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Why are we obsessed with other people's routines?

You are what you eat and what you watch

Why are we obsessed with other people's routines? You are what you eat and what you watch

«Start romanticizing your life» says one of the most used audios on TikTok. To the tunes of the most famous songs by Billie Eilish, Kanye, or the Cocteau Twins, platform users accompany sweetened montages of their day, turning every step of their routine into a moment where aesthetics take precedence over everything else. A way to appreciate one's life, to make every moment magical, the romanticization of routine has become a pretext to demonstrate having all the qualities of a protagonist, including the need to be the center of attention. A format that originated at a time when the only video content on social media could be consumed on YouTube, video routines continue to accumulate views and fans worldwide, becoming over the years an infallible method to find online fame. But where does our obsession with other people's lives come from?

@daniellenguyen_ Romanticize your life no matter how mundane it may be #thatgirl #selfcare #selflove #thatgirllifestyle #2023motivation #thatgirlaesthetic #girlyaesthetic make life as pleasant as possible - emma chamberlain quotes

On TikTok, Get Ready With Me videos have taken ironic or educational turns. Hundreds of thousands of users record their skincare or makeup routines, narrating funny moments they had to face, while others provide valuable advice on philosophy, beauty, and spirituality. Similarly, What I Eat in a Day videos, illustrating everything a person eats in a day, have become a cornerstone of the format, an infallible way to engage the audience in one's life and kickstart their influencer career. Despite being seemingly superficial content, a pastime to follow to fall asleep, their popularity has raised criticisms and observations that highlight an underlying ambiguity. On one hand, we forget that the morning routine posted on social media by an influencer does not reflect reality, or at least does not reflect a plausible reality for people outside that sector. On the other hand, the romanticization of one's life can actually lead to cultivating a sense of gratitude, making us appreciate all the positive aspects of our day.

@jingherly Questa estate è successo veramente di tutto #getreadywithme #glowup #ex SAD GIRLZ LUV MONEY - Remix - Amaarae & Kali Uchis

Gone are the days when Emily Mariko's videos, the content creator who gathered millions of views by silently demonstrating her favorite recipes, were the most followed in the world. However, TikTok and YouTube users still enjoy routine videos. Although it's difficult to quantify the number of posts belonging to this format, as they are produced continuously with different audio and hashtags, on the Chinese platform, #getreadywithme has 26.4 billion views, #morningroutine 27.6 billion, and #nightroutine 9.6 billion. The unapologetic charm that these videos maintain over time, so particularly ordinary and seemingly useless, lies precisely in their normality. Being able to pay attention to oneself in an era where occupation and productivity are glorified as a religion, finding time to take care of oneself becomes a luxury reserved for a few. Those who can't afford it spend those free minutes of their day watching others.


counting down the days until it’s summer again!!

original sound - josh allan

A niche of routine videos vaguely resembles the games we played with Barbie as children. Like in the early scenes of Greta Gerwig's film focused on the life of the Mattel doll, we used to stage a kind of "perfect day" with our toy. Waking up in the morning on a bed already made, flying from our home to our friends' homes in the blink of an eye, having everything we need: heels, cars, pets, and villas that, in real life, would belong only to 0.1% of the population. And the only problems our Barbie encountered - or at least, the only ones we constructed on the spot to give a sense of narrative arc to our game - were solved in a conversation with Ken. Similarly, watching a conventionally perfect girl fly from a 7 am Pilates class to a brunch at Soho House wearing designer clothes from head to toe gives us, even if momentarily, a sense of order and rigor that we seek in ourselves. At the same time, videos of young creators who show their lives more authentically, openly recounting the more "awkward" sides of their routine, such as daily intake of psychotropic drugs, irregular sleep patterns, or how they are dealing with a relationship breakup, make us feel better about ourselves because they remind us of the imperfection of humans. In both cases, routine videos act as a "pacifier" to relax the nerves. Perfect or not, having the time to cook a 15-step porridge complete with Goji berries and that strange green powder whose benefits are still unknown is a privilege, just like it is for us to watch you assemble it.