Cringe culture


Shay Mckinny and MaryCate Moe

As the years progress, so does the online world. Sometimes, the progression does not happen in the best ways. Along with 2019 came a “trend”  known as Cringe Culture. Despite the term itself being coined by playwright and journalist Nelson Rodrigues in the 1950’s,  its rise in popularity did not become severe until recent years. The original definition was twisted to fit modern society’s idea of cringe, which has become an online attack toward teens, kids, and even adults. 

Many young people are subjected to cringe culture, and despite the jokes and humorous comments, it can be quite serious. The idea of cringe culture itself , according to Urban dictionary, is calling another person ‘cringy’ for doing something that hurts and insults no one. The origins of this go all the way to Reddit where images would be reposted to forums so people could make fun of others’ content in masses. This behavior expanded over the internet onto almost all platforms and soon became normalized. Though cringe culture is not new, it has only grown into something toxic and dangerous within recent years. America’s Funniest Home Videos is an example of an innocent start to cringe culture, as making fun of others for a sense of entertainment is not shocking and has been done for a long time. There is a difference between intentionally making videos for the sake of being funny or getting made fun of, and being subjected to masses of hatred without consent. 

Making fun of others looks is not the only form; as a society we have developed jokes and humor about anything we can. Sharing information about mental health can be deemed as “edgy” and another open door for cringe culture to waltz in, along with overemphasizing stereotypes and labels on others. There are endless videos on the internet. YouTube is a good example, creating cringe compilations – and many re-uploaded TikToks where people are getting made fun of for doing something they enjoy. What’s even more sad about the situation itself is many online platforms have changed and adapted to support or even encourage this behavior. This kind of cringe culture can be toxic and should not be popularized. It promotes not having genuine interests, especially ones that aren’t popular or are seen as abnormal. It’s now safer to be ironic and deprecating online. People, especially young, impressionable children and teens, are having their interests oppressed due to fear of being considered “cringy” or being made fun of for not following the dull, toxic commentary left by many wanting to continue cringe culture. 

Luckily, with 2020 starting, posts and tags have been circulating online saying, “cringe culture is dead.” It’s time to have an online world where people can feel comfortable doing what they enjoy without being scared of the backlash. At the end of the day, life is short. Make the world a better place by encouraging people to do what they love.