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.)