Character

The Unicorn Trend: How Grown Women Juvenilize Themselves

unicorn trend

You know how you feel watching the woman, who drinks too much at family functions, rant about the private things she would have kept private if only her dignity and discretion hadn’t melted away like the ice in her rum and Diet Coke? That’s exactly what it’s like to watch grown women embrace the unicorn trend. So painfully embarrassed for them, you have to look away.

The Unicorn Trend Is Everywhere

If you have at least one social media account, you’ve encountered unicorn mania. YouTube and Instagram want to show you unicorn hair and eye make-up techniques. Facebook advertisers want to sell you unicorn drinks, make-up brushes, and pool floats.

And then there’s Pinterest. God love ‘em, Pinterest wants you to bathe with unicorn bath bombs and dress in unicorn costume with unicorn jewelry and nail art. Then you can sit surrounded by unicorn home decor, crocheting unicorn baby hats, planning unicorn-themed parties while munching on unicorn “poop” – of which there are a plethora of recipes.

So What’s The Problem?

Unless you’re under the age of 6 or still live in your childhood bedroom with its Lisa Frank comforter and wall posters, you have no business playing unicorn. None. Why? Because this unicorn trend is the obvious female version of Peter Pan syndrome. Peter Pan syndrome is the pop-psychology term given to men who cling to their childhood to avoid responsibility. He wants independence, spurns boundaries, and finds restrictions offensive.

If grown women want to be respected, they need to stop juvenilizing themselves by accessorizing as a make-believe creature enveloped in rainbows and glitter. By displaying your inner child as an outer child, you tell the world “I cannot adult.” It’s not cute. It’s self-degrading.By displaying your inner child as an outer child, you tell the world: I cannot adult. Click To Tweet

The Growing Realization

And this isn’t just the opinion of a Boomer raising an eyebrow at the antics of a younger generation. A recent Marie Claire article was titled: Can We All Just Admit That We’ve Jumped The Unicorn Shark?

Some Millennials are advocating for their peers to grow up and stop giving them a bad name. In an April 26, 2017 opinion piece for Metro UK, Miranda Larbi writes:

“Can you imagine our parent’s generation sitting in an office in the 70s drinking out of a unicorn mug, chowing down on unicorn toast for breakfast? They’d have been laughed to scorn/dismissed as being really high.”

That’s because your parent’s generation wanted to be adults. Unicorn-accessorized Millennials, not so much. Brand strategist, Jess Weiner, attempts to explain why. She writes,

“Women are in need of fantastical magic in their lives right now, because we’re surrounded by culture and politics that are very bleak and dark and oppressive. Unicorns are rare, they’re powerful, and they’re imaginary, so they’re capable of anything. And they do have a certain girly undertone because many of us associate them with our childhood, so they’re unapologetically feminine. Why wouldn’t we own something that’s just for us and inspires us to believe in our otherworldly capabilities? We’re being faced with some dire messaging around being female. Unicorns are our chance to escape and have some fun.”

Translation: Things aren’t going our way and that’s really hard for us. Our solution is to pretend we have “otherworldly capabilities” (pssst, you don’t) like the pretty, magical unicorn (also fictional) in order to run away from reality and play.

Stop Buying In

Might I offer another solution? Stop the humiliating, childish obsession with My Little Pony’s cousin. (And while we’re at it: mermaids and Disney princesses, too.) Give the preschoolers back their toys and find inspiration from actual grown-up, worthy role models. Accept that life is hard for everyone and escape from reality isn’t an effective or dignified strategy to improve it.

And for the love of self-respect, delete that juvenile and ridiculous Unicorn Trend board on Pinterest. Right now.

(If social commentary is your thing, I also wrote about the explosion of swearing in advertising.)

unicorn trend

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  • Phil Paterson

    I feel it should not matter what age you are. If you feel you need that colour, then you should. We still have to show individuality no matter what age. Personally I love that look lmao

    • Wife Sense

      Feelings are great, Phil, but thinking women don’t run their lives based on how they feel at any given moment. Feelings, like fads, change quickly. And it’s not really individuality if everyone is doing it. Better to show our individuality through competence and wisdom – which isn’t so easily mimicked. 😉

  • Mackenzie Schill

    I respectfully, completely disagree with you on this one. I’ll point out ahead of time that I’m almost 30 and just dyed my hair rose gold (my first fashion color!), I still enjoy watching cartoons, super hero shows/movies, and other genres that you might classify as “immature”, and plan to get my third tattoo, which will be basically impossible to cover up in warmer months, for my birthday. I’ll also point out that it’s not straight up unicorns that are what is popular, it’s the color palette.

