The Daily Tar Heel
Printing news. Raising hell. Since 1893.
Sunday, June 23, 2024 Newsletters Latest print issue

We keep you informed.

Help us keep going. Donate Today.
The Daily Tar Heel

Column: The resurgence of nerdy trends is a good thing

A collection of the Harry Potter book series. Courtesy of Tribune News Service.

From what clothes you wear, to what restaurants you dine at, a lot of decisions are made based on what is known to be “trendy.” Over 44 percent of people between 18 and 34 have purchased something recommended to them by social media influencers. 

One of the biggest resources for all things popular are social media sites such as TikTok, Instagram and Twitter. TikTok is one of the largest contenders among these sites, with nearly 21 percent of Americans and 55 percent of 18-24 year olds using the app.

One recent development in online culture is the resurgence of trends that were popular in the early to mid-2000s. From dressing like Paris Hilton to "Twilight" to One Direction — it feels impossible to escape the awkwardness of past adolescence. 

But, there is another common denominator amongst this resurgence. Something I've noticed is that a lot of the people becoming obsessed (some for the second time around) are people who originally deemed these trends to be “uncool.”

In my own experience, I remember being harassed for liking Harry Potter in middle school. I was called a “nerd” and made fun of for liking the books and seeing the movies, especially by my female peers. So, it is a bit hurtful to see these same individuals posting about their Hogwarts house on Facebook, or adding to the trend of dressing up in outfits inspired by the characters. 

The sudden public acceptance of these trends is really surprising, and honestly a bit off-putting, for a lot of the people who originally loved some of these ideas and were bullied or harassed for liking them. Not to gatekeep or anything, but it’s really hard to picture someone going from tweeting “One Direction is the worst band I’ve ever heard they sound like cats screaming” to “Those paparazzi photos of Harry Styles are so cute!” in just a few years. 

Although initially frustrating, we can't really be mad for this sudden acceptance of these trends. 

Unfortunately, we live in a society where people, especially women, are harassed and looked down upon for liking certain things. Heck, even the association of certain words such as “powerful” and “strength” have gendered contexts. When looking further at these trends it's easy to spot a misogynistic connection as to why people may have initially been incredibly vocal about hating them. A ton of these trends are concerning things that are for the most part deemed feminine, or for women, by society. 

Thankfully, it appears that society's views on liking feminine things are beginning to change. It’s no longer cringy or embarrassing to say that you love boy bands or only read romance novels. Women, thanks to social media, are beginning to enter a place where they feel like they can just love the things that they love — that they no longer have to hide or overcompensate with hatred of trends.

This is due in part to women calling out the sexism related to more “feminine” defined things and then embracing them in the present day. Articles titled “Calling girls ‘basic’ isn’t harmless — it's sexist” and “6 things internalized misogyny ruined for women” all serve to generate conversations about these ideas with the public sphere.

However, there is an alternative to this idea. For the most part, this resurgence likely stems from people taking back the trends that they should have originally been able to enjoy. But it would be naive to think that this is the only reason. Unfortunately, there are probably a lot of people who are just jumping on the bandwagon, who think it's trendy all of a sudden to like something that is now “cool.” This is truly the annoying part of it all: the fact that there are people who bullied others for the things that they have all of a sudden become obsessed with. 

Even though it's hard to not judge someone for all of a sudden becoming Team Edward 10 years after the fact, we should in a way be grateful for this change because, for the most part, it's just one example of how our society is becoming more accepting, one online trend at a time. 


To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.