Aesthetics is a word used to really give meaning to one’s sense of style and expression in any form. Merriam Webster officially defines the word as “a particular theory or conception of beauty or art: a particular taste for or approach to what is pleasing to the senses and especially sight.’’ Princewill Ene of walyben.com spoke on the importance of aesthetics, “Aesthetic is important because it delves into the reason why art has always existed, the burning need of mankind through the ages to see the world in [a] different and clear way. It further evaluates art by the standard of human life and whether it accomplishes the job of satisfying man’s intellectual needs, or whether it tends to hurt or make worse those needs.’’
The word has become intensely overused in our generation. Anything and everything you do can be labeled as your aesthetic. It’s a big part of how people portray themselves to the world, whether it’s through social media or personal life. Saying aesthetics are bad for us is a narrow yet subjective explanation.
For me, I try to curate my own aesthetic to the best of my ability, but that does not mean I do not draw inspiration from someone else’s. Amandine Shadia of studybreaks.com has this to say about the damage aesthetics can do to a person: “In modern-day social media, algorithms are essential and are the driver of what shows up on everyone’s screens. A person can like one thing that will continue to pop-up every time because it is similar to something they liked before. The movements are often exclusive and do not allow people to be different. There is an accepted standard of beauty that puts pressure on people to look like it.”
Shadia continues to share how aspiring towards aesthetics can prompt negative implications, for example in the “cottagecore” aesthetic. “The problem with this aesthetic is that it is driven by the desire to escape reality and idealize a fairytale life that has unsettling implications,” said Shadia.
Shadia is right in most cases when it comes to the negative side effects of aesthetics. But is that true for the majority of people who consume and participate in aesthetics? I decided to ask Nevaeh Griffin, a second-year nursing student here at West Chester University, what the positives and negatives are about aesthetics. In our conversation, she talked about how most people who make and try aesthetics are trying to reach this lifestyle that’s not attainable in their actual reality. But aesthetics are something that gives people ambition to make their reality better in the future.
Are aesthetics bad? It is a very subjective conversation to have because we all have different tastes and opinions. But we know what is clear: aesthetics are dominating people’s creative outlook on society and their personal lives. Whether it’s having a majority negative or positive impact on people is yet to be clear.
Isaiah Ireland is a fourth-year Media and Culture major. II978280@wcupa.edu.