Hopecore: A little slice of love

A little bite of smiles. Graphic by Anna Gritzenbach

ANNA GRITZENBACH | OPINION COLUMNIST | agritzenbach@butler.edu 

Hopecore: the bright corner of a seemingly always dark Internet. 

For my not-chronically-online readers, let me offer some context. The internet as of late has been obsessed with the idea of “cores” or certain aesthetics that specific locations, time periods and lifestyles invoke. Beachcore, kidcore and dreamcore are some that the internet went ballistic over, emerging during the COVID-19 shutdown. 

More recently, the internet has seen the emergence of hopecore: happy videos for a bleak world. Generally, hopecore is video content that is meant to leave the watcher feeling happier and uplifted — a stark contrast to content usually found on social media. 

Videos that fall under the category of hopecore can be anything and everything. Most frequently, they are videos about the simplistic joys of being human — dancing in the rain, getting a hug from a parent, a veteran coming home or a dog and their loving companion. 

If I’m having a bad day, I can always count on a video of a kid blowing out the candles on their birthday cake that their parents made special for them to make me smile. A video of an older couple dancing never fails to make me cry. 

Social media is constantly so negative. Everyone has something mean to say and quite frankly I don’t want to hear it anymore. It’s getting old. 

It’s not just social media, the news and almost all of the information we hear on a daily basis are so taxing on our happiness. 

Junior music education major Erin Balaska commented on how much negativity surrounds us, especially in the news, and how social media can help fight that. 

“A lot of times we only see negative stories from major media companies, because either that’s what gets them the views that they need or that’s what they feel like they need to push,” Balaska said. “Having an outlet, where you know you can find good stories: You know that you can look on that tag … and know that you can find positive things, it just helps show that there is maybe some good in the world, as opposed to what we see in a lot of modern media.” 

I struggle to watch the news a lot of the time. It’s really heartbreaking. But, it is important to be in the know — especially when I often have the privilege of not needing to always pay attention. 

First-year political science major Kendall Johnson speaks to the benefits of indulging in a little shred of hope, especially in a political landscape as dreary as ours. 

“Hope is very addictive, but it’s dangerous, too,” Johnson said. “It feels like such a fleeting thing nowadays … A lot of people, like activists and myself, tend to get very cynical because of the world that we live in. It feels like there’s no change and people are dying, people can’t afford to live; people are hurting all the time … It’s very easy for people to get lost in that … It’s a little escape, but also that little reminder is like a breath of fresh air that people can have on their For You Pages.” 

Hope is very hard to come by, especially on social media. With all the bad that’s happening in the world, hopecore helps turn on the light at the end of the tunnel. 

This trend allows the user to take a little dose of joy from the comfort of their own home. 

A lot of trends and cores encourage the user to spend money in order to obtain a certain aesthetic or vibe: hopecore directly goes against that grain. 

When trends require extra spending money to participate, it excludes a large number of people. Sure, it can be fun to watch videos of people doing one thing, but it’s a heck of a lot more fun to actually participate in the trends that you find online. 

Trends and new “cores” are just ways to get you to buy more, consume more and feed Bezos’ pocketbook. Hopecore doesn’t require you to buy anything: no clothes, no Sephora trips and nothing on TikTok Shop. It’s about being happy in a seemingly dark world. 

Sophomore health sciences major Morgan Kirby talks about how capitalism seems to rule every aspect of our lives — including our TikTok pages. 

“When core comes to mind for me personally, I think cottagecore or dark academia, which is very much based in purchasing things and acquiring this lifestyle for yourself, acquiring these material things to have these experiences,” Kirby said. “Hopecore for me is more like you have a little positive experience throughout your day and then you move on.” 

In today’s world, money drives everything. With the introduction of TikTok Shop, Facebook Marketplace and Instagram Shop, social media has turned into a new place to waste money — making more and more content exclusively for the purpose of promotion. 

I think that there is something so beautiful about being human — especially now. Social media gets a negative rep and a majority of the time that is rightfully earned. But, videos that fall under the hopecore hashtag, making niche connections or sharing a triumph with followers are all incredibly important aspects of social media. 

Think about how vital social media was during the COVID-19 lockdown — personally, I would have lost it if I wasn’t able to log onto TikTok and watch silly little videos. Yes, I know that might sound sad to say, but that is the world we live in. 

Hopecore reminds us that joy and childish wonder are still alive and still feelings to be felt. It shows us how important it is to foster human connection and be humans together. This might not be your soul’s first time as a human, but it is definitely yours. Be kind. Be joyful. Let hope in.


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