#99 TRENDING IN Opinion ๐Ÿ”ฅ

Why Branding Yourself As a Certain Aesthetic Can Be Harmful


July 31, 2023

E-girls, Y2K enthusiasts, and Dark Academia fans have one thing in common: all three groups lean towards a specific subculture in terms of the media they consume and the outfits they wear. These subcultures are generally referred to as 'aesthetics,' and can be very useful if you want to revamp your wardrobe or even your entire personality.

The rise of these so-called 'cultural camps' is more or less an amalgamation of two significant factors. The first is the internet's chokehold on our society and the second is our desire to figure out the basis of our identity, coupled with our primal need to fit in somewhere.

While branding yourself as a certain aesthetic is largely harmless economically and politically, it does have its pitfalls with regard to the alteration of our psyche and social interactions.

The list delves into the not-so-aesthetic facets of being 'aesthetic'.

( Image via Leelothefirst on Pexels)

1) Materialism, Eurocentrism, and the Sheer Lack of Diversity

( Image via Shuraev from Pexels )

The majority of aesthetics that are trending are rooted in superficial ideals. For instance, if you are someone who is into Dark Academia, you are expected to carry leather-bound notebooks, even if you aren't a writer and follow the aesthetic for the 'vibes'. This is one example of what you are required to possess in order to fit in the coterie of a certain aesthetic.

What makes these ideals even worse is the Eurocentrism that they promote. According to Aesthetics Wiki, cottage-core is a romanticization of the Western interpretation of rural life, particularly of the Victorian era. Sadly, this is the implicit norm for more or less every aesthetic out there that seeks to "romanticize your life," and it undermines other cultures by implying their community lifestyles are not beautiful or alluring.

Another problematic aspect is the sheer lack of representation. Inspo pictures for nearly every aesthetic showcase an overwhelming number of white models who meet specific beauty standards. It is very hard to relate to these ideal representations and this manifests into body image issues for many teenagers.

2) The Pressure to Fit in a mould

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โ€‹โ€‹โ€‹โ€‹If you brand yourself as a certain aesthetic, you need to meet a criterion which basically means that you need to mould your identity in a way that suits an aesthetic. If you can't meet the norms, no matter how much you like a particular aesthetic, you will always feel like an outlier.

3) No Scope For Self-Exploration

( Image via solod_sha from Pexels)

After you fit into the aesthetic 'mold,' chances are that you will get comfortable with your new-found identity and choose to disregard other aspects of your personality. This hinders your growth as a human being and will definitely stagnate your chances of becoming a better person by experiencing things without wearing tinted sunglasses--the shade of your preferred aesthetic.

Having an aesthetic is not inherently harmful if you do not feed into materialism, curb your individuality, and realize your identity is supposed to be shifting constantly. As John Keats said, " A thing of beauty is a joy forever," and there is nothing more beautiful than being yourself.



Meenakshi Jha
1,000+ pageviews

Writer since Jul, 2023 ยท 3 published articles

Meenakshi Jha is an aspiring journalist and a TEDx speaker based in New Delhi, India. When not writing and reading, you can catch her casually strumming her guitar, doodling , cooking or trying to communicate with herself in a foreign language she is (desperately) trying to learn. She has been featured by the Cathartic Youth Literary Magazine and has written for various writing competitions nationally and internationally.