Oct 15, 2016

Popularity Contest - No, Thanks

     A month or so ago, I read a story online written by a girl who overheard two other girls talking about another girl (this will get less girlie eventually, promise) saying that they would never talk to her because she doesn't have enough Instagram followers. I'm sorry, what? Out there, right this very moment, there are human beings who wouldn't talk to other human beings because they don't have enough INSTAGRAM FOLLOWERS?? I was surprised and incredulous to say the least, but mostly repulsed. Has our society really gotten reduced to this popularity contest of who has more followers and who gets more likes? Has it??
     After the shortest of considerations, however, I answered my own question with a resounding, 'Of course it has, where the fuck have you been living?' as the world's craze for followers truly isn't anything new. It's a known fact that the number of followers is a major driving force in the fashion industry since models now need a substantial Instagram fan base (10,000+ followers) if they want to book jobs. Apparently, just when you thought the fashion and beauty industry simply couldn't get any more superficial — it did. Kudos to them. But not just to them because Hollywood obviously isn't falling far behind and actors too are now being evaluated, compared and eventually hired (or not) according to the number of their Twitter followers on top of everything else (looks, references, connections, etc.) on top of sheer talent, buried somewhere deep down under all of the shit topping it. And you thought that actually being good at something meant something, pff. No, you have to have those numbers backing you up so as many people as possible will see you tweet about your shoots and share those behind the scenes moments on Instagram, duh. Why would anyone hire someone who's the best for the job and would represent them according to their standards, when they can hire someone who will get their brand, movie, product, whatever seen, forget standards! Duh.
     But leave it to Hollywood and the fashion industry to be the trailblazers of this vapid new trend, right? Their superficiality really isn't too earth-shattering of a revelation, it's not even worth half a gasp (maybe just a few eye rolls), but seeing not long after how this shallow approach to ... well, everything permeated into other areas of life — areas of life, specifically, that I actually care about — was shocking and disheartening.
      Soon after I read that girl's story about those girls talking about that girl (sorry), I saw a curious tweet in my Twitter feed. A publishing house sent a direct tweet to my Twitter profile (which is now nonexistent mostly because of everything written in this post) inviting me to participate in their novel writing competition — write a novel, submit your manuscript and participate, easy. And the prize? If you win, they publish your novel. Want to know how the winner gets chosen? Or have you guessed it already? Whichever novel gets the most likes, wins, easy. I'm sorry, what? I'm sure 50 Shades of Grey would've always gotten more likes no matter what the competition, but Hemingway's Pulitzer-prize-winning The Old Man and the Sea is the one that's actually worth reading, trust me on that. How the fuck books and likes even got mixed up is beyond me. Well, actually it's not, it's all capitalism's fault, but what's next — hospitals choosing their staff according to who has more friends on Facebook? You may think this sounds absolutely ludicrous but to my ears choosing anything based on a number of followers or likes on any social media platform is equally fucked up and disgusting, period. Luckily, though, I'm not the only one and I find solace in knowing there are other like-minded (not like-oriented, mind you) souls out there who are not mindlessly buying into this all-pervasive popularity contest. Surprisingly enough, you can find such perceptive individuals even in the realm of fashion.
     After Kendall Jenner, a reality star turned model with 67+ million Instagram followers, shot her campaigns for Calvin Klein underwear, the company's former creative director and founder, Calvin Klein, wasn't impressed with the company's decision to hire her saying earlier this year that that's something he never would've done. "Now, models are paid for how many followers they have. They’re booked not because they represent the essence of the designer, which is what I tried to do — they’re booked because of how many followers they have online. I don’t think that, long-term, is going to work. I don’t think that’s a great formula for success for the product you’re trying to sell," he added. Well. DUH.
     Unfortunately, there are far too many people who disagree with the likes of Mr. Klein and me, therefore plenty of time will have to elapse before our kind will outgrow these high-school-like shenanigans. And it really is like high school, this life, isn't it? The popular kids preoccupied with their image and everyone's opinion claim the most attention while the nerds and weirdos of the world who can't be bothered to participate in such moronic antics don't stand a chance. The thing about actual high school, though, is that you think that eventually you'll enter a popularity-contest-free world where substance actually will matter. Well. People better not count on it too much because obviously more often than not, substance hardly even gets noticed, while numbers do — numbers of likes and followers that is. But tell me this: do you think that's how they hand out jobs at Google? Whoever gets the most likes on their selfie becomes their new product manager or app developer? Not likely. Not everyone wants to hand you an acting role, a modeling job, a publishing offer and God knows what else based on such a hollow criterion. Fuck. Shit like that makes me want to jump on a unicorn and take a one way ride off of this planet. Too bad unicorns are so damn hard to find.

     This week I have to thank two magical creatures for helping me with the pictures. The first one is the indisputable star of the show, my new best friend, Sir Twinklepuss von Glitterpuff, but you can just call him Fred (or Sir Puffsalot which was his nickname in high school for some reason??). The second one is the other unicorn in my life, my boyfriend, for shooting the 'aquatic' section of the program which I was clearly unable to shoot myself since I had my hands full riding the damn unicorn (and falling off of him obviously). From the bottom of my heart, thank you both — may the power of the rainbow forever be with you.

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