ABC’s ‘Real Millennials of Melbourne’ is an affront to actual millennials

screenshot from the ABC article
Click play for aneurysm. ABC

I’d like to talk about this article posted on Wednesday, yes and I’m sure most of you will groan that this is an article about another article, but for me it speaks volumes of the somewhat odd direction the ABC is going.

Let’s break it down shall we. It’s an article about a 23-year-old wellness blogger, model and internet ‘influencer’ (whatever the fuck that is), Steph, who has managed to make enough money from her Instagram account selling skincare and self-tanning products to buy a house in inner Melbourne. Good for her.

Now Steph seems to be doing great, she’s got her life together, plus a boyfriend of five years to boot, gold star, awesome, respect, positivity.

It’s not her her that makes my blood boil, it’s the article itself.

First of all, how is this news and who is the target audience for this article? With long, free form quotes talking about how she is always super busy and is in bed with her boyfriend by 10pm, it reads like something out of a Dolly magazine, rather than the national broadcaster.

“A typical day is hard to explain because sometimes I’m in another country, sometimes I’m here, sometimes I’m in Sydney.”

With all its insipid, vacuous, lackluster writing and gushy adjectives describing Steph as having “down-to-earth Australian charm” and “effortless beauty”, it comes across as a vapid puff piece, but the quote above brings me to my next gripe.

A photo of Steph's hair in a bun, for some reason.
A photo of Steph’s hair in a bun, for some reason. ABC

Judging by the title, this is the first in a series of articles giving a cross section of millennials in Melbourne and perhaps the broad circumstances that many millennials find themselves in.

Why start with Steph? She is clearly a successful entrepreneur and I’m happy for her, but at a time when youth unemployment and underemployment is at its highest levels and housing affordability is at an all time low, why would anyone think Steph’s life is representative of millennial life.

Most millennials can’t afford to leave town, let alone leave the country.

Not to mention reports showing that Gen Y or Millennial, or Gen ME or whatever the fuck new word society has deemed to label us, to be the most pessimistic about our financial and emotional well being compared to our global counterparts.

So to start a series about millennials, with this uber successful 23-year-old seems like a slap in the face. Wouldn’t a better idea be to portray some of the financial and emotional plights many of our generation face first, then show some examples of how people have broken that mold?

I’m all for showing the diversity of people’s lives, but the fact that in the opening of a series of articles about millennials, it makes no reference to any of the aforementioned issues except for one glib point where Steph says the baby boomers think we’re lazy, seems blindingly stupid.

A close up of her crotch, seriously who picked these pictures. ABC

You could argue that this argument has been done to death, we’ve had our smashed avo war, everyone knows about all of these issues, give it a rest, but the problem still exists.

It almost strikes me as it was written for a Baby Boomer so they could lean back in their chair and say “see if she can do it, why can’t the rest of the lazy sods.” as if no millennial reads the ABC.

Which brings me to my final part of this tantrum: the fact that this article is being published by the ABC at a time when its new director and former Murdoch executive, Michelle Guthrie, is gutting programs, shutting down youth oriented shows like Good Game, and making statements that it isn’t her job to ask for funding, is worrisome.

Could this be the beginning of the ABC losing touch with its younger audiences? Considering they’ve published a shallow, disconnected article about an Instagram star at the start of a series about millennials, I’d say possibly.

I wait with baited breath to see what the next article in the series consists of.


Mark Tilly

Mark probably acquired his sense of adventure from watching Lord of the Rings too many times. He got his travel kicks in Southeast Asia, and America and has somehow ended up working for a daily newspaper in Cambodia. He hopes you enjoy getting lost in the realms of nerdom and adventure as much as he does. You can follow him on Twitter @mark_tilly1

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