    I think that the generation of women (and men, let’s not forget that lots of men are in to the unicorn thing too) that are crazy for unicorn colors right now, are one of the last ones that were consistently told things like “no you can’t dye your hair that color, you’ll look stupid! Your tattoos are distracting and awful! You can’t ‘unnaturally’ modify your body in any way, you’ll never get a real job! You know, your interests are childish, you need to grow up”. Maybe, the reason fads like this come and go so prominently amongst Millenials is because they were told how “wrong” it was their whole childhoods. Now, they finally have the independence of their parents and their opinions, to do what they’d like with their appearance. Employers are much more accepting of unnatural hair colors, visible tattoos, and lots of them are even ditching the business casual dress code (also within reason).

    My impression is that the kids born from the Generation Xers, and Millenials have a lot more freedom in their appearance even from a very young age. Plenty of my friends with kids help them dye their hair whatever color they want, wear whatever they want (within reason), and don’t try to guide their interests. They realize that as long as their kids grow up to be happy, good people, that it doesn’t matter what they look like.

    Color fads have come and gone over the last 20 years, and it has nothing to do with juvenilizing yourself, and everything to do with just being able to express yourself. The fact that it’s a unicorn color palette means nothing, a couple years ago it was neon, the colors and themes aren’t the point. The point is that these people are doing what they want with their bodies, because they can, and society is finally accepting them for expressing themselves. Whether it’s through their interests, hair color, the way they dress, tattoos etc…

    They don’t look bad for being themselves. What does look bad is when someone publicly, and vocally denounces something that brings other people joy, as “wrong” when it literally has no effect on them whatsoever. Live and let live, no one is making you dye your hair, or dictating your interests. As long as people aren’t hurting each other, they have every right to do what makes them happy.

  • Sanja Loshik

    I find it refreshing, why so serious? Same goes with tattoo or other body decoration. Everyone has the right to express themselves the way they want, and all the others shouldn`t be so judging and opinionated.

    • Wife Sense

      Sanja, isn’t saying “others shouldn’t be so judging and opinionated” a bit judging and opinionated itself? 😳 We all make judgments everyday, some more important than others – when we watch The Batchelor and decide who like and don’t like (personally, I dislike that spectacle and don’t watch it), when we steer our kids away from creepers at a public park, or when we decide who to hire – as a few examples.
      Judgments are a necessary part of life. That’s how we make decisions – even decisions about people. Our judgments about the people around us are the reason we all lock our doors at night. So it’s hypocritical when we tell others not to make judgements.
      And having the right to do something doesn’t mean it’s in our best interest to do it. I hope I’ve challenged women to think a bit more critically about adopting every fad that is flung upon us. If that’s offensive, there’s no hope for us.

  • I get where you’re coming from, but at the end of the day it’s just hair. It’s just toast. It’s just a coffee cup with a unicorn farting out a rainbow, and if it makes me laugh in the morning and forget that I’m forced (for medical reasons) to fill that mug with decaf then how is it hurting anyone? Sure, maybe my choice to have really colorful hair has caused some people to take me less seriously when they first look upon me. And if they never get past that first impression, two things have happened: they’ve proven that they are truly incapable of judging a person on criteria other than their looks, and I’ve failed to make any impression with my character and my words. So I move on, because for every person who thinks I’m childish I’ve encountered dozens who have told me that they wished they could do something so bold. Not always with their hair, but it sparks a conversation, and I tell them to take charge of their lives and do the things they want to do and they leave a little more empowered to change whatever it is they don’t like about their lives.

    Unicorns are not real. But dignity while living the life you’ve chosen is very real. And there’s a big difference between steering your kid away from the guy lurking behind the toilets at the park and suggesting that my choice of hairstyle proves that my head is empty. (see your comments, “thinking women don’t…” and your challenge that we think more critically.)

