The Nepo babies are all the internet can talk about. Here because.

This week New York Magazine declared 2022 “the year of the baby nepo” and published a deep dive into taxonomy of famous ancestry.

For those who didn’t get into the subject, a “nepo baby” (short for “nepotism baby”) is the child of a celebrity – or anyone with power and influence in their field – who uses their parents’ influence to make a step forward in their career. Some archetypal examples are Lily-Rose Depp, daughter of Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis, and Maya Hawke, daughter of Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman.

To clarify the term, New York Magazine classified nepo children into different levels. The tallest are the “classic nepo kids” who inherit famous surnames like Depp and Hawke. Then, there are the “industry children,” or children of people working behind the scenes in the entertainment industry, who might also benefit from their parents’ connections. An example is Phoebe Bridgers, whose father is a set builder. Even the children of billionaires, like Paris Hilton, should not be forgotten.

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New York Magazine traces the origin of “nepo baby” to a tweet posted by a Canadian tech support worker named Meriem Derradji in February. She tweeted: “Wait I just found out the actress who plays Lexi is a little nepotist omg 😭 her mother is Leslie Mann and her father is a director lol.” With that tweet, the internet lexicon changed forever.

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Every time a new child of nepotism is revealed to the public, be it Maude Apatow Euphoria or Hawke inside Stranger things, the Internet explodes with outrage and hypocrisy about who gets opportunities in the entertainment industry. But how Izzy Ampil of Buzzfeed he points out, the conversation about the children of entertainment nepotism is often a superficial “pop class” analysis of an issue that permeates every industry that all too often begins and ends with celebrities. Some readers have urged New York Magazine to analyze the reproduction of privilege in other areas, such as journalism, banking and politics.

New York MagazineExamining the nepo kids brought the concept back to the forefront of the Twitter hive’s mind, resulting in nearly everyone weighing in. But at least the memes were fun.

As is common when something reaches the internet masses, nepo baby has been rapidly democratized by the people, with users sharing their definitions of nepo baby and debating the inequality in their respective industries. For example, wrote one Twitter user“My only contribution to the nepo child in the academic discourse is this: I’m the first and only person in my family to have a PhD. I was legitimately surprised when I started this job and learned how rare it was.”

Shortly after the New York Magazine article was published, Twitter and TikTok users began to satirize the extremely specific and frankly sharp nepo-baby categorizations by sharing the advantages and qualities they inherited from their own families. The meme is a clever way to force us to examine our privileges or disadvantages. Tik Tokker @literalwhore posted, “I’m a nepo kid at a medium-sized lake in Warsaw, Missouri (my dad sets the fishing limit and we don’t have to pay for parking.”

Twitter user @literELLY wrote, “I hope no one ever finds out I’m a nepo child (inherited mental illness from not just one but both of my parents).”

We can use nepo baby as a starting point to further examine the ramifications of generational wealth and privilege across the board! Until then, the Internet will do what it does best.