Common Stereotypes of Millennials Debunked
Recently, I have a noticed a trend on Facebook of people posting rants or videos about the laziness and entitlement of an ENTIRE generation. The Millennials. Now, I am a Millennial, and I am quite astounded of the generations before us who are actually scared of us and what the world will become when we are elected president or take over the country with various other jobs. Sure, some of us have weird hairstyles and spend too much time on social media and follow weird fads and infatuate over very trivial, mediocre celebrities and even, on some occasions, lack basic manners. So, yeah, maybe at times you can find us annoying or childish. That's acceptable. But actually so fearful and obsessed with us that you find a need to post endless tirades about us? That's a little overkill. You know what generations were actually frightening? The generation that thought it was a good idea to watch Christians fight to the death against lions in arenas. However, they reproduced and life went on. Or the generation that deemed it acceptable to hang black people from trees. Nonetheless, they had offspring and as it usually goes, life went on. Despite, all the flaws with each generation, the world carries on and learns from the mistakes and wisdom passed on to us from our parents in hopes to build a better human race.
So without further ado, I would like to dissect and analyze a recent video that I stumbled upon circulating throughout Facebook. This YouTube video, largely posted and commented on by roughly 50 year old adults, features a gentleman singing a song shaming Millennials to the tune of "Life Goes On". While the creator has a lovely voice and the production of the clip is well done, I would like to point out the irony on the surface before I delve deep into the video. For starters, the song is posted on YouTube whose founders are all Millennials (This fact can be disputed, depending on what generation chart you view.). Secondly, the video has been shared on Facebook, another site whose founder is a Millennial. Thirdly, the persons behind sharing this popular clip are largely the generation that birthed and raised Millennials. Are they mocking their own parenting? Lastly, I would like to poke a little fun at myself since I am doing a very Millennial-esque thing by writing a blog in response to another piece of social media. At least, it isn't an open letter.
Please watch the video below.
Having just completed a research paper for my Master's degree, which I expect to be paid back by someone who isn't me, I feel like I know everything there is to know about research because I Googled some things with the word "research" in it. Therefore, I will attempt to conduct some research related to this video.
The author's true intentions (I think) behind the video, after a quick Google search, were not, in fact, to ridicule Millennials but to show church leaders the unique potential that Millennials have to impact the world of Christ. While the video rather comical, I, on the other hand, would have perhaps approached this assignment differently and actually shown church leaders the unique potential that Millennials have to impact the world of Christ, but that is neither here nor there. Considering the video has been shared many times under captions that read, "So funny but so true and sad," it's safe to assume that the original purpose has been lost in the realm of social media. In fact, the video makes 9 bold assumptions related to Millennials that I will seek to find out if they are true or just an over generalization that the author witnessed a few times and then decided that ALL Millennials are like that.
I took a randomized sample of my Facebook friends who are Millennials and studied their patterns, posts, and pictures. I also conducted extensive interviews via text messages or Snapchats to really get to know Millennials. None of my work is cited because, as I said, I know everything there is to know about research.
Point #1 Millennials have man buns
Right off the bat, I scoured my entire list of Facebook friends to see if anyone donned a man bun. I found beards, woman buns, and two guys who had potential to be the types of men for a man bun but, overall, surprisingly no man buns. Nonetheless, I wanted to be precise in my research, so I further scrutinized my ten random samples of Millennials to see if they ever had sported a man bun. Since five of my sample population are female, they were considered null and void. The other five, all male, were left for examination. Male Number One, had a well-groomed, rugged beard, but in all of his 44 profile pictures never once did one display him with a man bun. Male Number Two had a liking for gel that he used to slick the front of his hair in a very stylish manner. Once again, none of his profile pictures ever showed him with a man bun. Moving on. Male Number Three had a basic haircut that he seemed to fluctuate between growing longer and keeping it trimmed. No man buns. Male Number Four was a man who knew what he liked. Having the same style for perhaps a decade, this participant liked to keep it simple and traditional. Man buns were absent. Lastly, Male Number Five made it slightly difficult to acquiesce whether he favored the man bun, for he often wore hats in his pictures or posted pictures of objects or famous sports stars. But I persisted and gathered that he never wore a man bun. In conclusion, Point #1 is largely false.
Point #2 Millennials Have No Jobs But Think They Will Be Millionaires by Their Thirties
Research is supposed to be fact-based and lacking in opinions from the researcher, but I want to throw out there that the approximately fifty some 24-33 year olds whom my husband and I invited to our wedding all had jobs except two (One is still studying to be a doctor and the other just finished Law School). In a quick poll via texting, none expected to be millionaires. Even with this hard data, I continued my research. Males #1-4 definitely have jobs. Male #5 most likely has a job, but it is inconclusive. As for the females, all of them have jobs except for Female Number One who recently gave birth to a baby, which is actually a very hard, important job in and of itself. Similar to Point #1, Point #2 is found to be untrue due to extensive evidence.
