Your personality makes you cool, not your preferences

Mary-Stella Mangina, Volunteer Writer

Spending so much time on campus is teaching me plenty, to say the
least. For starters, it’s teaching me I desperately need to increase my walking speed. Until recently, I fancied myself ashavingaprettyspringystep.Lately, however, it’s come to my attention that, in comparison to my peers, my pace is almost geriatric.

Secondly, I’m learning just how quickly trends can spread across the student body. I’ll see a girl on her way to class (she is, of course, hustling) with a pair of earrings that makes me think, “Wow, what a cool and unique pair of earrings.” Next thing I know, every other girl in attendance at UNA is donning a pair of near identical earrings. The pair, no longer unique, is still quite cool.

I used to think an item’s coolness was diminished by its popularity. I was mistaken. Things, be they leggings as pants, butterfly clips or Polaroid cameras, are not cool because they’re under-appreciated, nor are they cool because of their mass popularity. Things are cool simply because they are cool. As much as I’d like to sip hot, bitter, black coffee and look down on those who regularly quote TikToks, I cannot do so in good conscience. Cold coffee with oat milk and syrupy seasonal flavoring is delicious, and TikTok is home to a slew of hilarious content.

Fashion-related fads are infinitely recyclable. To try and distance myself from the simultaneously evolving and cyclical nature of trends is to blind myself to my surroundings.

As popular fashion magazine, “Styled,” tells us, trends are “on a never-ending cycle of change.”

Popular clothing, throughout history, can be tied directly to a time period’s major historical happenings. In the 1960s, for example, when overseas conflict with Vietnam gave rise to the hippie movement, clothes began to reflect their desire for personal freedom. Most notably, tie-dye emerged as a display of individuality.

On the other hand, popular objects and applications can be associated directly with technological advancements and boundless discovery. I can criticize social media all I want, but my animosity towards it will do nothing for me, other than isolate me from a network of ever-developing opportunities for camaraderie and solidarity with the world around me.

I would be acting out of a desire to establish my individuality in an environment where independent thinking is especially valued, and deviation from the norm is not only encouraged, but also rewarded. I’ve spent the last several years of my life acting in this manner, but no longer am I someone inclined to turn down a pleasant experience out of stubbornness, self-consciousness, or attempted subversion.

Fortunately, I’ve come to the realization that preferring the Descendants to One Direction doesn’t make me particularly interesting.

People are interesting because we have all lived different lives, and we are all traversing different paths. We each have our own likes and dislikes. Overlap among these likes and dislikes should not be regarded in a negative light.

On the contrary, it should be celebrated on account of its anthropological significance. Music catches on quickly when it’s catchy. Things are cool because they are cool. Without the ability to expand upon our assorted preferences, as well as the chance to revel in a shared culture, we would drift apart from one another.

Therefore, the ability to bond over our common tastes should come easily to us.

It is not imperative that we refuse to acknowledge any aspect
of our relationships with each other than our commonalities, but it is important that we do not allow ourselves to be divided by close- minded approaches to the zeitgeist of today.