You’re probably reading this on your iPhone on your lunch break at your London media job, eating an overpriced Pret sandwich (at your desk, because taking it out rather than eating it inside is cheaper) and sighing at yet another accusation of being a ‘millennial’. I mean, you technically are a millennial. A millennial is just someone raised in the 90s and noughties – no negative connotations, just a fact. So why has being a millennial become lazy switch-out phraseology for being a boring, self obsessed twat? Why have we come to hate the word so much?
Today the Daily Mail claimed “The Facebook Generation are saying No To Sex“, while The Times titled a similar article, “No Sex Please, We’re Millennials (but only to a degree)”. Basically the articles say millennials aren’t having sex. Our generation has more virgins than any generation since the 1920’s. We don’t smoke, take drugs, or do anything but stay inside and watch Netflix.
Why do we keep getting painted as boring sacks of shit? Maybe we aretaking less drugs, going out for fewer beers. And do you know why this is? Because we’re poor. When the only jobs available to you are essentially: ‘send tweets for startup chilli jam companies’ or similar, and London rent prices for a singular, mouldy room in a house sharing with 8 strangers could get you a palace in Scotland, we’re allowed to be poor and miserable. We are boring. We are poor, boring millennials who can’t afford more than one of Shoreditch’s finest £6 beers. A lack of money leads to a lack of fun , a lack of alcohol in our systems leads to a lack of shagging randoms. It makes sense as part of the big picture, but where exactly is your evidence?
In 2008, The Times posted an article claiming that ‘More Students Prefer Studying To Socialising’ (because one uni’s accommodation built a common room instead of a bar, that is the sole basis for this groundbreaking evidence). Last month, The Times posted another similar article. In 2008, Uni fees were still capped at £3,000, and The Times cites this inflated price as the cause of students focusing more on their education. Well look at us now, The Times, 8 years later in a hellish Brexit purgatory, with £9k+ fees and no maintenance grants. You were shocked we were boring back then, and yet you’re somehow still shocked now? The world is a depressing place and instead of getting bang into hard drugs to cope with the fact we’ll never own a house and the closest we might come to true love is a cute Pomeranian we saw on Happn, you’re complaining because we’re reducing teenage pregnancy rates and getting better degrees?
But why are adults so concerned, at all, with what we do in our spare time? I don’t see many articles claiming that OAP’s prefer heroin to MDMA, or ham sandwiches to anal sex. Is it because the older generation know one day we will be running the country, and looking after them? But this insane judgement feels misplaced, because the older generations did the two things they accuse us so frequently of, too: not partying enough, and partying too much. If a young girl gets raped, the commentators want to jump on the ‘that’s what happens when you mix young girls and cheap alcohol’ bandwagon. When a guy gets hurt on a night out, you want to tell us that it was because of the drinking game he was playing. We’re warned that our binge drinking is out of control and we’re causing irreparable damage to our health. One minute we’re scolded for not socialising down the pub with our mates regularly enough, but when we do, the fact we were drinking suddenly becomes all of our hamartia.
Your da’s generation had the mods and rockers. Your nan’s generation had people married and settled down as soon as they were old enough to procreate. Millennials are just a blend of everything that has come before us. We’re well rounded people, that all have different opinions, different desires in life, different past time preferences. You can’t paint us as Tinder using robots incapable of human contact in one article, and then slam a 20 year old for having sex on Love Island in the next. One minute we’re a bunch of hyper sexualised kids, ready to fuck anything that moves, and the next we’re going to die alone due to our general ineptness? Either make your mind up about us, or accept we’re just a generation of normal people that have grown up in simultaneously advanced and excellent, but also extremely shitty, circumstances.
Drug usage levels amongst young people may be dropping, but I could still probably find you a dealer in any part of London with no more than three consecutive text messages. There’s enough real-life evidence that doesn’t come in the form of confusing bar charts and misplaced government funding. In the bigger picture, we probably are boring. But please, stop framing this idea you have around the fact we’re doing it for some introverted, selfish reason. We want to go out with our friends.Literally no student in the history of ever has preferred revising to necking Jäger Bombs. We don’t have to get a husband from down the street aged 15 and hope to get pregnant at 16 in case we die young anymore. Things have changed. Please stop telling me ‘facts’ about my generation whilst simultaneously being so far removed from it you can’t even see us back here, swiping everyone left on Tinder and ordering Deliveroo to our £800 PCM zone 6 flat.