by Sean Clark
Tumblr, a website that has a profound impact on my generation’s culture, has popularized, or more accurately glamorized, apathy and self-deprecation. Teenagers log onto their accounts and their screens are illuminated with pseudo-artistic pictures of pale hands delicately holding cigarettes, pictures of frail girls with bruises, and humorous one-liners that essentially promote being lazy. Overall, Tumblr is a cesspool of people who indulge in apathy for the image it creates. The reality is, pretending not to care is not so much of an “aesthetic,” but a self-detrimental facade.
In past generations there has always been a group of teenagers who find solace in smoking cigarettes. However, with my generation, it’s not the rebellious, punk outcasts who are smoking cigarettes, it’s the appearance-obsessed, social media connoisseurs. The difference between past generations and my generation is that people are smoking cigarettes for 100 likes on Instagram and Tumblr.
I have no bias against people who smoke cigarettes, but smoking cigarettes to achieve an “edgy” reputation is a shallow waste of time. If you’re striving to achieve a negative reputation, the reputation you achieve as a result will be neither genuine nor authentic. I’m all for self-expression, so long as it’s honest. If you want to wear chokers, doc martens, and old band t-shirts, go for it! But the second you start doing this to seem edgy is when you’re changing your appearance to please other people.
Not only has Tumblr glamorized physical self-deprecation, but it does the same for mental self-deprecation. Post after post after post is about not caring about school, wanting to be asleep, or generally being pessimistic about life. If your Tumblr newsfeed is full of aforementioned posts, I suggest you delete your blog before this collectively apathetic environment brainwashes you like it has brainwashed so many other teenagers. I get that you’re so “quirky” and love watching Netflix and eating pizza, but you should strive to have some interesting or unique ambitions besides being lazy.
Tumblr is not inherently bad, but this most recent fad is teaching my generation that it is okay not to care at an age when it is so essential to find what you truly care about. Yes, pretending to be edgy and smoking cigarettes will create some mysterious yet unauthentic Instagram aesthetic, but you aren’t being original; you’re following a Tumblr fad that will be dead and gone by the end of the year, often at the price of your mental and physical health. Reality isn’t a John Green novel and no one is going to save you from your apathy.