Point #3 Millennials Post A Lot of Selfies on Their Instagrams
I do not have Instagram, so I am not afraid to note that this setback was deemed a flaw in my research and considered a limitation/shortcoming in researcher terms. Facebook had to suffice. Before I dove into my search, I want to clarify some criteria. First, a "selfie" means that a person takes a picture of himself or herself and does not carry the definition of someone else taking that picture. Secondly, having a photograph of two or more people with one of those people in the photograph taking the picture does not constitute a "selfie" as the attention is not solely focused on one individual. Lastly, what is a lot of selfies? That is very vague and needs to be specified; therefore, I determined that "a lot" needs to be more than 50%, or otherwise it is half, some, a few, or none. With the criteria in place, I set out to see what I could dig up.
In all, I scrolled through thousands of photos and learned that while we, as a society, take and post a lot of pointless photos, my Millennial participants did not take a lot of "selfies." Males #1, 3, and 4 with absolute certainty are the type of guys who DO NOT post "selfies." Male #2 favored "selfies" and even went as far as to crop out the person next to him, but in mathematical terms did not post "a lot" of "selfies." Maybe a handful. Finally, Male #5 took questionable photos, which I was unsure if someone were very close to him taking a picture as he posed rather mysteriously, or if he somehow snapped the photo of himself from an odd angle. I preferred believing the latter. Nonetheless, most of his photos were of cars or basketball players with only some being the up-close-and-personal shots, so, once again, "a lot" was not met in this case. On the other hand, the females, whom you would think would be partial to the "selfie," barely had one or two in their lineup. I was impressed with my random selection of participants. They were making my theory look very accurate. Point #3 false!
Point # 4 Millennials Hope to Change the World in Their Yoga Pants
This point left me very confused due to its vagueness and subjectivity. I had some questions because, point blank, I was stuck in how to move further in my research. What constitutes changing the world? Are Millennials sitting down and daydreaming of changing the world while wearing yoga pants? Do Millennials yearn to change the world in yoga pants over, lets say, jeans? Are changing the world and wearing yoga pants occurring simultaneously? I was stumped, so I decided to e-mail Micah Tyler. No response. Therefore, taking matters into my own hands, I decided to base my research off some of my friends' responses. I debated on whether to message all of my Facebook participants, but in the end decided I did not want to come across as creepy or stalkerish to people who, even though are my Facebook friends, were no where near my friends in real life.
I texted my friends three questions: 1.) Do you own yoga pants? 2.) Have you had hopes of changing the world? 3.) Have you had hopes of changing the world in yoga pants? One friend responded that she basically wears yoga pants every day, has had hopes of changing the world, and has never thought about having hopes to change the world in yoga pants, but she stated that it is possible that she would since she wears them every day. Another friend answered that she does own yoga pants, she has had thoughts of changing the world, and never has had thoughts of changing the world specifically in yoga pants. The last friend stated that she does own yoga pants, has no desire to change the world, and only wears yoga pants for her boyfriend's liking. Otherwise, she does not like them.
I also wanted to do some intrapersonal reflection. Maybe my soul-searching could lead to some mind-blowing observations about myself I never knew. Do I own yoga pants? Yes. Have I had hopes of changing the world? Sure, yeah my thoughts have ranged from adopting all the kids in the world to fining people who use the word "literally" more than three times a day or who say giving anything more than 100%. Have I had hopes of changing the world in yoga pants? I never gave much thought to my attire while pondering how to change the world, but I would assume one of those times I was adorning yoga pants. As for changing the world while physically wearing yoga pants, I would personally prefer a skinny jean but am not opposed to wearing yoga pants.
In conclusion, I am uncertain if I really accomplished anything, but based on my research this point looked to be true. My guess is that author made this accusation because his generation used to daydream of changing the world in bellbottoms and, thus, probably finds yoga pants a bit disconcerting due to their dual style of flexibility and tightness. I get it. It's hard to think about anything, let alone changing the world, when constricted in such articles of clothing as bellbottoms.
Point #5 Millennials Have Knowledge of Essential Oils
I'll admit that I had to Google what essential oils are, but by the looks of the pictures I guessed that they are what spas use or people who have dreadlocks and beads hanging from their doors bathe in. From a researcher's standpoint, this one was easy. None of the ten participants had ever posted about his/her knowledge of essential oils or shared pictures of him or her smattered in tubs of oil. This point is false.
Point #6 Millennials Live at Their Parent's Home
Ignoring the science and data out there about crippling student loan debt, I shunned this simple matter and focused solely on my own cold hard facts and research. As in the case about millennials not having jobs, I did a quick overview of millennials invited to our wedding. All lived on their own with only three still living at home with their parents. That's a staggering 6%. Next, I studied my participants. Males #1-4 for certain lived on their own with three being either married or engaged. Again, Male #5 teetered on the level of uncertainty in that it appeared that he did live with his parents, but I did not want to usurp his independence with my lack of knowledge. On the other hand, all five females lived on their own. In the end, 90% of Millennials lived on their own and not in their parent's homes. That's data you cannot dispute.
Point #7 Criticism Isn't Easy for Millennials
At first glance, I thought uh-oh, due to the fact that I am writing a rebuttal to a video that features criticism about Millennials, which I am; consequently, I must not be able to take criticism. Then, on second thought, I remembered my very in-depth research proving the YouTube song false so far and knew that I was doing a service for all Millennials out there. We should not have take libel lying down! Woo Haw!
