Teenagers choose subcultures over individualism

These days, it seems that most teenagers using the internet falls under one of a multitude of categories. This stunts a teen’s originality and sense of individualism.

Unfortunately, the internet, especially social media, has made it easier than ever for teenagers to place themselves into a box than to develop a personality and style distinct to them alone.
Ten years ago, if you asked someone what an ‘e-girl’ or a ‘soft boy’ is, they’d be confused. Now, a teenager presented with that question could most likely point out groups of people at their own school that fall under that denomination of adolescence.
With social media apps like VSCO and TikTok, there has been a mass development of teenage subcultures on the internet within the past few years.
Often times, the characteristics of these subcultures will be decided by how a teen dresses, what apps they frequent and any kind of slang they use.
For example, a ‘VSCO girl’ wears friendship bracelets and clothes from Brandy Melville, uses the VSCO photo app, drinks out of Hydro Flasks and says things like “and I oop,” and “sksksk.”
It makes sense to me why so many teenagers decide to pick a group and join it. It’s easier to follow a predetermined set of rules than have to genuinely ponder what style of clothes you want to wear, what slang you should use and kind of social media presence you should carry.
If you think about it, a lot goes into being a teenager in this day and age and it can be overwhelming to say the least.
When you put yourself into a box, you have the security of a group around you to hide behind so you don’t feel so small in the vast ocean of the internet.
In an ideal world, I’d love to see everyone be themselves and shy away from hopping into the closest, safest box they see. It’s scary to do, yes, but it makes the world so much more exciting.
I think that we have to push ourselves to go out of our comfort zones and dare to find out who we truly are, and not which group we choose to be in.
On the other hand, we need to stop shaming each other for our preferences. Being yourself doesn’t mean you can’t wear floral patterns because it’s a ‘soft-girl/boy thing’ or that you can’t use the VSCO app because that automatically makes you a ‘VSCO girl.’
As a whole, society needs to stop pushing the idea of having an “online personality” and an “IRL personality,” we should all be comfortable being ourselves, no matter what platform we’re on or place in the world we are in.