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Mace & Crown | October 17, 2017

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Individuality: The New Gimmick?

Shana Blue | Contributing Writer

“I’m a leader, y’all on some followin’ s— / Comin’ in this game on some modeling s—” -Lil’ Kim from “Quiet Storm (Remix).”

Yep! I quoted Lil’ Kim of all people. A disgrace, isn’t it? Horrible, isn’t it? Yes, I know but take a moment to let it marinate and get your little hamster wheel spinning.

I decided to cover the issue of society and fashion’s new “movement of individuality.” That is what I like to call it, and it fits quite well in my opinion. It is in style or fashionable to be an individual or ‘different.’ Yet a person who is big on being different and unique ponders this movement. I think it is actually pretty hypocritical.

Why is it hypocritical one may ask?

They would likely disagree with what I am about to say. Their argument will be backed by theories of how I should support the idea of being your own person, individuality, distinctiveness, etc. They would swear because I’m big on fashion and art that I should be the biggest supporter.

Guess what? I’m not! & Guess why? Because the “movement of individuality” is a façade in my eyes!

In high school, I was known for being well dressed in many eyes. Many said, however, that I was weird and never matched. I found it funny because the compliments and the criticism never mattered to me. I didn’t care! The only opinion that ever matters to me about how I dress is mine and occasionally my mother’s as any other young adult may also think. When I got older, I figured it was such a big deal because in high school, no one knew who they really were so they emulated what they saw or liked.

When I reached college, there were more people like me; they didn’t care, wearing what they felt, didn’t match, very eclectic, etc. Yet, you still had the people who emulated what they saw.

My last year of college and now, I see almost everyone in high school and on the ODU campus doesn’t match, dress eclectic, weird pieces, etc. When I first noticed this, I got really excited and thought finally people who are weird like me are going against the grain and not caring what others think. As time went on, my little wheel started spinning or pondering. All the guys are starting to look the same. Wait, that “one of a kind” skirt the girl had on yesterday is sitting here mass produced on this Forever 21 rack.

There it was: individuality was all a façade. It was now fashionable to be what was once weird and unfashionable in many eyes.

You must ask yourself is it really eclectic, rare, and distinctive if everyone else is doing it? Is it really a “movement of individuality?” Will it go right back out of style? Will the original people who didn’t care and were eclectic transform into the monochromatic conservative that has now transformed into the individual?

PAUSE! Time to pull out the little memo pad or find the marinating quote from above. A leader is being your own person and being an individual, right? How are you an individual if you are really emulating something that is not really a style? That’s no longer being an individual. You are now playing “follow the leader,” with the leader being the original one. Are you really your own person when it’s now fashionable and in style to go against the grain?

Even though you are going against the grain you still manage to look like everyone else. How are you really setting yourself apart? How different are you? The leader (unique, distinctive, and original) has now been followed and emulated to the point that it’s no longer original. I now look like everyone else. I accept it for what it is because my personality hair sets me apart rather than my wardrobe.

So ask yourself, in the “movement of individuality” where have all the individuals really gone?

Am I wrong to think that society is supposed to be a blend of leaders, followers, and others? Isn’t that why we have the terminology?

It is not different if you’re only dressing different to keep up with a trend or style. This shouldn’t be a movement. It should be the full purpose of your life. We should strive to be ourselves whatever that may be. Just embrace the individual purpose and style that lies within yourself that is the best thing one could ever strive to emulate. If one mimics, that reminds me of another quote: “Imitation is the biggest form of flattery.”