OPINION: Modern media is oversaturated, but why don’t we care about it?

If you take a look at the top movies of 2021, you will notice a pattern. Of the 10 highest-grossing films, nine are sequels or a continuation of a franchise, with Marvel and other superhero films taking the spotlight. Only one movie is an actual original idea. 

This motif extends past movies, with fashion today recycling past trends and musicians oversimplifying their songs to reach a broader audience. The innovation, hard work and thought that used to be put into so much of our culture has been replaced with a quick cash grab, something that, unless we deal with it soon, could have further-reaching consequences than we initially believed. 

In 2012, a new movie hit theaters that would change the film industry for over a decade. “The Avengers,” a film that combined several separate superhero stories into one, brought widespread acclaim and earned $1.5 billion in box office sales. It spawned more sequels in the form of a second Avengers film and numerous other spin-offs based on characters in their new connected universe. These movies all made millions of dollars, skyrocketing the careers of their actors and bringing a massive influx of cash to all involved in the project. 

As time went on, however, and the franchise continued to grow, audiences could see a steep drop in quality. Instead of one or maybe two Marvel movies a year, we began to get three or four, as well as multiple TV shows, all back to back. Instead of focusing on producing compelling, creative stories, the studio capitalized on audiences and pumped out movie after movie, regardless of the quality. 

Gone are the times of big-budget, compelling blockbusters with profound stories that reflect our lives and the world’s situation. Now is the time of witty comebacks and clever jokes made by heroes in colorful costumes as they fight crime.

The oversaturation of modern media is a problem partially caused by TikTok, an app that has become the primary network when it comes to following new trends. People use the app to find inspiration for what to wear, listen to, watch and eat. However, most trends are a “throwback Thursday” of something that was once famous. 

2022 brought back flare and ultra-low-rise jeans, and Y2K (‘Year 2000’) fashion is now the hottest trend among Generation Z. However, the body type standards were modified (again!), and alongside the Y2K fashion, the bare midriff became a trend as well. There’s no need to have the perfect, skinny body to wear ultra-low-rise jeans, but the industry implies the opposite. 

We all know it is cool to be “trendy” in fashion. Still, this trend of ultra-low pants generated many insecurities in people in an era that is supposed to be “body positive” and inclusive. 

Everyone is focused on creating “the next big thing,” but oftentimes today, the “next big thing” might actually be something old being brought back into modern culture. After all, it’s much easier to stick to the mold, and repeat what has already brought you success, rather than go through the effort of creating something that might fail. Yet, we should be at least trying to innovate instead of recycling old trends that deprive people of loving their bodies and keep society entangled in the past.