My Pet Peeve with Millennials (Trigger Warning)
As a young professional and one of the 92 million+ people who have been lumped into the category “millennial” by the rest of the population, I can’t help but feel it’s our duty —more than anyone else’s— to critique the faults of our generation. Now we haven’t inflicted the type of financial damage the baby-boomers have, though we’ve one-upped them with the destruction of basic ideals. We’ve ushered in an era so utterly full of ego, conformity and social anxiety that we have brought on the destruction of the self and begun the collapse of social norms as we know them. I’m not here to preach about our over-medicated, over-stimulated youth, but simply to offer the idea that the following are somehow side-effects.
The Liar Generation:
From Facebook to Twitter to Instagram, people are showing their support for social movements to the point where millennials have been called the most socially conscious and proactive generation in the U.S. (sustainablebrands). In the post-Occupy Wall Street age, we have Black Lives Matter, The Dakota Access Pipeline rebellion, Anonymous hacker revolutionaries, and a wealth of media watchdogs. Mobs of socially active millennials also express their socio-political beliefs ad nauseam, filling their feeds with info about who to support, who sucks, and who sucks by association, to the point where users are not only spreading fake news, but preaching equality at the same time they’re blocking followers and friends in droves if they find them disagreeable. Moreover, our generation has come to believe that simply being active about a social movement online is “doing their part” which in this author’s opinion, is bullshit.
Even prior to the victory chant about how the DAPL protests proved “successful,” posts about the DAPL generated millions of likes, shares and impressions on facebook. When the news first broke about the protests, DAPL trended on Twitter for days, during which the NoDAPL twitter account gained over 40K followers in mere hours. The media frenzy influenced posts by big blogs (and eventually major networks) every day as new videos were released for millennials to view, feel bad about and repost — and fail to react in any other visceral fashion…
As millennials, we don’t really care. Millennials are known for finding the easiest route to “being a part of something.” If we actually gave a crap about the causes we support online, we would actually be there, in person, at least once (I’m looking at you college age Bernie supporters*, DAPL supporters*, BlueLivesMatter supporters*), but we prefer to take the easy route, and do as little as possible (the the point of regurgitating fake news that we didn’t read more than 140 characters about before continuing the infectious spread of misinformation). So keep that asterisk close to your heart, because the real change you claim to want and the movements you claim to be a part of would do much better to have boots on the ground. Take a lesson from the 2000+ veterans who actually showed up the final weekend at Standing Rock and actually brought an end to the mess (EcoWatch).
The Cosmo Effect:
Here I’m going to outline another key aspect of the liar generation, aka millennials, that should help us all recognize just how poorly we are “voting with our dollar” in the new paradigm of post-2008 consumer strength. We stand at the maxim of consumer power (where we can literally control what companies do through outrage and protest) and yet we’ve sold-out at the same time.
Online we preach about how horrible cyber-bullying is. We trash companies like Abercrombie for fat shaming (elitedaily). We share documentaries outlining the deathly diets of supermodels and drug habits of athletes (fashionspot). We blog about how horrible slut-shaming is, lash out about the evils of capitalism and most often, how our anxiety ridden generation shouldn’t feel forced to conform to the idea of the perfect body…
And at the end of the day, what happens? We post anonymous messages, or worse, post publicly comment on someone’s feed announcing to the world how stupid you think they are because of their beliefs; religious, social, political or otherwise. We slut shame when we’re jealous and play the victim when the tables turn. We millennials spend more on protein than gas and struggle to find a time at the gym when the least people will be there because we’re sensitive. We buy the most expensive clothing & accessories we can, whether it’s Abercrombie, Banana Republic, Victoria’s Secret or Michael Kors, just so we can show off, but at the same time post about how bad it is that the media perpetuates the false-image of the perfect girl or the perfect guy. We lament about how beautiful celebrities and models are, and in the same breath vocalize our hope to look like them around friends. Punk kids who preach anarchy are buying the latest longboard, carrying an iPhone, and buying their stone-washed, pre-ripped denim at Macys, or worse; they’ll go to three different Salvation Army stores to find the most fashionable brand of thrift-shop vintage (link).
If you’ve read this far without having an anxiety attack, you may detect a trend: We’re triggered as hell, and we almost always place the blame on someone else, because when we do something we’re against, we’ll choose the 21st century scapegoat catchphrase and say it’s because we feel like we’re being forced to… I don’t care how you look at this, but this revolving-door system of blame and shame is removing rational thought from the equation.
The Nail-Biter Generation:
This is what initially sparked the idea of this article. Out of all the things our generation is doing wrong, the proof comes in the most basic forms.
We are a generation with such ego that we’ve always done what we want, even from the beginning. I’m not talking about your clothes, your car or your Xbox, I’m talking about your refusal to grow out of childish bad habits.
How many nail-biters do you know? You probably work with some. How about chronic dramatic sigh-ers? Have you ever seen someone roll their eyes at a professor? At their boss? How about nose-pickers? Many of my fellow millennials feel it’s perfectly fine to start biting their fingernails or chomping the skin of their cuticles off while I’m talking to them. One person I recently spoke with even tried to nonchalantly pick his nose with his thumb while making eye contact with me during a conversation… I’ve seen people at every job I held in college pop pimples at their desks or behind the register. I’ve seen people squeeze zits in class (guys and girls included, if you were wondering). I’ve even had the pleasure on multiple occasions of someone talking to me while picking at a pimple on their face—- Seriously, what the fuck?
While disgusting, these incidents are not isolated, and they reflect the true millennial curse: We refuse to outgrow bad habits. It seems the millennial mantra of “I’m going to do what I want, when I want, and I don’t care what other people think” has turned many of us into nail-biters, nose pickers, and pimple-poppers… Let’s change that.
We’re the smartest generation and by far the largest of ALL TIME, so it’s time we start controlling what’s appropriate in terms of social norms and stop regressing into this caveman-like existence. By 2020, we’ll make up 47% of the workforce, and if we want to “Be the change” we hope to see in the world, let’s act like it.
If you or a friend have a bad habit like anything I’ve mentioned above, first-off: Cut that shit out. Second: check out this awesome book, called The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. You can learn how to get rid of any habit and how to create good ones in the shortest time possible.
Shameless plug aside, isn’t it time we grow the fuck up?