Monday, 18 May 2015

Planking and Other Pointless Teen Trends

Gabriele is a 17-year-old aspiring writer from Jacksonville, FL.  She loves the wit of Charles Dickens, the smell of sharpened pencils, and the charm of coffee shops. She lives her life by a Benjamin Franklin quote: “If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write the things worth reading or do the things worth writing.”
You’re lying down. Face down. Your hands are touching your sides and you are completely still. You’ve done this before in various locations; restaurants, open fields, libraries, schools, parks. You have a designated photographer—someone who can handle peculiar looks from spectators. The photographer takes your picture, laughs, and documents it all on Facebook.
You’re Planking. And you love it.
But wait. Now planking is “so two months ago.”  You take up a new trend: Owling. This requires you to put in a little more effort, crouching in a perched position and dramatically looking off into the distance.
This, you conclude, is also fun.
However owling is “so two weeks ago” and Batting seems to be more amusing. So you try that. You hang upside down and fold your arms in a V-shape on your waist. Yes. This is fun.
Though Planking has been around since the late 90s, it recently exploded among American teenagers and inspired related games such as Owling and Batting.  While a seemingly pointless trend, the movement has sparked a great deal of controversy. Some people think that the trend is extremely dangerous, especially in regards to the casualties from Planking in dangerous places. Others believe the trend originated from slavery, saying that the slaves were forced to lie down on “plank” beds. Most just find Planking a pointless trend started by a couple of bored kids.
So what makes this trend so fascinating? Why do so many people participate?
Well why do we participate in anything? Think about it. Every year a new trend emerges, and every year thousands of followers join in. Why? People like the idea of having a common ground. Something mutual they can share, laugh about, cry about, vent about, and argue about. Whether you play a part in the action of the trend or not, you somehow contribute simply by forming an opinion about it.
Let’s take a look at some other pointless trends from our generations. Do you remember any? Did you participate? If you did, ask yourself why. Maybe then you’ll understand the hype.
70s: Pet Rocks, Afro, Bellbottoms, Disco, “Groovy,” Rocky Horror Picture Show, Sea Monkeys, Mood Rings
80s: Mechanical Bulls, Valley Girls, Line Dances (“Achy Breaky Heart”), Cow Tipping, Panty Raids, Toga Parties
90s: the Macarena, Slap Bracelets, Pacifiers, “Psych!,” Beanie Babies, Tamagotchis, Saved by the Bell, Push Pops/Ring Pops
00s: Flash Mobs, Silly Bandz, Saggy Pants, Reality TV, Napoleon Dynamite, Zombies, Mentos and Coke
Though we’d like to fancy ourselves anti-conformists, we’ve all fallen victim of following a trend at some point in our lives. As long as the trend your teen is participating in is legal, handled with safety and not harming anyone, try not to judge them too harshly.
Because we’ve all been there.  MC Hammer pants anyone?