The Term "Bed Rot" Is A Thing Now, Because Our Culture Is Obsessed With Laziness And Gluttony
A new aesthetic is emerging on TikTok, and this one involves staying in bed all day and vegging out instead of facing the world.
By now, you've heard of the 2022 word of the year: goblin mode. The term originated from internet culture that encourages self-indulgence and carefree living. It's about living life by your own rules and rejecting the societal norms of beauty and productivity. The trend became popular on platforms like Twitter, TikTok, and Tumblr, where users have shared their humorous interpretations and examples of living in sloth and/or excess. Influencers will use goblin mode to refer to their lifestyle of staying out all night at the club and then sleeping in until 2 p.m., only to wake up to drink more wine and order pizza so they can binge on Netflix for the rest of the day. The term was also used to refer to people eating heavily processed foods all day long instead of cooking at home and nourishing their body.
But proponents of goblin mode claim that the term can also refer to a minimalist lifestyle that includes spending the weekend doing nothing but eating their favorite food and watching reruns of old shows—an embodiment of a carefree, unapologetic lifestyle. The popularity of goblin mode also reflects a broader shift in online culture, where trends tend to favor the authentic and relatable over the polished and idealized. It acts as a pushback against the picture-perfect lifestyle often portrayed on social media, encouraging everyone to embrace their own unique, sometimes messy, realities. At least, that's how it sold. However, there's a new term in town that seems to be taking the place of goblin mode: bed rot.
What Is "Bed Rot?"
Bed rotting is meant to be a celebration of relaxation and intentional downtime in a culture that values hustle and productivity. To bed rot means to spend the entire day horizontal in your luscious bed, just relaxing and giving yourself the freedom to scroll through social media for hours or watch your favorite movies on repeat. A perfect bed rot day may also include enjoying beverages or spending time with a pet while cocooned in your comfort zone. This new trend isn't only about physical relaxation; it's about mental recuperation too. For introverts, a bed rot day is a perfect antidote after a socially exhausting event. The act provides an opportunity to recharge their social batteries, and for those wrestling with the anxiety of an impending work week or what's colloquially known as the "Sunday scaries," an afternoon of aimless ceiling-staring is meant to be a much-needed escape. So surround yourself with your go-to snacks and veg out—because you deserve it.
There are 294 million views of bed rotting on TikTok alone, making it one of the more popular trends taking place on social media right now. @carlhutjrs posted a short video for her followers and gave some advice "from one after work bed-rotting girlie to another." She encouraged them to brush their teeth and maybe even have a little tea. "I bribed myself with a little sweet treat before so I was already up & it didn't seem so hard since I was already walking around," she wrote. "Now back to bed silly goose!!"
@horrible.glitter also shared a clip of herself bed rotting with the caption, "All I love is bed rot I truly just want to rot in bed all day with my stupid snack and baby sensory bravo tv. it's not only my vision board but if I'm honest it's what I crave! [sic]"
In another TikTok, @mauraanderson7 shared a video of herself making her bed but with one goal in mind: "to rot in it longer."
Another viral video from @ninaxpao had the caption "the feminine urge to do nothing all day and rot in bed." The compilation showed clips of herself laying in bed with a laptop and a glass of water next to her bed.
The ethos of bed rotting is that it's perfectly okay to succumb to the warmth of your bed and use an entire day to reset yourself and just turn off the outside world of responsibilities. In other words, it's a celebration of the "Joy of Missing Out" (JOMO), a counterpoint to the omnipresent "Fear of Missing Out" (FOMO). The popularity of "bed rotting" lies in its subversion of traditional societal expectations. It challenges the continuous societal demand to engage in exciting, share-worthy activities, preferring instead the comfort of solitude and stillness. Bed rotting is sold as an empowering day of rest, but is that really what it offers?
"Bed Rotting" Is an Accurate Glimpse into the Laziness and Sloth of Popular Culture
When goblin mode became popular, many people hoped that it would be a temporary thing that remained more of a joke than anything else, but as time goes on, it's becoming very clear that our culture very much enjoys being lazy. In fact, it has become one of the most popular things you see on social media. It's a response to the many years of girl bossing that we were served during the early naughts and 2010s that featured high-powered professional women at the forefront of rom-coms and hit TV shows, such as Sex and the City, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, 27 Dresses, Sweet Home Alabama, etc. All the protagonists in these types of films and shows were hard-working career women who didn't have time for love—that is, until they found a man who was worth their time and love. But Gen Z killed the boss babe and ushered in something different entirely.
Now it's much more common to see women slowing down their life on social media and being much more authentic about their mental health, their struggles, etc. While there is certainly some value to that, things have taken a turn for the extreme. Our culture is now glorifying all things lazy and slothful. The rise of goblin mode (which only has found popularity because of the term "adulting") showed us how many young women are actually just irresponsible, idle individuals who have a difficult time taking care of themselves. It's almost like the cool thing now is to be mentally ill (and share what kinds of psychiatric medications you're taking), introverted and averse to crowds, and disenchanted with traditional social life. The coronavirus lockdown didn't help much either. It only encouraged people to be more isolated than ever before.
It's no wonder we've ended up with bed rotting. We're a culture that can't even wait one week to watch a new episode of our favorite show, and we find it to be a burden if we have to wait 45 minutes for our DoorDash to arrive. Combine that with the black hole of social media that makes it all too easy to scroll through TikTok for two hours straight, and you're left with a recipe for indolence and apathy that results in influencers celebrating their utter laziness and isolation. While there are some positives to moving away from the polished, heavily edited world of Instagram that presented people as impossibly perfect specimens whose life seemed to be straight out of a blog, we've overcorrected to the other side where we're laughing at the fact that young women are acting like loafers.
Why Do Trends Like "Bed Rotting" Only Pick Up Speed with Women?
Notice that trends like goblin mode and bed rotting are only sold to women. It's difficult to find men celebrating their laziness and sitting around in bed for 24 hours straight. In fact, the most popular content geared toward men right now online involves entrepreneurship advice, relationship advice (even if it does arise from the problematic red pill community), and gym culture. You simply don't see men encouraging each other to be sloths. In fact, it's quite the opposite. And yet, bed rot is packaged as an empowering act for women. Of course, there is value to resting when your body needs rest. After all, our hormonal cycle results in a couple days each month when we are wired to turn inward, retreat from large social gatherings, and reflect. But this doesn't mean you shut off the outside world completely and refuse to shower or cook nourishing foods.
Women are either sold the fast-paced, masculine girl boss life, which has resulted in many women committing themselves to their career and thus having trouble finding a husband and starting a family at 36 years old, or they're encouraged to sloth around in bed for four days straight and just eat junk food while they ignore work emails and put off doing laundry. Why is it always one extreme or the other? Why can't women be given healthy, balanced examples of a day-to-day lifestyle?
Women bring life into the world. You could argue that the elitist agenda to break down the family and lower the birth rate could easily be achieved by convincing women to isolate themselves, ruin their physical and mental health, and exclusively prioritize themselves and their needs without thinking of others. Bed rotting is the easy path to take, and sadly many women are falling for the lie that it's the rewarding path to take as well.
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