    • Wife Sense

      Thank you for your thoughtful comments, ACWMH. At least I’m sure you read the post and for that you get 1,000 points! 😁

  • Mackenzie Schill

    I respectfully, completely disagree with you on this one. I’ll point out ahead of time that I’m almost 30 and just dyed my hair rose gold (my first fashion color!), I still enjoy watching cartoons, super hero shows/movies, and other genres that you might classify as “immature”, and plan to get my third tattoo, which will be basically impossible to cover up in warmer months, for my birthday. I’ll also point out that it’s not straight up unicorns that are what is popular, it’s the color palette.

    I think that the generation of women (and men, let’s not forget that lots of men are in to the unicorn thing too) that are crazy for unicorn colors right now, are one of the last ones that were consistently told things like “no you can’t dye your hair that color, you’ll look stupid! Your tattoos are distracting and awful! You can’t ‘unnaturally’ modify your body in any way, you’ll never get a real job! You know, your interests are childish, you need to grow up”. Maybe, the reason fads like this come and go so prominently amongst Millenials is because they were told how “wrong” it was their whole childhoods. Now, they finally have the independence of their parents and their opinions, to do what they’d like with their appearance. Employers are much more accepting of unnatural hair colors, visible tattoos, and lots of them are even ditching the business casual dress code (also within reason).

    My impression is that the kids born from the Generation Xers, and Millenials have a lot more freedom in their appearance even from a very young age. Plenty of my friends with kids help them dye their hair whatever color they want, wear whatever they want (within reason), and don’t try to guide their interests. They realize that as long as their kids grow up to be happy, good people, that it doesn’t matter what they look like.

    Color fads have come and gone over the last 20 years, and it has nothing to do with juvenilizing yourself, and everything to do with just being able to express yourself. The fact that it’s a unicorn color palette means nothing, a couple years ago it was neon, the colors and themes aren’t the point. The point is that these people are doing what they want with their bodies, because they can, and society is finally accepting them for expressing themselves. Whether it’s through their interests, hair color, the way they dress, tattoos etc…

    They don’t look bad for being themselves. What does look questionable is when someone publicly, and vocally denounces something that brings other people joy, as “wrong” when it literally has no effect on them whatsoever. Live and let live, no one is making you dye your hair, or dictating your interests. As long as people aren’t hurting each other, they have every right to do what makes them happy.

    • Wife Sense

      I knew this post would be provocative, Mackenzie. And I appreciate your respectful disagreement. Somewhere along the way you learned to disagree agreeably. 💐

  • Priscilla Webel
    • Wife Sense

      Love it!!! 🤣

  • I really appreciate the fact that you published a provocative piece, knowing that you’d likely get some backlash. I admire that you are unafraid to share your opinion, I’ve always felt sad that we have been.. almost “trained” not to share our opinions, especially these days. As for your actual post, I personally don’t have an issue with grown women enjoying the unicorn trend. I mean, I probably wouldn’t walk around in unicorn clothes, or have unicorn themed décor in my house (although I do love “unicorn” food haha), but each to their own. 🙂

    Christie’s Take on Life. xx

    • Wife Sense

      Thanks, Christie. It’s bothered me, as a parent of Millennials, that your generation is so hesitant to express a point of view that goes against the popular flow. (I wrote about it here: http://wifesense.com/the-lie-millennials-believe/ ) So I’m grateful for my thick skin and for the great page views my blog has gotten thanks to this post. 😉 Thanks again for your comments.

  • Rhonda J Godfrey

    I must really live under a rock because I didn’t even know until you mentioned it that there was a unicorn trend!

    • Wife Sense

      That, or I have a whole lot of unicorn lovers in my social media feeds. 😆

  • Oyinkan Ogunleye

    I don’t see anything wrong with women wearing bright colored hair. I think women should wear hair styles and colors that fits their face. I also don’t think women are doing it because they are unhappy with the culture and politics of this time. Bright colored hair has been trending for many years now. It’s within the last year that unicorn themed hair and make up became a trend. Wear what fits you.

    • Wife Sense

      Oyinkan, this is about so much more than hair color. A discrete tattoo doesn’t make a person irresponsible but a face full takes it to another level, right? Same with the whole unicorn thing.

