Sunday, 9 August 2015


Type the phrase ‘sad girl’ into your search engine of choice and within seconds your screen will be filled with copious collections of noir images featuring exclusively beautiful, melancholy girls, often with a self-depreciating quote thrown in for good measure. You can find these ‘sad girls’ late at night as you scroll through your Tumblr feed before bed. You can find them as you wake in the form of a poem pinned to your Pinterest homepage. You can even find them on the radio, “I’m a sad girl” ringing out as you drive to work.

Herein lies the rise of #SadGirlCulture, a trend that finds its place within the realms of social media and in which girls are finding a sense of belonging and personal identity. As much as I detest saying it, depression has become a sign of social status online; a part of an aesthetic that defines itself as interesting, cool and different. The sad girl has been established as a brand and merely a couple of  clicks allow you to purchase clothing, tote bags, even phone cases adorned with phrases and key words remodelling a dispiriting emotion into a trend.

The thing is, the sadness projected by ‘sad girl status’ sails far too close to the territory of mental illness for it to be brushed off as just another flimsy fashionable movement we can roll our eyes at and move on from. Commodifying mental illness and treating it as an aesthetically pleasing aspect of life is something I will never stand for.

Watching my friends and family struggle under the weight of mental illness is not something to celebrate. I hate that some of the most amazing people in my life are unable to get out of bed, unable to recognise their own worth when they are so quick to applaud everyone else’s. Watching someone you care about feel less than human and less than brilliant is something I would wish upon no-one. Depression is not something to be adorned on a t-shirt. While I hope that my friends that suffer know they should never feel stupid for feeling sad, I hope they don’t revel in it either. It isn’t their sadness I find impressive, it’s their unwavering sense of compassion and their ability to even make a cup of tea when they feel like their world is crashing in. Their ability to not only pick themselves up, but other people when they’re feeling so down is the thing to be admired.

Depression is a part of my past, thankfully not a part of my present and is something which may or may not rear its head again in my future. A younger, more vulnerable version of me would’ve, and did, buy into the sad girl culture. Scroll hard enough through any of our online postings and there’ll no doubt be evidence of belief in the shared sadness of generation Y. I thought identifying with quotes describing how I felt was cathartic, I thought finding beauty in sadness was a positive which could be found within a very negative situation. With a few more years and a little bit of hindsight I realise that neither of these things were true, and it’s important for others to hear that.

Appropriating mental illness is not beautiful. The feelings experienced are terrifying, isolating, angry, confusing and all consuming. They are not feelings you’d want to be reminded of day in, day out by those who feel that a little sadness makes a good Instagram feed. Panic attacks do not make for good tweeting material and anxiety does not make you mysterious. Sadness shouldn’t be branded as a desirable characteristic when its effects can be so deeply damaging.

You might be an interesting girl experiencing sadness, but sadness does not make you ‘interesting.’ You might be a ‘cool girl’ who suffers from depression, but depression does not make you ‘cool.’

To define someone by their emotional state is a terrible thing.

Sara x

image source: Tumblr

No comments

Post a Comment

thank you for your lovely comments, i read and appreciate each one. If you comment i'll definitely check out your blog, however i'm not interested in following only for a follow back xo

© Studs On Saturday | All rights reserved.
Blogger Template Created by pipdig