I Can't Even: Millennials and Offense

 “Millennials. Stop Being Offended By, Like, Literally Everything. This is the name of an article by Eleanor Halls. She argues about exactly that: how we need to stop being so offended by everything. It’s to the point where it is borderline censorship. Unsurprisingly, as I read through this, I could not help but to feel the very offense she was writing about.

I am a millennial. I’m 24-years-old. Depending on what source is consulted, I was born in the youngest year of that generation. When picturing a millennial, it’s a teenager with a smartphone, earphones in ear listening to blasting music, characterized by hypersensitivities, trends and a strong commitment to social justice. Surprisingly, this millennial could also be a well established adult nearing 40. This, clearly, is a wide discrepancy.

My Episode topic is going to focus on millennials, or the ‘snowflake generation’ as we’re dubbed, and offense. Are we simply too snowflakey to endure the harshness of the world? Do we just need to get an “icier grip” as Halls argues? Or are those from prior generations lacking in the very characteristics we demonstrate which has allowed us to interact with the world in a brand new way?

Millennials, naturally, are impacted by this. But more importantly, who IS a millennial, exactly? Included in this spectrum are those who might not consider themselves to not be millennials. So let's get this straightened out once and for all.

 

Annotated Bibliography: 

Halls, Eleanor “Millennials. Stop Being Offended By, Like, Literally Everything.”, GQ, Inc. News Life Media, 3 Jan. 2018, http://www.gq.com.au/success/opinions/millennials+stop+being+offended+by+like+literally+everything,43493

This article comes from a popular source. It is about Millennials, or the ‘Snowflake Generation’, and how the generation is too easily offended by everything. Halls argues that the level of offense Millennials have to certain events borders censorship. Trending words that are among the generation such as ‘privilege’ and ‘trigger warning’ are also creating harmful effects at large. Ultimately, the generation needs to harden up to reality.

This source is the primary work of discussion for the podcast. Using this source, I will discuss the definition of who the snowflake generation really is (i.e., the age range), and the changes in attitudes towards certain subject matter between Generations X and Y. This source will act as a springboard to a larger discussion towards particular characteristics and their affiliation with Generation Y. It is also important to note that Halls fails to give a definition on whom a Millennial is, giving way to free and subjective interpretation on whom can be considered as such.

 

Weber, James and Michael Urick. "Examining the Millennials' Ethical Profile: Assessing Demographic Variations in Their Personal Value Orientations." Business and Society Review 122.4 (2017): 469-506. Web.

This primary source article discusses Millennials and the heterogenous characteristics of the generation. The article defines Millennials as born between the years 1980-2000.

 

Canada. Statistics Canada. Table 1 Generations in Canada, 2011. http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2011/as-sa/98-311-x/2011003/tbl/tbl3_2-1-eng.cfm

This government source comes from the 2011 Census, and outlines Census Canada’s breakdown of generational years.

This is relevant because according to this, Millennials would be born between 1972-1992, which would be a far-off estimate from other sources. Theoretically, these Millennials would be the ones to critique the Millennials that other sources say are Millennials. This would mean that, again, who is purported to be a Millennial is really not the case. Using this basis, someone as old as 46 could be considered whiny, entitled and easily offended, which is a hard picture to paint.

 

Lyons, Kate. Generation Y: a guide to a much-maligned demographic. 6 March 2016. Web. 26 February 2018. <https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/mar/07/millennials-generation-y-guide-to-much-maligned-demographic>.

 

This is a popular source. The article defines Millennials as being from ages 20-34 (at the time of writing, which was 2015). This places them from birth years of 1980-1994. The article mentions as well that some definitions use the generous birth year of up to 2000. Similar issues of the generation being called ‘self-centred’ and ‘whiny’ came up, although positive mentions such as ‘creative’ and ‘open-minded’ were brought up, which many sources fail to do. This source further perpetuates the idea that Millennials are fragile. However, it is interesting to note that someone as old as 34 could be called ‘self-centred’ and ‘whiny’. Another interesting note is that the article makes mention that some Millennials don’t want to be associated with their generation, and does not refer to themselves as such.

