The adult colouring-book industry is a spin-off of the marketisation of wellbeing and mindfulness. In an era when therapy culture dominates the Western imagination, the transformation of the childish hobby of colouring-in into a worthy adult pursuit has been made possible by its association with some mental-health benefits. In a world where ‘mindfulness’ is successfully marketed as a panacea for the existential problems of humanity, it isn’t surprising that colouring books are sold as a remedy for stress.
I find this whole fad interesting. These coloring books seem to have sprung up from nowhere to become best-sellers, one hitting more than a half-million sales. As the sub-head to the article says:
Adult colouring-books speak to the infantilisation of the West.
Apparently these books are marketed as therapy:
The reason adult colouring-books have become bestsellers is that they resonate with the zeitgeist, which communicates the idea that we live in a uniquely stressed-out, anxious world. The popularisation of the idea of wellbeing is itself culturally significant. The perception that wellbeing is something that needs to be achieved through therapy promotes the impression that it is not the norm.
And this statement resonates with something I’ve been noticing a lot recently:
At a time when Western culture distracts adults from taking themselves and their responsibilities seriously, the invitation to grown-ups to return to the sandpit reinforces the trend for infantilising everyday life.
Look at the most popular movies these days: comic book superheroes and Star Wars (well, that one isn’t out yet, but the fervor around it astonishes me).