Opinion: Reading, the new hot girl trend


If you see Posts What comes to mind? Or mysteriously hidden Girl Standing in front of a box of books with perfectly disheveled hair and a stylish shopping bag in sight? Outfit of the day Crewneck sweaters and Wuthering Heights Mary Janes strategically placed in the camera shot?

Ooooh, she needs to read.

Reading – especially owning books – has always been linked to education. As early as the first century, old white dudes criticized the fetish for the grandiose display of books featuring philosophers Seneca They bluntly denounce the wealthy for using them merely as “dining room decoration.”

Since books have always been a status symbol regardless of whether they are read, it's no wonder that celebrities – the ultimate arbiters of status – like to post pictures of themselves reading. Designers Marc Jacobs Frequently posts selfies from his latest novel, Supermodel. Gigi Hadid was photographed wearing Albert Camus' “The Stranger” during Milan Fashion Week and Kendall Jenner was spotted reading Chelsea Hodson's “Tonight I'm Someone Else” – in a tiny, bright orange bikini, of course, while effortlessly laying on a yacht.

I don't necessarily mean to imply that celebrities don't actually read the fiction in these elegant novels naturally Photo ops, but isn't it a coincidence that they never seem to be shown with culturally “unglamorous” books? In our media TV series like those from HBO white lotus Idolized star Sydney Sweeny reads The Portable Nietzsche. Even jerks like Ryan Reynolds are shown read the classic “Jane Eyre”.

Celebrities even go so far as to host photo ops to intentionally show off the latest “It” book hand-picked by one Celebrity Book Stylist.

In addition to the obvious image of cultivated knowledge, this is undoubtedly a consequence of the integration of books into fashion. Vivienne Westwood, an infamous and undeniably influential fashion designer, frequently walked around with a book in her hand Is Status. Consequently, you have to commit to the books and the look. As British Vogue Let's say: “A well-dressed nerd is not the same as a poorly dressed one.”

So not only have books become a medium to showcase style, but their portability has also given way to portability of your reading environment.

When you post a picture of your weathered Jane Austen novel next to a Starbucks latte and subtleWhen you include a gothic background, you tell the world that this is how you read. This romanticized environment – ​​your “Reading scene” – touches on the range of ideas expressed in what you read. Since a book is a natural bridge between our material world and abstract ideas, as one author puts it, so are you saying “This is who I am.”

It is easy to see how these cultural phenomena can stimulate the desire to display this type of social capital; Because who doesn't want to be able to present themselves to the world as their most popular book character? Even interior designer Nina Freudenberger confesses Books are the most important accessory in the house. They can reveal a person's values ​​and answer, “Who do you want other people to think they are?”

The presentation of reading in conjunction with celebrities, social media posts, and general mass media has led to books being integrated into people's identities. When you associate books with specific people, brands, or products, you create an identity for your readership, which now manifests itself in the “hot girl” aesthetic; Being seen reading is more important than the act of reading itself.

Because books are so tied to our aesthetic brand identity these days, we have to be careful not to get sucked into fitting our personalities into these heart-shaped boxes. If you read Lolita just because it was marketed as flirtatious, and shockingly your love of bows and innocence isn't reflected in this story of abuse, you don't have to pretend you liked it. Nor should you automatically assume that you have missed out on its literary value.

When reading Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, do not delude yourself into thinking anything layout Doc Martins under a wool coat in a dark, academic-like library means you can understand Raskolnikov's utter alienation and empathize with his struggles.

From experience, I don't want to discourage anyone from getting the book they like. Rather, I say this to encourage a deeper exploration of the powerful nuances that literature can offer, lost in our haste to appear erudite. I'll never forget bringing “Atlas Shrugged,” a whopping 1,200 pages, to my ninth-grade government class. It took me five years to realize that it wasn't about trains.

However, given that women have done this in the past criticized For reading or engaging in any intellectual activity at all, this “hotgirl implementation”—albeit with a bias toward “highbrow” literature—is a much-needed reprieve. Even though the popular high school girls only use books as accessories, it's much easier for those of us who have been bullied at the lunch table to read books.

These trends disappear as quickly as they come to life, but we hope we can continue to promote what's hot to read – no matter what you look like when you do it.

Isabella Garcia is a second-year economics student and opinion writer for The battalion.