What’s in a Decade: Politics and Beyond

The 2010s will forever be remembered by the power of protest.

If you told someone at the start of the decade where we are now, they probably wouldn’t believe you. The infiltration of social media, our political strides and setbacks, owning technology that resembles that of Star Trek. Between talking into our watches, the arrival of 3D, and life-saving medical advancements, the 2010s have been nothing short of living in the future. 

That being said, our political climate is currently in shambles. We are a divided country, and many have turned to violence. Students are scared to go to school due to shootings becoming normal in the nightly news. This domestic terrorism is a constant reminder of the hate brewing within our world. Bipartisan work is rare and oftentimes ends in a twitter battle. Issues like immigration and civil rights have been twisted and torn apart by elected officials. Washington DC has become a melting pot of illegal business dealings and phone calls. Our President is now a punchline to the general public and foreign leaders. 

But muddled between the “fake news,” SNL skits, and riots, there have been massive accomplishments. We re-elected our first African-American President in 2012, who legalized gay marriage in 2015. Going into 2019, the newest members of the 116th Congress made the legislative body the most diverse in U.S. history.

We have become more inclusive and vocal in the political atmosphere. Millennials and Gen Z members have formed nationwide strikes, especially for climate change and gun safety. 

“For me, this decade is defined by activism. I’ve seen such an increase in people speaking up about what they believe in and not backing down in the face of adversity,” said Borana Somen, a freshman at Binghamton University.

Young activists like Greta Thunberg and Emma Gonzalez have changed the way we see progressive change, and are inspiring young people around the world to take a stand for what they believe in. 

These young people owe a lot of their success to the social media takeover of the 2010s. The March for Our Lives and the Climate Strikes would not have been possible without the virus-like spreads of their mission. One could not log onto any platform without seeing a post about them – positive or negative.

People have gotten overnight success from this form of social media communication, whether that be Bhad Babbie from Dr. Phil or Mason Ramsey from Walmart. Careers can be started in a single post. Lives have become revolved around likes, retweets, and followers. One can make a living by simply posting content. Models have run the social media market. Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, Alexis Ren, and Kaia Gerber are just to name a few.

There has also been a strong emergence of plus-sized modeling to show inclusivity to the majority of the American public. Ashley Graham and Iskra Lawrence are credited to being the faces of this campaign, as well as promoting untouched photos.

“I’ve loved seeing model campaigns like the one that Aerie does. It’s so inspiring to see so many racially and physically diverse women being celebrated for how they really look instead of a photoshopped version of themself,” said Sarah Merideth, a senior at LaGuardia High School.

Shane Dawson and Andrew Siwicki have become the kings of Youtube, with their episodic videos on a youtube channel with over 23 million followers. These so-called “social media influencers” are making millions from being skilled content creators and working their way through show business. 

Pop culture figures have trickled their way from our phones into our daily lives. If Kylie Jenner gets lip injections, then everyone needs to get lip injections. Trends that spanned from duct tape wallets and neon jeans at the beginning of the decade, to a re-emergence in the ’90s and early 2000s fashion, has made our aesthetic drastically change. There has been a growingly high demand for ethical brands, thrifting, and environmentally conscious consumption.

Fast fashion brands like Forever 21 are failing because they are behind on the eco-friendly bandwagon. Supporting child labor for a five-dollar top is top longer acceptable as we move into the next decade.

“A big part of this decade for me has been my style evolution. I value a piece and it’s quality rather than how trendy it’ll be for the month. Thrifting is my main source of shopping, I actually rarely go to a brand store now. If we’re going to save the planet we have to do whatever we can, and I really like thrifting. You can get a real vintage band tee instead of over-paying for one at Brandy Melville,” said Nina Martin-Jenkins an Frank Sinatra School of the Arts (FSSA) senior.

Beauty brands like Glossier and Drunk Elephant have skyrocketed in sales because of their clean labels, ethically sourced ingredients, and cruelty-free philosophy. Beauty companies like Coty and Loreal have seen a dramatic decline in their sales numbers. Not only are we shifting to more ethical products, but skincare and wellness products are becoming more important than makeup. Shopping is now done with a moral sense of code, something that should be passed on throughout every decade. 

We’ve had downfalls and slips. With every decade’s good, comes a century’s worth of bad. The most important thing is that we continue to hope. Every innovation opens up another world of possibilities. Every day is a new opportunity to be better and to create a better world for the generations to come. Whether you’re a boomer or a millennial, the 2020s will be another decade of opening our eyes and minds to the rapidly expanding and beautiful world around us.

– by Madelyne Greenberg ’20