Generation 'Selfie' Is Taking Over
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Politics and Activism

Generation 'Selfie' Is Taking Over

Millennials: "People reaching young adulthood in the early 21st century" - The Oxford Dictionary

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Generation 'Selfie' Is Taking Over
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I recently watched two videos on facebook that keep showing up on my timeline because so many people seem to agree with these people. These two videos are captioned “Girl Rants about Millennials” (Youtube) and “This Is Exactly What’s Wrong With This Generation” (Facebook). Both of these videos use similar buzzwords such as entitled, lazy, and self-interested. Now, I watched these videos, and I was angry. I thought to myself, “Who do I know that fits these descriptions? Who do I know is entitled, lazy, and self-interested?” I came to the conclusion that no one I knew was like this.

Entitled and self-interested go hand in hand, I think. They come from the same general focus that is towards the self and not towards an external figure. These are also very negative words, in my opinion. We were taught that we were special by the generation before us, and none of the speakers in these videos wanted to comment on why it is that the seemingly perfect Generation Xers taught the Millennials that it is important to put your needs before others in certain situations. Maybe it’s because they realized that repressed depression and repressed anxiety led to such unhealthy habits? The man in the facebook video commented on the fact that there is an increased rate of depression in Millennials, but maybe the depression was always there, it’s just that we were the first ones to dig deep within ourselves to understand that this perpetual sadness is not normal. He also mentioned that there was an increased rate of suicide in millennials, but maybe that’s because the generation above us refuses to give us the help and care that we need in order to get rid of our suicidal tendencies? I have so often heard from adults “you’re fine, you just need to get over it” when my teenaged self just needed someone to listen and to understand that my feelings are hard for me to deal with. Yes, I am self-interested and entitled, but I am self-interested and entitled for my own sake because I understand that if no adult figure in my life is going to help me, then I need to find the strength within myself or somewhere else to help me. Why is it so bad to be self-interested? Is it because once that happens, we are no longer the proud products of Generation X, and instead, we become the proud products of ourselves?

Laziness is so strange to me. What do people define as laziness in millennials? I worked my ass off for four years in high school so that I could get into a university that only accepted 14% of its applicants. How can the generation above us call us lazy when they hold such unrealistic expectations for us like to get into an Ivy League school, or to get a job, all while maintaining straight A’s and achieving a 2400 (now a 1600) on the SAT’s? Or expectations like finding an internship in freshman year of college when we’re still transitioning from a sheltered life of being a teenager into the unsupervised life in a semi-adult world? How are we expected to know exactly what we want to be in our lives when we barely completed half of it? My friends experienced crippling anxiety all throughout high school because they were scared that they wouldn’t be good enough for colleges (which, by the way, are run by Generation Xers). They obsessed over grades, all while being obsessed over finding a job in high school so that they could prove to their parents that they are completely capable of supporting themselves. I am so lucky to have parents that wanted me to prioritize my life and focus only on school work, but I am also unlucky to have been born in a society where I have to read articles and watch videos like the ones mentioned above, forcing me to view myself as useless and unworthy. We are not lazy. You just have ideals for us that make us seem lazy.

The man in the facebook video mentioned that we are often upset by the fact that we are not impacting the world around us once we enter our jobs. Did he ever stop to think who gave us those ideals? We are bombarded with ads and representatives from colleges and internships that constantly tell us that with our education––where one-third of millennials are educated with a four-year college degree, making us the most educated generation (Pew Research Center)––we can make great changes in our world. What made me tick was the fact that he made it seem like these ideals are harmful to us and our work ethic. I think it makes us hopeful and able to clearly see the wrongdoings in our world where the people who are in power (ahem, Generation Xers) cannot. We work harder to be able to eventually make that impact. Yes, we are impatient, but we are impatient because these problems are so glaringly obvious to us, and no one who has the ability to make change right now can see these problems.

If you want to find something negative in a generation, then you will find something negative. Granted, there are things that I agree with the people who spoke in these videos––like when they said that relationships between millennials are slowly becoming shallow and superficial. I see that too, but there are cases of those types of relationships in every single generation. However, just because we do not interact with each other in the ways that the generations before us used to interact, does not mean that we are doing it wrong. We are simply redefining what it means to be in a relationship, and sometimes, it takes a while to completely adapt to new establishments. I think it is more idealistic to expect a new generation to want to adopt “The Old Ways” when times are changing so quickly. I think the positivity in self-interest and entitlement is the fact that we are able to recognize that other people who are oppressed and treated unjustly deserve that same self-interest and entitlement that we possess. At my school, there is one club purely for community service, and there are sub-groups that are specialized in helping the hungry or tutoring children or providing health-care services for people who cannot receive this attention. We even have a group that is specialized in making sure that the janitors at our school receive the special treatment that they deserve for working so hard to do the work that no one else wants to do. And yes, “special treatment” is synonymous to entitlement, the word that is so negatively used to describe the millennial generation.

We so desperately want to change the world, and we want to keep finding new ways that can do that. So many of the people that I’ve met at college believe in working for the betterment of the community, not for themselves. There are definitely cases where millennials are indeed self-interested and entitled in the negative sense of the word, just as there were negative examples of different generations before us, but we cannot ignore the positivity that comes from our generation. “Generation Selfie” is coming forward to make up for the mess that was left from the generations before us.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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