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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The Newsfeed

“I love reality TV shows. It's always fun to watch average people make themselves look foolish just for a shot at fame.”

—Female, 17, CA

“Bored kids” and “desperate parents” are the most likely to love their smart speakers. Nine out of ten children who own one say they enjoy their device, and 57% of all smart speaker owners with children admit entertaining their children was one of the reasons they opted for the purchase. Ypulse found 13-34-year-olds consider Amazon Alexa one of the “coolest tech products” so it’s no surprise smart speaker owners love their devices: 65% “would not want to go back to their lives before getting one,” 42% consider it an everyday “essential,” and over half of parents plan to purchase another. (Fast Company)

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(Huffington Post)

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Leisure and hospitality are the “hottest” jobs for teens this summer. A full 41% of teens went into leisure and hospitality last year, nearly double those that landed a wholesale and retail gig. Education and health services rounded out the top three, with all other industries claiming 5% or less of the summer teen workforce. When Ypulse asked teens where they’re planning to work this summer, restaurants and fast food jobs combined would land the top spot on the list. (Markets Insider)

“Everybody loves Drake. People that claim to not like Drake don't know themselves well enough.”

—Female, 21, CA

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