Since I’m writing for a student newspaper, it’s unlikely to come as a shock to anyone that I myself am a millennial. This is a statement that would have many older readers immediately disregarding my succeeding opinions as the delirious ramblings of an entitled hipster who’s probably high off the fumes of arsehole-bleach and has got bits of organic kale stuck in his meticulously trimmed beard. The stereotype of the millennial generation seems to be that we are narcissistic, lazy, naïve, privileged, cowardly wankers. And this is likely true about some millennials, but it’s also likely true that there exist these kind of people in every generation, as it’s difficult to live your life without encountering such a wanker from every age bracket. This leads me to conclude that a certain percentage of the population – not just millennials – are simply awful and should be avoided at all costs before they spew some opinion about how transgender people are causing global warming or how immigration made them go bald. It also seems common-sense to assume that age does not necessarily have a correlation with being a dick, so why so much hate for millennials?
Part of the problem seems to be that, in general, we are a generation that encourages more political correctness than any other. Personally I don’t know why this is a negative thing. Heaven forfend that treating others with respect should be seen as a part of basic social behaviour! People seem to hate it when the ‘PC-brigade’ tells them to not call someone a ‘paki,’ or to stop telling Muslims to go home, or to stop throwing that flaming pig carcass into that Mosque. Those meddling millennials, always trying to ruin the incitement of nationwide racial division.
This empathetic attitude seems to have gained us the label of ‘generation snowflake’,which is a term I’ve seen floating around various men’s rights activist pages and other such congregations of man-babies. We seem to be seen as pathetic because we actually care about people’s feelings; emotional repression apparently being the hallmark of a successful society in our critics’ eyes. It also seems ironic that millennials are called pathetic by people who are afraid of seeing their postman wearing a turban, a person with a darker skin-tone than ‘windscreen’, or a falafel.
Millennials are impressively resilient despite the label of ‘generation snowflake’. We are repeatedly screwed over by older generations who like to suck away all our money in the form of uni fees and house prices until there is a literal vacuum in our wallets, pluck us from the nourishing teat of the EU without our consent, and make us deal with the pesky fact that the Earth is melting. We may complain and moan but in general our reaction to this is to respond with internet memes, Twitter jokes, and by getting pissed, which, to me, seems like an encouragingly optimistic response to the fact that we were born on a sinking ship and those at the helm insist that hitting more icebergs will rectify everything.
The ‘generation snowflake’ fallacy really reaches its mind-numbing peak when millennials are criticised for their emphasis on mental health awareness. You’ll see a picture of a World War Two soldier on Facebook with a caption of something like “young people used to fight wars with guns, not anxiety with ‘safe spaces’” shared by your racist uncle whose profile picture is a car and who doesn’t come round at Christmas anymore since the whole drunken-penis-reveal thing back in ’08. Well sorry that I wasn’t conscripted into a suicide mission, Robert, I’ll try harder in the next life.
This whole ‘mental health problems are for pussies’ ideology is not just moronic but utterly toxic. If we’re going to get super deep for a moment I know a person who is reluctant to see a doctor about his possible depression out of fear of looking ‘soft’. So yeah he may have to deal with untreated psychological trauma but at least he won’t be a ‘pussy’. Thanks, ingrained societal reluctance to regard mental health as seriously as physical health! Hopefully our generation will help towards a turning point in these ideas and future generation can be more honest about mental health and end the stigma around it. Or we could just follow your uncle Robert’s ideals, ignore any mental health issues, and man-up instead by fighting a bear for a crate of lager, downing a pint of diesel, having poor communication with our fathers, and other such masculine pursuits.
I’m not saying millennials are the divine saviours of society because I’m sure that 20 years down the line we’ll be making poor political decisions and sending the country into turmoil, and ‘generation snowflake’ is not without its own neo-Nazis and Farage-fanatics. However, in general we’re just trying to have a jolly good time and be a bit more understanding and compassionate to all the unfortunate souls that live in this world. So in the grand scheme of things, who gives a f*ck if we take the odd selfie?