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: 

Q: What goals do you have for yourself that your parents did not have? 

A: “Working for myself, finding a career field that fits with both my interests and skills, being in a relationship(s?) that is healthy and promotes growth (not necessarily marriage)…” –Male, 23, D.C.

“Give me my mobile TV!” According to Ericsson’s new media report, more than half of Millennials’ entertainment viewing time (53%) is spent on smartphones, tablets, and laptops. The numbers are even more dramatic among teens, who are watching nearly 75% of their TV and videos on mobile. Unsurprisingly, younger viewers are also watching linear TV less than older audiences, with 60% of 16-34-year-olds watching everyday, compared to 82% of 60-69-year-olds. (The Verge)

Major entertainment brands and TV networks are teaming up to solve the problem of the “growing legion of missing kids.” (See above.) The recently formed Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement is backed by Time Warner, Disney, NBCU, and many others, and is studying the viewing behavior of 2-17-year-olds to create a new measurement system that could account for all of the ways that they consume video—outside of “’old-school’ TV.” (Variety)

The teen years used to be all about fitting in, but for today’s middle and high schoolers, standing out is so much cooler than being like everyone else. Ypulse’s own Chief Content Officer MaryLeigh Bliss weighed in with a little why behind the what: “Teenagers have grown up learning innately about personal branding in order to stand out in a sea of billions of people. If you want followers and likes, you have to display photos and videos that show you doing and wearing interesting things. Otherwise you’re going to fade into the background.” (The Globe and Mail)

Children’s nonfiction is having a moment. Nonfiction children’s book sales have reportedly spiked, going up 38% in the last year for Penguin Young Readers Group. At Scholastic, Minecraft handbooks have in-print figures over 17.5 million, and non-fiction annuals like Scholastic Year in Sports have become so popular they are expandin

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