A testament to human nature.
A phenomenon spanning across innumerable generations:
Even as time progresses, and the sands of the Earth shift, we humans will unfailingly place distinction between our youth and that of other generations. The notion applies all across the board- no matter if you’re a Baby Boomer (born 1940-1964), Millennial (born 1980-1999), or Gen Z (born 2000-now).
Just think. Rack your brains for memory of a similar dialogue:
“Oh, you kids and your phones! It’s like your eyes are glued to that thing! You’re wasting your youth like this, staring at screens all day. In my time, we’d go outside and play for entertainment.”
I’d be surprised if this hadn’t happened to you even once. In truth, I’d sooner call you a liar, or accuse you of faulty memory, than accept that possibly. I’m convinced, some grandparent or family elder of yours must have complained about this. Without a doubt. And incessantly, too. It’s never just a passing comment; chances are, said grandparent has marveled and expressed disbelief at our technology on an almost-daily basis. They complain just as much as they see you use it.
My grandmother, in fact, calls the phone the ‘devil incarnate’ – nevermind the fact that she has one of her own (she can’t work it to save her life, and would likely throw it in the toilet if it weren’t for emergency purposes). Also, you know that weird little ding that sounds out before Siri speaks? Yes, the one most commonly followed by a “Sorry. I didn’t get that”? Well, despite having heard it countlessly, my grandmother will always jump up – frazzled and yelping ‘shitany’ (Arabic for ‘devilish’) – should she hear it. It’s like clockwork.
And it doesn’t just end with the elders, or the Baby Boomers (in generational classification). Browsing the internet, as one is wont to do in this day and age, you’ll likely find the “90s kids” memes that litter the space. They’re everywhere, and a perfect example of the youth distinction.
Though they’re commonly misunderstood to be of the same generation, Millennials are distancing, differentiating themselves from Generation Z.
Just like all other generations. It’s a vicious cycle with neither beginning nor end in sight.
The Lost Generation → Silent Generation → Baby Boomers → Gen X → Millennials → Gen Z
The Lost Generation ← Silent Generation ← Baby Boomers ← Gen X ← Millennials ← Gen Z
In the coming future, after time progresses and the Earth’s sands shift once more, we Gen Z will make the youth distinction between ourselves and the rumored Gen Alpha.
It’s inevitable. And futile. No matter the distinctions made, and the existence of elements particular to each generation (the TV shows, the technology), youth will be youth. In accordance with the unfailing human nature theme, we will all make the youth distinction despite the fact that our youths are actually quite parallel. What changes throughout time, and with each generation, is the scale. With Gen Z, everything is much more advanced, much bigger. CGI in TV and movies. Phones and Texting in Communication. Xbox and PlayStation in Gaming. Tinder and Match.com in Romance and Relationships. But the principle stays the same.
If you don’t believe it, take a look:
Baby Boomers – ‘Popeye’
Gen X – ‘Dastardly and Muttley in their Flying Machines’
Millennials- ‘Arthur’, ‘Recess’, ‘Blue’s Clues’
Gen Z – ‘Princess Sofia’, ‘SpongeBob’, ‘Samurai Jack’, ‘Fairly Odd Parents’, ‘Ed, Edd n Eddy’
Only 90s kids will remember ‘Arthur’ or ‘Recess’?I remember watch them daily as a kid.
Also, Baby Boomers, did you spend all your time outside? Really? Were you not watching ‘Popeye’, eyes glued to the screen so as not to miss a single detail?
The only difference is the scale: Millennials and Gen Z just have more.
Baby Boomers- Elvis, The Beatles, The Beach Boys
Gen X- Saturday Night Fever, Queen, Led Zeppelin
Millennials- Nickelback, NSync, Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, Spice Girls, Michael Jackson
Gen Z- Nicki Minaj, Selena Gomez, Adele, One Direction
A tale as old as time: Fangirling over Boy bands from the Beatles to One Direction.
Selling out concerts, Listening to songs on repeat, Getting criticism from your parents for your ‘outrageous’ and ‘inappropriate’ music
Again, it’s just that with Millennials and Gen Z, bigger is better. There’s the rock of the 60s and the Pop of the 70s and 80s.
Youth is youth – no matter the distinctions made, no matter the technological advancement.
By: Rita Fahmy