Go to LinkedIn and scroll through your feed – you’re guaranteed to see at least five articles waxing lyrical about the pitfalls of being a millennial. They’re snowflakes, they don’t have sex, they love avocados and granola, they go to pubs that look like discarded factories, they don’t have any job opportunities and they’ll never know the joy of owning a property.
If you’re a millennial and read everything that’s written about your generation, you’ll be forgiven for feeling a bit depressed. However, I don’t know why everyone is attacking millennials when baby boomers are much, much worse and actually the new generation is working hard to undo all their wrongs.
1. Social and environmental responsibility
Baby boomers made their money by exploitation. It might hangover of empire mentality, but think about the Gordon Gekkos and Patrick Batemans of the world – they thrived on bullish, immoral and materialistic gains. A mark of their success was how much money they could make and how they displayed this wealth like a vulgar peacock in a penis measuring competition.
They didn’t care that Filipino kids were working their fingers to the bone in dark, damp, cramped rooms for a measly 1p a week. They didn’t care that women were being beaten and raped by factory foremen for not producing 1,000 garments an hour. They advocated polluting rivers with dyes and chemicals to produce shit no one wants and will be discarded within months. They dismiss the growing mountains of rubbish, the unbreathable air and rising temperatures, assuming that all of this was made up by their biggest threat – another consumerist superpower.
Baby boomers pay off the legislators, carve up public services and think of no one but themselves, all because they have a rabid addiction to money.
I don’t know if this is because they’re still bitter about being forced to eat powdered eggs for 8 years or that they’re still dazzled by the fact they didn’t have to work down a pit or in a factory like their parents. They were the first to use computers and this gave them some false air of intellectual arrogance or entitlement – we gave you this pile of neo-liberal shit, now bow down and give thanks.
In contrast, millennials are turning their backs on consumerism, as more and more become vegan and marching climate change. And they are changing the landscape with things like the gig economy (working on our own terms) and a thriving cottage industry bringing back local and artisan traditions, preserving the thing those baby boomers go on about so much, British identity. I mean, mead is a thing now, you can buy it in non-chain pubs. It’s organic and helping little start-ups instead of fat cat CEOs.
And this is the generation that's propping up Labour's Jeremy Corbyn and his for the many, not the few policies. A generation that cares about the world around them and the people that live there, not just their own bank balances and gaudy, monetary success.
2. Preserving the past
Baby boomers set about ripping out beautiful, cast iron fireplaces, painting over every bit of wood with ghastly paint, they covered wooden flooring with unhygienic carpet and they pioneered the microwave meal.
The 60s saw white men in suits ripping communities and families apart by demolishing what they perceived as slums, only to place families in cheap, desolate housing estates in a social (cleansing) experiment that has largely failed and subsequently been demolished.
The hipster places of Shoreditch and Hoxton all have one thing in common, their individuality. It’s all a patchwork of objet d’art from yesteryear and creative spaces made up of art and personality. Organically grown with community support.
They've made industrial lighting and furnishings cool, bought back exposed brickwork and floorboards - all beautiful, great for the environment and unique; after all, no two planks of wood are the same.
Although, I think the baby boomers have the edge on this. After all, they gave us Pink Floyd, Sex Pistols, Mary Quant and the Jaguar E-type. However, millennials are doing their thing too. Isn't Mark Zuckerberg a millennial?
They are single-handedly changing the way we work, from sterile offices to hip cafes, from working for the man to being the man. Baby boomers are bitter as they found validation in being a tiny cog in a huge FTSE company wheel, instead of doing what our forefathers did; start our own business.
Thanks to millennials, we have upcycling and freecycling. They've encouraged us to get creative and have something bespoke. Baby boomers run for mass-produced shite like Ikea, Argos or John Lewis so their homes, like the towns they created, are clones of each other - homogenised, sterile and soulless.
4. Speaking candidly
Baby boomers came from a generation of 'keep calm and carry on'. Males were told to 'man up' and 'stop whining on like a woman'. This has made men afraid of showing emotion, candidly communicating or simply not given the tools to articulate what's in their heads. As a result, suicide rates among young men are at their highest.
Women were told their place was in the home and were snarled at for drinking, swearing or being sexual. The outcome of this social conditioning is women are afraid to be themselves, insecure and feel inadequate. Hence the gender pay gap, rising inequality, rape culture and everyday sexism.
Don't get me wrong, the baby boomers did a sterling job to bring sexual liberation, birth control, safe sex, abortion and abuse out in the open. We owe a lot to them, but this is a patriarchal society and millennials are blowing the doors of social convention.
Thank god, people are now not trapped in the isolation of their profound unhappiness as sexuality is now non-binary, mental health is freely spoken about and gender merely biology.
The challenges of modern life mean they're in the firing line for business and politicians, but they are a product of the environment that was built for them. And they're doing a fantastic job, even with their feeling of entitlement and constant misery, in changing our world without us even noticing.
Some call them snowflakes. Marketers should call them disruptors. I call them exactly what the world needs right now.