If you’ve ever watched the news or used social media at any point in the last decade, you’ve surely heard baby boomers ranting about why millennials are the worst generation.
Millennials are killing bar soap, paper napkins, dryer sheets, “breastaurant” chains and casual dining chains, diamonds, department stores and designer handbags, millennials can’t afford homes because they spend all their money on avocado toast, millennials spend all their time on their phones and computers, millennials are too “politically correct.”
Elders hating young people is nothing new. In 1925, Leads Mercury published an editorial about how young people don’t run away to sea anymore because they care about their safety.
In 1984, the Longview News Journal published an article about how young people complain that their ancestors have left them with the national deficit and a damaged environment, and that they shouldn’t be complaining about it.
In the 1800s, when novels first became popular, people complained that they were immoral and could corrupt people, similar to how people now like to demonize things like technology.
I think a lot of the complaints that boomers make about millennials are ridiculous.
For starters, most of the industries millennials are “killing” are for good reason. Many of them, like paper napkins and dryer sheets, either aren’t necessary or aren’t eco-friendly. More young people buy paper towels now, which makes sense because you can use it for cleaning or as a napkin, and it’s less cluttered.
Dryer sheets aren’t really a must-buy grocery, unless your clothes are really static-y, and the popularity of alternatives like reusable wool dryer balls is on the rise.
As far as restaurants, on the rare occasion I go out to eat, I’d rather go to a local restaurant and get something unique instead of go to an Applebee’s and get some frozen food that’s really no better than what I can make at home. (And as far as killing restaurants like Hooters, I don’t understand how anyone can be mad that fewer young people partake in objectifying women.)
Other things, like department stores, diamonds and designer handbags, are just overpriced luxury items. Many young people can’t afford these things, or would rather spend their disposable income on experiences, like traveling or attending concerts.
Many young people don’t buy homes because we have student debt to pay back. It isn’t responsible to take out loans for a home when you already have loans out. It also wouldn’t be wise to commit to buying a home (instead of living with family or renting an apartment or house) in an area if you don’t have a secure career there.
As far as phones and technology go, they’ve just become a necessity to society. Many jobs require much more technology than they used to. Technology is a great tool, and I don’t think anyone should frown upon utilizing it.
We can video call people on the other side of the world, we can use them for GPS and we can even use phones for medical reasons. Continuous Glucose Monitors for diabetics often have phone apps that patients can check their blood sugar with.
I think being “politically correct” shouldn’t be frowned upon either. It’s strange that people are so unwilling to live in a more egalitarian society. Terms that are outdated or offensive shouldn’t be used anymore, and there’s no reason to get upset at that. Differences in society and culture differ from generations. Just because something is new or different doesn’t mean that it’s bad. As the world changes, so do people’s values.
I would hope that the young people of today are understanding of future generations, instead of being quick to criticize them for anything they do that is different. It’s counterproductive to jump into an outrage about a dying industry or new technology.
Instead, ask critical questions about it.
Opinion from Maria Ranger, Vanguard Reporter