orthogonal to reality.


Fashion. Pack mentality. Followers. Many people are doing the same thing. Is this individualism? Appreaciating quality. Quality over quantity. For example, it seems clear that some fabrics are thicker than others and so on and so forth, but to which extent are people making their own decisions? This isn't about esthetics. We all love beauty. But there is something disturbing about how I can base a lot of these thoughts on my own personal experience of being sucked into something that I didn't fully understand. Feeling brainwashed into believing that if I - who always used to be so brave in terms of personal style - copied someone else, that I would become happier. Better liked. And for what? If people liked me for no reason at all, if a mass of people liked any one person for no reason at all, where would the world be? When looking at that screen at that girl, I mean, why should I listen to her? I could make up my own mind and come up with something better, regardless of what I'm seeing on the other side.


In reality, a vase is cold to the touch. Getting beauty treatments is something we might enjoy and playing with style can be fun, but some people are consumed into a world that doesn't exist where it isn't fun anymore. Where nothing is fun anymore because they believe in a lie. The illusion that they are not good enough because they can't measure up to the people on the other side on the screen. Maybe an alternative reality exists inside their minds and it's real enough to them. An escape from reality because nobodys life is perfect.


If you're going to follow someone - anyone - it should be for the right reasons. If we're going to emulate someone, it should be for the right reasons. Because you looked into the matter yourself. Because you made your own decision.


There should be more research, more guidelines, more information or more boundaries for both social media and the internet in general. I don't know exactly what, just more of something that could make all of this diffuseness less confusing. I know I'm not the only one. I know it's not just me. I know that others see what I see. Social media as a casino - and the house always wins. The internet hasn't been around for that long after all.


I've just been trying to wrap my head around all of this. Because it was like a car crash. I just couldn't look away, or directly at it. We all want to be happy, right? But social media isn't the cure. Life, school, individuality, self-expression was mine. Finding something that I am good at. If I do my best and contribute, that's enough. Because we need all kinds of people. If we were all the same society would seize to function and you could say the same thing about the hedonist. I mean, we'd all be masturbating 24/7.


I look around me and I see loads of people. Loads of ordinary people. Loads of ordinary people like me. It's nothing like what I see on the screen. It must be my fault.


I don't feel that way anymore. The only world for me is this one because no matter how lost I used to feel this world didn't go away even when I wanted it to. So being happy, in this world matters the most because it's the real one. I look around me and it doesn't sparkle yet, but maybe some day it will.





I'm done for the day. I'm at uni, it opened up again yesterday. Think I'll just head home. Maybe do some more studying there in stead, because I spent time on this now. It's really quiet... My boyfriend made me this lunchbox before we left this morning. It doesn't mean that my life is perfect, but it was still pretty cute. One of the lectures went surprisingly well, it was about the IR and the Victorian era and I nailed it, I love that stuff. But I'm behind in astrophysics and if i do some more studying when I get back home it's because of that.




Warm regards,

Nina