Once I came down from my soapbox, I mulled over how I was to research this statement. I considered privately messaging each of my participants and roasting them with phrases like, "You stink!" "Get a life!" "Your mom goes to college." "Get a job!" "Move out of your parents' house!" "You need therapy!" But besides the fact that I barely knew these people, I had no way of knowing if what I were saying were true, and that would accomplish nothing.
Hmm...I had to dig deep. I had to get personal. Down and dirty as they say. I had to ask my husband to criticize me...but he refused, stating that this was some type of trap, and he was afraid of the outcome. I poked, I pried, I pulled to no avail. I explained this was all in the name of a literary work of art. He still declined but not before he wanted to know the context of the blog. I explained how Millennials cannot take criticism. You can't take criticism, he said. I retorted, "That's not true. Yes, I can. My students criticize me." Alas, there you have it, the answer to this theory. It is true :-(
Point #8 Millennials Feel Like They Know Most Everything
This is a very bold statement and will take much combing through Facebook to cast a decision on this one. I decided to evaluate my subjects on six areas: literature, mathematics, political sciences, current affairs, fine arts, and physiology/medicine. Of course, these categories are a rather abbreviated list of all the subjects in the world, but most of them fall under a Noble Prize, so I deduced that they should count for "most everything." In my research, only two males posted on any one of these categories. Male #3 posted an article about vaccines but considering he is a doctor, I thought this to be acceptable. Male #4 made a few comments about the worthlessness of Republicans, but other than that made no other claims. Furthermore, Male #2 stated on Mother's Day that his mom was better than all other moms, and I thought how could he possibly know that. However, I excused him since "Mothers" was not an area of interest. On the contrary, the females rarely asserted their knowledge. Three out of the five females posted a lot of their endeavors in the running world, and one posted pictures of her baby. However, none was making any proclamation of her knowledge relating to running or babies. As a result of my findings, I was leaning toward declaring this point false but wanted to take a look inwardly first. Do I feel like I know most everything? I do have a wide range of knowledge of European, North American, and South American (Asia and Africa are hard to master) capitals, can rattle back some facts on pachyderms due to a book I read once, and have been know to complete the USA Today crossword puzzles on occasion but am left in a state of befuddlement on any foreign language, the indigenous tribes of Mexico, and what is going on in United States politics right now. This point is false.
Point #9 Millennials Received Participation Trophies Growing Up Which Gave Them Undeserved Confidence
This one strikes me as odd since the ones making and giving us the trophies were generations older than us. So if we really are to cast the blame, wouldn't it be on the Millennials' parents? However, I do not remember anyone doling out participation trophies when I grew up, and if I were bequeathed undeserving, plastic statues, I no way gained false confidence in my later years by them. I participated in ballet, gymnastics, jazz, tap dance, basketball, softball, soccer, art class, math counts, and cross country/track. As a 26 year old, I can say with full confidence, that I have no confidence in my grande jete or quadratic equation solving skills no matter how many medals or ribbons I might have received.
As for my participants, there were no indications on their Facebook pages that their 6-12 year old activities furnished the paths for their careers. Since I took a psychology class once and received an A and a certificate of completion, I have full confidence that I am right about this (I AM KIDDING!). If you want children to stop having undeserved confidence, parents, stop allowing your children to have participation trophies and instead snatch that baby right from their hands, look them in the face, and say, "Timmy, you stink at baseball." Once again, I took a Child Development class and received a certificate of completion, so I know parenting.
All joking aside, I have run in quite a number of races after my college career, and a lot of those races hand out medals to everyone who crosses the finish line. I don't take them. I just don't like clutter. But, I notice a lot of people who do. Young. Old. Males. Females. Black. White. A lot of them wear them proudly. And who am I to judge if this race is their first race back after beating cancer? Or a race they ran in memory of a loved one? Or a goal they set out to accomplish to lose a lot of weight? These runners will never be Olympic athletes, but if that medal brings them confidence to go out and do another race, I am going to let them have that. I'm calling false on this one.
In all, seven out of the nine points were proven false, but further research needs to be conducted. My sample population was limited to ten, white middle-class Americans living in the Northeast and only the access to one social media outlet-Facebook. However, there is one obvious takeaway. All generations have a lot to offer, and we can learn from one another. The Traditionalists taught us the importance of hard-work, humility, responsibility, and the value of a marriage and a family. The Baby Boomers instilled in us speaking up for our rights, optimism, the importance of going to church, and competitiveness. Generation X taught us resourcefulness, independence, and loyalty to a career. Millennials can teach us acceptance to humans regardless of race, ethnicity, and orientation, collaboration, and flexibility and adaptation to a fast-pace world. And even the youngest generation has a lot to offer. While it's true that we desperately need to resort back to some of the values of our ancestors, the young men and women of today are making some much needed changes to our society. The way I see it is if we all work together to embrace change and listen to the wisdom of our elders, we can make a positive change to this world. And no, I am not wearing yoga pants.