The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Bean Soup Effect: Individualism has gone too far

Opinion+10%2F18%2F2023
Opinion 10/18/2023

I cannot be the only one who saw the bean soup TikTok. As one can imagine, this TikTok video was of a woman showcasing her recipe for bean soup, which shockingly enough, contains beans.  
To the vast majority of us, this fact is not surprising. However, the TikTok’s comment section is riddled with people asking for substitutes for beans, complaints about not liking beans and sometimes even jabs at the overall quality of the recipe. 
This phenomenon is not specific to this particular video. In fact, it runs rampant on social media apps like TikTok and Instagram, where users will post niche videos relating to a specific audience, and lo and behold, other users pepper them with complaints about the video’s topic. 
After the bean soup TikTok went viral, several creators made videos about the comment section. Sarah Lockwood, another TikTok creator, dubbed this phenomenon the “What About Me” effect, where someone sees something that they cannot completely relate to, so they find a way to make it about them.
“The What About Me effect is when someone sees something that doesn’t really pertain to them or they can’t fully relate to and they find a way to make it about them or try to seek out accommodations for their very nuanced personalized situation, instead of recognizing that maybe, they are just not the target audience for that thing,” Lockwood said in her video.
This is evident in several other videos across various platforms as well. Go to just about any video’s comment section on recipes, workouts, clothes, skincare or makeup and you will see the effect I am talking about. 
I cannot recall the number of times I have watched a workout video and gone to the comment section to see multiple users complaining about the exercises the creator chose to do, or how many times I have watched a makeup tutorial for a full glam and seen comments such as “Well I don’t wear that much makeup” or “What about a minimalistic makeup look?”
Controversial take here, but maybe just go look up minimalistic makeup looks and stop watching full glam tutorials.
It seems from these videos that an obvious conclusion can be drawn. Individualist culture has gone a bit too far.
We now live in a world that is so individually-tailored to our own needs that we fail to look outside our own hyper-specific bubbles. This fact is likely true for most of us. I would like to think, however, that most of us are not so socially unaware that we cannot understand other people’s interests.
Though for the rest of the population, which seems to have congregated in social media comment sections, this is exactly the case. 
This is in part caused by the social media algorithm. We rarely have to search for what we are interested in anymore. TikTok, Instagram and Facebook do it for us in a carefully cultivated array of videos and posts that captivate our attention for hours. 
In this particular case, it seems as if the TikTok algorithm has seriously messed with people’s perception, as they believe that anything on their “for you page” is solely intended for them. 
We are so used to having our interests and relatable content laid out for us that a post deviating from our desired norm is viewed as unfavorable or in extreme cases, even wrong. 
So, if you find yourself watching a video that you cannot relate to and want to comment about the materialistic value of the video, please take a step back and ask yourself, “Is this comment really necessary, or can I simply scroll to find a video I like better?”

About the Contributor
Elena Harman, Staff Writer
Elena Harman is a junior secondary education major. Elena is currently a staff writer for The Reflector.
Leave a Comment
Donate to The Reflector

Your donation will support the student journalists of Mississippi State University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Reflector

Comments (0)

All The Reflector Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
The Bean Soup Effect: Individualism has gone too far