If you search the term 'millennials' on Google, you get "about 48,700,000" results. Besides Wikipedia pages defining what a millennial is, you can also find headlines such as: "Bridge Millennials and the threat to physical space"; "Why it's so hard for millennials to buy homes" (spoiler alert: they're so damn expensive); and even "How much millennials are spending on their pets" (spoiler alert: a lot). Needless to say, Generation X seems to be extremely interested in how 'millennials' function - and probably more about how to make money from them.
I watched a video from The New Yorker on selfies and narcissism and they talked about how millennials are obsessed with themselves and how they were raised to believe they were "special". It was interesting, and it does ring true in many ways. But frankly, I think we need to move on. We've been talking about millennials (my generation) for years now. We've been blamed for the downfall of retail, the uprising of avocado prices, and of being narcissists. We're the Instagram generation obsessed with documenting our lives. However, we should try to understand why our generation is like this. Many in our generation grew up during the recession of 2008. Americans in their 20s and 30s have a total student loan debt of $784.7 billion, and while the cost of housing has gone up 6.3%, wages grew 5.4%. The world of millennials, and many others in generations before and after, isn't a sunny one. Life for the majority isn't entirely perfect.
So what do we do? We escape in the only ways we know how. In the same way movies have always provided an escape for humans, millennials more readily utilize the new means around us: social media. Millennials curate social feeds and grids because it's one of the few aspects of our lives that we have control over. While media outlets bombard us with polarization and potential nuclear threats, we withdraw into a world that can become our "safe space". It's the new escapism. It's not necessarily right, but it's also not wrong. And what happened? Some made money off of social media. Suddenly, anyone with a feed could make money. For a generation drowning in debt, and maintaining stagnant salaries, this was enticing. Social media became a secondary income for many, and a means to an end: financial freedom. Was it bastardized by some? Yes, like anything else. But the intent has always been the same: carve a corner of the internet that lets you forget how horrible the world can be, and make some money while you're at it.
Everyone loves to hate on selfies and the millennials taking them. You're a narcissist if you partake. I think that we're just a generation trying to take control of who wields the camera, and thus control. So maybe Generation X journalists should focus less on what millennials are doing wrong, and focus more on the real problems facing the world: increased depression amongst younger low income population; 49 million Americans struggle to put food on the table; and the other crap that's plaguing the world like natural disasters, deforestation, and obviously all the wars. Think about that before you write another article about how millennials could afford houses if they stopped eating avocado toast.