How did we become the subject of so much derision?
There is an intractable rivalry between millennials and Gen Z, which most recently hit a crescendo when millennials were labelled 'cheugy'. If you’ve been living under a rock, too busy updating your Facebook status, cheugy is the slight doled out by Gen Z to describe terrifically out of touch, knee-deep in basic millennials.
See, Gen Z are not only at the forefront of activism and abstinence (drinking really isn't their thing), they are also the arbiters of all sage and stylish choices. The ones millennials get so woefully wrong, like the seemingly innocuous decision to side part our hair or pull on a pair of skinny jeans. And we thought we were safe, residing largely on the left, subscribing to progressive politics and ideals. Ha ha, you’ve got to be kidding! Gen Z are not just waging a war on anti-woke, but on everything we do. Naturally, we’re organised and vocal in our response, debating the issue on podcasts and writing embittered and enraged think pieces.
But why all this intergenerational strife? Can't we all just get along, without casting such wide and reductive nets? Without simplifying the narrative of a whole generation? Such predetermined profiles and predilections fail to account for how different we, the largest and most diverse generation, really are. Simply put, the stereotypes are stale. For example, there are some millennials who, yes, partake in the bafflingly popular sport of deciding which Harry Potter house they belong to, but there are plenty of others, who, crypto-crazed, are contemplating a cruise when they cash out. Me? Oh I just like lasagne, which is very cheugy, apparently.
Millennials are well aware that younger people find older people a bit embarrassing. A bit lame. It’s just the way it goes. So if it were just Gen Z, we’d probably shut up and get on with it. But no, the strife is twofold; a shit sandwich if you will. Not simply borne of TikTok trends and Twitter, millennials have long got under the skin of boomers, who blame us for the demise of pretty much everything, from cereal to marriage. We are, in their eyes, rampantly self-indulgent and thoughtlessly entitled. More Me less We. We take too many selfies and are addicted to our phones. We harp on about wellbeing and mental health, and ask for pay rises and promotions when we deserve no such thing. We also have terribly expensive tastes. It’s no wonder so many of us can’t get on the bloody property ladder. Have you seen how many avocados we smush on top of sourdough?
Yes, millennials are stuck between a Croc and a hard place, fending off flack from all angles. And for fear of sounding snowflake-y, it’s simply not fair! We’ve been dealt the worst hand. Older millennials entered the job market just as it was about to combust. All millennials were saddled with a broken economy, and salaries that failed to keep up with inflation. And just as many were finding their feet, about to reach the peak years of their earning potential, oh – curveball! – a pandemic. Boomers on the other hand had elastic opportunities and optimism. And now they’re languishing in retirement with plump pensions, crossing referendum boxes willy nilly while muttering something about the halcyon days. Thank goodness they’re living longer to see their handiwork actually play out. What was it that Vince Cable said? That “the older generation shafted the young.” A little louder for people in the bac– I mean, the provinces. London is so goddamn expensive these days.