The Big Picture On Millennials

Introduction:

According to many people, Millennials are a group of individuals born somewhere between the early 1980s to the early 2000s. They are also known as Generation Y as they follow Generation X and they are usually the children of baby boomers and Generation Xers. There is a bit of disagreement though with the dates that “make up” a Millennial. Knowledgeable Authors William Strauss and Neil Howe are the original people who thought up the term Millennials. In their opinions, they believe that Millennials are born from the 1980s and graduate in the year 2000. Others have argued that generation Y ends in the mid-1990s. These differing opinions result in a generation that is widely diverse to everyone. The one thing though is that most people agree that Millennials are all about themselves. They are considered selfish, entitled, lazy, shallow, confidant, narcissistic to name a few. I believe these opinions are because Millennials have grown up in a “tech” world, they have been given these incredible resources and the outcome has been considered a damaging prospect. In my opinion, Millennials are a misunderstood generation who has been falsely accused of being these negative traits and it’s a generation who needs to be redeemed to our society.

 

Representation in Media:

Recently Millennials have been represented on television as the “younger generation”. There has been a few shows recently that have made Millennials the forefront of the show, with the whole show being about different generations reacting to each other. This has been popular among many people because it seems like our society likes to see the differences between each generation, Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials and even the really young kids – Generation Z. A long running show by the name of Survivor recently came out with a new idea, “how about we mix two of these generations and see who comes out victorious?” Cool idea, right? When I first started seeing the ads for this season my mother and I started getting excited at the idea that both of our generations (her being a Gen Xer and me being a Millennial) were going against each other. Growing up watching survivor as a child with my mom made this a cool concept, you get to see all the people who started watching this show when they were younger going against each other as adults.

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Survivor:

CBS later presented this season as, Survivor: Millennials vs Gen X. This season ran from September 21 to December 14, 2016 and consisted of two original teams featuring one team of Millennials and one team with Gen Xers.  The purpose of Survivor is to determine who is the “sole survivor” out of a group of people, which means who can survive the longest on the island without getting voted off by their team members.  Each week they had competitions to see who would gain immunity for that week and remain on the island while the other team would have to vote off one of their members. In the beginning, we got to see how each team worked together. They were both especially different in the way they set up camp, got food, and performed in competitions. The Gen X team had more strong willed players while the Millennials were generally pretty laid back. One example of this was when the Millennials were setting up camp on the first episode they were mostly sitting around casually getting the work done. This happens more than once when they try to get tasks done, most of the time they would get the job done but they take their time and talk to each other while they do it. Since the Millennials were so laid back they could work together easily and they were not as stressed going into competitions. On the other hand, this affected their work ethic and they weren’t getting all their daily tasks done which then effected their camp. The Gen X tribe had a harder time working as a team because a few of the men felt that they could control the rest of the people in their tribe. This contributed to them not trusting each other and failing in competitions. Even though they worked harder on their camp, they didn’t all get along. Later in the season the audience got to see how Millennials and Gen Xers worked together when the two teams became three. Then about halfway into the season the three teams combined into one with Millennials and Gen Xers working individually to win. I think that this season showed how Millennials are in “real life”. Even though this is a show you got to see how they work together or individually to get daily tasks done similar to work or home life and you got to see how they communicate with each other and how they live with one another. This was eye opening because you got to see how different generations work with each other.

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It’s All About Me, Right?

Millennials: The Me Me Me Generation is an article in Times Magazine written by Joel Stein. Stein calls Millennials lazy, entitled, selfish and shallow but backs up his opinions with his studies, statistics and quotes. He starts out saying that narcissistic personality disorder is almost three times higher than baby boomers were at the same age using statistics from the National Institutes of Health. He believes that narcissism is a problem that Millennials face. He then goes into how since Millennials grew up with technology they are even more consumed with telling other people what they are doing and why they’re doing it. Next he brings up how he sort of acts like Millennial, he states he is consumed with technology as much as the next guy and he understands why that is. He believes that Millennials have adapted to the rise of technology and they are just living the life they were given. He thinks that if there was this amount of technology in other decades before us you would have seen similar results. I think an interesting detail was the statistics on how now-a-days Millennials are super narcissistic. I didn’t realize that this was a big thing, I have heard of selfishness but not necessarily narcissism. If you were to ask my Gen x mom she would say she thinks the exact same way. I believe that certain people are going to be selfish and narcissistic no matter what generation they were raised. Another interesting detail was that the author believes that Millennials adapted to the rise of technology. We can’t get mad at the people who use technology over the person who invented all of it.

