February 17, 2014 by Welcome to the Jungle
What is “cool”?
By Anna P.
What is “cool”? If you asked someone that question fifty years ago, twenty years ago, two years ago, or even six months ago, your answer would be widely different. Trends and fads control what is, and what is not, “in”. Each trend and fad also affects a different age group. For example, a sixty year old woman has a different opinion about what is “cool” for woman her age compared to a sixteen year old girl, who may think the newest fashion, boys, and getting a car is cool. The media attempts to reach the separate age groups and they tell us what is “cool” by advertising products as popular and in demand. It appears that the goal throughout society is to be “cool”, but the definition of that concept depends on the person you ask.
Fashion magazines, the Internet, advertisements, and television are some outlets that an average person would use to receive information about what is considered “cool”. A technique many advertisers use to promote products they wish to be considered the “newest” and the “coolest” is to pay famous or attractive people to use or wear the product so others will be influenced to copy them. In my opinion, what is “cool” is a scheme that companies use to sell their products. If a large group of people believe that owning that product makes them enviable, they will purchase that product. It is a classic marketing method used by retailers as varied as Lululemon, Apple, Nike and BMW.
No one wants to be uncool. Some people like to be different, which they may believe is their “cool”, but no one purposely tries to make themselves lame. Therefore, there is a constant struggle to keep up with the world’s changing vision of cool. In the 1960’s smoking and drugs were popular. People did it to put forth a certain image of themselves to society that made others believe they were cool. In present day, smoking has the complete opposite effect. When we see someone smoking we form the opinion that they are dirty, unhealthy and uneducated members of our society since we now have knowledge of what dangerous effect smoking has on the body.
It is the same with music; what was popular in the past is not the same now. Today we have Top 40 radio to tell us what is sought by the majority of people, whether that is Katy Perry or Taylor Swift, but for every popular star today, there is countless “has beens” whose 15 minutes of fame has elapsed, like Vanilla Ice or the Jonas Brothers. These stars also try to communicate to us what is cool. Whether they are at the best night clubs or wearing designer fashion, others wish that they could live that life.
In my opinion, part of being cool means you have all the accessories and glamor but it also means that you are likeable. You are popular.
Popularity is really what others strive to achieve when they desire to be cool. If others like you, if others envy you, if they take notice in you, you are cool. It is a constant struggle to keep up with the fast changing fads and trends.
What is cool today will likely seem old in a few months, especially in the era of social media. We are able to rely on the various forms of media to always keep us in the loop for new fashions, new music, new celebrities and anything else deemed popular, but in the end chasing the goal of being “cool” may be as foolish as chasing a ghost.