It’s so easy to look at humanity and feel we are all wearing masks. Some are more obvious than others: Meghan Trainor instantly comes to mind. I’m convinced her songs are written by the same kind of people who wrote the “gnarly” show Rocket Power. She’s built to appeal to focus groups and the most basic of ideas—good, positive ideas, sure, but they’re not “Meghan Trainor” they’re “What’s Trending on Twitter.” Even though she sings about body positivity, feminism, and self love, all things I agree on, something about her feels so fake—maybe it’s that she’s fighting tooth and nail to appear genuine.
When she took down her video recently because she was photoshopped, didn’t it feel like she only did it because it’s the cool thing to do, or because one of her songs bashed photoshop and she would’ve been criticized otherwise? It felt like a group of advisers discussed the best course of action for her. Maybe they even photoshopped her on purpose, so they could make a big deal about undoing it later.
But, honestly, we normal people aren’t much better. We all put on a show, 24/7. Hell, that’s why I like being alone so much, so I can act like myself without being judged by others, so I don’t have to “act” at all anymore. When my sister pretends to trip over her own feet or sing overly badly to seem quirky in front of her friends, it seems almost like manipulation…but I’ve also lied about having seen The Shawshank Redemption so my film major friends didn’t think I was lame, so I’m no better. I think we’ve all lied about having done this or not liked that or so on and so forth.
Code-switching is interesting too—when people talk or act different based on who’s around them. This is fascinating, and familiar to any kid who ever had a rowdy friend over before you were allowed to swear around your parents.
I don’t really know what to think about this. I get annoyed at this sort of acting but everyone does it, including me. What do you guys think? Is introversion enhanced by how tiresome acting is? Do you believe Meghan Trainor’s punchy activism, or do you think it’s born of a focus group? Do you think this acting is useless, or a vital part of a functioning society? I’m curious, because I don’t know what to think. This is a big, difficult topic, but it’s one we can have a good conversation about.