 

Twenge, Jean, W. Keith Campbell and Elise C Freeman. "Generational Differences in Young Adults’ Life Goals, Concern for Others, and Civic Orientation, 1966–2009." Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 102.5 (2012): 1045-1062. Web.

This primary scholarly source article discusses generational trends and concerns for different generations while they were considered young people (while Baby Boomers and Generation X were the same ages as the current Generation Y). According to these authors, Millennials are born between 1982- 2003, making this a substantially broader range than other sources. The article makes mention of different generations being exposed to different cultures, similarly to different people in other countries growing up in different cultures. This is important to note because there is often talk of Millennials not being tough or indifferent like their predecessors, but there is a clear, valid reason for this that is unspoken about. However, the article makes mention of Millennials scoring low on concern for the community compared to the other generation, but seem to be more politically engaged.

 

Beall, George. 8 Key Differences between Gen Z and Millennials. 05 11 2016. Web. 17 February 2018. <https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/8-key-differences-between_b_12814200>.

 

This popular source discusses differences between Generation Y and Generation Z, the generation directly after Generation Y. The source only describes Generation Y as reaching young adulthood by the year 2000 (which could theoretically place them as born in the early 1980’s); Generation Z is defined as anyone born after 1995. This is important because it introduces the idea that there is a generation after Generation Y, and it is developed enough to have distinctions. Generation Z is being described with words such as ‘less focused’ and ‘seeking uniqueness’, which sounds closer to the ‘Snowflake Generation’ than Millennials themselves.

 


 

Dimock, Michael. Defining generations: Where Millennials end and post-Millennials begin. 01 March 2018. Web. 22 March 2018. <http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/03/01/defining-generations-where-millennials-end-and-post-millennials-begin/>.

 

This industry source discusses the cut off point of Millennials and the next generation. This source has not named them, but are calling them ‘post-millennials’ for now. Anyone born between the years of 1982-1996 is considered a Millennial; beyond this is considered post-Millennials.

This is important because it shows there is a clear distinction between two generation, not every young person is considered of the same cohort. And this is significant due to the fact that some of these characteristics demonstrated by ‘Millennials’ could easily be something post-Millennials do instead.

 

Chatrakul Na Ayudhya, Uracha and Janet Smithson. "Entitled or misunderstood? Towards the repositioning of the sense of entitlement concept in the generational difference debate." Community, Work and Family 19.2 (2016): 213-226. Web.

 

This scholarly source talks about the problematic assumption that Millennials are entitled, and it explores how and why this is the case, while challenging critique over the assumption. This source defines Generation Y as 1982 and beyond. With no define cut off year, two assumptions can be made: there is no generation beyond Generation Y, or at the time of writing there was no consensus on when the next generation would begin.  Although the reading talks about the media focus on entitlement, the source analyzes the concern from a business and work perspective.

 

Foundation, The U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The Millennial Generation Research Review. 12 November 2012. Web. 01 March 2018. <https://www.uschamberfoundation.org/reports/millennial-generation-research-review>.

 

This industry source by The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, which is an affiliate of The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, discusses the birth years of Millennials and characteristics they possess. This report makes a profound point by stating that eventually young generations grow old, and will take their generational influence with them into old age. Millennials are pegged as born between 1980 – 1999, which is a birth range that starts earlier than most in this bibliography, but ends later. They are described as diverse, more extrinsically motivated and are able to multitask. Something interesting to note is that the report mentions that as many as twenty-one different birth ranges have been used for the generation, which is a crucial piece of information to understand the topic of this podcast.

 

Eckleberry-Hunt, Jodie, and Jennifer Tucciarone. “The Challenges and Opportunities of Teaching ‘Generation Y.’” Journal of Graduate Medical Education 3.4 (2011): 458–461. PMC. Web. 8 May 2018.

This scholarly source discusses characteristics of Generation Y from a teaching perspective . It defines Millennials as being born between 1982 – 2005, which is the largest gap of any source on this list. Similar to other sources, this source mentions some characteristics as selfish and lazy, which is a telling attribute to the generation.