A few weeks back I had the pleasure of meeting Tracy, who is works at Cosmopolitan magazine, she totally has her finger on the pulse in terms of youth culture, and in particular what’s going on with 18-24yr old Australian girls/women. She’s also a key member of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition so is really making a big difference when it comes to what’s important to youth. I got her perspective on youth culture and what’s up with young Australian women J
How do you keep abreast of youth culture?
Music, blogs, movies, magazines– all of these things, and from all over the world not just here in Australia because access to pop culture is so global.
How would you describe youth culture right now in a word?
‘CHOICE’- young people have never had as many options in every aspect of their lives as they do right now. Youth culture is about using this power of choice for self-expression and self-creation. Young people want to feel as if they are always being given this power of choice, and like they have complete control over the decisions that they make. Everything needs to be personalised and interactive so that there is that opportunity to constantly make one’s own decisions.
What do you think are the main issues facing young Australian girls?
Issues like body image and self-esteem are still huge, and I think increasingly the issue of finding the perfect career has become important to young Australian girls. Because careers are now supposed to be fulfilling and empowering as well as a way to make a living, young women are pressured earlier and harder to find success in a career that is both monetarily and personally rewarding. Women are increasingly told that they need to find part of their identity in work, which is great in theory but not always easy.
Environmental issues are also becoming huge among youth both in Australia and around the world, because young people are realising that they will be the ones who need to deal with and fix the problems that have been created by their parents’ generations. I am part of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, which aims to educate young Australians about climate change and inspire them to take action. I think environmentalism will be a growing part of a youth culture.
What do you think are the main/popular sub-cultures 18-24yr old girls belong to?
I don’t think 18-24 year old girls prefer to identify themselves as members of any one sub-culture. They prefer to see themselves as individuals, making their own decisions and developing their own personas rather than adopting all of the traits of a defined subculture. Youth today want to be multi-dimensional, and have the ability to be so. They also want to be the ones setting the trends rather than just following them by identifying themselves as a member of a subculture.
Which brands do you think are best connecting with young Australian girls and why?
Technology brands that manage to be both stylish and quality connect well with young Australian girls– increasingly, technology is both a necessity and an accessory for young girls so brands that can capitalise on this have the opportunity to get young girls to buy their products and, maybe more importantly, start talking about them. Word of mouth is important for most if not all demographics, but I think particularly important among young girls who trust what their friends say more than almost anything else. Sony, Nokia and Apple have all done a great job in making desirable products and marketing them in the right environments.
Who are the heroes for young Australians today?
Heroes for young Australians really have been pop culture figures– actors, musicians, etc– in recent years. The media obsession with celebrities has equated fame with heroism for young Australians. However, world events may affect this in the near future. The development of President Obama as a heroic figure for young Americans shows that someone in politics or public service with enough charisma can become a hero as much as any pop star.