Stepping back a moment to recall the Jen11 book and exhibition from some years ago... If you know someone named Jennifer—and judging by the graphic above, you do—this small book features eleven creative and talented artists named Jennifer.
More than a million of us were dubbed Jennifer within the span of just fifteen years. From a place of relative obscurity, the name grew on a wave of sudden and unprecedented popularity. We’re starting to learn that the effects of this phenomenon were not entirely trivial. Now as an adult, Jennifer has become targeted as the highly sought after demographic of Generation X. In the business press, we are actually known as The Jennifer Demographic or Jen-eration and are told that “focus should be almost entirely on Jennifer right now as habits of all other segments pale in comparison to hers.”
Most of us have some desire to feel unique, as though we have some authentic expression that is exclusively our own. So when the culture spins out the next trend based on you and your name, it is difficult to make sense of what is genuine. Maybe one truth that my Jen-eration makes visible is the simple reminder that we act collectively, often without even knowing it. Done with the right spirit, this can sometimes be the only way to act.