As Gen Xers born between 1967 and 1981 move through their forties and fifties in a time of uncertainty, conflict and progress, the ways we think about how to reach this demographic has changed dramatically. To explore the ways we can authentically connect with Gen Xers now, I was eager to dig into CANVAS8’s “Snapshot of Generation X” report. Here are my key takeaways.
Who Is Gen X?
So who is Gen X? They were the latchkey kids left to our own devices while both parents often worked outside the home. As a result, this generation became very autonomous and self-sufficient. Growing up with dramatic social changes and the background of the Cold War and the threat of nuclear extinction made Gen X flexible out of necessity. (Anyone remember The Day After or Sting’s hit that asked how war was possible “If the Russians loved their children, too”?) Gen X is also known as “the sandwich generation” due to the fact that many are raising Gen Z kids while also caring for aging Boomer parents—a difficult reality that was only exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gen X Is Anti-Anti-Aging
If you watched the hit drama Maid on Netflix, you may have noticed actress Andie MacDowell’s gorgeous flowing salt-and-pepper locks. She told Vogue she “never felt more powerful.” Pantene has caught on with its #PowerOfGrey campaign, as did P&G with its haircare line Hair Biology, proclaiming women are “bolder not older.”
The anti-aging market for skin and hair care is still booming, but brands are waking up to the desire many Gen X women have to redefine femininity as they age and beginning to move away from anti-aging language. The Ad Council has embraced showing Gen X women as they are in our latest “We Say Save It” campaign with AARP that encourages women to save for retirement.
Gen X Is Open About Menopause
Another topic that was once taboo to talk about is also being pushed into the light by Gen X women: Menopause.
Women are talking more openly about the physical and emotional challenges that come with this life change. They’re buying personal care products from new companies like Hazel and pushing companies to create new policies that recognize the impact menopause can have on women’s health and ability to function at work.
Known for being disruptors and innovators, Gen Xers also know they need to learn from young people. They credit Gen Z for helping them speak up about previously taboo topics like menopause. Stacy London, CEO of State Of, a holistic product line that targets symptoms associated with perimenopause and menopause, told Forbes.com, “Gen Xers are glass-ceiling breakers. And with the permission of younger generations, we are able to be more vocal about our own struggles. Our mothers were second-wave feminists. They talked to us about burning their bras, but not about burning up.”
Connecting with Other Xers
New media and community platforms are also springing up to support Gen X women who want to connect with each other around this life stage. Blogs like Jumble & Flow and member communities like Revel and TueNight have launched as destinations for women to share stories and consume cultural commentary relevant to midlife.
For any organization trying to reach Gen X women, keeping these trends in mind will help ensure your message resonates and is authentic.
This article is the second in a series spotlighting trends produced in partnership withCANVAS8.
Photo: Eye for Ebony / Unsplash