Let’s rejoice! Cringe culture is dead
When I was in high school, I was aware of (on a subconscious level) what made someone cool. At the time, it meant being “on trend” with fashion trends (anything from the Bethany Mota Aeropostale line), taking a photo of your pumpkin spice latte for Instagram and blasting Taylor Swift’s 1989 while applying her signature red lipstick shade (“Dragon Girl” by NARS).
Of course, there was a time period during my high school years where I actively tried to go against so-called “cool” culture – I wore a black leather jacket, dark purple lipstick and would solely listen to Panic! At The Disco. Ironically, looking back now, I recognize that I was just like everyone else who actively browsed Tumblr regularly.
Today, I’ve grown and matured enough to recognize that there’s no such thing as “on trend” or “cool”. If you’re comfortable in your style and the things you like, you automatically fit under the “cool” label.
Based on this, by my logic, the overused term “cringe culture” is also dead.
What exactly constitutes the use of “cringe culture” as a descriptor in 2022?
The main one, as many people who are on the internet will know, is centered on anything that an adult enjoys that is “supposed to be for children.” Especially toy collectors or anyone who likes anything made by Disney (except for Marvel and Star Wars it seems). Influenced by the patriarchy since the media assumes these properties are predominantly enjoyed by men? Most definitely.
These so-called “Disney Adults” are the perfect example of “cringe culture” for many. After all, how could any self-respecting adult enjoy content geared towards children? How could an adult, who pays taxes, possibly deserve to find a source of comfort and escapism in an increasingly difficult world to live in?
So what if adults enjoy the content that the Walt Disney Company puts out? Is it hurting anyone? No.
Therein lies the problem: Adults enjoying things that are “cringe” (anything that doesn’t fit into the category of “serious and worldly”) doesn’t actually hurt anyone. For those that like to throw around “cringe culture” to shame others, this proves to be a problem.
This puts the problem back onto them. What benefit do you get from making fun of someone for liking something?
Thus, the cycle is broken. You’re free to like what you want and you have the perfect comeback for anyone who questions you.
If only it was that easy.
Unfortunately, the reality of “cringe culture” runs deeper – you’ll encounter it everywhere. Even worse, the level of judgment you receive will differ based on how old you are (yes, even among adults). In your 20s? Liking Hello Kitty can be cute since you still have aesthetic appeal physically, as ordained by society’s hyperfocus on being young.
Over the age of 30? Boom. you’re a part of “cringe culture”. At a “serious” adult age, you shouldn’t have a want to feel joy or enjoyment in anything.
It’s easy to forget that age really is just a number – whether you’re 17 or 45, you should be able to enjoy what you love without the fear of being judged. Are you a “Disney Adult”? Own it. Do you collect My Little Ponies or fit into the “Brony” community? Cool, I want to know all about it.
Life’s too short to worry about being “cringe”. I know it’s cheesy, stereotypical advice. But it’s more “cringe” to hide the things you like in favor of living a miserable existence of societally enforced adult misery.
“Cringe culture” is dead. Long live the era of accepting your former and present love of fanfiction and “SuperWhoLock”.
After all, who’s going to stop you?