Apparently, 2022 hasn't been extra enough, because in the final days of the year, life decided to throw another thing to get worked up over online: Generational Celebrities claiming that they're being discriminated against by the term "Nepotism Babies".
Nepotism, for those unaware, is the act of hiring or giving advantage to relatives. A family member knows someone through their own work connections, so you get a foot in the door, even if you still have to prove your merit. It's most notorious and widespread in the Arts, but the practice exists everywhere, and there's no point in pretending otherwise.
Most of the Music Industry comes from a wealthy background, where they can afford to dedicate all their free time to entering music contests, have the cash to hire recording equipment and studio time, and attend dance or theatre lessons from childhood on.
Most Millionaires and Billionaires came from family backgrounds who could afford to give interest-free start-up loans from the Bank of Mum and Dad, so that if they took a few years to get off the ground, or didn't make a profit at first, those entrepreneurs didn't immediately go into crippling debt, and have to give up their dreams to get "a real job" that paid the bills.
Every single Kardashian owes their success to Nepotism, no matter how much they claim otherwise. First, being the children of a high-profile and very wealthy lawyer for the stars, then getting in on the ground when Reality TV was the shiny new thing, and following that skyrocket to becomeing household names before they hit their twenties.
Nearly everyone who claims to be "self-made success" is overlooking the invisible advantages that got them on the ladder, or removed a few obstacles along the way.
All those profession-based surnames: Gardener, Plumber, Smith, Butcher, Chandler, Weaver, Farmer, Potter, Brewer, etc? They exist because that was the family business. Your father was a [Fill In The Blank], so you grew up learning the profession, took over from your parents, then passed it on to your children.
Children today have more variety in their future professions, but Nepotism is still very much present.
My father is a Cryptographer. This meant that I had a lot more exposure to computers and how they worked than your average 80s-born kid, even if I can't code for crap and numbers make my head hurt. When my sisters and I were sick but both parents had to work, more often than not we'd go to the office and get settled in with the spare computer and a learn-to-type program. When Dad got his work laptop upgraded, the old one got wiped and passed down to us to do our high school assignments on, at a time when most families were still sharing a single desktop.
I could type at 98% accuracy from about the age of 10, and when I'm copying text and not thinking of what to write or how to phrase something, my typing speed is somewhere between 50 and 60 words per minute, a peak I hit around the age of 16.
Now that I'm actively looking for office-based jobs, my typing skills are at a level that automatically puts my resume/CV on the call-back pile, purely for the fact that I know to list it in the first place, even if an ad doesn't specifically ask for the applicant's typing speed.
That's Nepotism, if not in the most overt sense: I got an advantage that others had to seek out or work harder for, because of who my father was.
My mother is a high school Maths teacher. When I was between jobs and Nursing studies in my 20s, I could pick up some extra cash by typing up lesson plans and end-of-year reports, and occasionally filling in as an exam scribe if the ones on staff were stretched thin. Nothing that exposed me to private information, but good practice for scribing and typing things.
It also gave me a lifetime of practice at decipering the second-worst handwriting in existence. (Doctors and Pharmacists are tied for first-place...)
This meant that when the school Mum worked at suddenly got a new student who was a far higher level of physical special needs than they'd had before, leading to one Aide quitting after a week and the other throwing out their back and ending up on Short-Term Disability for several months, Mum could put up her hand in the emergency meeting and say "Hey, I know someone who has experience as a scribe, is trained in Personal Care and Manual Handling, and can start tomorrow..."
They still did the hiring process for another aide, because there were multiple students who needed classroom assistance, and if I hadn't proven to be good at the job and better with the student in question, I would have been a temp-hire until they got someone who could do it in place.
I got the necessary qualification studying part time while working, and there's no question that I was good at it, since I stayed working there for three years. But there's also no question that if Mum hadn't been in a position to recommend me, I wouldn't have ever been considered for the job.
That's Nepotism: a foot in the door and the people doing the hiring willing to overlook a lack of formal qualifications based on someone else's word vouching for you.
It's the same all over.
Someone who grew up working in their family-owned business has experience that others don't when they enter the official job market.
Someone whose parents are doctors will have an advantage interviewing for Medical School, because they grew up knowing the terminology and how to talk to other doctors just from conversations around the dinner table, and even if their parents can't pull strings, they'll know if the hospital or clinic they work at is hiring, and be able to do realistic practice interviews beforehand.
Someone whose parents are brand names in show-biz have the advantage of knowing how that world works, or maybe having met directors or casting managers through their parents. They've probably had walk-on or minor roles in movies their parents worked on, like child-Aurora in Maleficent being one of Angelina Jolie's real-life children, or the majority of child-actors in Thor: Love and Thunder being the children/nieces/nephews of cast members.
No one is saying that Jamie Lee Curtis or Lily-Rose Depp, or Carrie Fisher, or Brooklyn Beckham, or Lottie Moss, or Jack Quaid, or Lily Collins, Sam Levinson, or countless other actors and actresses didn't put in the work, effort and talent to get where they are.
They did, and unlike most other fields where Nepotism is rife, Hollywood is one of the few where you won't just get shuffled around because your parents can fire anyone who tries to fire you. You measure up, or you become a one-hit-wonder and live off your trust fund. From long days on set and hours of make-up, to diets and exercise routines to keep yourself in the desired shape, those stars put in the work to get where they are.
But, let's also not pretend that they didn't have an easier time finding opportunities than most of their co-workers.
As Rami Malek put it: "Talent exists everywhere. Opportunity does not."