Culture is the expected behavior of humans that is played out through “communication, language, practice, beliefs, values, customs, courtesies, rituals, manners of interacting roles, and relationships” (National Association of School Psychologists). What happens when you’re expected, or it’s acceptable to do almost anything and laugh off the consequences because…you only live one! YOLO becomes a justifiable reason for things, which seem unreasonable, irrational, and irresponsible. It’s validation for acting upon selfish desires without regard for the consequences.
Everyone has heard it, these are some examples in which people justify risky behavior that not only effects themselves but has major implications concerning others as well.
30 page paper due tomorrow, haven’t started yet… YOLO
Ate three cupcakes today…YOLO Driving 60 on the backroads…YOLO Just cheated on my girlfriend…YOLO
Usually these situations are ones where the individual feels guilty, but uses YOLO to justify their current predicament.
Raymond Williams explains that Hegemonic culture maintains itself by selective incorporation and selective attack. You know that it’s effective when people accept it as common sense…it becomes your reality.
As Appadurai expresses, Williams and Bennett agree, culture is a way of life. It’s a notion that indicates lifestyles. The creation of YOLO as a cultural phenomenon can be examined in terms of Raymond Williams and his idea “emergent culture”. YOLO has been adopted through the selective incorporation into the ever-changing dominant culture.
YOLO is not only an acronym, but also its own hashtag, and a website.
In doing a #yolo search on twitter, I filtered through some of the top results and wanted to share them:
“Went to bed at 5:30am and now I work an 11 hour shift. #yolo” “Just ran a stop sign in my car. #yolo” “Already finished the bottle of soco between 4 people in half an hour #YOLO” “4am burritos with Joseph! #yolo” “At the age of 8 I was already a hoe #yolo” “Dying my hair greed for Christmas because…Ya know…#yolo”