Alexandra Petri of The Washington Post wrote a snarky blog a few weeks ago on the Millennials titled, “Please Stop Having Dumb Opinions About Millennials.”
While I think my generation is guilty of some of the stereotypes that are mentioned, like over-sharing and being very into technology, I have to laugh and agree with some of Petri’s points on our views of Millennials.
Essentially, we all need to get a grip.
Every piece about Millennials goes one of the following ways:
1) I am Not a Millennial, and GOSH they really need to get JOBS and stop thinking they’re so SPECIAL and INSTAGRAMMING THEIR DANG SALADS!
2) I am a Millennial and NOTHING IS OUR FAULT because BOOMERS RUINED EVERYTHING.
3) I am a Millennial, BUT I am NOT LIKE OTHER MILLENNIALS, WHO MUST STOP THIS.
4) (This category is sadly underrepresented.) Things are not actually that bad. Although the Internet has shaped our lives and the way we interact in ways that seem FRIGHTENING and DIFFERENT to people accustomed to land-lines and snail mail, and although, yes, we are in our 20s so we are in many cases self-centered because statistically people in their 20s tend to be a little more self-centered than people who are, well, older, we Millennials are mostly doing the best we can in a difficult economy that is not entirely our fault and that we did not expect to have to tackle instantly upon leaving the college bubble.
I think a fair amount of Millennials are part of the #3 category. I know I’m part of this crowd; “PLEASE don’t think I’m an entitled jerk!” Some of us are embarrassed by our peers that fit some of the horrible stereotypes–and hope that nobody lumps us into that category.
Petri argues that some of the stereotypes surrounding the Millennials are a little exaggerated–and she’s right. Not all Millennials are pathetic saps and not all pathetic saps are Millennials. Also, it isn’t just Millennials that are guilty of some of these stereotypical “Millennial sins” that people allege are ruining society.
Yes, Millennials like to take pictures of their food and pets, but a fair number of non-Millennials also tweet and take pictures of the same things. How about Twitter offenders Oprah Winfrey and Billy Crystal, for example? (Check it, they both have these kinds of pictures on Twitter). You can find just about anyone on Twitter—and they probably have a picture of a salad, pizza, coffee, or a cuddly dog. This is the tech age we live in…and yea, it does sometimes make you wonder about the future of the human race.
I agree with Petri’s fourth point that we need to just chill out. I touched on this idea a few weeks ago. I think the Millennials should be cut some slack when it comes to traditional expectations (i.e. having a family and a house at age 25…it’s just not going to happen right now). However, I don’t think we should give Millennials a free pass when acting like brats, failing as basic tasks (spelling), or blaming other generations for EVERYTHING. I think we are allowed to dislike the constant critiques from other generations (It is frustrating!), but we shouldn’t hate/blame people of that generation for all of our problems In social media speak, this is “Hashtag Childish.” Conversely, they also shouldn’t blame the Millennials for ruining America. Many of our generation aren’t even in the “real world” yet.
Time to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and be creative, Millennials! (I mean, aren’t we KNOWN for being creative?) My solution? Everyone shares the blame. Done. Now we are all equal. You can go back to instagraming your salad now…
The more time we spend just complaining that This Isn’t Our Fault, For It was Thrust Upon Us, the more we sound like exactly the whiners their caricature suggests.
Well said, Petri.