  • Personally I do not mind the colorful hair. I am 32 and I dyed my hair to a rose gold color not too long ago. While I do work in a professional setting that may not allow me to have colored hair full time (luckily I was on vacation during this time), it allowed me to express myself in a different form. I wanted to have fun hair. I don’t think it’s self degrading or juvenile in any case.

    • Wife Sense

      As I responded to Oyinkan below, my post was about much more than hair color. (Thought about using an eye-makeup picture for the feature image, but I don’t think it matters.) However, the thought occurs: as one who works “in a professional setting,” I’m sure you at least understand the rationale behind your employer’s restriction. I’m guessing they also restrict excess cleavage and mini-skirts. As you rightly alluded, Meghan, what we wear is an expression. It communicates something about us.

  • I totally get your point and I think the same thing when I see certain fandoms (No, your other car is not a tardis, stop it) or styles over-exaggerated but really-thats just my opinion of it. I’m sure someone else thinks my love of quote signs and cheesy Monty Python reruns are just as ridiculous. At the end of the day if it puts a smile on your face, who cares. I’ve seen plenty of professional, seriously-taken women run a business successfully with pastel hair, just as much as I’ve seen straight-laced conservative women act like children. To each their own! (Great post btw!)

    • Wife Sense

      To “get [the] your point” of an opinion that differs from one’s own is a huge accomplishment these days, Jasmine. Good for you! 💐

  • Inez Bayardo

    I think there is a little bit of a child in all of us and, in some ways, I think it’s good to keep in touch with that piece of us. However, I think we can keep some of our inner child without acting childish. I guess the problem is, how do we judge what is “childish”? I get what people are saying that it’s just fun and if it makes them happy, so be it. But, I think you are raising a much deeper point that people are missing. Why don’t we want to grow up anymore? I actually think it’s sad that people feel the need to escape at this level – it that is, indeed, what is going on. But also, I have nothing against unicorn hair. haha. I love colorful hair!

    • Wife Sense

      Inez, YES! It’s about SO much more than the hair – it’s what women are communicating about themselves. Our choices are expressions of something deeper. Cheers to you for getting it! 🥂

  • Kelly Sobieck

    “If grown women want to be respected, they need to stop”… shaming other grown women for their personal choices.

    • Wife Sense

      50+ years ago Coco Chanel said “Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.” Was she “shaming grown women for their personal choices” or presenting a perspective that made women take a second thought about the impression they were making (like it or not, our choices communicate something about us)? Women used to appreciate thought-provoking comments. Kelly, it’s a sad day when we can’t tolerate any opinion aired other than our own (this IS a blog!) and start labeling it as “shaming” or “phobic”. Maybe that’s unicorn thinking?

  • As you can see from my profile picture I have purple hair. I’ve had purple hair for several years. I had it before the trend and I’ll probably still have it long after the trend dies down. I know your article isn’t just about hair (trust me I read it) and you’re also criticizing women with unicorn decor and themed parties. Although I can respect your opinion I have to disagree.

    I understand why some people might think that purple hair is for kids or that it’s juvenile for me to have a unicorn table lamp. I don’t agree but I can see why those style choices might not be for everyone. Still, I don’t dye my hair purple to pretend that I’m magical or to try to escape reality. For me, it’s something that I wanted to do and so I did it. It’s just a fun look for me and it suits my overall personality. I like purple. It doesn’t go deeper than that.

    I can see how if someone was literally walking around in head to toe unicorn style and surrounded themselves only with unicorn things how that would be too much. Still, I don’t think that an adult who simply dyes their hair, gets unicorn nails, or prefers unicorn toast should be criticized for it. Everyone can choose to like or not like something. They can also decide what they want and don’t want in their life. I decided I want purple hair. You didn’t and that’s okay. I just wish that more people could be okay with the choices that other people make. Especially when those choices don’t personally impact their lives.

    -Monika

    • Wife Sense

      Thank you, Monika, for reading the article before commenting. It’s clear not everyone does, so good on you!
      Rather than repeat what I’ve written in previous comments, let me run in the direction you went…So I haven’t chosen to dye my hair purple as an expression of who I am, rather, I chose to express my own opinion on my own blog. Here’s my (rhetorical) question: don’t you “wish that more people could be okay with the choices that other people make? Especially when those choices don’t personally impact their lives.” 😳