In 2021, a geriatric rescue pug named Noodle became an oracle. If he wakes up and stands on his four little legs, it is a “bones day.” On these days you should do your chores and ask for that raise from your boss. Or if the dog lays down like he is made of Jello, that is a “no bones day.” It is not recommended to do anything these days since they are resting days to be better for tomorrow when you can call someone.
All of this is silly. Noodle, who is old, can’t predict the future. His bones don’t have any meaning except for him. But Noodle’s bones have inspired songs, tweets, and won an exam for students in college. Noodle’s very nice owner has figured out a way to make money from Noodle. Noodle has 3.7 million followers on TikTok now, so he is popular there too.
But other people have been making affirmations for a long time, and they would have made it without Noodle, but it is also great that we have an excuse to look at his videos and go out and be sterner with our internet company when they do not fix the WiFi for us right away. This is a clip that says you can do nothing for a whole day. It’s different from the usual chores like doing laundry and shopping.
Some people think that you need permission to do things for yourself. For example, TikTok users are posting videos of themselves eating food they have made. TikTok is a social media application where people share videos. You can make videos of yourself or others. You can also watch other people’s videos.
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There was a video on TikTok that millions of people have now watched. Mariko made salmon mixed with rice, Kewpie mayonnaise, soy sauce, and avocado slices. The recipe for the salmon dish itself is not that complicated, but it became popular because of this video someone shared on TikTok. It was not just about how tasty it is, but rather the core ingredients: mayonnaise and white rice. Those are foods that people do not want to eat.
Suddenly, Mariko’s video comment section was filled with people talking about the same foods. They were excited and happy. They talked about how Mariko’s video made them like food more or helped them in their relationships with food. The sudden popularity of Mariko is hard to understand. It can be hard to know what it means that she is a white-passing, thin woman.
This might seem good, but it can also have bad effects. None of this is her fault, however. She does be deprived of anything to do with the harmful fallacies of diet culture. But she became an internet sensation because people think she represents the new trend on TikTok for inspiration on how to live healthy lives (like eating salmon).
People want to do things that they think other people will not like. But you can do what you want, and no one can stop you. People say that it is okay and that there is nothing wrong with it. Before Mariko-Tok, the trend was that there were many songs about your Mama. Like Mama Says by Lukas Graham: “Mama said it was okay, mama said it was quite alright.” And people would make videos saying:
“You can’t wear all that pink to your corporate job.” But then there were other Mamas too, like Elle Woods. People on the show were shouting out people who helped them. Some people helped them with different medical conditions, while others helped them come out of the closet. People are praising these people they are thanking in the videos. Even Taylor Swift is thanking one person, Shania Twain, for helping her make a change in her music style.
Users on TikTok use audio that says, “You have to start romanticizing your life.” They put these audio clips with videos and photos of their everyday lives. Sometimes they are scenes of hikes through beautiful forests. Others are short clips that are aesthetically pleasing, like making your bed or pouring a cup of coffee. The idea is that you should be the main character in your life story. It can feel like when you wear headphones and listen to Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles,” it feels like a biopic about you.
People like to follow trends that make them feel good. Some of these things are hard for people to do, but TikTok is successful because it lets people perform what they desire with their lives: It is not strange, but it sounds it. It can be liberating to have a stranger on the internet tell you that it’s okay to do things for yourself. Sometimes, people don’t permit themselves to care for themselves. But strangers online can help out.
It might be rational to think that the same platforms and apps that make us feel bad about ourselves can also make us feel better. The platforms and apps that have been linked to spikes in depression, anxiety, and loneliness can also pull the strings in our lives and make us not afraid of being good. Social media is a powerful tool. Should you use it? Yes, but I heard that someone on TikTok said it was okay.