That’s So Aesthetic
Is it a noun? An adjective? A goal? All of the above?
Young people have always been concerned with the way they present themselves to the world. Cassandra isn’t trying to suggest that the culture of aesthetics has become more important to young people. One look at the 80’s will tell you that it’s always played an essential role. What’s different today is the way young people understand and bring new meaning to such a wide concept and the role it plays in their everyday lives, taste, appreciation of beauty, and enjoyment of content.
Previously, people constructed their look to be a reflection of their identity. A preppy person would dress in preppy clothes. A goth would never be caught using bright colors. People often got locked into their aesthetic as a form of legitimacy. Being consistent was vital, least you run the risk of being called a “poser”.
Today, Gen Zs are reframing aesthetics from an idea to a metaphorical place that, instead of owning, people can visit. The set of guidelines that define each of the many aesthetics that Gen Z discovers every day become opportunities for young people to try something new, reflect their mood, or even test a new vibe for a time. Being called a poser seems ridiculous in this context because Gen Z are rejecting the idea that their aesthetic entirely represents their identity. Gen Z maintain their sense of self regardless of the aesthetic they’re visiting at the moment. They are throwing off labels and choosing instead to give a name to all the ✨possibilities.✨
On TikTok, the tag #aesthetic has over 246 billion views, and it’s filled with videos that go from outfits of the day to compilations of certain mundane —or not— series of clips and images that convey a specific vibe. Music, color palettes, desk supplies, hairstyles, makeup, and many other categories of content work together to ascertain certain stylistic avenues and build different aesthetics for young people to explore and delve into.
Read on so that the next time a Gen Z tells you that something is “so aesthetic,” you’ll know whether they’re giving a compliment or an insult.