Digital World, Digital Beauty? | May 1, 2020
Three Things This Week
1. Never Have I Ever
What it is: Netflix’s newest teen comedy (language) dropped on Monday and reached number one in the US by Thursday.
Why it’s a mixed bag: Written by Mindy Kaling, the show features an Indian-American high school sophomore who’s obsessed with doing things she’s never done. Because of the highly diverse (and more everyday looking) cast, the show is more realistic about what modern teenagers desire and experience than its predecessors, something needed in modern entertainment. But the first episode took us on a roller coaster of eye-rolling and high hopes, only to end on a massive disappointment (after her counselor tells her to stop focusing on getting a boyfriend and find something she can succeed at that will make her feel good about herself, she determines the best thing to do is to lose her virginity). Its 2020 modernization, though attractive to teen audiences, aren’t enough to make up for its terrible ideas.
2. Family Pairing
What it is: TikTok has reached 2 billion downloads and become the “breakout social media platform of the COVID crisis,” so it’s good that they’ve finally given parents some real control over their kids’ activity.
Why it’s sneaky:Family Pairing allows parents to remotely disable DMs, set time limits, and enable content restrictions, rather than having to do everything from their kids’ devices. The catch: Parents must have their own TikTok accounts (boosting TikTok’s numbers), and their kids must allow them to link the accounts to each other (a privilege they can revoke at any time). But as we’ve recommended many times before, it’s worth being on any app your children are on anyway in order to keep an eye on things and understand what they’re experiencing. If you have kids on the app, make sure to enable the feature right away. And check out our Parent’s Guide to TikTok for more info on the app!
3. Butterfly Pretty
What it is: With in-person contact extremely low, many are ditching their makeup routines. But they’re not necessarily going au naturel either.
Why it’s not pretty: Because people mainly see each other via social media right now, there seems to be no use in taking the time to apply makeup for a single photo or for a 15-minute livestream—especially when there are AR filters like “Butterfly Pretty” that give the appearance of makeup. Ranging from over-the-top to appearance altering to “barely there,” these filters supposedly “enhance” one’s appearance, all at the touch of a button. In essence, they’re influencing our perception of beauty in subtle ways, teaching teenagers that beauty is not innate, but achieved. And with more “beauty” companies looking to invest in developing filters for purchase, it will become harder to see the value or immense beauty in a non-enhanced face. Now more than ever, they need to hear that they are beautiful exactly as they are.
Want to bring an Axis Live Team right to your living room? Join us all month long for our new webinar series! We are hosting over 10 webinars covering a wide range of topics. We’ll dive into the most pressing issues in Gen Z’s world and offer tips and tricks on how to have amazing conversations about these topics. Find a webinar that works for you and sign up here!
The Last Dance
After spending more than 20 years in the video vault, ESPN’s 10-part documentary on Michael Jordan’s last year with the Chicago Bulls finally premiered on April 19 to a sports-starved world and continues to run on Sunday nights through the middle of May. For a generation that only knows Jordan as a logo on their sneakers or a funny internet meme, The Last Dance provides an intimate look into the alpha personality, iconic celebrity status, and competitive drive of the greatest basketball player to ever play the game.
Even before the onset of social media and the internet, Jordan was a global superstar, transcending the game of basketball by launching “sneaker culture.” According to director Jason Hehir, the documentary captures more than the Bulls’ final championship run; it “shows the global commodification of American pop culture.” In fact, one could argue Jordan’s original Nike contract, valued at $7 million, changed sports marketing forever and catapulted Nike to global significance. Last year, the shoe company made $3.14 billion in revenue from the Jordan brand alone. Spike Lee was right, “It’s gotta be the shoes.”
But beyond the nostalgic glimpse into the NBA’s golden age, the documentary reveals the loss of something Gen Z may never know: privacy. Unlike today, when fans follow their favorite stars 24/7 on social media and those same stars feel obligated to be online at all times, Jordan disappeared when a Bulls game was over. After watching the first four episodes, Steph Curry lamented on the differences between today’s world and the pre-social media age: “The eras are so different. There was so much more mystery back in the day...they show up on TV, you watch a game, everybody gets into it—and then you really don't see them or hear from them until the next game.”
As parents, we get it. Our kids inhabit a different era than the one in which we grew up. They are never off, always tuned in, even broadcasting themselves to their own audience. If you watch the documentary with your kids, ask them about what’s been lost, the value of privacy, the need to unplug, and how the modern world infringes on social boundaries designed to keep us healthy and sane.
Keep the Faith!
The Axis Team
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