The New American Dream?

On my last day of class I gave a presentation on the American dream and one of my classmates asked me a very interesting question: What did I think our generation's American dream was?

Well, first off, I was completely thrown off because I wrote my paper on the American dream of the 1940s/50s, so I had never thought about it. I tried to come up with a sufficient answer, commenting on the ideals my mom had put on me as I began to grow up about marrying someone who has an education, a well paying job, and would be able to take care of your family if something happened to you. She also really pressured me into having a career, having an education and being able to take care of myself so I said maybe something along those lines would be my "American dream". 

My professor interrupted and said, "No, what is your American dream, not your mother's." I had to let that really resonated for a moment and I had to think while some of my other classmates were talking and collaborating on what it might be. I ended up making some stupid joke about wanting to move to London, so I guess I didn't really have enough information to really know what others thought. 

As I went back to my seat, I couldn't stop thinking about the question. What is our generation's American dream?
Well, Lisa, I think I finally have an answer and it was right in front of my face this entire time. 

I think this answer sort of applies to a lot of people, not just Americans, but I think America is really who started this trend. It's something I think we all aspire towards, whether we make an effort towards it or not, and it's something a lot of people are envious of. But, there is also a lot of controversy around it, a lot of interest in the science and math behind it, and definitely a lot of backlash for many, as we are seeing right now with the James Charles and Tati drama right now. 

So, you've probably guessed it. I think the new American dream for our generation is the ideal of becoming an influencer. These are people who promote products, a lavish lifestyle, and are looked up to by millions. We all aspire to be one, someone who just has to take pictures or make videos all day long and get paid tens of thousands of dollars per post. 

How the picture actually turned out (keep reading to see the
behind the scenes of this picture).
I remember being in middle school around the time that Instagram dropped on the App store. It wasn't a huge deal, no one really knew what it was, it was just a fun thing we posted on using those horrible filters. Then, over the next three years, influencers became a prime market for advertisers. They became the new celebrities, being paid to talk about products because they seem more relatable than celebrities. 

I think everyone at some point aspired to be an influencer, making it really the new American dream. There is no need for any kind of education, except maybe a few photography and Lightroom classes. It became something that was "achievable" to everyone but only actually achieved by some. I think it is something like the old American dream of moving west and striking it rich, considering many people are moving to L.A. in order to achieve this "lavish" lifestyle. 


A lot of what is seen on Instagram and Twitter is all an act. It is a facade others put on in order to make their lives seem more desirable than they actually are. This helps make the influencer lifestyle seem so luxurious, when in reality, it isn't. So, why is it still something we all aspire towards? I really don't know. Even myself, who is aspiring to become a full time blogger, I cannot understand why it is something we all want and why we all reach towards that, whether we make a show of it or not. I think we all secretly, or publicly, post on Instagram in hopes that we will gain followers, likes, and eventually free products and money. It is our generation's American dream and is what probably will be the American dream for the next couple generations, so long as social media marketing is still booming. 

The behind the scenes of taking pictures

So, hopefully that answers Lisa's question. I challenge you all this week to look into how much time spent on your phone is actually spent on social media, and work to limit that time down as much as possible. As millennials, we spend so much of our lives on our phones, but specifically social media. Mindlessly scrolling, mindlessly liking. In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with posting on social media, I just think scrolling through your explore page for three hours is unnecessary and a total waste of time. Make your time on social media worth while, do something productive with your time, even if it is just spent on socials. Let me know if you try this challenge and how it works for you!


XOXO Ken

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