Though millennials are diverse, some people do not like the youngsters.
By Monica Mitrovic
Copy Editor/Editorial Proofreader
Millennials aren’t the scary monsters older generations make us out to be – we’re just scarily adaptive and tech savvy.
When people think or talk about millennials, some think of young people in their early 20s sipping on a frothy frappuccino in cozy, thrifted threads while the vicenarians’ eyes are glued to small LCD screens. Others see raggedy bums too lazy to work for anything.
Neither perception is accurate for the millennial generation as a whole. Some millennials aren’t even in their 20s.
Christopher Grice, a Brookhaven College sociology professor, said there is no definite data for the millennial generation’s age range. He said he considers millennials as those born between 1982-1995. According to The Atlantic, the only generation defined by the U.S. Census Bureau are the baby boomers, born between 1946-1964.
In June 2015, the Census Bureau defined millennials as those born between 1982-2000. Neil Howe and William Strauss, social generation researchers, define millennials, who they’ve called the next great generation, as those born between 1982-2004.
Just as there are different age brackets for millennials, there are different kinds of millennials – age and personality wise. Grice said a different type of millennial exists: xennials, those born between the cross hairs of Generation X and millennials. Xennials are pessimistic like Gen Xers who were born between 1961-1981, but also carry millennials’ optimistic ambition, according to HuffPost.
OLD AND YOUNG
Jesse Singal, a senior editor for New York Magazine’s website, said there are two types of millennials: old and young millennials. Singal said the difference between the two stems from the 2008 financial crisis – during young adulthood for the former and adolescence for the latter – along with smartphones’ takeover of society.
Singal said many older millennials were already part of the workforce in 2008. “[Older millennials] were raised and educated during a period in which we were promised that if we followed the rules … there would be gainful employment waiting for us in our early or mid-20s – which there often was,” Singal said.
Older millennials hardened their outlook on reality. And younger millennials’ naively hopeful views on life were shaken.
But that’s not a bad thing.
What makes millennials so great is our ability to adapt and grow when faced with unexpected hurdles. That’s not to say older generations don’t have the ability to change, because anyone can change. It’s just harder for people who accept the established status quo to change.
Grice said non-millennials bash their younger counterparts because they are moving away from standard American rites of passage. Generation bashing is a cyclical process between different age groups and an ever-evolving society, he said. It’s the traditional social progression of targeting the youngest age group as it relates to different social, political and economic changes, he said.
“The articles [bashing millennials] are there to challenge an evolving look on how we spend our money in this country,” Grice said. “We’re really talking about changing demographics and changing economics.” He said millennial-bashing articles are published as clickbait and because of the bandwagon appeal. “Because most people are not versed in economics … it’s an oversimplified approach to talking about changing, buying and economic patterns,” he said. It’s a reflection of businesses and corporations’ nervousness because millennials are moving away from a consumer-based culture.
That’s not the only reason they’re nervous.
Grice said a lot of millennials are more ethnically diverse than previous generations. “Millennials are the face of change, and so it’s easy to target them as a group,” he said.
Change makes the world go around so it’s not surprising older, more powerful individuals might fear sleep-deprived millennial monsters with smartphones for brains.