The Serious Faux Pas: Celebrities

This week, we’re delving into a cultural shift we’re calling The Serious Faux Pas: the tendency of Millennials to reject those who aren’t able, or willing, to make their flaws a part of their public persona; the modern misstep of celebrities, athletes, and brands who take themselves too seriously; and how idolizing perfect icons has become a thing of the past.

Because Millennials have grown up in the age of tabloid culture and the 24-hour news cycle, they are a generation with a heightened awareness of flaws, moments of weakness, and the fact that any public figure potentially has a scandal looming around the corner. They have begun rejecting any attempted “public displays of perfection” as inauthentic. Those individuals who take themselves too seriously, carefully guarding their “realness” behind a mask of flawlessness, may be doomed to be mocked and un-liked, while Millennials embrace self-effacing and imperfect personalities.

Perhaps the clearest example of the rejection of serious can be seen in current celebrity culture, where actresses, actors and musicians are no longer idolized for being faultless, but instead looked down on if they appear too calculated or unable to exude a “down-to-earth” personality. In this category, taking yourself too seriously comes in the form of not allowing the world to see you off-balance and spontaneously imperfect.

This year, a takedown of too-earnest actress Anne Hathaway has played out online in contrast to the complete adoration of self-effacing Jennifer Lawrence. In February, NYMag published an article entitled “Why Do Women Hate Anne Hathaway (But Love Jennifer Lawrence),” citing Lawrence’s frequent mentions of taking shots, eating junk food, and wearing Spanx on the red carpet as part of her appeal. Hathaway on the other hand, was said…


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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “For Halloween I’m dressing up as Erlich Bachman from the HBO show Silicon Valley.”—Male, 24, IN

Time has released their annual list of the 30 most influential teens. This year’s cut was chosen by “global impact through social media and overall ability to drive news,” and ranges from the dancing 14-year-old made famous from Dance Moms and Sia’s latest music videos, Maddie Ziegler, to 16-year-old founder of a high-end lacrosse equipment company, Rachel Zietz, to 17-year-old poster child “in America’s culture war over LGBT rights,” Gavin Grimm. Also making the list is 17-year-old app developer Ben Pasternak, who we spoke to earlier in the year. (TIME

The Uber for orchestras is aiming to get Millennials hooked on the classics. Groupmuse is a service that hires “young classical musicians to play small concerts in living rooms across the country.” Consisting of two 25-minute sets, the combinations of music can span a wide range: “We’ve had Dvorak and then string quartet arrangements of Guns and Roses.” The founder, Sam Bodkin, blames “steep entrance cost[s] to stuffy symphony halls” and the association that classical music is “boring,” for the lack of interest in Millennials. 70% of Groupmuse’s users were born in 1980s and ‘90s, and Bodkin has plans to partner with other classical music institutions to further spread interest. (WIRED)

Millennials are abandoning ship on shows that are just too hard to watch. A new study from TiVo found that more than half of Millennials have stopped watching a show because it was too “burdensome to access — i.e. not enough episodes were available to catch up on, episodes were behind a paywall or moved platforms,” or other obstacles. 91% of Millennials have active subscriptions to at least one streaming service, and their easy access to content has turned them off to the idea of having to put in effort to watch a show, especially when they think: “There are four other shows I can go watch right now.” (Variety

A brewer is targeting young and curious drinkers with an Instagram campaign that is the first of its kind. London brewer Fuller’s has strategically placed “blank” outdoor posters that encourage the viewer to take an Instagram and use filters to find hidden messages. The #FindFlavour campaign is promoting Fuller’s Frontier craft lager, and is backed by the insight that “social beer drinking is dominating across platforms, with fans sharing experiences, love of flavour and designs.” Participants who snap and hashtag their hidden message will get the chance to win movie tickets or free beers. (Morning Advertiser

A new augmented reality game is making little entrepreneurs out of kids. Osmo Pizza Co. uses an iPad camera and a simple mirror to mimic the experience of running a pizza shop for five to 12-year-olds. Players use physical objects to create pizza orders and exchange currency, that the iPad picks up on and translates into the game. They can also use their profits to upgrade their shop and level up. The game teaches math and emotional intelligence, as well as two important aspects of startups: making the consumer happy and growing a company by reinvesting money earned. (VentureBeat

Quote of the Day: “I would want anyone that is not named Clinton or Trump to be the next president.”—Male, 23, NY

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