Welcome to 2019, where little girls chase subscribers and selfies, not Barbies and boys, writes Get it’s Hayley Bogaard
There reaches a point in every woman’s life where she utters that pertinent phrase and realises, without even realising it, she is, well … old.
“Back in my day…”
The times may have changed, so too has the technology, but the essence of growing up remains the same, if not just slightly disfigured by selfies, subscribers and Shawn Mendes.
YouTube is the new boob tube
As young girls, we faced many obstacles. Finding a pocket big enough to fit our Walkman, keeping our Tamagotchis alive and printing out directions on an actual piece of paper before leaving the house. Oh, and the perpetual battle to keep your trendy new Supré boob tube from up over your – um, well – non-existent bosom. Never mind that your cleavage was more mosquito bite than Pamela Anderson – Britney Spears wore a boob tube, so you wore a boob tube, damn it!
We were forever hiking them up as we rode our bikes to our best friend’s house and played in the street. Those of us who were a bit craftier tried tape or even a glue stick (spoiler: they never worked). It was a right of passage and we wore it like a badge of honour.
The battle to ‘keep it up’ hasn’t changed but the object of our frustrations certainly has. Welcome 2019 where YouTube is the new boob tube. Kids these days are scrambling for innovative ways to keep up their subscribers, views and watch times. Children as young as five years of age are forging enviable careers on YouTube as toy reviewers, influencers and entertainers. They don’t care about their new boob tube slipping, but they do care about their audience metrics dropping. I mean, who cares about a little nip slip when you’re being paid thousands to post videos of playing with toys and looking cute?
The comment section is the new backseat of the school bus
There were some things that we just intrinsically knew as kids. And one of those things was that the cool kids sat on the back seat of the bus. No questions asked. And by the time you’d paid your dues and reached that elusive throne, you realised it was the epicentre of preteen debate. The boys squabbled with each other over whose Razor scooter was faster, the girls threw pointed barbs at who had the prettiest hair, and the boys and the girls fought each other over who was the superior gender. It taught us tenacity, conflict resolution and pride. It was innocuous, innocent and a rite of passage.
These days, the backseat of the school bus is a buried throne. In its place rules a far more sinister and malicious sovereignty: the comment section. From personal pages to celebrity accounts, the comment section has become the new battleground for debate. However, far from the innocent teasings of a prepubescent boy, the anonymity, which the online world affords us, has laid way for far more injurious parley. We battled the boys for the backseat and kids these days battle faceless adversaries with keyboards at the ready. And where we used to address the conflict with an intense, sweat-inducing, breath-holding round of rock-paper-scissors, kids these days are far more attuned with the less enjoyable actions of Report-Block-Delete.
Instagram fan accounts are the new bedroom wall posters
The obsession with heart-throb teenage actors and bad boy musicians with impossibly glossy hair and mega-watt smiles is nothing new. We didn’t have Justin Bieber or Shawn Mendes but let me tell you, we had Heath Ledger and Leonardo DiCaprio and that was everything a girl could need. We would race out every month to buy the latest Girlfriend, Dolly or Seventeen magazines and flip straight to the poster section to see who was featured. We’d carefully tear it from the seams and, like a curator of modern art, meticulously find a place on our bedroom wall for it. Every night, we slept with the likes of Josh Hartnett, The Backstreet Boys and Chad Michael Murray – well, sort of. And those that didn’t make it on the wall, made it to the cover of our schoolbooks under a layer of clear contact paper. Yes, you’d better believe that Jesse McCartney was truly the person who got me through Year 8 Biology (sorry Mr Jones, but it’s true).
Fast-forward to 2019 and teenagers these days are just as devoted (cough, obsessed, cough), but they’ve swapped posters for posts and schoolbooks for cover photos. Enter: Instagram fan accounts. These are social media accounts made by star-struck celebrity aficionados. Everything from Google images to conceptual content, taking celebrity photo shoots, editorials, and personal images and transforming them into creative posts with the aid of clever editing techniques. Are they clever? Absolutely. But did these kids do the real hard yards, trolling through the pages of every teenage magazine, carefully tearing the pages so as not to rip them and then curating your wall so that Justin Timberlake’s platinum spikes didn’t clash with Gwen Stefani’s platinum hair buns? No, they did not! So, you can keep your fan accounts kids, because will Ashton Kutcher be there on your notebook to help you through Ms Clarke’s long division maths lesson? No, no he won’t.