BY SERENE NEKOUI ONLINE CONTRIBUTOR
Image courtesy of TIME Magazine
Alexis Bloomer’s video, “Dear Elders, I’m Sorry”, which famously went viral in April 2016, outlined the faults of Generation Y. She had taken it upon herself to state how “our generation sucks”, providing reasons through her own eyes as a millennial. And just like Alexis Bloomer, I feel the need to take it upon myself and, in Alexis’s own word, “evaluate what’s so wrong with our generation, and why [baby boomers] are so mad at us”.
First, let’s establish what the millennial generation is. Millenials are members of Generation Y, born from approximately 1985-1999. That’s right, if you’re a 90’s kid, you’re a millennial.
So, the question stands: Why is our generation constantly ridiculed for everything we do? Alexis is eager to point out that we are simply existing, failing to contribute to society. An article published by The Economist titled “Generation Uphill” states that millenials are, in fact, “the brainiest, best-educated generation ever” *virtual high five*. With this, how is an individual hindering societal growth through education?
Answer: They’re not. Post-secondary education, although unrealistically expensive due to privatization and corporate influence to be paid fully by student wages, results in critical thinking, scientific, technological, environmental, and social advancements in society.
It’s important to consider the progress millenials have made with improvements in Human Rights, economic growth, and our environment, an aspect of our generation Alexis is quick to ignore. As corporate growth and control has aided in environmental degradation due to mass production and consumption, millenials have stepped up to repair the damages left by previous generations. And how do we forget about the systemic disenfranchisement our governments have allotted, fabricating racialized and gendered discrimination and crony capitalism? And finally, lets reminisce in the Great Recession, in which a 9 trillion dollar debt was accumulated because of unwillingness to pay for social services and benefits.
The accusation of being entitled, lazy, unfocused, and the narrative surrounding “The Millenials are the problem” is an effort to shift the responsibility of socioeconomic mistakes of the baby-boomers to millenials. We are often criticized for our attachment to social media, and our investments in cheaply produced and purchased goods. Let’s not forget, millenials have created new marketing tactics and job opportunities with these social media attachements. And let’s not forget whose fault it is that cheaply made goods are easily disposable, and goods created with care are no longer investments made for long lasting use. Not millenials, that’s who. As if past generations didn’t have enough of an impact on population and socio-economics, millenials are now increasingly having fewer children. The reason? Foreign investment and inflation has made it far too expensive.
But why is our generation constantly receiving criticism, you may ask? The truth is, baby boomers had received the same type of critique. Elvis Presley was ridiculed for his stage presence, which arguably suggested vulgar behaviour. In a time where traditional jazz was the norm, rock and roll opened a realm of emotional vulnerability, which was very threatening. Madonna was excommunicated by the Catholic Church three times for her sexual behaviour, which had not been appropriate for woman at that time. In so doing, she also opened up a empire of possibilities for female entertainment in the 21st century, one in which sexuality is now celebrated. John Lennon, a man deeply rooted in his activism, and demonstrated so in his lyrics, was assassinated because of his belief in human rights advancements.
So, now I ask, are our generations really much different? I can admit that my head is more than often buried in my phone, but I can conquer the same goes for my own parents with their smart phones. And yes, we do have differing music tastes from the 60’s that may certainly seem untraditional on the outside, but rock and roll wasn’t exactly praised either. But with each generation being ridiculed by the one before, we do have one underlying similarity: we are all advocating for something more, fighting for a change in the system. I can’t find anything wrong with that.