Mistaking Generation Y as a sad, pathetic and homogeneous lot is easy when its most visible members fit that bill. Before, we used to have the phenomena of “kidulthood” and being a “rejuvenile“; now we have the dim young things of Generations Y, Z and beyond, as adults in age only.
Second childhood? They haven’t even ended their first.
The media is no help, being only too happy to make Gen Y’s safest, prettiest and most popular (read: dumbest, feckless and most infantile) members into spokespeople for their entire generation. Whilst unfair, it is no wonder Baby Boomers brand millennial youth as being lazy and irresponsible, even if only due to the actions of a few, when there no voice of dissent.
How can an entire generation’s opinion be considered “uniform”?
It’s not hard, considering the only people we see from Gen Y are easy to dismiss on sight due to their unthinking, identikit ways; their lack of independence and individuality; their hypocritical love of “clean” eating whilst obsessing over gaudy donuts, cronuts and cruffins resembling a fat kid’s diabetic wet dream; claims of being oh so progressive with an unwavering championing for the orthodoxies of marriage equality and trans people all because of the single, unifying mantra of “It’s good!”, with no second thought; an ideological belief in the fairytales of Game of Thrones and Harry Potter…look at the imbroglio that came from a Perth library organising a Harry Potter themed event for younger readers, only for twenty-something-and-older fans to complain they weren’t invited. Some of these losers have a fandom of the Potterverse so ardent they claim to be “sorted” into Hogwarts houses, and not the go-to choice of Gryffindor.
“Proud Hufflepuff”, anyone?
I’m not one of these people, and neither is every member of Generation Y.
So why are those mentioned above the only ones we hear from whenever Gen Y’s in the news?
And why are we all presented as such?
There exists an air of dishonesty surrounding the current coverage of Baby Boomers going the thump on (according to them) Gen Y’s lack of initiative when it comes to employment (though of course Gen Y can’t shoulder all the blame when there aren’t enough jobs with a decent income) and housing and homeownership (yet, who holds on to homes or rents them out at extortionate prices?), with the generation’s more visible members – those with a pretty face and a social media presence – wheeled out to defend all of Gen Y by making fools of us all.
A Q&A-like forum on SBS 2 tried to present Gen Y as reasonable sorts who’ve been hard done by. But it wasn’t long before the smiley-faced panel resorted to facetious gags as they’d nothing better to say – or rather, were too dumb to make any actual point.
Why, so far, has every millennial commentator (automatically) been on the side of their peers? Wouldn’t you rather hear a dissenting voice from a member of the group being discussed, if only for the sake of a balanced argument? Who wants to hear criticism of the young from people in their 60s? Heads up, editors and producers: I’m available, my rates are reasonable, and you can’t distract me with a picture of a cat stuck in the blinds.
But no, I’m again foiled by the talking stick being in the grip of the Boomers in the media, who ironically – and disingenuously – dumb down their news coverage in order to attract a younger audience. So where are the younger voices, much less the young who disagree with their peers?
Don’t think my complaint is recent. Ever since Gen Y was represented on Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation by comedian Josh Thomas (to the less-cerebral of Gen Y he’s a saintly LGBT activist: the stupid person’s Peter Tatchell), we’ve been presented as childish and bovine.
Worse, we’ve let this happen.
It’s true that Gen Y need to grow up. I’m not complaining because so many of the dim young things are different to me, however. I’m arguing that if the media wants to feature members of Gen Y, they can’t just pick a select popular few who bring nothing – no detailed opposition, no ideas – to the table.
Print, TV and radio: next time you want to present a knockdown Baby Boomers vs Gen Y scrap, do the honest thing by featuring differing voices and opinions.