I used to consider myself one of the “cool” people. Really. I did. I was always up on pop culture so I could talk to any age group; my daughter’s friends always asked me questions, opinions, and actually liked sleepovers in our house. They valued my opinion. I was relatively thin ( for a few years!) and dressed in all the new season’s styles every year.
But something changed and I don’t know when it happened…
Let me ‘esplain it, Lucy.
I wanted to watch because I wanted to get a “feel” for what millennials are up to these days, to – maybe- use in my writing. I know about women in their 40’s and 50’s but I write about younger gals, so I thought I’d use this show as a sort of reference for putting my finger on the pulse of today’s woman.
What’s that saying about the best laid plans?? Yeah, not so much.
The basic plot line of the show involves the magazine’ surprising turnover of its Editor in Chief Joanna Coles to a new editor. Joanna is 2 years younger than myself ( me, 56; her, 54) and is a powerful, assertive, smart smart smart woman in an industry that has been typically defined and run by men: publishing. She brought COSMO to the number one magazine women buy – both in trade ink copy and e-zine – during her tenure. To say she is a woman who gets things done and has her finger on the pulse of the Cosmo “girl,” is true. For the purpose of disclosure, Joanna was offered a new position with the Hearst organization ( the parent company of Cosmo) – a much more powerful position, which is why she was leaving Cosmo. You go, girl!
As I started watching the show I was quickly invested in the lives of the cast – all 20 and early 30 somethings. Most of them were single ( one was married with a kid), lived in Manhattan and took full advantage of city living by going out most nights to “party” and de-stress. Now, when I was their age (a millennia ago!) “party” meant literally that. Have a party to celebrate something. Apparently, it doesn’t mean the same thing anymore and this is where I realized my cool moniker was starting to shift.
By the third show I realized I was not only NOT cool anymore, I wasn’t going to be again in this lifetime if this was the yardstick to measure cool-dom by! I didn’t even understand most of the references the cast was using about fashion, life, and relationships. COSMO prides itself on being the voice of female empowerment and I totally buy that. The Cosmo girl is billed as successful, smart, and sexy; able to live life to the fullest with no regrets, and the women in this cast are. Their purpose is to advise, counsel, and acquaint women on a myriad of topics relating to life, love, career, and finances.
But as I watched this show and the lives of its cast unfold, I began to realize that female empowerment does not mean the same thing to all women. For instance, the word “party” again. To some of the cast women it meant – basically – going out and getting as drunk as they could in an effort to unwind from the stress of their work lives. In the next breath, during the cast interviews, they would say they were living the dream life. So why then, is their work life so stressed they need to get drunk to unwind from it?
See what I’m saying?
They also look at relationships in a much different way than I thought. It’s cool now ( apparently) to hook up ( another word that doesn’t mean what it used to!) with a series of people randomly, casually, and with no strings attached until you find one you may want to stay with…for a while. Maybe. Cosmo millennials don’t appear to view that whole Happily Ever After with a single mate concept as a valid thing.
Okay, so now I am not only NOT cool, my whole existence for being -writing the HEA – isn’t ( apparently) relevant!
Before you write me scathing letters, hating me for trashing an entire generation of millennials, know this: I realize this is just one little “reality” show on a network known for scripted reality shows. My daughter is a millennial who happens to live in Manhattan and I know she and her friends – who are all successful, smart women – don’t think and act in the typical Cosmo Girl fashion portrayed in this show.
Believe me – I get it!
It doesn’t erase the fact that I am no longer cool, though!