Straight Talk Advice

Jan 21, 2014

What bugs Millennials about their generation? Part 2

Dear Readers: If there's one word to define this generation, it's "distracted." Smart phones, video games, on-line porn, surround-media blasting messages mostly making bad stuff look good. Magicians rely on distraction to perform their tricks. This helps explain how our national wealth was redistributed to the very rich with hardly any kickback from what are usually society's young warriors. The other defining word for this generation is "stressed." Electronically over-stimulated, insecurely-attached, nature-deprived, spiritually-bereft, always on display, never good enough — they didn't create this PTSD upbringing, they were given it. 

Last week's gripes centered on media glorification of negative social roles, the so-named bisexual "fad," and the cult of self-harm. Today, this highly-perceptive generation talks mostly about the stressors and distractions they must navigate. —Lauren

Katie 20, Auburn, Calif. Ask me a question

THE PHONES! Seriously, you can't go a few hours without your device? I get that you need to communicate or that sometimes you're waiting for news, but every single second? I'm on dates where the “gentleman” is mostly interested in his phone.

Breele 20, Dana Point, Calif. Ask me a question

Video games have stolen our guys. Some boys can balance gaming with socializing and work/school, but millions can't. They become de-motivated and dull. I actually threw my brother's XBox in the pool. He later thanked me for getting his life back.

Colin 20, Sacramento, Calif. Ask me a question

My top complaint about this generation is apathy. I see news coverage of frequent mass protests in other countries and think, “Why not us?” There's so much broken in our political system — but almost nobody is angry! I wish people actually cared about something!

Ochatre 24, Kampala, Uganda Ask me a question

What bothers me is lack of collective responsibility in solving community issues. [Readers: Ochatre is a founder of the nonprofit “Amani Initiative” dedicated to ending teen pregnancy and early marriage.]

Chris 25, Washington, D.C. Ask me a question

What bugs me is the perception that my generation has it easy and is less motivated than our parents. Our drive is fine. It's just that now, trying to launch, we have it HARDER than our parents did! There is a fiercely competitive job market, much higher living costs, and constant media bombardment of what the “good life” looks like.

Gregg 22, Los Angeles Ask me a question

My peeve: Poor communication. Ironic, I know, but we have the hardest time exchanging more than BS on our state-of-the-art devices. So often I ask a question and get a thread of chitchat back — the question being ignored! What's so great about high-tech if we don't use it for anything important?

Moriah 17, Rutland, Vt. Ask me a question

I'm fed up with girls who believe it's their job to dress so as not to be labeled a “slut” or to protect others from “temptation”. I'm appalled by how many times I've heard, “I mean her skirt was SO short, what did she expect?” I've been told WAY too many times not to wear “those” shorts, or to fix my top because “that guy is looking”. The idea that our bodies are sinful and dangerous — that's what's dangerous.

Katelyn 19, Huntington Beach, Calif. Ask me a question

Black-and-white thinking: For many in my generation, love means, “I accept everything about you,” and tolerance means, “I never disagree with you.” People are quickly labeled “hateful” or “bigoted” simply for holding a different view.
Rudeness: Others think being rude is normal. They cut down their peers then wonder why everyone is so “sensitive.”
Poor reading and writing skills: I shouldn't have to stamp my posts with TLDR [too long don't read], or need a slang dictionary to read yours. When peer-reviewing college writings, I cringe at the confusion between “to,” “too,” and “two.”
Twisted sexuality: I don't have to be thin, wear short-shorts, or lose my virginity to be whole. Unfortunately, I often feel like yelling, “I don't shame you, so don't shame me!”
Faux activism: People are very sanctimonious when it comes to popular issues like bullying and depression. Yet few actually do anything. Lesser known issues are completely skipped over. The say-everything-do-nothing attitude is tiresome.
Disappearance of chivalry: I've read that a meer 7 percent of women are offended by chivalry. I wish we stopped confusing it with sexism or chauvinism. It's sad that in dating, chivalry is considered “creepy” or “desperate”.

Editor's Note: A third defining word/phrase for this generation is "no skin in the game." The Boomers had the draft, which put one's very life on the line (or the life of your brother, lover, son, etc). This extremely personal involvement in society kept everyone paying attention to the news — including inspiring revolt when things went too wrong. With today's mercenary armed forces, this impulse is lost, both on those serving since they do so voluntarily, and those who don't serve since they have little reason to pay attention. I did an expanded essay on the need for conscripted national service (including options for non-military service, which we desperately need) that would, among other good things, awaken the attention of our young people to national and world affairs. To read that column, click HERE.

I love this generation and I believe in them. I'm a Mom (and now honorary "Mom-at-Large") of Millennials. Every generation has it's challenges and I believe the Millennial's challenges are much tougher than my generation's.We need their fire and involvement to create a just and sustainable world. —Lauren

Readers: What's bugging YOU about the Millennial Generation? Or, conversely, what do you LOVE about them? Please share below or write us using the "contact" form.

(Today's column is Part 2 of a two-part series. Part 1 can be read by clicking HERE. We also asked this question nine years ago when the Straight Talk forum first began. The Millennial generation was younger then, but many of the same things were bugging them. Take a look at that column from DEC 29, 2004.)

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