TikTok, for social media we are all old

TikTok, for social media we are all old


Kelsey Laurier cannot understand the reason for the hatred towards her. Since you started creating lifestyle content on TikTok in 2021, you have built a following of around 400 thousand people; over 90 percent of her audience is female, and Laurier describes her comments section as a quiet place. From time to time, however, some "angry men" pop up who define it as "finished, bad and old" . Sometimes, then, when she reveals her age in a video, she receives compliments from women that actually conceal a negative judgment: "They tell me:" Oh! I can not believe! You look so young! ". What makes the tenor of these comments particularly surprising is that Laurier is 29 years old.

Rampant ageism

Ageism – how age discrimination is defined of a person – does not represent a new phenomenon and therefore it is not surprising that it has also arrived on TikTok But the social network is not limiting itself to reinforcing the negativity that already existed around the theme of aging: it is also changing our conception of the term "old".

In late February, the app introduced the Teenage Look filter. True to its name, the tool allows older users to transform into their own teenage version. video with more than 16 million views, a middle-aged (or maybe younger) woman says goodbye in tears to her teenage self. One of the comments, which has garnered more than 30,000 likes, reads: "I don't want to grow old", followed by three crying face emoji.

TikTok content This content can also be viewed on the site it originates from.

" I notice this trend where people essentially your age, who are a few years younger, are addressing older ones as if they were seniors," says Laurier, who lives in the US state of Georgia and posted a video in January in which he talks about the "rampant" ageism he's encountered on the app. “I find it really disturbing that today it is normal for a teenager or someone in their early twenties to define a late twenties or thirties as old or ”finished” , he explains in the clip.

It is plausible that people have always given of the "old" to those who are older than them, but at least once these comments were made in private. Unlike Facebook or MySpace, TikTok has attracted a wide range of users, allowing people of all ages to interact in unprecedented ways.

New version of an old problem

Towards by the end of 2022, 8.8 million people watched a video on TikTok in which a young woman warned her followers: "Stop sleeping on your stomach or your face will sag". A response to the video posted on Twitter, which amassed over 6,000 likes, noted: "It's terrifying that the anti-aging industry has made its way to an increasingly younger audience. Teenage girls shouldn't feel constantly terrified of the fact that every action of theirs makes your face age" .

Why are young tiktokers so afraid of getting old? According to Julia Twigg , an age studies researcher and lecturer in sociology at the University of Kent, people shouldn't make ageism seem natural, and therefore inevitable. Although most cultures value youth, according to Twigg we should analyze the phenomena that reinforce ageism today .

"Compared to aging, social media have the same problems as print media, with the difference that the net can be much tougher and more openly hostile,” Twigg highlights, adding that the internet “allows harsher opinions to emerge in the public sphere than the filter applied by a magazine or editorial lens.”

Commercial logic and harmful rhetoric

Ashton Applewhite , author of the book This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism , adds that ageism cannot be separated from today's capitalism: "Satisfaction does not make money - says Applewhite –. When natural biological steps are seen as pathologies or problems, people gain" .

Even though they have been around for centuries, thanks to TikTok today anti-aging creams can be sold and bought constantly. Through the TikTok Shop – the platform's ecommerce presence in the US but not in Europe – users can buy anti-aging serums, concealers, acids, creams, eye gels and "light therapy masks" without even leaving the app. Influencers are encouraged to promote these products because they get a commission on sales."A 20-year-old knows anti-aging marketing and knows that he won't die from a wrinkle - says Laurier -, but a 12-year-old will internalize the message and relaunch it" .

A possible solution to the problem is greater exposure to the phenomenon of aging : "There are studies that show that the more we know about aging, the less we fear it" , explains Appl ewhite, adding that we also need to dismantle "the false notion that we have more in common with our peers."

According to Laurier, his peers should also think more about the way they talk on the app : "I think people aged 30 and over need to stop joking about being 'old' – he says – . People make a lot of jokes like: 'I can't move anymore' , 'My knees are falling apart' . I know they mean well and they are ironic, but I think these jokes can have an impact on how people see you" .

Laurier has one last, relatively simple tip: “I think older people should start showing their lives more online. They should show these kids that life doesn't end in their twenties.”

This content originally appeared on sportsgaming.win UK.

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