Are you born between 1980-2002? If yes, good news! You are a millennial! Unfortunately, you are also known for being entitled, lazy, coddled, overconfident, narcissistic, shallow, and selfish. Congratulations.
It is true, we are the generation with not only participation ribbons, but also participation trophies. We are all afflicted with selfie fever, and we are constantly surrounded by parents with scented hand sanitizer poised for attack. It’s not even strange now to find a third grader with a smartphone. But do we really deserve the title of “Me Me Me Generation”?
(Even when people in the past have stood in ridiculous poses for hours just for a painting of themselves? I feel like selfies are pretty tame compared to that.)
Maybe, yes, as Americans born right into a cultural golden age, we are fairly entitled and definitely much more coddled than baby boomers. 71% of American adults think millennials are “selfish,” and 65% think of millennials as “entitled.”
But perhaps the fault lies not within ourselves, but within our parents. We should blame the coddl-ers, not the coddl-ees. Parents are ridiculously protective of their children; of course, that’s basically the job of a parent, but there is a limit. Nick Gillespie wrote for Time: “We think on average that kids should be 10 years old before they ‘are allowed to play in the front yard unsupervised.’ Unless you live on a traffic island or a war zone, that’s just nuts.”
Furthermore, as a millennial myself, I don’t think that we’re self-absorbed, living-in-a-bubble teens unaware of the realities of the world. As 16 year old Scottish teen Jenni Herd wrote in a letter to the editor of the British Times, “We are not as irrational and immature as adults seem to think. We’ve grown up with financial crises and accept that most of us will be unemployed. We no longer flinch at bloody images of war because we’ve grown up seeing the chaos in the Middle East and elsewhere. Most of us are cynical and pessimistic because of the environment we’ve grown up in…”
And Josh Sanburn for Time Magazine argues that maybe selfish and entitled aren’t terrible things to be. Certainly, you could do much worse. “Rather than being inherently self-centered or overconfident, millennials are just adapting quickly to a world undergoing rapid technological change. They’re optimistic, they’re confident and they’re pragmatic at a time when it can be difficult just to get by. Those aren’t bad qualities to have, even if it means they spend too much time on their phones.”
So, as Neyda Borges’s article for WLRN Florida put, “Are [millennials] spoiled? Perhaps. Are they a little self-centered? Probably. But, in their world, the president of the United States is only a Tweet away.”
(Christie Yu ’18, Staff Writer)