Every circus needs its entertainers, and the #gratitudegirls are playing live tonight. The Emotional Marketplace targets a demographic of these prototypes who compete with one another to see who can be the most productive, positive, and pristine. It’s a self-care race to the top of Instagram, as vapid as a Miss America competition turned into a pop music video. This, obviously, is why it sells.
The #gratitudegirls need to have their emotions validated through the consumption of virtue and progress. They need to praise one another for being different from those angry girls who are just plain crude and nasty. They are more-positive-than-thou because they saw a reiki healer and purchased a quinoa-kale hybrid juice for $12 in an effort to stop oppression against sex workers of color (while never having done sex work and being afraid to walk in the ghetto). Products for this demographic are turned out by the dozen, and The Emotional Marketplace continues to thrive.
There are three visible solutions for those of us who are unwilling to engage in this modern charade.
1. Become a ninja, parading around as a social engineer who can blend in with any crowd. Take the yoga class with the #gratitudegirls and make them your clients or girlfriends. Praise the commie-capitalism in which the selling points of kindness and unity serve to advance your follower count. All for one and one for all, you’ll utilize and maximize your positive manifestation-inspiration-infiltration device for the common good of your own dark triad interests.
2. Become a robot. Opt out of The Emotional Marketplace entirely, refusing to engage with these feeling-based data points. Focus on advancement and take pride in your virtue without signaling. Accept that angry emotions aren’t welcome around the #gratitudegirls, and find other robots you can hate with in private. Perhaps some ninjas will join you along the way.
3. Become a Gothic Mean Girl. No explanation is needed here. Just do it. I strongly recommend this option. If you become a Gothic Mean Girl and partner with your favorite ninjas and robots, you don’t need to allow the #gratitudegirls to control the narrative.
"Yet #gratitudegirls are the majority of consumers in my industry,” you may be thinking. “We cannot create a new marketplace for our tiny little robot-ninja-utopia, especially not when people still want things served to them on a monochromatic platter they dare to market as a rainbow. The audacity!”
Yet new options are available to aspiring Gothic Mean Girls and their sexy ninja and robot friends. As new micro-societies are forming, the #gratitudegirls, who control The Emotional Marketplace, will eventually fade out. Let them eat self-help quotes. Let the new consumers become robots, ninjas, and eventually Gothic Mean Girls. We’re all just passing along units of cultural information, and the virus that spreads is one that infects without compromise. You can spread the virus to the micro-society of your choice. Gothic Mean Girls of the world, unite!
—Rachel Haywire is the author of The New Art Right, and is currently working on a new memoir about corruption in Silicon Valley.