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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Column: Choose your icons wisely, millennials

    This generation names celebrities as icons, but that doesn’t mean it can’t look at the facts and decide who it looks up to as a personal icons.

    Millennials often identify and relate with celebrities. They value their presence in the media and applaud them for representing the realities faced in everyday life. Millennials have seen people rise to fame and become sensational in the blink of an eye simply by being relatable. This generation looks for figures it can relate to. In the last few years, we’ve seen several stars rise to fame in this manner, among them are Amy Schumer and Lena Dunham.

    Sometimes, this generation can be quick to throw out the term “icon.” A celebrity playing a relatable character, a musician writing a song that speaks to us, or even daring to be different and edgy can categorize them as an icon.

    This generation likes celebrities who seem real, those who admitting their own faults and mistakes and who claim they do things the average person does.

    Dunham falls among these celebrities.

    She was launched into widespread fame in 2012 with the release of her TV series “Girls”. Viewers found the series to be refreshing and the show received mostly positive reviews.

    Viewers found Dunham and her onscreen character, Hannah to be relatable. Audiences supported a celebrity who they felt was honest. As her fame continued to grow, it gave Dunham the ground to advocate for progressive and feminist views. She started her own weekly feminist newsletter, Lenny Letter, in 2015.

    In a recent interview in Lenny Letter, Dunham speaks candidly with Schumer, another celebrity who many viewers appreciate because she’s real with her audience.

    Schumer has become well known after her hit TV show, “Inside Amy Schumer.” In her show, Schumer touches on topics once considered too risky or edgy to touch in comedy.

    It’s a series designed to be controversial, provocative and open discussions on difficult topics. But, after all the praise and glory, how does this generation cope when our icon’s statements start to go awry?

    Dunham received criticism for her comments about sitting next to New York Giants’ wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. at the Met Gala and how she felt he ignored her because of the way she was dressed.

    In an interview with Schumer, Dunham said, “It was so amazing because it was like he looked at me and he determined I was not the shape of a woman by his standards. He was like, ‘That’s a marshmallow. That’s a child. That’s a dog.’ It wasn’t mean—he just seemed confused.”

    Dunham later apologized for her comment, to which Beckham was indifferent.

    Schumer, who’s success is rooted in her edge, often lashes back at critics who don’t agree with her. She has been known to block Twitter users who criticize her work.

    Millennials start to question if they lifted the right person and if they really want this person to represent them. What do they do when an icon’s ideology diverts from what they thought it was?

    This is a generation known for its progressive and independent thinking. It’s easy to get tied up in the gossip, leaving fans to sift through words and facts to find the truth.

    Millennials want celebrities who are candid and real, but it’s hard to know a person when they’re only seen on the silver screen. While being different and edgy can warrant the golden status of being an icon, it’s not the only factor in determining who this generation chooses to represent how it feels.

    Our generation is diverse, meaning not everyone is going to agree with every celebrity we deem an icon. Dunham and Schumer both have strong followings, and even after controversy, both continue to maintain that large following.

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    Follow Leah Gilchrist on Twitter.

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