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Dear millennials, gen Zers don’t think you are cool. Here’s why

By Bianca Borissova

Feb 16, 2021

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There is a new generational war on the horizon—and this time, it’s between millennials and gen Zers. In the last year or so, the two generational cohorts have been clashing on social media. But why would two generations, so close to each other in age, suddenly turn against one another?

Well, in case you’ve missed this, millennials and gen Z are taking it to TikTok to roast each other and point out their differences, with the hashtag #millennialvsgenz currently sitting at over 8.4 million views on TikTok. This all started within the last year and so, when gen Zers suddenly decided they do not wish to be associated with millennials anymore.

https://twitter.com/local__celeb/status/1272231868310728706

“Tired of boomers bunching gen Z and millennials together, because I personally don’t want to be associated with people who still think that Harry Potter movies are a personality trait,” states @mayalepa in a viral TikTok from this summer. The TikTok got many mixed responses, with some finding it funny—others, not so much. Since then, this generational rift has only deepened.

A lot of gen Zers on the internet think that millennials aren’t cool. And now, they are going after things that are synonymous with, or dear to the millennial generation. According to gen Z, wearing skinny jeans is no longer cool, and it makes you look old. Neither is wearing your hair in a side part, mentioning your Harry Potter house (they especially dislike it when people identify as Hufflepuff), using the words ‘doggo’ or ‘adulting’, liking coffee, Buzzfeed quizzes, and even using the 😂 emoji (🤣 this one too). Yes, even the emojis you use can define you and your social life, or so it seems.

@momohkd

Skinny jeans just aren’t for me but to each their own. #momostyleme #fashion #TodayILearned #skinnyjeans #diy

♬ Brace Yourself - zenorachi
@rockyily

If you are this person, please use the kitties from now on 😹😹😻😸😼😾🙀 #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #ihatethe😂emoji

♬ original sound - Garrett

In return, millennials are making fun of gen Z for other reasons—doing TikTok dances all day, everyday, adding sparkle emojis to their sentences for emphasis, and taking selfies when crying (I am personally guilty of this one), to name a few.

In many ways, this generational rift is really reminiscent of the boomer versus millennial trope, and it seems like we step into a new culture-generational war every other decade or so. Remember when the fragile housing market and the fact that many young people can barely afford to live was blamed on millennials buying too much ‘smashed avocado and coffee’? Millennials were deemed as lazy, soft, and ungrateful by the older generation, whereas boomers were deemed as unempathetic, stuck in their old ways, and selfish. And neither generation has ever really found a common ground, and thus, the ‘OK Boomer’ meme was born.

It’s almost like life imitates art in this scenario. Gen Z and millennials clashing over their generational tropes really shows we have come full circle. But the thing is, unlike millennials being understandably angry about the boomer generation often trying to shift blame on issues that affect the younger generations specifically (such as the economy or climate change), us, gen Z, don’t really have any real reason to want to drift apart from the millennial generation. 

In fact, as much as both gen Z and millennials may hate to admit this, there are more similarities between us than we might think. Both generational cohorts are extremely internet and tech-savvy—millennials may have spent their early years watching The Lion King off a VHS tape, and they might remember having a flip phone before having an iPhone, but just like gen Z, they spent a significant amount of their lives in the same digital age, on the same apps. We grew up watching similar movies and caring about similar causes. So much of the culture that we consumed and are still consuming intersects that it is difficult to establish such a strong difference between us.

In fact, millennials and gen Z are so close to each other in age, that there is an entire merging sub-generation between the two, called zillennials. A zillennial is typically someone born between 1994 and 2000—they may feel like they were a bit too young to relate to millennial ‘adulting’ struggles, but are made to feel like they are way too old for TikTok (16-year-olds on TikTok who refer to people over the age of 21 as ‘old’, I am looking at you). A zillennial, thus, would have strongly engaged with both cultures—you were there when skinny jeans became cool, and you embraced it. You loved using the 😂 emoji. You probably even took a Buzzfeed quiz determining your Harry Potter house. And you enjoyed laughing at how smashed avocado is the root of all our problems.

@ashapple99

just got my ass kicked by the effects page #SkinCare101 #ZodiacSign

♬ original sound - Ashley Applegate

We associate so much of our identity with the generation that we come from, that it’s almost like sometimes, we make being a millennial or a gen Z our entire personality. And to some degree, that makes a lot of sense. We go through global, collective experiences that ultimately shape the trajectory of our lives—and thus, shape culture. Take the 2008 financial crisis and its impact on the millennial generation; how do you think the housing market jokes began? Similarly, for gen Zers, TikTok may have never become what it is today if not for the COVID-19 pandemic.

So it’s really not fair of us to come after an entire generation who may associate so much nostalgia and love towards their cultural tropes, even if these may seem outdated. And my fellow gen Zers—we are not getting any younger either. I, for one, can not wait to be roasted by the future generation of today’s children. What will they make fun of? Our TikToks? The way we dress? We’ll have to wait and see, but it will happen without a doubt.