Lena Dunham Re-shapes the Meaning of Mainstream

Today's post comes from Ypulse General Manager Jake Katz.

Lena Dunham Re-shapes the Meaning of Mainstream

GirlsIn 2010, The New York Times published an article called “What Is It About 20-Somethings?” This identification of the “emerging adulthood” Millennial phenomenon serves as the creative seed from which HBO’s “Girls” has grown.

“Girls” has sparked as much discussion in the marketing/media community as it has among its viewers. Thematically, the show brings to life many Millennial concepts. In particular, the growing complexities of dating (it’s no coincidence an article titled "The End of Courtship?" ran the same week as “Girls’” premiere). Additionally, the show’s exploration of navigating one’s post-college path to success mirrors much of what our research here at Ypulse shows about how Millennials are realizing their dreams in a post-recession economy.

While much of the discussion around the show has been quick to point out its misses (a lack of diversity in the cast, arguably skin deep analyses of life from Dunham), stepping back and examining it from a few levels higher brings up a more important discussion. The media industry should quickly be decoding what it means for our perceptions, visions, and assumptions of “mainstream America”, that a show set in the most notoriously niche and infamously marketing trapdoor of Williamsburg is as relatable to 20-somethings as the more obvious “The Carrie Diaries.”

The elephant in the room has now been recognized. For every big brand that has learned to assess new ideas, talent, trends, and marketing through a lens of mainstream versus leading edge, could this be the moment we realize the gap between leading edge and mainstream has nearly dissolved? Maybe.

Let’s think about this for a moment. We know this generation of youth…

 
 
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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “When I hear the phrase ‘The American Dream’ I think of 1950s cliches, the economic downturn of 2008, and how college debt has pretty much made it impossible.” –Female, 17, RI

We know Millennials have delayed going down the aisle, but how do they really compare to the generations before them? Over 30% of Millennial women will have stayed unmarried by age 40, “nearly twice the share of their Gen X counterparts.” Even if the marriage rate returns to pre-recession levels, Millennials will not catch up to Gen X marriage rates. The dip in married couples could have economic repercussions, as they are “often better off financially.” (CNNMoney)

25-34-year-olds (mostly older Millennials) are the most likely travelers to use mobile search and social media “to resolve a travel problem,” with close to 40% relying on a mobile solution to their issues and quandaries. Travel info startup Skift is calling this group the “silent traveler,” and the increasing number of travelling Millennials will likely make the number of silent travelers grow as well. In response, the industry is shifting efforts to mobile: 20% of Delta’s check-ins now come through their app. (MediaPost)

A recent survey covering Millennials’ political and economic views has some pointing fingers and saying the generation’s political views are “incoherent,” and “confused.” But others say they aren’t any more confused about economics than anyone else, and contradictory political opinions are not abnormal. One important takeaway that is often overlook is that a generation of over 97 million in the U.S. cannot all be painted with one brush, and that some of the contradictions in beliefs are likely due to various segments' contrasting views. (NYTimes)

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is a workplace trend that some IT departments may find frustrating, and not surprisingly it’s younger employees who are the biggest BYOD culprits. 70% of 18-33-year-olds admit that they break corporate rules and use outside apps (think Dropbox and Evernote) at work. Of those, 50% said they do it because approved apps aren’t good enough, and 60% said they didn’t think it was a security problem for their company. (Recode)

The app French Girls has been around for some time, but it is continuing to gain momentum—or at least to entertain the internet. (Yes, it is named after Titanic’s classic “Draw me like one of your French girls” line.) Users can submit selfies to the French Girl community and receive back digitally drawn versions of their likeness, often creatively interpreted. (Uproxx)

Quote of the Day: “If a photo of me went viral, I would feel angry but…maybe I would be a little excited because it went viral, as long as the picture is not bad.” –Female, 16, TN

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