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Millennials Aren't All London Luvvies, Let's Broaden The Discussion

14/08/2017 16:33
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On one of my recent ritualistic trawls through the papers, I came across a piece in the Times Magazine that ticked all my boxes: it was about women in their twenties (hey, that's me! Let's talk more about me!), whether they wanted children (gritted-teeth emoji) and, if so, when (bomb emoji).

My interest in the piece quickly dwindled, however, and subsequently deflated like a punctured '30 today' balloon as I read the words 'avo on toast'. All of the women interviewed as source material were lean, mean, white, middle-class, London-dwelling machines. Not a single non-yuppie or 'regional' voice to be heard.

Now, I ain't hatin' on London. London is fa-bu-lous and has been my home for over a year. It has done wonders for my ownership of strangely shaped clothes, and I am now the proud owner of not one, not two, but three pairs of culottes. I have become partial not just to avocado on toast, but have also discovered the joys of adult ball pits, 6:45 AM swims in icy lidos, and the views from Peckham's Bussey Building.

But I haven't become so absorbed into the fabric of our capital's prosecco-chinking cohort that I no longer recognise that my lifestyle isn't the norm, neither for London nor the UK as a whole. As such, it is frustrating to come across articles in the national press that use people like me as the official yardstick for what is thought, done and accepted by Millennials. Whilst I don't object to people of my ilk having a say, I do object to London-dwellers being used to represent the UK as a whole, and, of course, to yuppie London-dwellers being used to represent UK Millennials.

I do have enough faith, however, to believe that arrogance isn't the key player here, but laziness most certainly is. I can just imagine a journalist triumphantly getting the green light on a pitch and then having to submit their piece within four days. Faced with this compressed timeline, who do they turn to? Friends, friends of friends, colleagues, colleagues of colleagues....see where I'm going here?

I myself am guilty of this. I have definitely written pieces claiming to reveal Millennial-specific trends and characteristics, but which in reality only honed in on people in my immediate reach (aka middle-class, London-dwelling, slightly neurotic twenty-somethings). Maliciously marginalising? No. Lazy? Absolutely.

Living as we do in the era of fast news and echo chambers, it has never been more important for our national press corp to produce investigative pieces that communicate with and to the UK as a nation, not only to those typing away at the adjacent desk or saluting the sun in the same prenatal yoga class.

Now, if you don't mind, I'm off to a bottomless brunch in Hackney and then onwards to purchase another pair of those dashing culottes.

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