On Sasha Grey, American Apparel Models, and Searching for the “Real” Thing

My Tumblr dashboard has been inundated with empty-eyed, thin, white, cisgendered hipster models, or Sasha Grey. Whenever this happens, I get angry, I unfollow more people than I really need to, and I quit the internet for a little while.

I know that this is an ongoing conversation, but will someone please explain to me the appeal of these people? Is it really attractive that someone with stringy, greasy hair and an empty face doesn’t seem to care about anything at all?

Like, I get it. You want to represent the “cool you” on your blog. The you that’s into pictures of topless, deadpan boys in the forest or a haunted house. But seriously? You don’t look jaded. You look ignorant. The world is shitty enough without your personal, tragic narrative of indifference.

Apathy isn’t something one should be proud of, and it isn’t something one should be striving for. Apathy is death. When I was at the lowest point of my depression, my apathy was all-consuming. Here’s the truth: it was terrifying. And I couldn’t stop thinking, “What if this is it? What if one day, I wake up, and realize that I never felt a thing?”

Playing pretend with your indifference is foolish and dangerous.

But maybe I’m just playing fast and loose with my feelings. Today, I found out a classmate of mine just died. We danced together in a class two years ago, and he told me that I was a beautiful mover. He had absolutely no reservations admitting this to me, and we barely knew each other. He was unabashed and real.

Call me crazy, but that’s what I love to see in people. Fire, passion, feeling, and desire. I want you to tell me what you DO give a fuck about, I want you to laugh loudly and freely, and I want you to tell me what you want from life. I want you to show me that you care about things, because who has time for ennui and faking it?

Wake up. Wake up and tell me how you really feel. Put away your cigarettes and blank stares. Get angry or elated or horny or tearful. Love a little, and live a lot. Don’t buy into the “disinterested” aesthetic – because I think you’re really fucking interesting. So show me your interests, that you’ve got the “real” thing because it’s real for you, that you’re a human who cares even when everything is screaming your impermanence.

And while you’re at it, wash your fucking hair. TC mark

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  • antwan

    this is grand!

    • REI KOZ

      HAHA! SHE IS RIGHT THOUGH.

  • Paige

    SO. TRUE.

  • http://miriammogilevsky.wordpress.com Miriam Mogilevsky

    This is so brilliant. And it actually just inspired me to write a blog post. :)

    http://miriammogilevsky.wordpr

  • tracing paper

    washing is flawed cause after you wash, you have to wash again at some point, one or two days later for maximum clean

  • angiephone

    LOVE it. I may just retumble.

  • Lauren

    Thank you for writing this.

  • iami

    Preach, girl, preach. This remind me of something Amy Poehler said in an interview about American Apparel ads:

    “They're fucking gross, man. Look, I love beautiful girls too. I think everyone should be free to have their knee socks and their sweaty shorts, but I'm over it. I'm over this weird, exhausted girl. I'm over the girl that's tired and freezing and hungry. I like bossy girls, I always have. I like people filled with life. I'm over this weird media thing with all this, like, hollow-eyed, empty, party crap.”

  • Tommmmmm

    I think Sasha Grey “feels” a lot.

    • Flanges

      Her anus certainly doesn't.

  • Kristen

    Amazing. A friend of mine who was just like your classmate also died very recently, so I may have cried a little bit.

  • Reallydudeeeee

    this is something thin white cisgender people on tumblr would reblog until it got, like, 4,000 notes.

    not only that, pretty much everyone on thought catalog is white. and i haven't seen anything from a genderqueer or transsexual contributor. and the only male african american contributor was transphobic. so you know, this place isn't exactly a beacon of hope.

    • Sara David

      and why not, after acknowledging and rejecting that typical aesthetic? of course i did so as a lower-class, mixed-race feminist activist–individually, and not at all as a voice FOR thought catalog. but here it is. one article about challenging the privileged white hipster aesthetic, from one person, via a medium that is typically of the privileged, white lens (not to mention hipster–just articles before mine was a piece about how HARD life is when a guy HAS FEELINGS for you and all you want to do is be selfish.)

      steps, is what i'm saying. you're looking for a deep, structural, deconstruction, blowing shit up, and starting over. which i'm all about, but revolutionizing aesthetics DOESN'T look like that.

      it looks like this. discussion, communication, challenging, presenting, rejecting, and empowering. and anyway, how do you even know if a contributor is genderqueer or trans? it can inform without their explicitly writing about it. but the point is, discussing, rejecting, and informing on the (thin, white, heteronormative, cisgendered, upper-class) white hipster aesthetic is a start, and many steps away from the articles on here that praise/aspire to it.

      • Yowza

        ugh you are insufferable. but i guess im faking it or w/e

      • Yowza

        like people are starving, getting blown up, raped, exploited all over the world and you think being “real” means complaining about the lack of diversity on your fuckin tumblr dashboard? terrible shit.

      • Sara David

        no, i definitely saw the complaining about the lack of diversity on tumblr as a jumping off point, to get more to the aesthetic and the driving forces behind it. (largely, indifference, apathy, and disinterest–i wasn't even trying to make commentary on western standards of beauty. i think that would look like a whole different article.)

        i think being “real” means avoiding a stagnant, unmotivated nature–or, i guess, just feeling things.

        yeah that does sound pretty insufferable. (yikes) but that's more what i was trying to get at.

      • pulp

        i feel stagnant and unmotivated and it's very, very real

        but i definitely see it being marketed in a cheap, artificial manner in some attempt to be edgy or something

        i just wanted to point out that apathy can be authentic

      • Dan

        Because the definition of “real” is pretending to care about faceless people you have no connection to and don't actually feel anything for.

      • dubstepkelly

        Pretending to care??? Faceless people??? Bro, if you don't feel anything for the people in libya, syria, japan, sudan, somalia, afghanistan, tunisia, cambodia, thailand, etc. then fuck you and your alien mom.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh

    Why are you bashing heroin-chic

  • alexandra

    thank you so much for writing this, honestly. it's been almost a full year since one of my old classmates committed suicide and it really affected me in this way – i just want everyone to feel and have emotions and embrace everything, everything. thank you for writing this, even though it did make me cry

  • http://profiles.google.com/nrath08 Niharika Rath

    “Wake up.”
    EXACTLY.
    I love everything about this article, I've read it like three times in the past day. Apathy is death = 100% truth. More people need to realize this.

  • Jessica

    I think this article is pointless. It's fashion – so what if it's apathetic. It appeals to many people's sense of aesthetics, and Sasha Grey, through she may seem apathetic, is really anything but. If you're going to get angry at emotionless, depressed people, get angry at THEM. Don't take your emotions out on style & freedom of expression. It's a LOOK. That's all it is.

    • http://www.facebook.com/donglebungler Alex Trottier

      Dead on. She even admits it right in the article, mentioning “playing pretend.” If these people were truly apathetic they wouldn't be making posts about it, wouldn't be admiring empty-eyed, thin, white, cisgendered hipster models. People who make posts like “I WOULD JUST LIKE TO REMIND EVERYONE HOW LITTLE I CARE” obviously care.

      People tend to be jealous of the person who doesn't care…the person who is genuinely free to do as they please, unhindered by arbitrary rules that most people feel compelled to follow. I don't see how it could possibly be surprising that young people find this aesthetic appealing.

      Furthermore, apathy is not death. Your fear does not constitute a universal truth.

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