The Problem With Naming Generations

The Problem With Naming Generations

Calling me a "Millennial" can make you hate me without even knowing me.
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There are hundreds of articles titles "Millennials are..." or "Why the Baby Boomers Were the Best Generation." All of them appeal to a specific audience though no more popular than the call to denounce a group because they are 'different' than yourself. As a 21-year-old, I am considered a millennial and I'm proud of that. I grew up with jump ropes and chalk and using my imagination to entertain myself all day. But I also had a GameBoy, I religiously watched Saturday morning cartoons and was familiar with an assortment of other electronics.

Because my birthday falls between 1980-1996, I'm lumped into a group with all other Americans born during this time. I'm considered to be "innovative" and "good with technology" but I'm also "lazy" and "entitled." I'm "disillusioned" because apparently I grew up thinking I was better than everyone else, which makes me stereotyped into specific categories when in actuality I'm of the first generation that is projected to make significantly less than the previous (which includes our parents). Most of the older generations assume I am Democratic and liberal (which to be fair, I am, but that's not because of the year I was born in...). They think that I have no idea what the value of a dollar is and that I'm selfish and only concerned with studying during the week, partying on the weekend.

All of these things that I've pointed out could be true for some people, but they're not restricted to age or 'generation.' They somehow have persisted into our cultural assumptions of people and we use them to limit others, to explain our own actions or failures, and worst of all, we use them divisively. We use them to plainly state: "You are different from me, therefore you are worse that me."

This is a huge problem in our culture because now, as in all previously trying times, we should be thinking less about ourselves as different, and more as the same. The environment is falling apart and very few people care or realize it. The United States has been at war since I was in kindergarten and it has become so normalized that we even forget it's still happening. Minimum wages are not sufficient to support a healthy lifestyle and there doesn't seem to be a good way of solving that issue. We have a presidential candidate who is running his campaign on fear and hate. These are huge issues and instead of uniting us, they are setting us at even more odds.

I recently read an article that talked about "Generation Z," which is composed of young people and children born after 1995. The article described how they are better than Millennials (who have apparently been a part of the workforce 'forever' now when in actuality, I am still in college and have yet to be of legal age to vote in a presidential election...) because they have been born into technological advancements that seem commonplace to them, a culture of acceptance (LGBTQ movements, feminism, etc.) and that they are bursting with untapped potential because they are yet to go to college or enter the workforce. Again, these may be true. But some "Generation Z-ers" are still in elementary school. How is it even possible to tell six-year-olds who have just learned how to read and think for themselves that they embody these characteristics? It isn't.

Instead, labeling differently aged people like this only causes divisive rifts between them. "Baby Boomers," the generation born after World War II feel entitled to call "Millennials" lazy because they have been raised differently than them. While the older generation may have trouble with computers and resent their infiltration into the workplace, younger generations had no trouble incorporating them into their daily lifestyles, let alone workplace. "Generation X," which loosely has birth dates falling between 1960-1980, may feel like their rights are viewed as lesser than the generations before them who they think had more simplistic work lives and better access to the "American Dream." Or perhaps they feel that they are better than others because some of them are nearing retirement or are comfortable in their career, unphased by the economic upheaval that will heavily affect the young people of this nation.

All of these factors allow people to dehumanize older or younger generations to an extent. If you don't believe, check out an article about "Millennials" and look at the comments section. People on both sides get pretty heated about this idea. Whether you agree or disagree with me, it's obvious that treating people poorly because of when they were born (something they had absolutely no control over) is unacceptable and small-minded. But somehow, it's a trap that many of us fall into, myself included.

I'm not asking you to dismiss the concept of naming generations. It's already happened and more than likely, it will continue to persist in our culture as a result of its obsession with naming and understanding everything. Instead, I'm simply asking you to think about your grandfather, classmate, niece, uncle, friend from work, professor, or anyone who is important to you before you classify them as "this" or "that" just because of what media and popular opinions tell you to do. While I will probably continue to smile at memes about generational naming, I'll take it with a grain of salt. You should, too because you are intelligent and have a brain.

Use it.

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I'm The Girl Who'd Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

You raise your protest picket signs and I’ll raise my white picket fence.
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Social Media feeds are constantly filled with quotes on women's rights, protests with mobs of women, and an array of cleverly worded picket signs.

