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Have You Been Feeling Like a Main Character Lately?

You’re not alone. Being the hero of your own story is the internet’s new favourite trend

By Fawzia Khan  June 29th, 2021

With the advent of Tik-Tok and Instagram Reels, coupled with all the time we’ve had on our hands, there has been an outpour of digital creativity that has taken over the lives of Gen-Zers and Millennials alike. Thirty to sixty-second skits that cover sundry life situations and comedic bits abound on both platforms, the most notable being the Main Character videos, where creators who are self-proclaimed protagonists act like they’re in their very own feature film, replete with settings, dialogues, outfits, and dramatic soliloquies about romanticising their own lives.

In a time when people turned to the internet because the outdoors were too dangerous, the Main Character Syndrome was and continues to be one of the greatest sources of comfort. While some concerned netizens have likened it to narcissism or even a disorder (which it isn’t, officially), the internet trend is not quite so malevolent. It’s more of a healthy desire for attention. The world has been cooped up in their homes for a very long time – the only way for some people to feel seen and heard is by pretending their life is a movie, in which they play the starring role. Each montage of a scenic walk, a beautiful sunset, a dream job, and the perfect meal helps sugarcoat a grim reality – to put it simply, the Main Character Syndrome is a coping mechanism chosen by the invisible hand of internet trends. Accounts like @nicholasflannery and @yasmine_sahid have built a huge following with their Main Character reels. Flannery embodies the “Rich White Lady” and Sahid making videos acting out our childhood fantasies involving Disney heartthrobs and boy bands.

In fact, the trend has naturally evolved and given rise to “I’m Not the Main Character But-” videos where people identify with the quirky best friend, the goth kid, or even the nemesis of the protagonist. Creators like @brody_wellmaker parody the main character, in his case Kristen Stewart’s Bella Swan from Twilight to the delight of his 2.1 million followers. At the end of the day, both the Main Character Syndrome and the antithesis of it are extensions of what social media has always been – a careful curation of the self to put on display to the masses, just (slightly more) delightfully delusional and accompanied by the heady thrill of being the hero of your own story.

 

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We love keeping our imaginations fertile and are all for building dreamy narratives around our lives for the simple joy of it. Do you identify as the Main Character or Not The Main Character at all? Let us know in the comments below.

Images: Getty Images; Alamy Images; Instagram