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Growing up in public, warts and all, deserves our respect, not scorn

6 18 13

There’s a theme running through the cultural hits of recent years, those stories we went particularly mad for. Fleabag, Cat Person, Girls, Russian Doll, Sally Rooney’s Conversations With Friends are all stories about women, true, but the other theme is emotional honesty. They are about admitting the shameful, painful truth.

Written 10 years ago, these women might have been glamorously defensive and closed off – “strong female characters”. On the other hand, those characters whose embarrassing truths float near the surface – David Brent and his ilk – were villains or the butt of the joke. Now if you want your story to go viral, you need to make them the sympathetic ones.

If excruciating honesty is the new zeitgeist, it should not surprise us. It is the distinguishing characteristic of the next generation. This is generation Z (born between the mid 90s and the early 2000s) and younger millennials – I’d say the cut-off is around 28. Among their distinguishing features, this generation are far more open in the way they talk about themselves.

If this sounds odd to you – we are, after all, speaking of social media’s children, people who learned to take the perfect selfie at the age that the rest of us mastered colouring inside the lines – you are missing a key difference in the way we older people use the internet and the way they do. For those of us who left home before the advent of Facebook and the reliable broadband connection, there is a hint of........

© The Guardian