Popular Culture

Digital Native Brainwashing: Good or Bad?

The other day a shocking thing happened. A man who wanted to ask me out for a drink actually phoned me rather than texting. Actually asked me how I was, actually was bold enough to have a proper conversation with me rather than giving my Instagram the thumbs up as a flirtation device. Social networking is an ironic name for something that has little to do with connecting us with others and everything to do with self-promotion – it’s a one way street, or a one way tweet if you will.

It is simply not for me to decide whether this might be a good or a bad thing. Technology is constantly changing and it is the fastest tool to keep up with the latest trends, not only in fashion, but worldwide. They are probably younger and cooler than most, they definitely use Snapchat better – They are the “millenials on steroids”. Generation Z are loosely defined as those born after 1995 and who are now 18 and under. They are the first generation to be raised in the era of smartphones and social media. They take in information almost instantaneously and lose interest just as quickly. This is why apps such as YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram are vastly popular and the use of emojis have become an instant way of communicating emotions and feelings. A paragraph in a picture! They are the true digital natives. Research into the Gen Z’s points to the emergence of a stellar generation: educated, industrious, collaborative and eager to build a better planet. Fashion has become so digital lately, and it is almost impossible to get yourself out there without the help of social networking.

The ethnographic work on the everyday act of dressing as demonstrated by Sophie Woodward in Why Women Wear What they Wear (2007), illustrates how dressing relates to issues of anxiety, comfort, and creativity (Woodward, 2016). Today we are using fashion more to create our identities, we use it as a weapon or rather a fetish to protect the youth in an uncertain world. This is why social media platforms are genius in promoting, a lifestyle, for example – and what better why is there to use fashion as the directing tool. Dress is something that will always be analysed and thus is it important to dress in order to compliment your personality. It is not only important but also needed in order to carry a sense of entitlement and narcissism, while still representing a positive attitude as well as a strong moral compass to maintain a valid perspective. Famous blogger, Susanna Lau writes in one of her articles on her blog, Style Bubble how the uses of social media platforms have changed traditional, Western ways of thinking about dress completely (Lau, 2016). People strengthen their characters, they share their memories, they mark their destinations and they even participate socially online – Social media is a monster and it’s not fully grown yet – improving its functions every second.

Our affinity for fashion starts at a young age. Children dress very similarly to elderly crazy cat women – and I love it. My sister’s daughter, Rosemary, can put an outfit together like nobody’s business. She has been known to wear a tutu ballerina swimsuit with a leopard print coat, converse and nothing else. A princess dress plus a boy’s coat and shoes is her favourite combination. It’s a juxtaposition I strongly endorse. Most of the things I wear today are a throwback to items I owned as a child, minus the multi-coloured harem trousers.

My favourite outfits are the ones that look easy, or that make you look easy (and not in that way). I suppose a better word for it is relaxed, but that’s taking it to far. Some women feel more comfortable trotting around in skyscraper heels, cinched in-in dresses and push-up bras, I sometimes start out in that outfit only to change my mind on the last minute, switch the heels for loafers and chuck a jumper over my shoulders – practicality is high on my list. I’ll always prefer a girl in an oversized t-shirt as opposed to an undersized boob tube but that’s because I’m a girl, or a tomboy, and not a boy. I’m confusing myself so I’ll end this here.

Social Media has made it a lot easier for people to create an imagined personality and it is also a great platform to get your voice out there. It is beautiful when people can stand together for something and social networking is the best way to endorse this. It is up to you whether the digital world is your friend or your enemy, for it can help you a lot, but if used wrongly – it won’t be a surprise when it neglects you. Shocking things sometimes happens in order to make us realize something else that we did not before, and this is why it’s important to quite the mind – you know what you like, so go (with or without social media) and follow your gut!