Over the past 15 years or so, millennials (1981-1996) have been blamed for destroying nearly everything, including marriage, chain restaurants, motorcycles, beer (what?), cereal, suits, department stores, diamonds, print news (probably true, actually), maps, fabric softener, alarm clocks, consumerism, and much, much more. I was selective in choosing these examples because, whew, there are a lot of them.
I am smack dab in the middle of the millennial generation (1990), and I have no problem owning that. Some people my age reject the label because apparently, they believe in the “lazy, entitled, easily offended” stereotype. In reality, generational names literally just describe the span of years in which someone is born. The stereotypes of each generation are usually assigned by those who are a couple decades older (often their parents’ generation).
Millennials have given up on trying to prove themselves to baby boomers (and to a lot of gen X, too) because it’s clearly pointless. It’s like trying to convince a brick wall that we’re worthy of any amount of respect. That’s why it’s so satisfying that gen Z-ers (born after 1997) have created the perfect, meme-worthy response to this kind of mindset: “OK Boomer.”
It’s so simple! And yet, so effective.
I know that #NotAllBoomers fit into the pro-Trump, anti-Greta Thunberg stereotype that is meant here, but as someone who has completely given up on trying to discuss anything political with elders who believe that white men are somehow oppressed, the phrase “OK Boomer” is gratifying in so many ways. It’s the most succinct way to end a conversation while making it known that you are not conceding — you’re just tired.
Millennials have become apathetic. The Man wore us down, man. We are so used to being dismissed by older generations that we just began cutting people out of our lives (and Facebooks) because it was getting so old. But our little brothers and sisters (and sometimes kids) are not yet jaded. Gen Z has been attacked for standing up against school shootings because supposedly they are too immature to have a stance but, so far, they show no sign of backing down.
In response to the phenomenon, many boomers (snowflakes?) have released a torrent of angry tweets about how calling someone a “boomer” is hurtful.
What? Were you born between 1944 and 1964? Then you’re a boomer, friend.
To highlight how insane this whole thing has become, [boomer] radio show host Bob Lonsberry tweeted, unironically, “‘Boomer’ is the n-word of ageism. Being hip and flip does not make bigotry OK, nor is a derisive epithet acceptable because it is new.”
Oh my God, you guys. The lack of self-awareness is absolutely astounding… but admittedly kind of funny, too.
What it comes down to is that gen Z has finally found a response that sparks the outrage in boomers that climate change and school shootings spark in us. With a meme, gen Z has pushed back against that narrative — boomers are shook — but millennials are thrilled.