by Shauneez Rigney
Image by Snappy
The whole world, has their reservations about Millennial's. Maybe it’s our unique work ethic, our inclination to solve everything digitally, the pressing urge to document every aspect of our lives, or the vast lengths we’ll go to get that perfect Instagram post. Those are just characteristics that are perceived unconventional by previous generations who have not accepted or adapted to the new world and fail to understand that although it seems like we do not have a struggle, we are constantly fighting inner turmoil’s of social anxiety and grappling with the idea of gender and sexuality and the stereotypes that come with it. Our abstract issues are disregarded but, these struggles of ours just form the natural order of societal issues, past generations fought the tangible and now, the next step is the emotional social issues that have always loomed above us and matter just as much.
Don’t get me wrong, we do live vicariously through role models that represent a lifestyle that is unattainable for most of us, a lifestyle that also requires you to lose yourself to a hype as you watch your personality dissolve in a pool of pretentiousness, dabbing and selling our souls to social media. Millennials do not form connections like any other generation, If we find it in us to form a connection at all, our process doesn’t consist of a 5 month courting period, having an array of suiters lined up before you or a wooing period during which extravagant gifts are presented on a golden platter by one of our staff, no, that was the 1500’s. Now, it’s a genderless pool of infatuated DM sliding and DTF’ing until the romance runs its two week course. The way we connect with each other and other people forms a domino effect on society, even brands don’t know how to reach out to us and create TV adverts that appeal to all of our genders, sexualities and preferences. So why are millennials considered the most contradictory, socially lost generation when every generation before us caused their own social waves, why are millennials under the social microscope? Well, it seems we defy all laws of human connection that’s why.
I’ll be honest, I’ve been feeling pretty dead inside as If I’m living in a simulative reality or in a constant state of psychosis, something in me is aware of my detachment from the world and is screaming to feel something but physically I am not present. It’s like sometimes I’m just living on the surface, there is no longer anything in me that makes me want to stand for something like tying myself to a tree or bed peace Ono and Lennon style. My body and mind are aware that I have lived a privileged life and its itching to fight for something. We learn so many important lessons through struggling and fighting for something, due to our lack of struggle, as millennials we have missed out on so many crucial lessons because we have not fought for anything life threatening. Sure, there are the endless LGBTQ fights (question: is it typical millennial of me to complain about everything, even about the fact that I’ve had an easy life?). The point is most of us are hollow people living on the surface not knowing what it is to fight for anything so we protest for just about anything hoping it’ll help us feel something.
Maybe we put ourselves in this situation, studies have shown that entitlement in millennials are higher than any other generation, okay, there was no study but it is convincing that millennials are entitled. We are so quick to fight for any sort of right like everything on this planet, living and alive owes us something, we’ve become so sensitive but desensitized at the same time, every kid in a race gets a medal but it’s so easy to walk passed a homeless person without flinching.
We were raised by generations who have endured apartheid, wars; cold and civil; and the NAZI’S! Our parents didn’t get a medal for coming last because that is life; sometimes some of us are going to be below others and sometimes above, it’s the natural order of society. If everyone were equal no one would have motivation to work hard or understand the meaning of an achievement, “all animals are equal but some more equal than others” right? Human beings don’t have the capacity to master the balance of anything, we’re busy fighting first world problems like gender rights when third world issues of poverty are still actively growing.
The message I’m trying to communicate with you, my fellow overly sensitive, Instagram famous comrades, is that our entitlement causes us to believe that we deserve only the best; anyone who hurts us, great there’s the door, if it’s not easy, it’s not meant to be, always put yourself first hashtag self- care and so on and so on. That is all great but it manifests this nonchalant mind-set to give up on everything. This turns off our compassion and empathy for others, anything that doesn’t affect or serve us, we don’t care. This is why we are where we are, people struggle to maintain healthy relationships, struggle to date, find a partner and build connections because we are too busy looking as far as our noses, any bump in a relationship and we give up.
Disclaimer: The next part may be sensitive to some so I ask, I plead, please remove your millennial hats that commands you to protest against everything or post a rant on your Instagram story that your followers will probably just click past. Psychologically, stereotypes might be crucial in the process of socializing; we need to create stereotypes for ourselves in order to process our interactions with different people, it is counteractive to what our society is trying to do, but we need to put people in boxes for our own knowledge, the problem arises when we allow our stereotypes to live outside our minds and when older generations fail to evolve with how millennials have redefined many of those stereotypes.
The LGBTQ society are pioneers of redefining stereotypes, however, cultural appropriation comes in all forms, just how Kim Kardashian- or all the Kardashians actually- appropriate the black culture, I can’t help but notice that there are people who appropriate being gay, lesbian or bisexual. There are so many hypes and sometimes it feels as though people pretend to be a different sexuality because they see it as an aesthetic which also shows the lengths we will go for followers and likes.