Good for them, standing up for their beliefs and opinions. Will I be joining my tight-knit family of the same gender?

Nope, no thank you.

Don't get me wrong, I am not going to be oblivious to my history and the advancements that women have fought to achieve. I am aware that the strides made by many women before me have provided us with voting rights, a voice, equality, and equal pay in the workforce.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Who Would Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

For that, I am deeply thankful. But at this day in age, I know more female managers in the workforce than male. I know more women in business than men. I know more female students in STEM programs than male students. So what’s with all the hype? We are girl bosses, we can run the world, we don’t need to fight the system anymore.

Please stop.

Because it is insulting to the rest of us girls who are okay with being homemakers, wives, or stay-at-home moms. It's dividing our sisterhood, and it needs to stop.

All these protests and strong statements make us feel like now we HAVE to obtain a power position in our career. It's our rightful duty to our sisters. And if we do not, we are a disappointment to the gender and it makes us look weak.

Weak to the point where I feel ashamed to say to a friend “I want to be a stay at home mom someday.” Then have them look at me like I must have been brain-washed by a man because that can be the only explanation. I'm tired of feeling belittled for being a traditionalist.

Why?

Because why should I feel bad for wanting to create a comfortable home for my future family, cooking for my husband, being a soccer mom, keeping my house tidy? Because honestly, I cannot wait.

I will have no problem taking my future husband’s last name, and following his lead.

The Bible appoints men to be the head of a family, and for wives to submit to their husbands. (This can be interpreted in so many ways, so don't get your panties in a bunch at the word “submit”). God specifically made women to be gentle and caring, and we should not be afraid to embrace that. God created men to be leaders with the strength to carry the weight of a family.

However, in no way does this mean that the roles cannot be flipped. If you want to take on the responsibility, by all means, you go girl. But for me personally? I'm sensitive, I cry during horror movies, I'm afraid of basements and dark rooms. I, in no way, am strong enough to take on the tasks that men have been appointed to. And I'm okay with that.

So please, let me look forward to baking cookies for bake sales and driving a mom car.

And I'll support you in your endeavors and climb to the top of the corporate ladder. It doesn't matter what side you are on as long as we support each other, because we all need some girl power.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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Dear America, We Can Step Forward As A Country If We Stop Believing That Only One Belief Is Valid

It's time to promote unity and emphasize our commonalities because only through unity can we step forward as a country.

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Dear America,

2018 was a year of political strife and conflict. The left and the right fought constantly. Republicans and Democrats blamed each other for the tiniest mistakes, and there were only a small number of successful bipartisan deals. Politicians and citizens alike seemed more concerned with sticking to party platforms, even ones they truly didn't believe in, rather than compromising with the other side to improve our society.Yet all this name-calling and hatred — what does it do in the end? What does it accomplish?

We've only seen an increased polarization of American politics and an expanded hostility towards "the other side." We don't consider the well-being of each and every person in America and the bettering of our society, or the building of a stronger world for our children and grandchildren.

We spend so much time insulting each other's political beliefs that we forget probably the most important fact that links us all together: We are all human. We all share the same basic needs, the same struggles, the same moments of happiness and sadness.

And yet we are willing to put our similarities aside and only focus on our differences. We are willing to thrust ourselves into the deep anger and loathing that comes in attacking those different from us. We are willing to parry insults behind the safety of a phone screen and forget all about what makes us alike. And we are willing to gloss over the fact that we have more similarities than differences.

SEE ALSO: Dear Trump, Thanks For Transforming Me Into A Responsible, Educated Citizen

Yes, political beliefs make a person. Political beliefs define the values, ideas and thoughts of a person. But sometimes, we have to reach over those beliefs, as hard as that may be, and focus on the bigger picture at hand. What will insulting someone because of those beliefs do? It definitely won't change their views or make them see things from your point of view.

It's sad and frustrating that this endless fighting doesn't even occur between two countries or two governments or two nation-states. Instead, we see arguments and strife between two family members, two neighbors or even two strangers, all living in the same community and under the same government, all sharing more similarities than differences.

We need to stop focusing so much on singular ideas. We need to stop believing in the close-minded idea that only one thought is the best thought. And instead of wasting energy trying to change other's opinions, we need to use that energy and time to promote unity and emphasize our commonalities.

These past few years have truly divided America. Let's make 2019 a year of unity, because only through unity can we step forward as a country.

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