Redefining activism through aesthetic

On the surface, #corecore may not appear to be the most effective form of activism, but it is actually the most real it gets. What moonlights as merely visually aesthetic videos, really compels people to think twice about prevalent social issues that are often swept under the rug.

Starting off as a label to categorize videos sharing a common theme, words followed by “core” were initially used for fashion-related media. Later on, videos under hashtags like #cottagecore and #gorpcore curated style beyond mere pieces of clothing, with entire lifestyles becoming incorporated into the aesthetics, as well. 

Seemingly, the word “core” has become a synonymous word for aesthetic, and #corecore would literally translate to the aesthetic of having an aesthetic. A typical #corecore video comprises clips from a movie, an interview or even a collage of other TikTok videos. More importantly, these videos highlight topics ranging from depleting mental health to capitalist demolition to the obsession with beauty. 

Many of these issues that #corecore addresses have been stubbornly rooted in our society since the beginning of its history, and hence, little has actually been done about them. However, through the rise of TikTok, the average TikTok user can create these wide-reaching videos to expose common social problems, such as insecurities, that corporations secretly profit from.

While one might argue that a video of recycled media only serves as performative activism—doing little to nothing with the reputable appearance of perpetuating real action—#corecore videos really force us to digest content for a second time around, perhaps changing a reaction from meaningless laughter to more profound consideration. It is this double take that curates an online audience more aware of what they are consuming.

After all, this awareness is the first step in creating a wide-reaching conscious collective, who only then can feel ready to create small changes to battle the personal impacts of broader social issues.

And because these videos are simple in that they merely reflect our reality back to us using recycled content we have already been exposed to, we are left with no other direction than to take the initiative to improve, for ourselves.

That being said, our definition of “true” activism must expand in conjunction with the passage of time, especially relative to what past examples of activism have been able to achieve for us thus far. Universal social concerns and their adjoining activist movements have been around for hundreds of years, yet either little change has been achieved or we have digressed further backward in our progress. 

So, evidently, our strength to combat social affairs has gone bleak. As more, new issues only continue to pile into the mountainous cabinet file of issues yet-to-be-solved, we seek a different means of activism—something more accessible. We have exhausted all our energy and resources fighting an unresponsive society, so perhaps this era is one that will just allow us to utilize safer means of activism from home, without depending on putting our bodies at risk in the front lines for the sake of drawing attention to a particular issue.