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The Great Indoors:

Another television show appeared on CBS near the same time as Survivor called, The Great Indoors, directed by Andy Ackerman and it still airs on CBS starting from October 27, 2016 to present. The Great Indoors is a sitcom on CBS created by Mike Gibbons. Its purpose is to show how the Generation X main character, Jack Gordon, supervises a group of Millennials in a web-only magazine called Outdoor Limits at the headquarters in Chicago. This sitcom has a varying small cast of baby boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials. With them you get to see how the Millennials interact with social media and the differences between magazines in the past versus now-a-days. The Millennials will do random things with each other while working such as playing games, cooking, Facebooking, Instagraming and joking around. The point of Jack supervising the Millennials was to get them to start writing meaningful content on their website instead of top 10 lists kind of like Buzzfeed. The audience gets to see how social media influences the way the Millennials write for their online based magazine. I think it is interesting to have varying generations portrayed because you get to see how they interact with each other. Compared to Survivor we did not get to see the different generations talk to each other at first but in this show, you have a Gen x supervisor of a group of Millennials. The audience can see how Millennials are treated by the Gen x and baby boomer characters which is mostly negative. The older generation treats the younger one as almost dumb, they talk down to them and they act like the Millennials are weird. The founder of the magazine, Roland, is a baby boomer and you can see the difference between him and the other characters. He uses quotes and ideas he’s heard to give advice rather than the Millennials using memes and videos to help a friend or to use for their magazine. Another interesting thing I found was the use of technology in the show. The magazine had shifted from being paper to online only and that was a difficult adjustment for the main character, Jack. The Millennials would talk about twitter and how to connect with their audience rather than writing actual helpful content on the outdoors. I could see why they would want to connect to their audience and use things teens use anyways like twitter, Instagram, and snapchat but it wasn’t helpful for their magazine. There are a lot of critics for this show though, ‘The Great Indoors’ Leans on Tired Millennial Clichés written by Robert Bianco for USA Today describes how The Great Indoors is a comedy on CBS showing how different generations can work together. He then describes how Joel McHale, who plays Jack Gordon in The Great Indoors, from the television show Community and his in-show boss Stephen Fry can get laughs from basically everything they say, no matter how “painfully clunky”.  He later describes the premise of the show and concludes with “the problem here isn’t that Great is making fun of Millennials: No generation gets blanket immunity from mockery. It’s that it’s doing so in such predictable, worn-out fashion” (Bianco). He believes that this comedy is not doing a great job at even being funny, it’s rather just using jokes people already tell and think.

 

Conclusion:

Millennials are still a misunderstood generation but now you can now see a different side to them, they are more than just what critics say they are: selfish, entitled, lazy, shallow, confidant, narcissistic, etc. They are a generation who has grown up in a tech induced world with resources and inventions that previous generation couldn’t even dream of and they are actually pretty similar to every other generation before them, type casted.

 

Learning Moments:

The first item that helped me understand my topic was the Research Analysis Worksheet. With this worksheet, I could identify my primary sources and could describe the useful information I found within them. This lead to a great outline for my blog post and I could use a lot of the information found from them to create my rough draft.

The second moment that helped me was the peer reviews that I received from two of my group members. I could see exactly what I needed to work on and it made revising my blog post easier. Thank you, Sierra and Ariel!

 

Works Cited:

Bianco, Robert. “Review: ‘The Great Indoors’ leans on tired Millennial clichés.” USA Today. Gannett Satellite Information Network, 26 Oct. 2016. Web. 26 Feb. 2017. <http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/tv/2016/10/26/review-great-indoors-leans-tired-millennial-cliches/92724596/&gt;.

Gibbons, Mike, creator. The Great Indoors. Gibbons Brothers, Shiny Brass Lamp Productions and CBS Television Studios, 2016.

Parsons, Charlie, creator. Survivor. Mark Burnett Productions, Castaway Television Productions, MGM Television, Survivor Productions LLC, CBS Electronics, CBS Paramount Network Television, Columbia Broadcasting System, DJB, Living Films, Mixers, SEG and Survivor Entertainment Group, 2016.

Stein, Joel. “Millennials: The Me Me Me Generation.” Time, Time, 20 May 2013, time.com/247/millennials-the-me-me-me-generation/. Accessed 14 Mar. 2017.

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2 thoughts on “The Big Picture On Millennials

  1. Taelerandersonfehr,

    I’ve always wondered what it really meant to be a millennial and how society might perceive us, I mean other than being selfish and tech savvy. I think its really interesting that society has put such a light on millennials. I really liked how you discussed the relationships between the two generations. Its incredible how much of a difference there is between the two generations. I overall agree with you that millennials are extremely misunderstood. I find it irritating how so many people can make such a huge judgment on an extremely large group of people; thinking that every millennial is just like the other is completely ridicules. I loved your post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Cheers!

  2. Hi taelerandersonfehr,

    Seriously props to you for tackling the topic of the misportrayal of millennials in Popular Culture as it is something that drives me crazy! I like your analysis of the Time magazine article especially. When you said, “Another interesting detail was that the author believes that Millennials adapted to the rise of technology” it is something I totally think is true. It is definitely a misconception that millennials are “obsessed” with themselves, rather they are just used to sharing more of their lives than older generations are. I also found it ironic how the author of that article is not a millennial which would induce some bias, don’t you think?

    One thing I think would have been a great addition to your paper would be analyzing how millennials have adopted many characteristics other generations would call “selfish” because we have to work so much harder to get jobs. For us, a college education does not equate to a job after and therefore decisions have to be made to set ourselves up best for future careers. Overall, I really enjoyed the topic you chose and I am glad more people are writing about the misconceptions of millennials.

    Thanks for sharing!

    -Hannah

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