“Stayin’ Alive” Has Become Camp
If you’ve ever taken a CPR certification class, you have most likely learned about the “Stayin’ Alive” trick. When learning how to do chest compressions, prospective life-savers are instructed to deliver the chest compressions to the same rhythm as the song “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees. Whether due to the Bee Gees’ latent medical expertise or some life-saving cosmic coincidence, a disco song about staying alive on the dance floor has helped countless of heart attack victims stay alive on the actual floor. Now, the American Heart Association is witnessing record-breaking registration numbers for their CPR certification classes. Experts in the field cite the return of the disco aesthetic on social media as the cause for this uptick in interest. Specifically, the song “Stayin’ Alive” has become “camp” in the eyes of the online generation.
This ironic yet affectionate label for disco music has spawned a viral social media trend on Tik Tok, where thousands of videos embracing the disco aesthetic as well as first aid have appeared seemingly overnight. In these videos, young people film themselves giving CPR compressions to the tune of “Stayin’ Alive,” which has simultaneously become the app’s most popular sound as a result. The first video was created by heartlover120, a nurse in Michigan who teaches CPR training classes. Her video gained a decent amount of attention due to her dressing the practice dummy up in a 70’s disco getup. However, the current most popular video in this trend is of TikTok star Charlie D’Amelio doing CPR on a similarly-dressed practice dummy. Many have accused D’Amelio of stealing heartlover120’s idea without proper credit, but the damage was already done.
TikTok has been flooded with “Stayin’ Alive” content, mostly with the hashtags: #CPR, #stayinalive, and #lifesaver. The race to create the most interesting and camp CPR video has seen creators bedazzle their practice dummies, cosplay as 70’s disco patrons while practicing CPR, and even vlog themselves saving actual lives. Multi-platform influencers have even started posting pictures of their CPR training certificates on Instagram, only adding fuel to the fire. This fad has proven that all you need to do to get Americans to help save the lives of their fellow man is to make it trendy!
The American Heart Association has done their best to capitalize off of this newfound interest in first aid by offering disco-themed classes, personalized CPR kits, and creating informative TikTok content of their own. These themed classes have been largely successful, although instructors have found it hard to cope with the mass influx of students while teaching in full disco get-up, and students have noted that it’s hard to have an effective learning environment with a disco ball overhead.
However, as with every new internet community, there are always bound to be toxic fans that take it to the extreme. Some creators participating in the trend have disavowed Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs), saying that needing a tool to save a life is “lame” and “cringe,” even though AEDs have a much higher chance of resuscitating a heart attack victim than manual CPR. The American Heart Association has been working with TikTok to de-platform these dangerous gatekeepers, but this growing sub-community still poses a major threat to the movement.
Overall, this trend has been largely positive, with more young people than ever having the ability to save lives. Heart attack related deaths have been decreasing exponentially ever since the trend has started. However, it is only a matter of time until the trend dies down, people lose interest, and lives will be lost as a result. So I will end this with a call to action: if you care about heart health at all, you will help keep the meme alive.
Massey Willaims is a fourth-year writing major who frequently performs CPR on herself for sexual gratification. You can reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org