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Deconstructing the “Fleabag Era”

In recent years, the trend of mental illness being an aesthetic has seen a hike. Is this really a
harmless aesthetic, or does the “Fleabag Era” have deeper connotations?


If you use social media, chances are you’ve heard the phrase “In my Fleabag era”. The phrase is
based on the popular show Fleabag, which is centred around a female protagonist who
chaotically blunders her way through life. In the years since Fleabag was released, such chaotic
and self-destructive behaviour has become an aesthetic on social media. The question is, why?

People liked Fleabag because they felt that it was an accurate depiction of the messy realities of
life and mental health issues. However, relatability has given way to something else in recent
months, it has become cool and quirky to have a mental illness. While this in itself is not
something new, the aestheticisation of mental illness is definitely something that has not been seen before.

There is nothing inherently wrong when someone who is suffering from a mental illness turns
their experience into an aesthetic; often, doing this makes the experience more bearable for them.
The problem begins when this ‘aesthetic’ becomes trendy, which leads to the romanticisation of
mental illness by those who do not necessarily suffer from it. Such people often end up inducing
traits of different mental illnesses simply because they wish to be part of the trend.


Another problem with this trend is that it often discourages those who are suffering from mental
health issues from seeking help. They find a sense of community with others who suffer from
similar issues, and they often believe that seeking help would mean that they would no longer
remain part of said community.


The reality of life itself is that it is messy and chaotic, and it is much more so for those who
suffer from mental health issues. These issues are serious and people require professional help to
get better. The large-scale aestheticising of mental illness leads to the widening of the problem.
Being sad all the time is not “sad girl core.” It is often a sign that help is required.

Read Also: Questioning Mental Health – The Flawed Society

Featured Image Credits: Dazed

Urmi Maitra

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Urmi loves history and loves books. She is always on the lookout for learning something new, and will happily discuss anything ranging from political theory to jazz. Hopes to be a dog mom someday.