As millennials, we have a lot of things to be proud of. As it turns out, our assigned generational name is not one of them.
When it comes to Instagram followers, being educated af and our encyclopedic knowledge of the Backstreet Boys discography, we’re pretty much killing it. But then there’s that one word, “millennial.” Vom. Shudder. Woof. Just hearing the word makes us want to never attend a music festival or take a selfie again.
Why the nausea? Ironically, our hatred is borne out of the most defining invention of our generation: The Internet.
The Loathing Is Real
Actual research legitimizes our hatred: Only 40 percent of so-called “millennials” identify with the term or consider themselves a part of the millennial generation, compared to 58 percent of Gen Xers and 79 percent of Baby Boomers. Older millennials even go as far as abandoning Gen Y entirely; a cool 33 percent of 27- to 34-year-olds consider themselves a part of the infamous Nirvana generation, Generation X, despite their birth year.
The research also suggests that millennials are oddly self-deprecating. Despite our size, influence and supposed entitlement, we’re far more critical of ourselves than generations past, with nearly half of those surveyed describing our generation as self-absorbed, wasteful and greedy. Gen Xers, Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation, on the other hand, opted for more positive traits, such as “hard working” and “compassionate,” to describe themselves.
A Virtual Magnifying Glass
The Internet is as omnipresent as your Chipotle craving and as repetitive as your mom’s “r u okay?” text messages. Without it, we wouldn’t have this Tumblr entirely devoted to bacon, lazy acronyms like DGAF to express emotion or this life changing photo of Rick Ross surrounded by pandas.
We also wouldn’t loathe the term “millennial” so much that we’d rather endure an Anne Hathaway movie marathon than utter the word.
All generations are chided and criticized by their elders; it’s basically a rite of passage. But growing up alongside the Internet has put Gen Y under a virtual magnifying glass, inviting anyone with a pulse to analyze, critique and stereotype our every move on a public forum. We can’t just blissfully ignore the opinions of others like Gen X and the Baby Boomers did before us; our Facebook newsfeed is a constant reminder of how entitled, clueless and selfie-obsessed we are. WE GET IT.
The Internet is also to blame for our generation’s poor self-image. Just as the moniker has infiltrated our lives and social channels, so have the negative, overused stereotypes ascribed to us by the very people who raised us. We’re more likely to subconsciously internalize our flaws because we can’t seem to escape them.
The result? We HATE the word “millennial” and the stereotypical box it puts us in. Calling us “millennials” is like calling us walking cliches.
While bearing the brunt of America’s judgment is basically second nature to us, we’re steadfast in our belief that there’s more to our generation than selfies and smartphones. Contrary to what every news outlet and opinion piece will lead you to believe, we’re not egotistical app developers who despise the idea of marriage and have never driven a car; we just despise the word “millennial.”