Slime in Today's Culture

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Slime Impacts

Three cultural and social impacts of the slime trend include its increasing use in fashion, encouraging entrepreneurship, and its use as a therapy tool in a variety of settings. Details of these impacts are below.

Slime and Fashion

  • The slime trend gave rise to using the product, or at least the color of the original product in high fashion.
  • Original slime is associated with neon green, which has come to be known as "slime green," likely due to the infamous Nickelodeon Slime that used to be dumped on guests' heads during Nickelodeon's "You Can't Do That on Television" program that ran from 1979 to 1990.
  • Historically, many shades of green, including slime green have been difficult to wear and even produce. In fact, in the 1980s, "Pablo Manzoni told New York Times fashion critic Patricia Leigh Brown" that this shade of green was " a miserable color. Nobody looks good in it. Because of the high condensation of green and yellow, it is lethal, I repeat, lethal. The teeth look yellow. This is just a deadly thing."
  • However, according to The Zoe Report, in 1998, "on nearly every major designer’s spring runway, there emerged a clear color of the moment: slime."
  • In March 2018, fashions that featured the bright neon green saw sales rise 22% over the previous month.
  • Vogue's Brooke Bobb indicated that the rise in bright green fashion items was "on the heels of the DIY slime boom on YouTube, in which people became obsessed with making slime at home."
  • Likewise, Pantone named yellow-green its color of the year in 2017, right when the slime rage was at its height.
  • Examples of the impact of the slime trend on fashion can be seen in Prada's fall 2018 line, Adam Selman's slime-themed shirt, Madeline Poole's slime green nail polish collection, and Tom Ford's 2018 fashion collection.

Entrepreneurship

  • The slime trend allowed people to become entrepreneurs, especially kids.
  • NPR stated that slime, "for many young people on YouTube, Instagram and Etsy, it's a moneymaker."
  • One YouTuber, Karina Garcia, became known as the "Slime Queen" and was making about $200,000 per month in sponsorship money for her slime recipes that she would share with her 6 million subscribers.
  • Teenagers began selling homemade slime on Instagram and one teen, Theresa Nguyen, was making $3,000 a month with her slime products.
  • By the time Nguyen was 13 years old, she had nearly 500,000 Instagram followers, many of whom would purchase her slime, which she marketed as a "stress and anxiety reliever."
  • During the height of the slime craze, most slime batches sold "for between $5 and $10, but range up to $25 for the largest batches."
  • Thousands of Etsy stores popped up selling all types of slime from "Fruit Salad Clear Slime to Strawberry Champagne Metallic Slime."
  • Other examples of people who turned into entrepreneurs during the slime trend include Sara Y., a 12-year-old who earned nearly $5,000 selling her slime; Rachel Albus, a 13-year-old who earned $400 through her slime Etsy shop, and the owner of the Instagram page slime.jewel, who initially only sold slime, but began "investing in scents and glitters, which only increased her profits further."

Therapy

  • Perhaps the biggest impact of slime on culture is its increased use in therapy.
  • Slime acts as a "stress toy. It is a simple and effective gadget that can help [people] relax while playing with it."
  • The main function of slime as a therapeutic tool is that it takes the mind off stressors and focuses it on the pleasing sensory characteristics of slime.
  • The repetitive motion of kneading slime releases tension from the body. This motion may also mimic hand movements people remember from childhood, which can be comforting in times of anxiety.
  • Not only do many therapists use slime in their sessions with patients, but there are therapeutic slimes available for purchase as well, specifically those that combine aromatherapy with the de-stressing properties of slime.
  • Other therapists use slime as play therapy since it is a form of sensory play that "enriches a child’s awareness of their bodies and senses." Slime allows children to focus on four of the five senses and leads to "more self-awareness, as well as awareness about the world around them."
  • Moreover, sensory play, like that which occurs with slime, has been shown to "boost language skills, problem solving skills, and cognitive abilities."
  • Trauma therapists use slime to help children develop "grounding skills" that help them "feel more secure and manage flashbacks."
  • Physical therapists use slime to develop gross and fine motor skills and speech therapists use it as a "topic of a conversation for speech and language."
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Satisfication and Slime

Three insights surrounding why slime is so satisfying include the sensory aspects of slime, the repetitive nature of making and kneading slime, and the mindful learning that occurs when making slime. Details of these insights are below.

