TikTok trends give you permission to take care of yourself.
It’s 2021 and a 13-year-old geriatric rescue pug named Noodle has become something of a Delphic oracle to millions of people. If Noodle wakes up and stands on all four little legs, it’s ‘bone day’. Good days are good for messing around – tackling your to-do list, asking your boss for that raise, or finally calling your health insurance provider about that bill you don’t understand. On the contrary, if Noodle falls to the ground like he’s made of Jell-O, it’s a “boneless day.” It is a day, ideally, to take care of yourself, rest and recharge your batteries, so that maybe tomorrow you can make that phone call.
This is all objectively silly. Noodle the Pug, as withered as it is in old age, cannot predict the future; his joints don’t affect anything except, well, him. And yet Noodle’s bones, or their absence, have inspired musical numbers about staying in bed, countless motivational tweets, and even won at least one class of college students an extension on an exam. (The very nice Noodle owner, of course, capitalized on the moment of Noodle’s 3.7 million subscribers: you can now buy merchandise.) These claims from TikTok probably could have arisen without Noodle and his bones like inspiration, but it’s good to have an excuse to dive into it – for someone to give you permission to go out and be a little tougher when you call your internet business to let them know how bad you are. WiFi is terrible, and, yes, you have already restarted the router correctly. These are little inspired clips that let you take an entire Sunday to indulge yourself in doing nothing instead of the usual laundry, grocery shopping, and vacuuming.
The idea that we need permission to celebrate, to take care of ourselves, has become a recurring theme among several of TikTok’s most popular trends this fall. The viral obsession the day before Noodle, for example, was a bowl of salmon rice made by a content creator named Emily Mariko. In a September clip which has now been seen by millions of people, Mariko wordlessly assembles a lunch of leftover salmon, mixing it with rice and topping it with Kewpie mayonnaise, sriracha, soy sauce, nori and a few slices of salmon. lawyer. It’s partly a cooking instruction video, partly ASMR, as its glass containers ring softly on its clean countertops. (Mariko’s other most popular pieces include soothing videos of her cleaning her house.) The salmon recipe itself is a pretty basic dish, albeit delicious, but it took off like wildfire on TikTok. It wasn’t just about taste, but rather basic ingredients: mayonnaise. White rice. Foods which, if you’ve lived even a day in the world of diet culture, you would know are demonized and should be avoided like the plague.
Suddenly, Mariko’s comment section was full of people celebrating these foods, rejoicing that someone was eating them without measuring ounces or calories, talking about how Mariko’s video had healed their own relationship with food. There’s a lot to unpack in Mariko’s sudden hero cult, including her status as a slender, slick woman and her tongue-in-cheek re-foundation of the wellness industry’s many nefarious mistakes. None of this is by far Mariko’s fault; it is diet culture. But the Salmon Bowl video has propelled her to viral fame as the face of a growing assemblage of TikTok-inspired trends in recent weeks.
Permission porn, as we’ve dubbed this genre, has spawned a lot of popular audio and video trends lately.. TikTokkers has allayed the concerns of hypothetical viewers about living life the way they want; yes, they say, you can eat any food or date any person, and you should put all the worry about that behind you. Prior to Mariko-Tok, the predominant assertion streak was Lukas Graham’s song “Mama Says”: “Mama said it was okay, Mum said it was good enough,” Graham sings. TikTok users would then associate the audio with a negative statement, such as “You can’t wear all that pink for your corporate job,” followed by a photo of the “mom” in question who said everything is fine. well – in this case, Elle Woods. These clips ranged from silly to serious, with people yelling at the people who had helped them with everything from living with specific medical conditions to coming out of the closet. Even Taylor Swift posted one, attributing Shania Twain to her plan to switch from country to pop music.
“You have to start romanticizing your life,” launches another equally positive TikTok audio that was popular in 2020 and continues to gain traction on the app. Users combine audio with videos and photos of them living their best lives. Sometimes these are scenes of hiking through beautiful wooded forests; others are short, aesthetic clips of everyday activities, like making your bed and pouring a cup of coffee. The idea is that you should feel inspired to be the “main character” of your life story, the Tiktok version of that feeling you get when you walk around with headphones, listening to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton. and feeling like you’re playing in a biopic about yourself. (If that sounds anecdotal and hyper-specific, that’s because it is, but you still get the idea.)
Time and time again, app users keep taking their interest in self-esteem-boosting trends like these where the bottom line is you should just do exactly what you want to do. and eat what you want and wear what you want. But these things are obviously easier said than done, and this is where TikTok is so successful: As ridiculous as it sounds, having a stranger on the internet tells you it is. Okay being well with oneself is liberating. It’s like having a trusted close friend available 24/7 to help give you permission to move forward and practice the self-care you actually deserve, as much as you do. you say the opposite.
In fact, it might not be ridiculous at all; there might actually be a lot of sense behind the fact that the same platforms and apps that have the power to make us feel like shit on ourselves are also able to do the opposite – than the platforms that have been clinically linked to spikes in depression, anxiety and loneliness can also pull the strings of our silly little lives and allay our fears, causing us to finally embrace the good in ourselves that we are so afraid to accept. Does it put too much value on social media? Absolutely yes, but someone on TikTok told me it was okay.