While Gossip Girl definitely shows the technological saviness of the millennial generation, it also portrays the ineptitudes of our generation in terms of understanding the power of technology and online messaging. First of all, these high profile, rich, and snobby girls who live on the upper east side of Manhattan are basically unable to function in the world without their cell phones or technology to communicate. One girl even asks, “Is a scandal still a scandal if you can’t text about it?” This is absolutely incredible. While I would logically like to say, since this is a television show, that these girls’ behaviors are over-exaggerated, I have to say that there are millennials out there (#NYCPREP), whose lives begin to crumble if they are unable to digitally communicate. They are defined by the digital media that they participate in.
In the screened episode of Gossip Girl, the plot is centered on a cruel and malicious posting that a conniving wrote on a gossip website conveniently named “Gossip Girl.” Her posting on the site, which described an untrue rumor about a young female teacher and a male student at the school, began the downward spiral and resulted in the firing of an innocent teacher, a broken up couple, and a tarnished reputation for a “perceived” to be innocent girl, Then Blake Lively’s character took a camera-photo of her boyfriend comforting the teacher, which then resulted in her mistake of showing it to the school board which resulting in another huge mess. These female protagonists, who are supposed to be presented as living more adult and mature lives, are shown to irrational and impulsive in behavior, which is not representative of millennials. Its interesting to watch this show where the female protagonists have most of the power and are very influential over others, but they are unable to make the correct decisions and fall are presented as the “ditsy-bimbo-blondes” as traditionally portrayed throughout the history of pop culture. Furthermore, as posited in Louisa Stein’s essay on Millennial Noir, Gossip Girl “offers a vision of a world in which women wrangle the power of technology and use it to weave webs” (Steing, 11). They don’t understand the consequences and the power of digital technology, even though they are the ones who use it the most. Unfortunately, these femme fatale characters usually escape the trouble they get themselves into, by manipulating the system to protect themselves and get others in trouble. While this may be true about some girls in the millennial generation, I do not believe it is representative of the generation as a whole who prides themselves on honesty, openness, and a willingness to own up to mistakes and deal with consequences.
Note: I didn’t believe that girls like the characters in Gossip Girl existed until I watched NYC Prep. OH MY GOD! That was unbelievable.