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In defense of a nepo-baby

I am a nepo-baby, but maybe not in the way that first comes to mind.

When thinking of the likes of Dakota Johnson or Lily Rose-Depp, the media’s perception of them has not always been positive, and they are often characterized as talentless or ungrateful. But, this judgment makes it hard to recognize the people whose talent is very real despite their nepo-baby status.

Of course I am biased, given the fact that my twin sister is mainly the reason I even get to write for The Oracle. You might notice that my last name matches that of the Co-Editor-in-Chief, Mia Carr. Thanks to Mia, the process of becoming a columnist was relatively easy for me, so one might consider me the nepotism sister of Oracle. I don’t face any harsh criticism for this “leg up” but it puts into perspective how society’s judgements of true nepo-babies can be harsh, and lack awareness.

When considering who has had an unfair advantage, we often think about people who have relatives in Hollywood or the music industry. Nepotism, however, affects most industries in America. Connections are everything, especially for those whose family members own a business, or are heavily connected in the working world.

In every job, having a parent, aunt, uncle, or grandparent with connections get many people in the door who would’ve been an average applicant beforehand. So why is it that we focus on those involved in entertainment?

Well, of course it is easy to pass criticism on those already in the public eye, and many people get angry when they see someone achieving their goals without half as much of the hard work others need to put in.

Just because someone was given an advantage doesn’t mean they are “talentless or ungrateful.” Many stars that have been helped by nepotism fly under the radar of such criticism. George Clooney, Jennifer Aniston, and Robert Downey, Jr. are all celebrities whose family connections greatly helped them within the industry, but our society widely respects them and their talents.

The nepo-babies who have long been in Hollywood are often left unscathed, begging the question: what constitutes if a nepo-baby is talented or not?

Many judgments regarding actors and musicians talents have not been questioned, despite their inconsistent nature. So, maybe we need to take into consideration more than just where somebody started. Of course, there are people whose success is almost entirely because of their connections.

But by ruling each and every person who was given an advantage as talentless, we are overlooking those who have talent, and are truly passionate about the work that they do. If we passed judgment onto every person benefiting from nepotism, we would be overlooking people like Sofia Coppola who have immeasurable talent.

I don’t think that nepo-babies are going anywhere anytime soon, and while there will always be those whose fame is almost entirely based upon their familial connections, it would be misleading to characterize all of them under this narrative.

There is talent within many of these highly connected people. We need to stop discrediting their work, and reflect upon the standards and criticism we create.

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