This article originally appeared on VICE Canada.
If you’re between the ages of Kylie Jenner, 21, and Kim Jong-un, 35, congratulations, you are a millennial. You entered adulthood in the 21st century, and if you’re doing things right, you own at least three succulents, are overly fond of the word “actually,” and have a self-proclaimed love for 70s music despite only owning one record (Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors, obviously).
More often than not, though, society defines you by what you supposedly lack: work ethic, attention span, a degree you actually use, and—more topically—brand loyalty and respect for mayonnaise. Media blames you for such “disasters” as the closing of some Hooters locations, claiming you are disinterested in breasts, when really, you probably love breasts, but just don’t want to see them packaged alongside other elements of male fantasy (mediocre wings, yellow beer) for the sake “making people happy.” Sexism isn’t a good concept to build a restaurant—excuse me, a breastaurant—around, and no amount of novelty or nostalgia will change that.
But maybe it’s time we indulge in a bit of self-care—a term I feel iffy about because, like any good left-leaner, I hate it when valid concepts are commodified to the point where “I napped today” becomes a popular t-shirt or mug slogan. But consumer culture aside, I think it’s important to acknowledge that while earnestness may be endangered, it certainly isn’t dead, which is why VICE asked millennials to tell us what they love most about millennials. After all, don’t you just love validation?
The nice thing about being a millennial is that you don’t have to waste time cultivating a personality because people will just assume one for you. —Carter, 29
I feel like many of the things we get slammed for are our strengths. Killing the diamond industry? Well yeah, the diamond industry is unethical and it sucks. Not loyal to companies? Nope. We value ourselves enough to put our well-being ahead of that of a massive corporation. —Shelby H., 28
I keep seeing an article claiming millennials “killed mayonnaise,” when in fact, we just put it in drag and called it “aioli” and honey, let me tell you, she is ALIVE. —Michael, 35
I love how millennials are associated with avocado toast and selfies instead of the fact that we all constantly joke about wanting to die. To me, that's something I love about millennials and what I call casual nihilism-radical compassion. A lot of us are actively hating ourselves all of the time but God forbid you say something negative about our friends or community because we'll descend upon you with the wrath of a thousand suns. For better or worse, we invented callout culture and Gen Z refined it. We also have the best, most fucked up sense of humor. We can look at a picture of a cake on the ground or a nonsensical glitch memes and laugh until our ribs ache. —Leah, 26
Sometimes, I do see a bit of truth in labels like “generation snowflake” or “generation always offended.” Twitter arguments involving sensitive issues or issues involving minorities can sometimes become a contest to see who’s more woke, and then the issues themselves—the stuff that actually matters—gets lost in a mess of virtue signaling and politically correct zingers online. It’s tiresome. That said, I’d rather we be over-sensitive than under-sensitive. I like that we’re making attempts to accept and empathize, even if it sometimes feels like showboating because that’s certainly better than the opposite—showing off our ability to be racist or sexist or whatever. I guess I’d rather be generation snowflake than generation bulldozer. —Anonymous, 26
We get the job done. Also, we have really, really good taste in toast, and we make some damn fine cartoons. —Beth, 29
We survived 9/11, a bogus war in Iraq, a recession that was actually a depression, the loss of jobs we went to college for that won't ever come back, and Donald Trump. We're tough and we're just getting started. —B.J., 35
I love how baby boomers think millennials are so obsessed with technology and we’re out of touch with reality when pretty much all of us will admit we’re still chasing the high that came from a Scholastic book fair. —Anonymous, 30
Sometimes, I think millennials are self-centered, but then I watch Forrest Gump and realize that, compared to baby boomers, we’re doing fine. —Robert, 25
We question everything and don't do things just because an authority figure said so or "we've always done it this way." When I was a kid, I was constantly told that I would understand when I became an adult that that's "just how the world works" and I'm so glad that's not how we turned out. We grew up and realized that we are the world and if the way it works is fucked up, we can change that. —Ember, 24
Other generations will say millennials are lazy, entitled, and lack foresight. They say things like this while millions of us industriously assemble IKEA coffins to prepare for the environmental catastrophe we had little to do with. —Ken, 29
We can type more words per minute than any previous and possibly future generation because we lived through that weird period before cell phones. Everyone communicated through AOL instant messenger. We invented acronyms like LOL. —Shelby, 28
Interracial dating isn't frowned upon by my peers. —Matty, 33
We wear bike shorts to the club! We idolize Princess Diana and we TRULY understand her suffering. —Megan
Our comedy and sense of humor have largely transcended previous generations. Boring racist, sexist, and homophobic jokes have been replaced by infinitely mutable and referential memes that pass through our collective consciousness in an instant. —Tanner, 24
We’re more likely to talk about our problems and hold each other up instead of holding everything in and pretending everything is fine. I like that. —Ian, 23
The way baby boomers insult millennials as being a bunch of whiny and entitled snowflakes is one of the most egregious forms of mass gaslighting I've ever seen. The truth is that millennials are more often than not, practical, hard-working, tolerant, and multitaskers. Do we get strident about injustice? Absolutely we do. And we learned it from our parents who used to be passionate about social causes until they adopted the "Fuck you, I got mine" attitude. —Julie, 29
Millennials killed the word “supper” and it may be our greatest achievement. —Aaron, 23
We were raised not to talk to strangers or meet people off the internet. Now we have Uber to get rides from strangers we met on the internet. —Jess, 26
We somehow found a way to play video games for a living. —Kyle
I have the entire internet at my literal fingertips and have since I was a kid. I have more knowledge about the world than people could have ever before dreamed about having at my age. I can fact-check anything, anytime. I can talk to people across the world instantly in real-time. I can also look at dog memes. My life is amazing. —Stacey, 26
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