After growing up in a world of overprotection and endless participation trophies, my generation is known as the narcissistic, lazy, unable-to-look-up-from-the-phone millennial generation. This is a label I do not identify with, nor do I believe exists.
In the Time magazine article “Millenials: The Me Me Me Generation,” Joel Stein says millennials, born between approximately 1980 and 2000, are the “fame-obsessed,” “lazy” and “cocky” children of Generation Me, otherwise known as Baby Boomers. A diverse group of individuals born over the span of 20 years cannot be characterized by an all encompassing set of stereotypes such as that which Stein’s article looks to outline.
Although Stein says millennials have “technology addiction,” Pew Research Center reported 75 percent of millennials and 50 percent of people in Generation X, ages 30-45, have a profile on social media. This means millennials are not unique in the use of social media, and the simple fact of growing up around technology makes them more likely to utilize it. Therefore, if social media is the cause of narcissism, millennials are not the only ones who have it.
Adverse reactions to younger generations by older generations are commonplace. In reality, so-called millennials are the most educated generation, according to the Pew Research Center.
As somewhat of an old soul who delights in reading books and actually watching the news, I will not deny that some of the mentality steeping from people of my generation does suck, which includes the self obsession.
But to understand millennials, one must understand the circumstances we were raised in. Many saw their parents lose careers they had built for years during the Great Recession. We have watched our government fail at enacting policies, suffer through deadlock, and go through a war that did not solve situations of terror overseas. Change, however, needs time.
My message for millennials is the following: we are by no means required to prove the false stereotypes wrong, but we might as well go out and demonstrate how we do far more than take selfies and obsess over our number of “likes.” Being politically active, engaging in conversation and devoting oneself to a career are all admirable traits we can cultivate.
For older individuals, I implore you to not disregard the younger generation due to popular misconceptions, casting them aside as worthless “millennials.” One cannot be angry at another for simply taking part in his or her society and its technologies and trends.