#MillennialProblems: We’re ‘Killing’ Everything

#MillennialProblems: We’re ‘Killing’ Everything

From getting on the property ladder to, well, not getting ‘on it’, SL’s Features Writer Pascale Day is well versed in #MillennialProblems. This month, she’s lamenting her generation being blamed for the death of everything from doorbells to divorce. However, it seems, she also has a little bit of finger pointing to do herself.

Steer clear of us millennials: we’re murderers. Stone cold killers. We butchered lunch. Took a hatchet to marriage. Bludgeoned doorbells. Bled oil dry. Choked the life out of traditional automotive marketing. I mean, can you believe it? The traditional automotive marketing industry is lying there, gasping and twitching on the cold ground, and we just stood there, laughing, as it begged for its mother. If you see a millennial on the street, you’d better cross the road and call for help, because before you know it they’ll brand crossing the road ‘lame’ and kill that too. 

It’s kind of amazing, all the things we’ve been accused of killing, especially considering we’re also too lazy to go out for a drink and too scared to touch raw chicken with our own hands. But I’ll give you one guess as to who’s fuelling all these accusations: who has two thumbs but still doesn’t know how to use them to unlock their phones? That’s right, it’s baby boomers. 

Boomers came into being in the years after the Second World War, which saw a huge surge in the number of babies being born. For many, it was time to forget the perils of war and explore a new, more fruitful way of life that they had waited so long for. The uncertainty of war bred families that craved stability. Having 2.4 children became the cultural norm. The nuclear family was one that stayed together, that had a strong family unit, that marvelled at the power of a microwave, that ate dinner together every night, regular as clockwork. In a world that was keen to move on from the horrors of WWII, these values were important. 

As millennials, we don’t have the same concerns as boomers. In fact, we have a whole different set of problems, and we are in a fortunate position that means we can choose not to put children through that. The economy is on the brink of a financial crisis. Climate change is set to have detrimental effects on the earth that would seriously affect the way our children live their lives. Plus, women’s priorities are different these days. Women no longer stay at home to look after children, they have careers of their own they don’t want to have to give up. (Some simply delay having children, leading to an influx in ‘geriatric mothers’.)

And yes, this might feel like we’re taking a sledgehammer to all the things they used to value so dearly. Except, I’m not sure these things really did have much value to start with. Let’s be honest, nuclear families weren’t necessarily happier. The tight-knit family unit was a response to war; a need rather than a want. Divorce was always frowned upon, but once the pill was introduced in 1961, divorce became far easier and more common. Women who had been working - while the men were at war - lost their newfound identity once they were forced to go back to the life of a doting housewife, which led to the feminist movement. Boomers were also products of their environment, and that environment was just as dire as ours. 

I’m not entirely convinced it’s a dislike for another generation – it’s a dislike for change. Change is inevitable, but it doesn’t make it less scary. Sure, boomers may think we don’t appreciate the things they used to, but we also don’t need these things like they used to, either. We might have ‘killed’ marriage, but in reality, it was dying way before we got to it, simply because we have no need for a that kind of family anymore. And yes, we might have killed doorbells, but really, isn’t it safer for your mate to text you when they’re at the door?

Change is what fuels this discontent between generations. But change is how we adapt to the wrongs of the past. And trust me when I say, it won’t just be restricted to millennials and boomers. Because I’ll admit it, I’m already not all that keen on gen Z. They all have too many rips in their jeans and eat laundry tablets and are far too outspoken in all the wrong ways (one told me I was “gross” for sitting near the toilets on the train last week). They make awful Instagram videos and they can somehow all afford Fjällräven backpacks. They laugh in the face of my disposable camera and they don’t know what a landline is. So really, who can blame people for hating on millennials – we’re going to be there one day soon, too. And we just cannot wait to ruin it for everyone. 

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