I think it’s safe to say that this Generation are more tech savy than any others. The majority of us aren’t exactly technical engineers like our parents believe we are but we know our way around apps and connecting to wifi is never a problem. With this tech accessibility it has become much easier to get your art out there but also it can be seen that many young people go ‘Viral’ over night on platforms like Tiktok and Youtube, from 15,13 or even 10 years old. However, from this demystifying of how to become ‘popular’ online ( Thank you Uni Degree for the terminology) it opens the possibility of young people now being exposed to the same toxicity and negative atmosphere found online that targets people in the spotlight that we have become desensitized to.
Popular tiktokers, such as Charli D’amelio who became famous overnight for her viral dances, are forced to put on a business persona and develop a thick skin, despite being of a very young age, e.g. Charli only being 15. Not to mention the sexualisation based on her appearance based on her choice to wear more form fitting clothing. The constant sexualisation of young artists both male and female takes away the value of these young artists and makes them more into models than creators. Something to look at rather than be able to resonate with the young people of today as someone like them rather than something to nit-pick.
For this I turn to the recent image of Billie Ellish coming out of her house wearing comfortable clothing rather than her signature baggy style. Now, I am a fan of most of Eillish’s work ( even though I don’t like bad guy- I’m sorry I had to say it) and frankly I think she is an incredibly beautiful young woman. Her music speaks to many people, including young people, they resonate with lyrics about struggles with mental health and negativity and her soft spoken tone of voice has inspired many to give it a go as well with covers of her songs or creating their own original content. Many find a voice through her music and like her are able to find their start online too (check out Chloe Moriondo – her ‘le vie en rose’ cover is… chefs kiss) . However, there have been quite a bit of instances when people would comment on Billie’s boday using phrases such as ‘wine mum body’ or even saying that she is obese. Eillish is 18 years old and comments like such damage more than her own body image and confidence, they do hurt people who look up to her or even view themselves to be similar-looking to the young artist.
And that my friends is what is disgusting about the sexualisation of young Artists.
Many can chalk this behaviour up to be the work of supposed internet trolls but I feel it goes beyond that to the ground view of how we’ve seen someone once they begin to gain attraction. This massive amounts of pressure led many of these young people to be backed into a corner and due to their age they potentially have not dealt with such situations in an appropriate way. With a lack of life experience and more hate piled on top of them it makes many feel the need to take a break – a break from being forced to grow up too fast.
This begs for the question – How young is too young to be a ‘Artist’ ?
We, as young people, have more power than ever when it comes to the online sphere. We are responsible for climate change strikes, changing the way we view gender, sex and pronouns, understanding and accepting and talking about our privilege and marching with the marginalised and so much more!
From this I have hope that in our world, we as young artists have the capacity to change the tides on how people in the public eye are seen… as just people with bodies, minds, souls who are all beautiful and create art for the whole world to see.
To all young artists – you may feel the weight of judgement on your back for who you are, but you aren’t defined by it. If you are you – your art will thrive and so will you.
As no one is too young to be something- as long as they are treated and treat themselves right.
Put yourself in your art. All your personality smooshed into one. If you can be true to yourself in your art then you may find it helps you to be true to yourself… people like authenticity and ‘strangeness’ much more than you think.
(I write about robots a lot… I wonder what that says about me? Beep Boop)