As we ring in the very young new year, our research team at The Harris Poll asked Americans what ideas, trends and ways of life would dominate culture in 2018. We surveyed over 2,000 Americans across demographics (in a nationally-representative sample) to rate a range of cultural markers from movies to catchphrases. And for each, we asked the public whether they’d rather fuel it (keep it alive) or kill it (hope it dies and goes away soon). A few interesting, broader trends can be gleaned from the data, so let’s take a look:
Superheroines At The Box Office
From the fall of Harvey Weinstein due to #TimesUp, the new year suggests that equality for women is not just about fairness, but about the bottom line. We witnessed the three top-grossing movies were also the movies in our poll that Americans want a sequel to this year: Wonder Woman, Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2. Each features strong female leads and ensemble casts. Yet we noted the inverse was true of movies Americans hope they don’t remake: Beauty and the Beast, Despicable Me 3 and Spider-Man: Homecoming. Additionally, we surveyed over 64,000 people for our book, The Athena Doctrine, where we saw that women leadership was seen as more modern and essential to tackling today’s challenges. While there was a deficit of nominated women directors this year, Hollywood should recognize America’s growing affection for the superheroine.
In addition to nominations, The Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University found that Hollywood also needs to fix its diversity problem behind the scenes -- a problem that has kept more women employed on low-budget, low-grossing films. In 2015, the center reported that women compromised 13% of directors of the top 700 films but only 7% of the top 250 films.
The Urban Dictionary Gets More Thoughtful
Each year there’s an irresistible "dilly dilly" catchphrase that becomes a meme of the moment. But this year Americans seem fatigued from the lack of respect and discord in society and are seeking out deeper hashtags for 2018. The top three phrases Americans think will be the most popular this year are #blessed, #metoo and #basic, used in the modern parlance, "He drinks pumpkin spiced lattes, he’s so ‘basic.’" Also, about a quarter of Americans are hopeful for less drama in 2018, by championing the phrase "extra," a negative descriptor of over-the-top, attention-seeking people. And the "nice movement" continues in the words Americans are most "over": fake news, alt-facts and ghosting.
Unplug, Light Up And Simplify
As most experts acknowledge, life in 2017 was filled with anxiety. The Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index reported a significant decline in overall well-being among U.S. adults last year, dropping 0.6 points from 2016, with emotional and psychological metrics as the primary source of the decline. In fact, 2017 was such a standout year of stress, it marked the reversal of a three-year upward trend in the index.
Read more here.