I recently saw a video of a young woman talking about all of the reasons our generation, the Millennials, sucks and that’s she’s sorry for what we’ve become. Here is my, a fellow Millennial, response:
You say we’re just ‘existing’ and not ‘contributing anything to society.’ The oldest Millennial is 34, the youngest is 12, we haven’t had time to contribute anything yet. We’re trying to survive in a world that no other generation has had to grow up in, with a tanked economy and most of our childhood hearing nothing but war in the Middle East on the news while also being profoundly connected. We didn’t do that.
You say we’re no longer polite, we don’t say ‘no, sir’ or ‘no ma’am’ anymore and we no longer hold the door open for our elders or women. We also don’t expect low-paid workers to break their backs for us, or at yell at them when they make a mistake, like my 60-year-old grandfather does. We say ‘no problem’ when there’s a mistake in order, and politely stand by while the 40-something-year-old soccer mom huffs and rolls her eyes as the new girl struggles to punch in the correct code.
You say our music objectifies women and glorifies drugs and criminals. There has been no significant change from the songs that were once sung or the singers who sang them. Many of the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s performers were drug addicts, womanizers, and criminals in their own right. Elvis Presley was child abuser, John Lennon raped his many girlfriends and most of the music I grew up listening, which was 80’s rock, were performed by habitual drug abusers. Let’s not pretend like human nature took a drastic turn when 1983 rolled around.
You say we cuss to prove a point. We, as a generation, have learned it’s not the words we fucking use, it’s the passion in them that we care about. As a generation, we’ve become more interested in politics and the world around us, cursing is minor problem when we consider the political climate the older generation has plunged us into.
You say we use ‘bae’ to describe the ones we love. Bae, originally, means ‘before anyone else’ which is incredibly romantic in my opinion. Bae is also hardly ever taken seriously, it’s a jokey way to talk about someone you love. Language changes, I doubt people were happy when we changed ‘wherefore’ into ‘why.’ The greatest injustice we can do to our language and culture is not allow it to evolve and grow with us.
You say we idolize people like Kim Kardashian and shame people like Tim Tebow. Kim Kardashian is a business woman who had a private video she made with a lover illegally revealed. Instead of fading into obscurity, she stood tall and did not let the sexual shaming she endured stop her and now runs a multi-million dollar industry, is married to one of the richest men in the world, and had two beautiful children. Tim Tebow is a Christian who was criticized by a few people for praying in an open stadium while most people just wanted to see a game.
You say we’re lazy and entitled, we want to make a lot of money and get a free education but we’re not willing to put in the work. We are not lazy. I cannot tell you how many people I meet who have gone to school full time while working a part or even full-time job just to make ends meet. We’re not entitled, we’re bitter. In the 70’s, you could work a part time job over the summer and pay your way through four years of school because tuition was $400, now just to walk in the door of your local community college you need to drop $14,000. We have kids who aren’t even old enough to drink, yet are already $20,000 deep in debt. Debt that won’t go away because even filing for bankruptcy won’t erase it. And even with that education, there’s no guarantee you’ll find something in your field. I have a friend who has a degree in microbiology and she’s making $9 an hour selling $15 candles. I have another friend who has a masters in Sport Psychology and Counseling. She’s a bartender. My parents bought a three bedroom house in the suburbs in the late 90’s while my generation is imagining apartments with breezy windows and trying to get enough money to get food while we scrounge up less than $8 a week.
You say we spend more time online making friends and less time building relationships and our relationship’s appearance on Facebook is more important than building the foundation that relationship is based on. We are a generation that is profoundly connected and no other generation has seen this before. We have more opportunities to meet people from all over the world and better chances to understand other worldviews and lifestyles. Being able to stay home and talk to people over the internet is cheaper and more relaxing than having to force yourself to interact with people in public settings after a long day of minimum wage labor. The people I talk to more over the internet are people I have been friends with for years. It’s easier to talk about the day’s events over Skype or Facebook Messenger than arrange a day to meet in person when you have conflicting schedules. I truly don’t believe most people care what others think of their friendship or how their relationships ‘look’ on social media. Most often what you are calling ‘our relationship’s appearance on Facebook’ are documented and searchable memories.
You say our idea of what we believe in is going on Facebook and posting a status on Facebook. Not everyone can join in with the crowds of protesters. It’s easy to see what others have to say through the comments and argue back without the threat of violence. And when this generation does organize events to stand up for ourselves, it’s met with childish name-calling or being reduced to a ‘riot.’
You say we believe the number of follows we have reflects who we are as a person. It’s nice knowing there’s 20 or 50 or maybe even 100 people who care what you have to say or think. We live in an age where we can and will be heard.
You say we don’t respect our elders, that we don’t respect our country. Our elders grew up in one of the greatest economic booms in history and in turn made it the worst economic situation since the 1930’s all while blaming kids who were only five at the time for it. We stand on our flag because it means nothing, it’s a pretty banner for an ugly lie. We’re a country that says you can make it if you just work hard enough while, in the end, that will almost never happen. We’re a country that becomes irate at the idea of 20-something college kids standing on some canvas dyed red, white, and blue but seem to shrug off the millions of homeless, disabled veterans.
You say we’re more divided than ever before. Ever before what? When black folk couldn’t drink from the same fountain as white folk? When women couldn’t vote? When white southerners fought for the idea that they could keep black people as slaves? We’re a generation that is done with injustice and when you fight for social change, you will divide people.
You say everything that was frowned up is celebrated. What does that mean? We frowned up gay marriage. We frowned upon wives being able to say no to sex with their husbands. We frowned up interracial marriage. We frowned up black folk being allowed to go to school with white folk. We frowned upon women being allowed to vote. Are those things not worth celebrating?
You say nothing has value in our generation, that we take advantage of everything. We value friendship more, we value the fists of change, we value social justice and family and the right to marry those we love. We value the right to be yourself, wholly and fully. We value the right to choose and we value the idea of fighting what you believe in, even when everyone older than you is telling you you’re what’s wrong with the country.
You say we have more opportunities to succeed than those before but we don’t ‘appreciate’ them. We are a bitter generation. You can finance a boat for 3.9% but you have to pay back college tuition plus 8.9%. We may have more opportunities but those opportunities cost money we don’t have.
You say you can see why we’re called ‘Generation,’ but we’re not Generation Y, we’re Millennials and we do feel entitled. We were promised a strong economy and inexpensive education. We had the world in our hands and we were going to make it better. And it was ripped away from us because of incompetent rulers, illegal wars, and greedy corporations and we get blamed for it. Crime has gone down, abortion and unintended pregnancy has lowered, people are living longer, people are more educated, people are less likely to die from violent crime or diseases, yet my generation is touted as the worst generation and for what? Crimes that we’re accused of that happened before we could even wipe our own ass? We were raised better, and we were raised in a society that treated, and continues to treat, us like garbage. And we are done. We are not sorry, we did nothing wrong.