Sunday, January 29, 2012

What My Demographic Means To Me

If I make one single prophecy as a blogger who is probably at the peak of her popularity, it is this: Lena Dunham will be to 2012 what Tina Fey was to 2008. For those of you not yet aware, this is Lena Dunham.

She looks like your best friend, and that girl you work with, and that other girl who sometimes works the late shift at Tesco Express who is gracefully forgiving about how 90% of your purchases come from the reduced-to-clear section. In short, she's most girls, everywhere. She is also a filmmaker, and she is very funny. This might be why HBO is giving her a TV series, and this is why they are calling it "Girls". Here are two Youtube videos about Girls.

Here are some words I predict Girls will be associated with after its April television debut.



Glibly self-aware.





And it will probably be cancelled halfway through its second series. Whether or not any of these inevitable criticisms turn out to be true remains to be seen, and talking about the popularity of a TV show that has yet to have premiered is fairly moot. The only absolute fact I can present to you in regards to Girls is this: I felt more 'related to' in the 2-minutes of video shown above then I have by any mainstream form of media in.. well, a long time. Certainly a while. Maybe since Daria, for Christ sake. And if you're a woman, and you read this blog, and you're between the ages of eighteen and thirty, you might feel the same way. 

Because our world and our personalities are almost entirely dictated by what media we consume, 'relating to' a group of people is a task less about art and creativity and more about who you can sell Converse to.  Which I suppose is a little depressing, but unless you're tremendously naive, is something you have to accept and move on from. Preferably in your Converse, which are of course, tailored to fit your whole personality.  

As you can see, this whole 'relating to' process is fairly cyclical and a boiled down version of how Marketing works. So my problem here isn't about being a mere statistic within a demographic bracket. That I accept. My problem is just how poorly my demographic is being related to. 




Yesterday I bought these jeans in New Look. If you're reading from somewhere that doesn't have New Look, then New Look is that kind of solid, if fairly unambitious clothing chain that brings you casual clothing that tries to vaguely emulate whatever is going on in fashion right now. Which I am cool with, because me and New Look are at about the same level of clued-in on what is going on in fashion. Animal Prints? Yeah cool, whatever. Coloured jeans? Yeah cool, whatever. Me and New Look get each other. 

So I get home, and I take my jeans out to hang up, and then this catches my eye:

This was the tag on my jeans. This ridiculous, nonsensical combination of words is how New Look choose to relate to me. New Look thinks that I'm the kind of person that classifies speed dating as a "hot night out", finds "hidden gems curled up on the sofa" (I did find half a pack of Jaffa Cakes stuck in there once, but I don't know if I'd call that a 'gem'.) and, after a night of "crazy karaoke" finds myself the "office strut". 

What in the fucking fuck? Does anyone know any person that relates to this kind of person, the person New Look thinks they are? Whatever about assigning clothing arbitrary personalities (Topshop have been  'naming' their jeans things like 'Lucy' and 'Leigh' for years) but this is ridiculous. 

This is what I'm trying to get at. Advertising to a male demographic has been neatly categorized to the extent that you can figure out a man's entire approach by a few simple questions.

Do you like comic books
Are you opposed to the idea of a man bag?
Why not try this nerdy-but-essentially-still-cool tshirt?

With women, however, it goes a little more like this.

Do you like comic books?
Do you have breasts? 
Here, have this thing that you can use to on turn your doubtlessly-just-as-nerdy-as-you-are boyfriend.

Women are being advertised to as a series of buzz words that, like the ones dashed together on the label of my jeans, just doesn't make any fucking sense. As Lena Dunham points out in one of the videos above, there is no pop culture mirror for girls in their twenties who aren't, in the eyes of Marketing managers, totally retarded. 

You know, girls who have read Love in the Time of The Cholera but still fret endlessly that one of their boobs might be bigger then the other. Girls who are sick of being told that this years thing is 'underwear as outerwear'. Girls who had an ill-advised punk rock phase, girls who tried to cut their own fringe once, and girls who have still not made up their mind about jeggings. Girls who don't know what 'toner' is, or why it's essential to their skincare routine. Girls who guiltily read  '500 Ways To Please Your Man' articles, but are still insulted by them.

And yet, the absolute best thing mainstream media has to offer us on any kind of  'every woman' is Zooey Deschanel, and the word 'adorkable'. 

I know it's not just me who is pissed off about this.

I know it's not just me.

It can't just be me. 

1 comment:

  1. In my last days as 30 years old [feeling still like 22] I'm telling you - it's not just you.