I’m Not ‘Rebranding’ In 2022, And Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Either
We all know the dialogue about New Year’s resolutions – do they work? Are they productive or just make us feel worse about ourselves?
While the New Year’s resolution is an age-old puzzle every year, social media — TikTok in particular — has spawned the phenomenon that is New Year’s rebranding. The name change is like the younger sister the resolution’s brightest and most ambitious – it calls on people, especially women, to go beyond setting goals for the new year and completely reinvent themselves. This takes the form of “in and out” lists cataloging a new year’s do’s and don’ts, in videos showing clothes to support the brand change, in new haircuts and blocking your ex on Instagram.
Rebranding asks you to look at all the aspects of yourself that you didn’t like the year before and burn them out, while maintaining a facade of self-care and poise. So why is the concept of a new New Year’s branding so unhealthy and why has it become such a rapidly growing trend?
If you head to TikTok’s explore page and search for “2022 Rebrand,” you’ll find thousands of videos, almost entirely created by young women, explaining facets of their own rebranding or teaching others how to rebrand themselves. . A viral video lists products women can buy for their brand changes, ranging from skincare products to weights and workout bands. Creators include their Pinterest searches, elaborate lists structured with Canva graphics and colors, or virtual vision boards capturing the aesthetic they hope their 2022 will be. The brand changes encompass everything from career goals to relationships, to the hope of buying a new wardrobe, etc. reflects a sense of desperation to become a different person in pursuit of happiness and acceptance.
While some aspects of rebranding are achievable and healthy, the overarching theme is that to be successful in the new year, women need to shed their old selves and become more connected, cooler, and more productive. The “ideal woman” in 2022 does light and “natural” makeup, has that “floofy” puffed hairstyle, newspapers every day, drinks green juice and works out every morning before heading to work for her dreams, and has a bunch of products that make her pretty and with her. She wears a lot of linen in the summer and she has a great collection of cashmere J-Crew turtlenecks for the winter, and she probably looks fantastic in a strappy dress. She’s smart and she reads for fun rather than for school or work, she woke up politically without making too much of a fuss, she goes to the farmers market every week and cooks healthy, sustainable meals every night.
It’s designed, in short, to make the rest of us feel like we’re not doing enough.
To understand the toxicity of brand switching, we can look at some of the things that make resolutions dangerous for mental health. Setting goals based on others’ expectations of how you should look or act is a slippery slope to comparison and self-doubt, and when many resolutions center around body image or weight loss, a well-meaning goal can easily turn into a set of unhealthy habits. Diet culture rules the New Year’s rebrand, promoting a narrative that everyone should want to be slimmer, fitter and wear the clothes they thought didn’t fit them last year.
Given TikTok’s generation of women aged 13-25 and its greater susceptibility to eating disorders, the rebrand and its popularity on the hit video app may pose a legitimate image challenge. body and a healthy relationship with food. That’s not to say that setting a goal to train more or invest in healthier foods is going to send you into a spiral of self-awareness, but it all takes time and patience, and goals of everyone do not happen at the same pace. Rebranding makes it look like everyone is going to have lost weight or gained muscle by the end of January, and that’s just not realistic or healthy.
Perhaps the biggest red flag of rebranding is how it promotes the idea that humans are like companies or products that need to be marketed and sold. To say that women should rebrand themselves every year implies that our identities and personalities are never permanent and require constant change in order to adapt to societal ideals or norms imposed by social media and influencers.
This year it’s the curtain call, be in your reputation era, those matching pastel-colored workout sets and land your dream job before you turn (gasp) 25.
Of course, it would be great if we could all transform into the most sophisticated and perfect version of a human woman every year, but this standard is constantly evolving to become even more unattainable, and strives to match it to every time the clock strikes 12:01. am Jan 1 is simply not sustainable. The idea of rebranding is designed to make us feel like we’re not good enough if we don’t have a new look and set of personality traits every year.
The silver lining of this vast TikTok explore page is that for five videos showing off a flashy rebrand, there’s a woman reminding her followers that the practice isn’t necessary. There is a sense of awareness that we don’t need to jump through these yearly hoops, it just needs to be more prevalent.
The reason rebranding is so popular is because it’s great to talk about or make those lists – it makes you feel like you’ve already accomplished something by outlining your vision for 2022. When you post this video or see someone who has similar goals or things you want, you feel validated and seen. Rebranding is a viral trend for the same reason TikTok dances or silly animal videos: it scratches people’s brains.
No one constructs their rebranding with malicious intent or to make others feel inadequate – it’s a side effect that occurs regardless of how we try not to cause problems or accommodate likes and dislikes of each one.
So if we’re not changing brands, what are we doing to grow in the new year? I personally try to focus on what made me happy and healthy in 2021 while taking note of things that didn’t work last year and changing them. I’m not putting pressure on myself to be a new person this year, and I’m not planning on buying new clothes or anything else that will make me feel like a drastically different version of myself. Sure, I got a haircut over the winter break and I appreciate the new clothes I branded via Christmas presents, but I try to be consistent in remembering that my own personality and the things I love are perfectly adequate for 2022.
I’m still going to wear stretchy pants and sweaters most of the time, and I make it my goal to be more regularly active instead of losing weight. I don’t need to spend money and energy to reinvent myself, but it will be a difficult climb to accept that I love myself as I am. The culture that gave birth to the new brand wants women to dislike their personality and body, so they have to keep spending time changing it, and that’s a difficult cycle to break.
Still, my biggest goal for 2022 isn’t necessarily to change, but to make sure my priorities reflect who I know I’ve always been. Instead of altering my personality or my appearance, I’d like to change the things that make me feel bad and add to the things that make me feel good. It’s not a brand change by a long shot, but it looks like growth. I made a vision board, but it’s not like many I’ve seen on social media — it has photos of hikes I’d like to do, cats to represent my plan to adopt one one when I move out of my dorm on campus, books I’d like to read, and cheese boards that look fun to make and eat.
These are all things that I liked in 2021, just with the intention of putting more energy into them in 2022. I’m not trying to be preachy or to say that my way of looking at the new year is inherently better than others – I just hope that we, as a collective, can recognize how people take advantage of our insecurities and work to reclaim the “new year, new me” concept as a positive and healthy reminder that we don’t don’t have to change to be worthy. Once we have validated the unchanging aspects of ourselves, we can begin to focus on what makes us happy and appreciate how those things make us who we are. Women are worth more than a rebrand, and hopefully we can start seeing that in 2022.
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