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…

 
 
Ask Millennials some questions.
Log in to get started...

Want to talk to us about the article
or dive into a custom study?


Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “A ‘foodie’ to me is someone who takes pictures of every meal and follows multiple food blogs and pins a lot of food pictures on Pinterest.” –Female, 17, TX

ABC Family wants to be there for young women 14-29-years-old as they “navigate the next step” in their lives. To do so, they’re doubling their original programming with both scripted and reality series in the coming years, and stepping away from “trash-talking, train-wreck reality TV shows” to focus on more aspirational content. To keep up with their socially engaged audience, who spends an average of three hours a day on mobile, they’re launching a revamped Watch ABC Family app this summer. (Adweek)

Online voters could put a transgender Millennial man on the cover of Men’s Health. The magazine’s “Ultimate Guy Search” looks for men that embody their ideals of health and wellness, and thanks to social media and a strong LGBTQ community, 27-year-old trans male Aydian Dowling is the competition frontrunner by a landslide. There are both judges and a “reader’s choice” component to deciding the winner. A 2014 Ypulse monthly survey found that 87% of Dowling’s generation believe that LGBT individuals should be able to live their lives without discrimination and judgment. (The Daily Beast)

Michael Kors seems to have captured the hearts of teen girls: 39% of average-income girls choose Kors as their preferred handbag, up from 7% in 2012, while previously beloved Coach fell from 46% to 17% in that same amount of time. Teen shoppers are a powerful and influential bunch, and they’ve brought Kors “to new highs.” However, when brands become ubiquitous, as Coach did and some think Kors could become soon, sales can slow, making room for “hard-charging upstarts” like Tory Burch and Kate Spade. (Bloomberg)

For some time now YouTubers have been garnering just as much popularity as Hollywood celebrities, and it’s beginning to pay off, big time. According to Outrigger Media, CharlisCraftyKitchen, the largest food and cooking YouTube channel, is bringing in an estimated $127,000 a month. We should mention that CharlisCraftyKitchen stars 8-year-old baker Charli and her 5-year-old sister, Ashlee. Their amateur videos are among the successful channels that are providing marketers with a “tidy revenue stream” as they continue to garner millions of views. (AdAgeBusiness Insider)

Disney is tapping into the next generation’s interest in STEM to promote their upcoming movie Tomorrowland. The Create Tomorrowland – XPRIZE Challenge is asking kids and teens to envision themselves in the future and share what inventions they think would be impactful. Starting next week, creative thinkers between the ages of eight and 17-years-old can submit videos, images, or stories about their imagined invention or innovation and the influence it could have. Six winners will receive prizes to help move their ideas forward in real life, like a mentorship with a leader in their area of interest and a 3D Printer. (XPRIZE Challenge)

If you haven’t already noticed, Millennials care about their food. 47% consider themselves “foodies,” and 89% say that they’re open to trying new foods. How do we know? It’s not telepathy. Every other week, we reach out to our Millennial panel of over 60,000, asking 1,000 13-32-year-olds about current events, seasonal trends, changing attitudes, and new norms. The results of these monthly survey results are delivered to our Gold subscribers, and can be downloaded from our site. (Ypulse)

Sign Up Now

Subscribe for premium access to our content, data, and tools.

Already a subscriber? Sign in.

Upgrade Now

Upgrade for full access to the best marketing tools for understanding the next generation.

View our Client Case Studies