By Alyssa Seidman
Although I like to believe Generation Y is better than any generation that came before it, it’s unprecedented that the adults in our world are actually willing to agree with me on this sentiment. Both TIME Magazine and elitedaily.com have written articles in high regard of our status in the transformative cultural world we inhabit, but have they heard, I ask, that projectile vomiting-inducing song by the Chainsmokers (an opinion’s an opinion, no matter how small…Dr. Seuss said that I think)?
Last May, TIME Magazine plastered your typical teenage girl taking a “selfie” on the front cover of its publication with the headline “Millennials: The Me Me Me Generation.” Although the image was intended to mock our culturally formed habit (don’t pretend you’re not guilty of it), TIME gives a startling sub-line to accompany the picture: “why they’ll save us all.” Elitedaily.com (the self-proclaimed voice of Generation Y) responded to TIME’s article with their follow-up piece, “Why Generation ‘Me’ Will Change The World.”
I love flattery (trust me), but there’s just something not sitting right with me about this whole “inherit the universe” business. For one, how are we supposed to save the world if…oh, hold on; someone just liked my Instagram post…wait, what was I saying? Right. How are we to save the world if we’re constantly attached to these inhuman devices, at our fingertips, 24/7?
There are claims that we Millennials have the capability to improve the world around us since we have a much better understanding of technology when compared to any other generation. This transformative culture of ours is something that previous generations were not exposed to growing up. We grew up with these social sites and, as a result, are subjected to helping our elders update their Facebook statuses. As distressing as this act may seem, it tells us a lot about the shrinking generation gap. Now more than ever, parents and their children can relate to similar issues thanks to the growing accessibility of media (we just wish that “twerking” was contained to our age groups).
But beyond this is the comprehension that we are not a new species. As Joel Stein, the author of the TIME article, put it, “‘Millennials’ self-involvement is more a continuation of a trend than a revolutionary break from previous generations….they’ve…mutated to adapt to their environment.” Stein claims this adaptation is a result of “globalization, social media, the exporting of Western culture and the speed of change,” which makes our generation as a whole “more similar to one another than to older generations.” What this tells us is that our complex interconnectedness may not be the worst thing in the world (“Let Me Take a Selfie” won that one).
So, we may be “lazy entitled narcissist[s]” as Stein said. However, Paul Hudson, of elitedaily.com, says, “But this is a result of our environment. The fact is that our lives are recorded and published on the Internet with or without our consent.” This exposure, then, can either kill us or create us. What I’m getting at here is two choices: we can sit down and take “selfies” well into our 90s, or we can stand up and take advantage of our cultural experience as it is happening right now.
Stein got one thing right before completely bashing Generation Y into oblivion: we are “earnest and optimistic” – but we are so much more than that. You are more than how many likes or favorites you get on any of your respective social media pages – none of this will matter in 10 years; you are more than how you spent your weekends in comparison to how your Facebook “friends” spent theirs – keeping up with the pack isn’t as fun as running alone. You are more than that major everyone says will leave you jobless and in misery – follow your dreams for fuck’s sake. Simply put, my fellow Millenials: We. Are. More.