Our wiki is a comprehensive encyclopedia of online and offline aesthetics! We are a community dedicated to the identification, observation, and documentation of visual schemata.
What is an aesthetic? Why does everyone always argue about what aesthetics should be on this wiki?
The short answer: A collection of visual schema that creates a "mood."
Some types of aesthetics include:
Aesthetics originated from Internet communities (Ex: Cottagecore, Dark Academia)
National cultures (Americana, Traditional Polish) Note: Most articles that try to describe a national culture will be deleted. These articles should have a higher quality and risk stereotyping a nation.
Genres of fiction with established visual tropes (Ex: Cyberpunk, Gothic)
Holidays with iconic imagery and colors (Ex: Christmas, Halloween)
Locations that have expected activities, components, and types of people (Ex: Fanfare, Urbancore)
Music genres with consistent visual motifs present in cover art, music videos, etc (Ex: City Pop, Emo)
This does not mean all music genres should be present. For example, Pop and Alternative bands' do not have shared visual traits.
Periods of history with distinct visuals (Ex: Victorian, Y2K)
Stereotypes (Ex: Brocore, VSCO)
Subcultures that share music genres and fashion styles (Ex: Raver, Skinheads)
The long answer:
The word "aesthetic" originated as the philosophical discussion about what beauty is, how we should approach it, and why it exists. However, Millennials and Generation Z started using that term as an adjective that describes what they personally consider beautiful. For example: "After Denise finished watching The Virgin Suicides, she said, 'Wow. That was so aesthetic.'"
Aesthetics have now come to mean a collection of images, colors, objects, music, and writings that creates a specific emotion, purpose, and community. It is largely dependent on personal taste, cultural background, and exposure to different pieces of media. This definition is not official and can be debated. There is currently no dictionary definition that captures the complexity of this phenomenon, which arose in the Internet youth. Rather, people who participate in the community "know it when they see it." These elements are constantly debated, as the opinion on whether or not some aesthetics exist or are valid is constantly debated. This is especially true since everyone's own personal life factors into their opinions.
Here is an example of a debate that is going on within the community. Whether or not Lolita is an aesthetic varies on what counts as visual elements. On one hand, lace, petticoats, and bows are valid elements of visual schema. Those elements combine to spark feelings of kawaii, de-sexualization, rebellion, and appreciation of antique. On the other hand, aesthetics are made up of elements other than fashion, such as home decor or music. Fashion is the visual element, rather than the components making up the coord/outfit. That element is part of broader schemas such as Goth and Victorian. What counts as an element and what qualifies as sparking an emotion is a complicated subject.
So right now, the subject is trying to be defined by the community. What either fits into a larger schema or is distinct enough to warrant its own aesthetic is difficult to say and would depend on who you are asking.