Photo Credit Clara Lavrador
Should the Sounds Be Silenced?
November 8, 2018
ASMR is on the rise with SHS students, garnering much controversy within the student body.
The autonomous sensory meridian response, ASMR is characterized by a tingly feeling and sense of calmness. Motions such as hair touching, whispering, and tapping all create this effect.
ASMR stimuli fit into several categories: in-person, transmitted, and auto-stimulated. These can be initiated by oneself or another person, depending on the stimuli.
Despite the several terms for quantifying the sensations, ASMR has been prevalent long before the abbreviation was coined in 2010: Often while getting their hair cut or listening to someone whisper, recipients feel an air of tranquility encompassing them. The sensation was only categorized once the user “okaywhatever” started a steadyhealth.com forum on it.
With the growth of social media and telecommunication in the late 2000s, the rise in ASMR followed. Now, videos of slime, chewing, and scratching are featured on explore pages far and wide. It has become difficult not to notice ASMR throughout the day, as its prevalence is everywhere. At Satellite High School, it is no different: In a poll of 116 SHS students, 91% are aware of ASMR in its many forms. Velouria Loya’s favorite “is cooking ASMR, specifically from places like Japan and Korea.” Loya expresses, “The videos I watch are extremely satisfying and the desserts they make are so cool! They can also be entertaining and educational.”
Though, not all Scorps express the same love of ASMR as Loya. Within the students who are aware of ASMR, only 46% enjoy it. They watch ASMR 1.25 times per week on average, with most viewing it either 0 or 3-5 times per week. Anjali Williams remarks, “I don’t actively seek it out, so whenever it pops up on my explore page [I’ll view it].” Others, such as Malia Voigt, partake in ASMR more frequently: “If slime videos count as ASMR, multiple times a day,” she opines.
Scorps have found ASMR to be a beneficial addition to their lives, contributing to better sleep and general calmness. “I find ASMR interesting and somewhat relaxing, and it gives me just one thing [to] focus on,” expresses Chloe Ogden. These soothing stimuli provide an outlet for students to decompress and unwind after a busy day on campus: Sam Sear listens to ASMR “every single night before [she goes] to bed.” Sear remarks, “I put in my headphones and fall asleep.” These videos have become a ritual in her nightly routine, improving her quality of sleep. Loya concurs: “ASMR has helped me fall asleep a lot faster! I genuinely think it’s helped with my stress and anxiety a bit too.”
Clara Lavrador felt so connected to this movement that she started her own account: “[Putting] matters into [her] own hands,” Lavrador created an ASMR Instagram after being “immediately inspired by the lack of quality from Instagram videos of people doing ASMR.”
Others, however, carry strong dismay. Nate Rogers dislikes the “uselessness and overall vibes of ASMR” and feels “as if it is a waste of time, for both performer and viewer. It is completely irrelevant and trivial no matter how you think of it.” Jazz Dawkins agrees: “I don’t see the point in it and I don’t find it satisfying.” Lavrador refutes these notions, contending, “Honestly, opponents of ASMR are really just wasting energy. ASMR isn’t a huge part of my life. I simply like sounds. Some people listen to loud music at raves to get their minds off of stress, and others eat ice.” Regardless, Madison Edwards puts it simply: “It causes confusion in my brain. Why would you listen to the random noises that you could make?”
And honestly, why would one do this? At their core, ASMR videos are someone standing in front of a microphone and wasting materials for human enjoyment. But isn’t that what characterizes most human activities? Hobbies, sports, traveling, ASMR—they all are of the like.
So, is ASMR here to stay?
Lavrador presumes “that after the social media ASMR wave has reached its peak, it will die down but not completely. There will still be queens such as Life with Mak who assist people with relaxation and entertainment.” Loya adds, “I think ASMR is here to stay, since it was a community way before it recently got popularized. However, in a few years the demand will probably decline, but there will always be an audience for it!” Thus, those who love ASMR should not live in fear of its demise. Both ASMR fans and performers are likely to keep the sensations alive.