"We no longer have references" is a phrase that we hear a lot and that, among us, I don't understand very well. And I don't understand it because the reality is that humans always have references. We are looking for people to identify with, people in whom we are reflected or who are like us, we hope to become one day. In short, we look for role models and groups of people with whom we feel identified.
So, when people say that phrase, I understand what they are saying is that there are no referents that they would like and that there are no references. When we start thinking about who young people follow today, the mind quickly goes to youtubers and influencers. This, in many cases lifts blisters, since they don't seem serious references to us.
How we found our references
Human beings, as social beings that we are, seek to be part of groups that are part of our identity and who we are. The people we identify with partly define who we are or who we want to be. This is especially relevant in adolescence, at which time we are still being formed who we are or will be.
One of the ways of learning that we humans have is modeling. This means that we learn from the actions of others. We look at people we feel identified with Either because they have similarities with us or because they are how we want to become ourselves.
To find those referents to identify with, they have to be accessible. Of course, part of them can be our parents, family, friends, teachers and even neighbors. But on the other hand, we find them in the people who appear in the media. On the one hand, because they are accessible. On the other, because it makes it easier to find more variety of profiles than in our usual life.
If we ask who they are the most visible people right now in the mediaThe answer is simple: influencers, youtubers, singers, actresses and what is popularly known as celebrities. So it is not surprising that these are the references today.
Good or bad references
Knowing this, the question is whether influencers, actresses or singers are bad references as hinted at and if we should look for other people to look at. If you ask me, the references that are in each moment are those who adapt to the social moment in which we are and what people claim. Within this variety, some will leave a more positive mark on society and others less.
That influencers or celebrities are the new major referents does not necessarily mean that everyone is bad. We live in the moment that Taylor Swift, for the first time, has used its social networks to encourage the population to vote in favor of social rights, feminism and equality.
We are in a year in which we have seen Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio join to create a video in which they encouraged American society to go to vote and express their opinion. We live in a time when we have seen Emma Watson go to the UN and give a speech in front of millions of people in favor of the rights of women and girls.
Demi Lovato has openly admitted his mental health problems and his fight against drugs, in addition to constantly sending his powerful body positive message. We have singers like Dua Lipa, Anne Marie or Haile Steinfield writing and singing empowering songs, inviting women who listen to love each other as they are, admire other women and reject romantic love.
We see celebrities like Mandy Moore or, in our country, Dani Rovira, defend animal rights and invite us to adopt instead of buying. Or Selena Gomez show the resulting scar after her best friend donated one of her kidneys.
In our country, last year, Operation Triunfo was a national phenomenon in which we could see two men kissing in a live show in prime time. In which There was open talk about homosexuality, transsexuality, women who say they mean live, who don't shave or don't wear heels because they don't feel like it. We find an influencer like Mery Turiel who, on the one hand, shows her clothes and a beautiful life, but on the other hand recommends books, encourages reading and writing and reminds her followers that her life is not always as beautiful as it looks.
This is added to the fact that, as we had in Trendencias a few months ago, when young girls are asked about their references they mention celebrities, yes. But they also mention other people such as Rosalia de Castro, Hipatía de Alejandría, Marie Curie, Teresa de Calcutta or Amelia Earhart among others. Following people on social networks is not incompatible that having other references, perhaps less visible but present.
Influencers or not, there will always be people who have references that we don't like. We are probably lacking more, I don't deny it. But I am also convinced that some of those who are aware - or have been becoming aware - of the platform they have to reach people and positively influence. Maybe even make a difference.