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: “Pandora is my favorite app because I LOVE music and creating stations that introduce me to new songs I didn't know about.” –Female, 31, GA

Snapchat, one of Millennial and teens’ top ten favorite apps, has major plans to be the future of media, and make a lot of ad dollars in the meantime. But they’re also trying to turn a profit another way: good old-fashioned merchandise. Snapchat towels are on sale on Amazon, and fans of the platform can also buy official Snapchat plushies. (And no, neither will disappear three seconds after purchasing like the reviews say.) (Digiday)

Speaking of Snapchat…Yahoo’s new Livetext video messaging app is rolling out in countries around the world and trying to appeal to “the Snapchat generation.” Livetext adds video—without sound—to one-on-one texting conversations so that users can see the people they are talking to. Threads disappear after a session is over, but Yahoo says the app isn’t a Snapchat competitor. (Engadget)

Millennials are going to miss Jon Stewart. According to a new poll, one in ten 18-29-year-olds say they trust The Daily Show or now defunct Colbert Report the most to tell them what’s going on in the world. While CNN ranks higher than other traditional channels on the list so “could reap some of these young abandoned viewers,” we think it’s more likely that they’ll continue to use social media and other alternative programs as their news sources. (Washington Post)

Calvin Klein has a long-standing tradition of sex-appeal marketing, and their latest campaign is inspired by sexting and so called hook-up culture. The ads include text screenshots and messages “inspired by real matches, texts + encounters.” The effort is clearly targeting Millennials, who are often believed to live in a casual encounter culture, but we should point out that for many brands these days sex doesn’t sell like it used to. (Business Insider)

Unemployment is reportedly down among young consumers, but that doesn’t mean that more Millennials are moving out of mom and dads. According to Pew analysis, 18-34-year-olds are less likely to be living independently of their families than they were “in the depths of the Great Depression.” In fact, the number heading up their own households has actually decreased during the past few years of supposed economic recovery: in 2015, 67% of Millennials over 18-years-old are living independently, compared to 69% in 2010. (Pew Research)

Quote of the Day: “Google Maps is my GPS and I would be lost without it.” –Female, 22, DE

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