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Why Millennials Are Reverting to Being Teenagers

Welcome to the period of reverting again to teenagehood.

Just take Olivia Rodrigo for instance. Her newest studio album, “Guts,” has allowed her to amass a big group of 20-something and 30-something “youngsters” who’re obsessed along with her music. While Rodrigo is just 20 herself — and broke out along with her debut, “Sour,” as an 18-year-old — she’s been ready to uncannily attraction to an older, extra mature viewers.

Of course, the concept of embracing youth as we age is not a brand new idea, however this second feels totally different. Across social media, millennials are speaking in regards to the phenomenon. From memes to videos, the “20-something teenager” is a veritable id, thanks to Rodrigo’s 2000s pop-rock sound; the resurgence of former Disney stars like Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato; and numerous Y2K style tendencies, from accent nails to jersey dresses.

But how did we get right here, and why are so many adults discovering consolation in reminders of their youth?

“The resurgence appears like a chance to reapproach tendencies I did not have the arrogance to participate in as a young person.”

For one, this resurgence of tendencies from the 2000s appears to be one thing that was particularly spurred on by the pandemic. While individuals stayed at dwelling, the recognition of reveals like “Gilmore Girls,” “Charmed,” and extra skyrocketed as we rediscovered these reveals or watched them for the primary time. And on TikTok (which we have been all spending a variety of time on), many reveals from the 2000s and 2010s — together with “House,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Desperate Housewives,” and “Suits” — skilled a resurgence due to the three-minute clips of episodes which might be being uploaded to the platform. According to Rolling Stone, when the 2000s traditional “Ugly Betty” was added to Netflix, it took only some weeks for curiosity within the present to increase by 500 percent on TikTok.

But it is not simply that these cultural touchpoints are extra available to us. Looking again at these TV reveals, films, music, and style tendencies additionally permits us to embrace the tendencies in a manner we could not have understood after we have been, in truth, youngsters. Taylor Swift’s rerecordings are an ideal encapsulation of this. Many millennials heard her albums for the primary time as youngsters, however along with her “Taylor’s Version” albums popping out now, we’re ready to admire her music in a brand new mild and relive the moments in our lives related to the albums. Through these nostalgia-soaked listening classes, we are able to strategy the music with extra understanding of the love and heartbreak that so lots of her songs are about.

One widespread Instagram user put it perfectly. The account, referred to as Sh*t You Should Care About, wrote about why Taylor Swift saying the discharge of “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” at her final present of her US tour has such sway over us. “We’ve been regifted the Taylor Swift albums that after instructed us that sometime we would be dwelling in an enormous outdated metropolis, and now that we’re, they’re asking us whether or not we have achieved issues higher than courting the boy on the soccer staff,” they wrote. “And we’re consuming this sh*t up.”

From private expertise, reliving the carefree moments of teenhood by the music, films, and TV reveals that invoke nostalgia is extra about therapeutic my inside teenage self, particularly as a girl of coloration. I personally grew up with a variety of insecurities and strived to slot in with everybody else. But becoming in felt more durable to obtain when lots of the tendencies from the previous weren’t geared in the direction of individuals of coloration.

Now, the resurgence appears like a chance to reapproach tendencies I did not have the arrogance to participate in as a young person. While I do love rewatching “Gilmore Girls” the second the climate cools down, it is arduous to ignore the microaggressions, fatphobic feedback, and different problematic habits that have been swept apart as lighthearted jokes on the time. As an grownup, I’m ready to admire the nostalgia that it brings, but additionally have a look at reveals like that with a extra crucial eye and perceive now that my variations do not maintain me again the best way I assumed they did as a young person.

“Thinking of ourselves as youngsters is about extra than simply embracing our youth.”

That’s additionally why I’m additionally glad to see that extra younger grownup TV reveals, books, and films are extra numerous in the kind of tales that they inform as of late. Watching reveals like “Never Have I Ever,” which facilities the coming-of-age expertise of a younger South Asian teenager, and “Ms. Marvel,” which highlights the joyful youth of a Muslim excessive schooler, is particularly therapeutic for me.

And this all brings us again to Rodrigo’s newest album. In the music “Lacy,” Rodrigo sings in regards to the expertise of feeling insufficient to the character Lacy, a metaphor for a white lady who is ideal in her eyes. Hearing a preferred singer who’s universally beloved sing in regards to the ache of not having the ability to compete with the sweetness requirements related to whiteness undoubtedly wasn’t a part of the dialog in popular culture prior to now. But at the moment, it is highly effective to have these pop-culture moments that resonate with individuals of coloration of all ages on the forefront.

So for these of use in our twenties and thirties, pondering of ourselves as youngsters is about extra than simply embracing our youth. Feeling like a young person is a protected haven from no matter struggles or hardships we’re dealing with. It’s an opportunity to rechart our histories, to repaint a time that is really worry-free and full of pleasure. And maybe greater than something, it permits us to join over shared nostalgia and create actual neighborhood — even when only for the fleeting second of an Olivia Rodrigo music blasting by our automobile audio system.

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