2013 Was so Ugly

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2013 Was so Ugly

Ariana Abtahi and Kennedy Benjamin

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It’s 2013. You’re in your room, fairy lights amongst the shining polaroids of O2L hanging behind you as you slam back a Baja Blast. Your freshly dyed Kool-Aid hair is in a messy bun and your eyes are glued to the screen as you watch Cameron Dallas do a disturbing rendition of the worm to “Grind With Me” by Pretty Ricky. Life is good.

2013 was the pinnacle of human existence. In a world of 1,000 Acacia Brinleys (say her name in the mirror three times quickly and she’ll appear and draw cat whiskers on you) and Zoellas, it seemed like the Messiah had returned. After the travesty that was 2011–– the year of LMFAO and Silly Bandz––2013 brought a surge of relief.

Listen here, in 2013 One Direction was at the PEAK of their career. Their album, Midnight Memories (Deluxe Version), had just been released, and One Direction: This Is Us caused a monsoon of teenage girls to flood local theatres. The Starbucks secret menu was not so much of a secret anymore, with teenage girls simply carrying their tie-dye PennyTM boards and sipping their cotton candy frappuccinos. And for the boys, snapbacks were worn backward, and jeans too low, all in the name of swag.

Our style was rough, to say the least. We ditched those neon skinny jeans and checkered suspenders for American Apparel skater skirts, or Forever 21 if you smelled like broke but cared about appearances. Don’t even lie to yourself; at some point you, too, were so concerned about your level of swag that you would do anything for that perfect-fitting floral print tank.

Besides the visual aesthetic, we all tried to achieve that mindset in which every thought came out like a relatable teen post. Like when you “feel safe when he drives,” but in reality you weren’t even close to old enough to get your learner’s permit. But that’s  #JustGirlyThings. Of course, we could never forget the comedy gold affectionately referred to as “Teenager Post,” which completely encapsulated the mood of our generation. Take post #135, for example, “I hate it when people text me ‘K.’ I’m rarely in the mood to talk about Potassium.” This quote addresses the serious issue of dead conversations but expresses its disdain in a truly quirky way. Teenager Post catered to those who felt like they weren’t “like everyone else.” So, in our case, everyone. “Music is my life. The lyrics is my story” resonated with 12-year-olds everywhere.

Co-author Kennedy Benjamin, pictured with the tasteful “Chrome” Apple filter preset. Notice the plethora of British cuties plastered on the wall.

By far, the most problematic craze was MAGCON.  For those of you who don’t know, MAGCON was –– and still is (make of that what you will) –– a collective of around 15 boys who make hundreds of thousands of dollars by dancing offbeat or rapping something as lyrically challenging as the ABC’s. For the thousands of impressionable girls, a Tweet saying, “Good Morning Baby😍😍 (singular),” wasn’t enough anymore; they needed to experience their divine presence for themselves either 30 feet away from the “main room” or if you were lucky, ask Nash Grier to give you your first kiss. And the worst part is, he complied.

If only the cancel culture existed then. Did herpes not exist in 2013? Or was its creation MAGCON’s only legacy?

“MAGCON Goals ♡,” a common trend amongst YouTube channels during this time, showed compilations of girls waiting in mile-long lines to meet their heartthrobs. Once they finally made it to the front, the girls literally charged and jumped on them. SuperMexi14, an adoring fan, declared in an iMovie film production on YouTube, “My life goal is to meet them.”

Girls and boys whose parents were misguided enough to pay an astronomical amount to give them the full MAGCON experience did one of the following: asked for their first kiss, tackled them in a hug, cried to the point that their words became incomprehensible or asked for some kind of artsy photo, which included a pose such as Eskimo kissing or holding their hands up in the shape of a heart. Imagine carrying a child for nine months only for them to ask for $185 to get a high five from Taylor Caniff.

Co-author Ariana Abtahi in her prime. She didn’t make this stellar edit herself, but had she known how, the world would not have been prepared for the subsequent, never-ending onslaught of pink and emojis.

Let’s get serious for a minute. The issue is not crushing on cute boys who tell girls they’re beautiful. It’s that these boys –– who are also children –– are put into a position of superiority, influencing how girls should act and think. Videos like “What guys look for in girls” by the MAGCON boys told girls that their naturally developing body hair was “gross,” that they should play hard to get, and that it was their job to show interest in boys so that they wouldn’t feel unliked. But God forbid they show too much interest, lest they wanted to be labeled as “whores.” You can’t make this stuff up.

While the boys have grown and have apologized for their actions, there is a real issue in placing such power into kids’ hands. MAGCON still exists, and its members only get younger. Take Jacob Sartorius, who rose to fame at 12 years of age. He has a personal connection with Pali, having shot his famed music video, “Sweatshirt,” in our very own A201.

Despite our unrelenting criticism of the ridiculous fads and crazes of 2013, we cannot exempt ourselves from this tomfoolery. We, too, took part in this disaster of a year. Ariana subscribed to a more “hipster” philosophy, while Kennedy, who related to the emo-chic counterculture, had little to say aside from “rawr XD.” We were all embarrassments back then. Still, it is important to go back to your roots, reflect like a tree and leaf it all in the past. 😉

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