I recently discovered an entire genre of YouTube videos dedicated to cleaning.
Type in ‘clean with me’ and you’ll have your choice of hundreds of videos of people cleaning their homes.
It sounds like the last thing in the world that anyone would want to watch, and yet, it’s really addictive. Watching a living space go from cluttered and messy to clean and ordered is oddly satisfying.
The trend, which is undoubtedly fuelled by the success of Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, has become something of a phenomenon on social media.
Here’s The Guardian:
The past year or so has seen cleaning take on a new cultural cachet – particularly on Instagram. The social network is rife with hashtags such as #cleaningobsessed or #cleaningtime and people are amassing enormous followings with pictures of gleaming kitchen counters and sparkling floors. Fitness influencers and fashion bloggers step aside: it’s starting to look like bleach is the new black.
Sophie Hinchcliffe, better known as Mrs Hinch, is one of the top ‘cleanfluencers’ in the game at the moment. Her Instagram is dedicated almost exclusively to newly cleaned and organised spaces:
The 28-year-old hairdresser from Essex has 1,7 million followers on Instagram.
She has developed a whole branded vocabulary around tidying up – cleaning is “hinching”; buying products is a “hinch haul”; her followers are the #HinchArmy; and her enormous collection of cleaning paraphernalia is kept in a special wardrobe called Narnia. (CS Lewis did not respond to a request for comment.)
As mentioned earlier, the trend extends across most social media platforms.
On YouTube, you can find countless videos like this one by Myka Stauffer, which has been viewed almost 250 000 times:
So what is it about watching someone clean that’s drawing people in?
Dr Stephanie Baker, a sociology lecturer at University of London and the author of a forthcoming book about digital lifestyle gurus, points out that we have been obsessed with domestic goddesses for centuries. The online influencers, she says, are simply the latest evolution of “the broader self-improvement movement, which had its origins in the 19th century and achieved tremendous growth in the late 20th with the rise of lifestyle media and make-over programmes”.
Kate Joynes-Burgess, the managing director of BCW, a PR agency that works with digital influencers, has a different opinion on the trend:
The public is tiring of photos of attractive people doing headstands on remote beaches, posing in fabulous outfits and socialising with photogenic friends. “The world of mega lifestyle influencers has been criticised as being on the cusp of an ‘authenticity crisis’ and potentially reaching a saturation point,” she says. “This has seemingly made way for more niche-focused influencers and conversations to blossom.”
It’s also possible that in a world where Theresa May and Donald Trump pass for political leaders, people just want a little order in their lives.
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