A few days ago, my friend asked me if she should put a giant “ENO” sticker (the popular hammock brand) on her pink Nalgene water bottle to which I replied saying, “No, don’t be like everyone else!! Don’t conform, be different.”
Even as the words came out of my mouth, I knew I had made a mistake.
My friend is an incredibly introspective person and overanalyzes everything, which is both annoying and interesting at the same time. She said, “It’s actually so stupid how we put so much emphasis on being different. Like, it’s physically not possible for everyone to be different. Why should we like things different from everyone else and then label ourselves as “hipster?” I just don’t get it.”
I guess she’s right– to some degree. I agree that this whole concept of being hipster is too stressed and has now become a symbol of “coolness.” Why are we celebrating people who have different interests and beliefs from us? And why are we belittling those who enjoy the same things as everyone else? Take the term “basic bitch,” for example. Usually, this term refers to a Caucasian female who enjoys Tory Burch shoes, Victoria Secret everything, pumpkin spiced lattes, monogramed towels and water bottles, and pearl earrings. We tend to make fun of these “basic” people a lot, usually calling them vanilla for talking the same way, looking the same, wearing similar clothes. There’s a level of superficiality surrounding these basic girls, because they have to try so hard to fit him.
Too different and you’ll be called hipster, too similar and you’ll be called basic. What the heck. Being different can be superficial and you can risk being called out for wanting too much attention, but then having similar beliefs and ideas as everyone else leads to too much homogeneity, which is not conducive to an innovative environment. So, where is that fine line between being different while still fitting in?
Follow the general trend and wear similar clothes as everyone else. Or don’t and wear Crocs, because who the hell cares? For me, it’s hard to look at a gaggle of basic girls and see them as different. But they are. I’m sure they have different interests and hobbies and come from different places. They just happen to look, dress, and talk exactly the same.
Being different or trying to be unique doesn’t mean it has to be drastic. Being different does not only count towards materialistic things or the appearance of someone. Being different means literally being different in terms of anything. Conformity isn’t bad, and there is no such thing as never conforming to something. It’s in our nature to flock towards a common idea. That’s why we have political parties, trends, clubs, organizations, different majors and minors.
I look at myself and see that I criticize those who are too similar and those who are too different from me. I don’t even know where I stand on the spectrum. It’s important to be your own person, but don’t try so hard to be anything you’re not just for the sake of everyone else.