The Student News Site of Kent State University

a magazine

The Student News Site of Kent State University

a magazine

The Student News Site of Kent State University

a magazine

The Detrimental Effects of the Never-Ending Tik Tok Aesthetics

Art: Sydney Stevenson

When do aesthetics stray into obsession? TikTok fads follow the same pattern as fast fashion–suddenly becoming popular just to end up discarded into the internet oblivion.

Clean Girl, Coquette, Y2K, Indie, Cottage Core, Grunge and Preppy are all just drops in the bucket. TikTok perpetuates this idea that you must pick an aesthetic to revolve your style around. The app creates this psychological suffocation where personal style is discouraged, and a sense of sameness plagues the internet based on specific aesthetics.

Not only does TikTok follow the pattern of fast fashion, the app perpetuates it. Assimilation into genres goes beyond just fashion interests, it escalates into a full-blown personality switch, where your fashion interests must match your hobbies. The books you read or the art you enjoy are categorized and placed within a certain style type.

More specifically, reading Jane Austen is considered “Cottage-Core”, and reading Kurt Vonnegut isn’t. There is so little room for self-expression and turning these concepts into your own. There is this idea that certain things are under the umbrella of an aesthetic and other things are not. It becomes a complex inner battle of, “Am I doing this so I fit in, or am I doing this because I enjoy it?” Many of these aesthetics hold a sense of elitism, for example, to be a “clean girl” you need a $120 Aritzia jacket or you don’t fit in. TikTok ultimately enables micro-trends rather than building a personal wardrobe.

Effects On The Body
These aesthetics don’t only cater to clothing, but body types too. Dysmorphic filters such as Dead Eyes encourage exhaustion and being dangerously malnourished to have sunken eyes. There is a battle of who can suffer the most, and whose illness can be the most pleasing to look at. This allows the app to act as an enabler of eating disorders by encouraging this sense of competition. The idea of the tortured artist should not exist. The skinny-skater-boy aesthetic that revolves around exhaustion and substance abuse is extremely dangerous and further stigmatizes and frankly romanticizes male mental illness.

TikTok isn’t just fashion inspiration, but how to lose weight fast. “Gym Tok” is equally as dangerous, creating the idea you have to workout constantly to be fit. This genre is just a manifestation of an eating disorder. “What I eat in a day” videos create the idea that your meals have to fit an aesthetic whether it’s healthy or not. The trend showcases these meals that lack any actual nutrition claiming it is what “coquette” girls eat: diet coke and a cigarette to be skinny. Or, eating a perfect, often expensive, organic diet to be “skinny.”

TikTok is a breeding ground for eating disorders. The New York Times ran a test to see how detrimental the app really is. Eating is not an aesthetic. Eating is something that people do to survive, and it should not be something that needs to be stylized.

The Unique
TikTok is an inescapable disaster, but certain creators show how accessible building a secondhand or custom wardrobe can be. Lots of inspiration can come from combining certain trends and styles to create something unique. Creators such as @myramagdalen mix aesthetics and create sub-genres for experimentation. Their outfits show genuine personality and interest. They make their own pieces out of any material that comes to mind and even make their own brand of obscure pieces.

Thoughts On Obsession
There is nothing wrong with feeling inspired or enjoying a certain trend, but TikTok is what causes users to feel so suffocated. You can’t just wear the clothes, but you have to fit the set aesthetic perfectly–there is a requirement for fitting in. The concept doesn’t just mean clothing, but body types and lifestyles, as well. The concepts of TikTok aesthetics are suffocating and depressing. There shouldn’t be this notion of having to dress perfectly or live a certain way to be validated and accepted by a genre that interests you.

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Hi! I’m Annie Gleydura, A Magazine’s editor-in-chief. My staff and I are committed to bringing you the most important and entertaining news from the realms of fashion, beauty and culture. We are full-time students and hard-working journalists. While we get support from the student media fee and earned revenue such as advertising, both of those continue to decline. Your generous gift of any amount will help enhance our student experience as we grow into working professionals. Please go here to donate to A Magazine. 

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