Good morning, and welcome back to the weekly paid edition of After School.
The sun is shining, the snow has melted, the Olympics are on in the background, and all is right in the world. (Well, except for the human rights crisis and a still-raging pandemic.)
Ahead, everything I bookmarked in my brain about youth culture this week (that we haven’t already talked about), including but not limited to:
TikTok: mouth tape, group chats, cleantok
Trends: cargo pants, uglycore shoes, the next fashion city
Brands: a beer brand’s attempt to woo gen z, a mall brand that’s cool again, and Rich Paul for tech workers
Dating: throuples, voice recordings, dating apps for sandwich lovers
Other things I consumed and loved: “functional” chocolate that’s actually good, Claire Fisher, Web3 MLMs
Tracking TikTok trends each week has made me feel as though the app is getting more demented by the second. Suddenly, people are taping their mouths shut before they go to bed in search of better sleep. This reminds me of my high school classmate who’s hawking ionized water machines on IG as though it’s miracle nectar.
The rise of #PainTok, which is unfortunately even more depressing than it sounds.
“Crying selfies are about as old as social media itself, but TikTok has opened up a new avenue for young men to share their crying selfies and find support from others for their emotional vulnerability through hashtags like #PainTok and #SadTok. Although these videos don’t always feature a guy crying, PainToks do have a few things in common. There’s typically somber music, followed by text over a sad image — a guy waiting for a train, sitting in a thunderstorm or tearing up to Olivia Rodrigo. But the most consistent through-line is guys expressing some sort of alienation — romantic or otherwise — and receiving moral support in the comments.”