Sensory

  • Slime stimulates all senses except taste. For touch, slime can be "soft and fluffy, milky and glossy, smooth and buttery, or thick and crunchy.
  • For hearing, people can "twist and fold slime in the right way and it will sigh pleasantly — in the form of bubble pops, kisses or a squishy clicking noise that slimers have termed the 'thwock.'"
  • Slime can even stimulate the senses, as many slime specimens "are scented like sweet fruits and flowers." The scent of slime is, according to Chloe Park, "very important... If it doesn’t meld with the visual impression, It can throw the whole slime off."
  • In terms of sight, slime videos have taken the Internet by storm as people use them as calming mechanisms, and even to help them fall asleep. In fact, Chloe Park, who started a slime company, said she was first drawn to slime through these videos. She said she remembers thinking "I want to touch it so bad."
  • Even for taste there is some stimulation in the fact that slime "offers the idea of food. Slimes have always drawn visual connections to cotton candy and soft-serve."
  • According to Nelly Curtis, an art therapist, "Slime has very sensory, stimulating qualities, which can help regulate emotions."
  • Slime has a different property than people are used to. It's not a liquid and it's not a solid, so "maybe that’s why slime is so fun to play with — it’s surprising compared to other liquids... It doesn’t do what we expect it to, because we expect things to be either a liquid or a solid. We usually don’t expect things to kind of exist in this middle realm."
  • Examples of sensory slime include slime that looks like food, scented slime, textured slime, auditory slime, and visual slime.

Repetitive

  • According to Gail Saltz, M.D., a psychiatrist and the author of The Power of Different, "repetitive behaviors that are connected to the sense of touch can be very soothing for some people."
  • This repetition could explain why people enjoy massaging slime for autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR), which is defined as a "feeling of euphoric tingling and relaxation that can come over someone" when performing certain activities or watching certain videos.
  • Moreover, children, who represent the core audience for slime, often find repetitive motions soothing, which include massaging slime or Play-Doh.
  • Repetition leads to mindfulness, which leads to a sense of calm. Playing with slime helps people engage in a "practice that allow[s] them to generate an internal sense of calm."
  • Curtis also states that the "act of stretching, squeezing, and playing with the slime can help you connect in the moment with your mind, settling it down, providing it analog input that relaxes a jittery state."
  • An example of someone repetitively kneading slime for meditative reasons can be found in this video.

Mindful and Creative Learning

  • Psychiatrist Tracy Asamoah M.D. believes that part of the satisfying quality of slime is the "mindful learning aspect of the polymer."
  • Children enjoy watching the complete transformation of disparate household products into slime.
  • Once the slime is made, children enjoy being able to "sit with that compound, learning from it and observing it in a way that is accessible to them, as well as interesting."
  • Nationwide Children's agrees with the satisfying awe of creating slime, saying, "Little adjustments in the make-up and proportion of ingredients can make a big difference in the final product. Plus, there’s fun in mixing colors and the crunch and pop of those unexpected fillers, like Styrofoam balls and plastic beads."
  • According to BabbleDabbleDo, "slime is an incredible chemistry project full of problem solving, testing, and evaluating and a wonderful sensory activity for older kids."
  • Examples of how satisfying the learning portion of slime production is can be seen in the numerous slime lesson plans available on the Internet. Teachers are using slime to activate learning at all stages of growth.
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Slime Events

Three specific events surrounding the slime phenomenon are the Nickelodeon Slime Fest, A Celebration of Slime, and Slime-A-Con. Details of these events are below.

Nickelodeon Sime Fest

A Celebration of Slime

  • A Celebration of Slime is a popup event at the Sloomoo Institute, which is located at 475 Broadway, Manhattan, New York 10013.
  • The experiential popup event will be open in New York for six months and then will move to another city.
  • Tickets for the New York popup are available through April 12, 2020.
  • The Sloomoo Institute is a "sensory haven centered around slime" that is designed to bring out the child in everyone.
  • General admission tickets are $38 and include the ability to make eight ounces of slime at the experience's DIY bar. There are also 30 vats of slime, a slime lake, slime experiments, and "an immersive ASMR tunnel."
  • For an additional $30, guests can purchase an Enhanced Experience, which includes "a trip to 'Sloomoo Falls.' Sloomoo Falls is a magical place where you wear a cute hooded rain poncho, shower cap, goggles and slime will pour down all over you!"

Slime-A-Con

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