Advanced Essay #3 "What Is Original?"

Before writing this paper I had very specific goals that I wanted to achieve. My main focus was to open the eyes of readers and make them think about the world around them, more importantly the people around them. I wanted to explain how hard it is to be original in the 21st century due to trends and social media. No matter how the world changes there will never be such a thing as normal or original, but you can be different, which is not a bad thing. As I look back to what I have created I see myself in my writing. The topic does not define me but I am a outsider making her way in to the trend world on an appropriate level with differences.

Society has slowly but surely constructed and destroyed feelings of identity and belonging over a long period of time. Recently, relying on society's opinions has become the only advice needed in order to craft an image, personality, and identity for oneself in order to be accepted by masses. Trends have played a big part in this problem. Trends have been spread through all types of social media available for all age groups. Trends of makeup happen and then we all look the same, trends of big lips happen and we all get botox, trends of a certain name brand occur and we all wear the same outfits, yet we call this original. This is not something we should strive to cut out completely due to trends being used for supporting advertisements of clothing and consumerist items. The change that we need to make as a whole is being able to find ourself instead of others finding us.

Society has constructed the feeling of identity by saying “if you are this race” or “if you have these features” then this is how you are defined. Most people go with it. In This American Life: Status Update Ira Glass states “What they are waiting for is not just likes and comments, but a specific kind of comment. This is probably not gonna be news to any of you who have teenage girls in your lives but I bet lots of you do not know about this. They want comments from other girls. And they say the wording is pretty much always the same.” This is a prime example of how young girls create an image that is striving to be acceptable by other people. The rare few that do not listen to constructed trends of identity are seen as boring people and outsiders because they do not go with what other people say they are. Instead, they go by what they know and they know more about themselves than anybody else in the world. The people who go along with these types of trends are having their identity built for them and they show that they are okay with this because “everyone else” does it too. They feel as though they now belong. This shows that identity can only be created by trends and the thoughts of others.

Society has destroyed feelings of identity and belonging for these very same reasons. “Class can be harder to spot than racial or ethnic differences, yet in many ways it's the most important predictor of what kind of financial and educational opportunities someone will have in life.” This quote from PBS: People Like Us is a great example of society's views. A summary of this larger insight is how today's world is filled with people who do not know who they are, they know who they want to be. If their image does not fit a higher class they change it to do so, not because ethnicity defines class because it does not, but to show they are wealthier in some categories in addition to money. These additional topics are mostly a part of beauty including body parts, actions, and thoughts. With these topics in the minds of viewers of society, this information is taken in and used so that others think of them positively. This shows that identity is based off of the money on your body and just your body.

Most viewers of society are perceived as one person on social media but are perceived as another person in real life, personality and looks. It is quite easy to be somebody else over the internet. I do not mean this in a Catfish type of way but a I-am-uncomfortable-with-my-real-self way. For example, a teenage girl decides to exaggerate her good qualities by posting inappropriate pictures of her body for others to sexualize in order to get attention. This attention could be compliments that no child's parent should read. But it is trending, everyone is posting pictures of her butt and breast, so “why can’t I do it too?” they think. Which leads to another popular trend; name brands. I think back to a times when I was younger and had dress down days at school when I did not have to wear uniform. I would pick out a simple but cool outfit, then be on my way out the door. When I got to school everyone was wearing something completely different and satisfied with it. The kids today walk into others with the same pair of jordans and same hair cut as soon as they walk out of their house.

Something has always been popular, from a new style of clothing to new music. But it has come to the point where people try to be original. Even though the “original” trends of today go around, nobody realizes that this happened in the 70’s or 80’s. This goes for music beats, lyrics and vintage clothing. Original became a trend. And if everyone is original, nobody is actually original because everyone is being just that. They are all the same. They copy off of others to create a person they want to be. They create a person others look to be. Copies are not original. If anything, people should learn to be inspired than to copy stitch by stitch.