We have become so disorientated in this reality, we’ve lost touch with what the concrete elements of society are. We’re floating around in a state of liminality, contradicting new with old world orders and our values have lost all gravity floating around us not knowing where they fit anymore. Everything is free, nothing means anything anymore, men are women, women are men and children are getting medals for everything!
Look, I’m not saying we are completely incapable of being loved or maintaining healthy relationships, I am saying that the cause of our unhealthy ideas of relationships and companionship is due to the fact that we are constantly bombarded with dating advice of what not to do, how to be, “5 things guys can’t resist” or “how to know what a woman is thinking when she does these things” and “10 steps to get the dream guy” etcetera, etcetera, the internet is a dark, downward spiral for the dating culture. We place so much pressure on how to be that we forget who we are, we no longer know ourselves and isn’t that all we are about; “finding ourselves” (even though we don’t know what that means and no one actually finds themselves until they’re like 90) and “self-care” (even though none of us know healthy coping mechanisms and have not grasped the concept of balance). As millennials we’re stuck in this washing machine, thrown around and drowning in so many choices of who and what to be.
Because we don’t know ourselves, it is so easy to lose ourselves when we’re in relationships and become engulfed by the relationship we then morph into our partner until we’re unrecognizable to our friends to the point where we’re ostracized. This is why getting married in your 20’s, in this generation, is detrimental to self-growth. In earlier generations they got married young because that was all life had for them, they didn’t have the opportunities we had to explore yourself and allow different experiences to mould you into someone new. Marriage and relationships now are all based on Instagram goals, we want the look of a relationship without the commitment, we want to be saved but we also don’t know what we’re being saved from, our own narcissism perhaps? A millennial relationship consists of matching Gucci outfits (bought with money we don’t have) posted on Instagram with thousands of likes from our followers (we probably bought) oh and amid this perfect facade we display on social media, someone in that relationship is probably cheating. While it seems fidelity and materialism is already enough relationship curve balls, we also struggle with gender role imbalance.
Now, dear men, please don’t take this as a rant about everything you’re doing wrong, but it is. Due to the increase in women realizing their worth and growing independence and vast capabilities, this leaves men, for once, struggling to find their place and take control and for some reason, men now think because women are doing it for themselves they don’t ever have to put the work and effort in to keep and keep up with a woman once she realizes what she is capable of. Although it pains me to say this and although women can and will do whatever they want, maybe to maintain a balance there are just some roles that should be reserved for men and women respectively. Now that is contradictory to my “men are always wrong” rant earlier because one, I am right and two why, once again, do women always find themselves having to reduce themselves to make way for a man.
With social media comes online dating and catfishing, which is a term used to describe when someone prays on an insecure person by manipulating them into thinking they’re someone through fake pictures when they might be someone just as insecure to show their actual appearances. Online dating is exactly why we are the most contradictory generation, so smart but still gullible enough to fall for a scheme like catfishing. This is interesting because it still shows that although we have gained a few unhealthy relationship values, we still long so badly for a true partner that’s why we get caught so quickly and easily by online predators. The psychology behind catfishing and online relationships is just incredibly mind blowing that I encourage you to keep doing it so that we can learn more about the insecure nature of humans and how easily we can be manipulated when someone promises us to be our soulmate, IF we also transfer money to them and comply with a series of shady requests. What if people prefer online dating because of the fact that physical contact is limited, I mean through technology we are slowly muting our emotional sensibilities, becoming more desensitized to touch and for a generation always on the move an online relationship sounds like a dream! Someone there to talk to when you want but they’re not actually there so you don’t have to really pay any attention to them plus you can be whoever you want, texts don’t require an immediate response so people are able to think about a well curated, witty, romantic or funny reply when in reality they’d stutter like an old car face to face.
To conclude, no human is supposed to be alone but maybe this is how human extinction takes place; selfish millennials incapable of building connections simply because we get too bored and give up and then everyone dies. Wow what a way to go, all those wars and gold mining and whale saving and O-zone destroying just to be wiped out by boredom. In all seriousness, the only reason is selfishness only because we think we’re alone in depression, anxiety, low self- esteem and body issues. Millennials don’t get enough credit for their strength when fighting those issues alone with parents from generations who disregard those types of struggles. These struggles were always there, when you were fighting wars, when you were colonizing countries, stealing gold, exploiting people and living in apartheid. People have always been gay, lesbian, transgender and depressed, Millennials are just owning the struggle and making it more known than what it was. We are a lonely generation because nobody understands our ways but we are owning everything we are, trying to build connections on our own terms, over Instagram while photo shopping everything about us until we are unrecognizable in real life, is that so difficult to understand?
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