Friday, May 17, 2013

It's okay to be like everyone else

Two nights ago, I got surprisingly offended at something that, logically speaking, shouldn't have affected me in the slightest. A book blogger I followed said that a certain *ahem* book obsession of mine wouldn't be around in twenty more years. I'm trying to be a grown up about it and agree to disagree. After all, different opinions make the world go 'round. But I will always maintain the opinion that this particular book's popularity is here to stay for a very, very long time.

Yeah, that book.

Realistically speaking, though, the vast majority of things that are popular today will be forgotten ten or twenty years from now. People have come to see this as a horrible thing, but is it really that bad at all?

People have a natural desire to feel important, like they matter and were put on earth to do something meaningful. If they create something that's popular for awhile, but fades away in time, they might feel like they didn't have enough of an impact, like they didn't matter enough.

The United States is an individualistic society. There's a lot of emphasis on self-identity, self-expression, and the ever popular phrase "be yourself." Which is great to a certain degree, but opens up a lot of doors for hypocrisy. When I was in high school, I got a lot of flack from people for wearing popular clothing brands like Abercrombie and Hollister. (Though I'm admittedly not too keen on Abercrombie anymore after the fiasco earlier this week.) We've all heard labels like "prep" and "stuck up" that come along with the Hollister/American Eagle/other name brand wearer stereotype. And that's exactly what it is - a stereotype. For all our society's emphasis on "being yourself," we still can't get past judging people for the clothes they wear.

And for all our society's emphasis on individualism, humans are social creatures, and we need to spend time around people who are like us so as not to feel isolated and alone. Trends start because a whole lot of people liked something. They found people they had things in common with, both inside and outside of their common trendy interest. They found what nearly every human being on the planet is looking for: Companionship. All through trends and popular things. But even the people who don't follow popular trends or pride themselves on staying away from the mainstream want the same thing. They're just going about it differently.

So it's okay to follow trends if you really like them. It's okay to want to be like everyone else and fit in with people, especially people you see all the time. It doesn't mean you're compromising your values or becoming a bandwagon jumper or mindless sheep. It means you're normal. You're looking for the same thing that everyone else is looking for. And that's not a bad thing at all.

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