The words ‘Millennial’ and ‘Gen Z’ have become dirty words used to describe how my generation is killing everything from the napkin industry to Harley-Davidson in cold blood.
A Millennial is typically someone born between 1981 to 1996, with a Gen Z usually being classed as anyone born from 1996 to 2015.
It is admittedly hard to choose just one pet peeve about the way in which people speak of my generation. A large aspect is the claim that we are a generation of special snowflakes just because we are more likely to call out problems such as toxic masculinity when we see them. However, if I had to choose, my biggest pet peeve would be the constant use of the word Millennial in such a negative way.
The blame focused on our generation is apparent, it seems far too often there is a new headline leading with “Millennials are killing”. Millennials are killing the concept of starter homes, but perhaps this is because the generation before has impacted the economy in ways that mean Millennials can only afford to rent for long periods of time.
News outlets have written articles about how Millennials are killing the napkin industry because they are opting for kitchen towels instead. I find it a little ironic that this is an issue deemed newsworthy at all.
Of course, as with any generational shift, there will be changes, such as fewer young people using cash in comparison to cards or using cash apps to pay in shops, or even the rise of online shopping.
My generation may be killing the napkin industry, but the generation before has killed things too, leaving it up to our generation to try to fix the significant damage past generations have left on the earth, both in terms of global warming and global economy.
Undeniably, Millennials have impacted certain industries. This is a pattern that occurs every time a new generation with new interests emerges. But they have been left to try to work in a world in which both political unrest and global warming are at incredibly high levels.
Our parents may have been able to find employment straight out of college, and in some cases manage to acquire decent work without even attending college or getting a degree at all. This is, unfortunately, a luxury we do not have. Although, a more informed generation who is more in touch with other cultures and societies than those before, due to social media and the internet, is not a bad thing.
The way in which the Millennial has become associated with weakness is problematic. Yes, Millennials are lashing out at the system, but perhaps that is because the system is flawed and has not been so kind to them in comparison to some of their predecessors. They may have had to work harder than past generations to get a foot in the door of industries and try to afford what past generations acquired much easier.
Our generation may be changing some things, but a lot of things needed changing and have for a long time. The opportunities past generations so fondly remember were often only so easily acquired for the male, the wealthy, and the white. And although this is still a huge problem today, hopefully it is another thing that Millennials can work on killing.
Image credit: Sonja Tutty