As of March this year, there is now a worldwide shortage of colouring pencils. But, why would anyone other than school children and Geography students need colouring pencils that much?
The answer is in the rise of the adult colouring book – it aids mindfulness, helps the stressed out individual to relax, an innocent and satisfying pass time. It provides a much needed break from the always changing digital world. Most have probably been tempted at least.
The popularity of adult onesies is another phenomenon where ‘grown ups’ feign childhood. There’s nothing more comfortable and comforting than a big baggy wearable blanket that looks like an animal.
Onesies and colouring books, amongst other examples, is the result of something called ‘infantilization‘. It is the idea that, in recent years, adults have begun to find satisfaction in products or activities that remind them of their child hood, or make them feel a little less like they have a ton of responsibilities.
Much of the evidence for this ‘infantilization’ also exists amongst students. In Southampton in particular, socials at a soft play area are high in demand, as are trampolining parks and adult ball pits. In halls, the odd student might build a fort in the kitchen or play ‘The floor is lava’ across the corridor.
The trend even extends to people over 20 buying the Euro 2016 sticker book, genuinely enjoying lollipops (SUSU gave out free lollipops if you voted in the union elections) and marvelling at The Avengers or Suicide Squad. All three of these examples are generally marketed to the ages of 15 and under. Even then, it would not be surprising to walk in on a 22 year old under a blanket, watching Frozen and eating pop tarts.
But, why is it happening?
It’s almost impossible to give one solid answer.
For students specifically, our generation is overwhelmed and scared. The pressure is high; not only to get a job but to present our most attractive selves on social media. We are overwhelmed by choice in an age of digital media. It seems as though everything is run via Facebook or Twitter. Important emails come through on our phones. We can be reached any time and all the time and ultimately never get a break.
Facebook is no longer a happy past time, it is a stream of shocking news articles, outraged statuses and social heroes in the form of begging for money for a charitable cause or writing paragraphs about why we should all recycle. It’s not a bad thing but, It’s not surprising that the tagging craze had regained strength. The onslaught of reality has to be kept at bay by the occasional ‘tag someone who’s a chicken nugget’ or a video of a pug in a tutu.
By resorting to child-like activities, millennials can keep a tab on responsibilities whilst holding close the enjoyment that comes with shameless childlike happiness. If watching cartoons instead of the news relieves stress, than why not do it? We have to stay sane somehow.