According to Merriam-Webster, the term ‘aesthetic’ is used to denote something “of, relating to, or dealing with aesthetics or the beautiful”. An astute definition for the now-popular internet phenomenon, I believe that finding beauty in the mundanity of everyday life goes way beyond the confinements of convention.
The rise of Pinterest, TikTok and BeReal has sparked conversation around the mythical idea of what we find beautiful – in particular, when catered to individually unique interests and experiences. Ranging from the well-known concept of ‘cottagecore’ to the relatively niche fashion trend that is ‘gorpcore’, aesthetics have nestled a comfortable place in internet culture. This culture has now translated over to real life with a decidedly (though not exclusively) youthful image.
This idea of romanticising ordinary things in an effort to find beauty is a practice as old as humanity itself. The Greeks have famously prevailed in their influence in the arts and the classical aesthetics of their statues and architecture. So much so, that despite the now long-gone era of their revolutionary civilisation, the trademark marble sculptures and buildings like the Parthenon live on with a clear image in the popular mindset.
The internet’s current and most popular idea of aesthetics is very broad, with a wide range of applications. It includes, but is not limited to fashion, film, art and music. The medium can be any piece of media at all – and is not strictly visual.
The brilliance of aesthetics lies in the ability to invent oneself in boundless ways. Lana Del Rey is an example of one such artist. Her persona takes inspiration from a variety of sources, mainly in old Hollywood starlets and the idea of the Western sad girl after the bad boys. Born to Die is her most dynamic album, with the sweetness of “Lucky Ones” juxtaposing the hardcore, but feminine feel of “Lolita”.
Lana’s successful manifestation of a mystically undefined form of being is symbolic of how all of us are capable of being artists of our own realities. Being able to find beauty in perhaps the unlikeliest of places are part of what make us special and human.
“There is some kind of a sweet innocence in being human- in not having to be just happy or just sad- in the nature of being able to be both broken and whole, at the same time.” ― C. JoyBell C.