If you’re a journalist or a professional writer, it’s safe to say that you know the definition of stereotyping and that it’s generally a no-no. Common decency 101 would teach us that blanket judging a group of individuals is wrong and 99% of the time inaccurate. Why, then, do so many reporters love to make generalizations about the millennial generation? It seems to me that if it’s a slow news day, the media takes that as another opportunity to churn out the 7 millionth think-piece about how millennials are single handedly ruining this and that.
Enter into evidence exhibit A:
So, millennials are apparently to blame for the demise of the golf industry, style, the movie industry, Home Depot, relationships, running, McDonald’s, class, paper napkins, the car industry, crowdfunding, credit AND wine?! My, my we’ve been busy my fellow m-words.
According to The Atlantic, millennials on average are earning $2,000 less than their parents did in 1980, adjusting for inflation, and are struggling to pay off student loan debt at rates that far exceed earlier generations. Isn’t the underdog supposed to be rooted for, not ridiculed?
On that note, I’d like to take this opportunity to refute a few incredibly annoying assertions I’ve seen online about my generation.
- “The running boom is over. Blame millennials.” – The Wall Street Journal.
In the words of Ann Perkins from Parks and Recreation, “Jogging is the worst. I know it keeps you healthy, but God at what cost?!” Maybe, just maybe, people have stopped voluntarily subjecting their bodies to running an asinine amount of miles because there are a million new fitness trends that can keep you healthy and in shape?
From Orangetheory Fitness (the best, ever) and spinning to hot yoga and even indoor running clubs, lacing up and pounding the pavement is no longer the only way to stay in shape. PS, not one, not two, but three Fish Consulting employees (all of whom are millennials) have either run in marathons or are currently training for one. So take that.
- “They are thinking somebody should take care of me. They should take care of my healthcare, they should take care of my education, and they sure should take care of my retirement.” – Fox Business
Sorry, but being a millennial does not automatically make me a socialist no matter what the media coverage of the Bernie Sanders campaign would lead you to believe. Even taking into account that our generation is one of the most liberal-leaning in recent history, believing that getting sick or wanting an education should not require going bankrupt does not mean you are an entitled lazy brat who expects a hand-out at every turn. Me and my 401K plan take offense to your assertion that millennials don’t take retirement seriously.
- “Extra, extra: workaholic millennials are ruining vacation for everyone.” – Gothamist
Soooooo, to clarify: are we workaholics or are we entitled lazy brats? I can’t keep up.
- “Brunch – at least in the way that millennials are known to enjoy it – is a terrible idea, and it’s baffling that it has existed for so long.” – Huffington Post
On behalf of millennials everywhere, I declare this as BLASPHEMY. Quite frankly, our generation should be applauded for raising awareness on the beauty that is stuffing your face with breakfast food and champagne while being home in time for a 3 p.m. nap. I want to be loud and clear on this one: brunch is a national treasure.
- “I appreciate your positive, ‘can-do’ attitude. But if we’re going to be honest, your phony smile and willingness to swallow a lot more crap than previous generation is quite annoying, and it forces other people to adapt to conditions that might not be acceptable to them (smaller raises, cramped working conditions, etc.).” – Jobacle
First of all, we’re “willing” to swallow a lot more crap than previous generations because a lot more crap has been dumped on our plate. If you ask me, we deserve a pat on the back over a condescending eye roll at the fact that we manage to be positive in the midst of a recession, unemployment and crippling student debt.
Second of all, I can assure you that we are not over-the-moon excited about small raises or cramped working conditions, but considering the fact that after graduation it took me 5 months to find a job that was willing to pay me anything, we’ve been forced to take what we can get. The alternative is living at home with mom and dad and – gasp! – asking for a hand out. The hypocrisy is real.
- “They don’t know anything about politics. 77% of millennials couldn’t name a senator from their home state.” – Breitbart
While this may be true, the unfortunate reality is that this can likely be said about most of our country (just watch this video if you’re unsure about the ignorance of the general American public). Considering the depressing state of our current political climate on both sides of the Congress aisle, can you really blame us for being disenfranchised from our political system?
Ultimately, the time has come to stop bashing my generation and instead celebrate the fact that we’ve managed to tread our own paths and find unconventional ways to achieve success when the traditional corporate world failed us.
To all my fellow millennials, can I get an Amen?!