Until recently, all Millennials were lumped into one group categorized as anyone born between 1980 and 2000. Of course, that's a huge time span full of sweeping cultural changes, so it makes sense those of us born in the front half of that generational banner don't always relate to those Millennials born in the back half. There are simply some things we experienced differently or were privy to that our younger cohorts weren't yet around for — like, for example, quotes only older Millennials understand. We heard some things back in the day, y'all, and your little younger Millennial ears may very well have missed out on 'em.
It goes without saying that our firsthand knowledge of these quotes doesn't make older Millennials more superior to young Millennials or anything of the sort. It just means we've been around longer. Aka, we're old AF, so don't take it personally when I say there are certain quotes you fresh-faced Millennials don't get. You get to be younger, so there's that. If these quotes do register recognition in your brain and you weren't born in the '80s like me, perhaps you have an older Millennial soul (or progressive parents who let you watch movies, TV, news, etc. when you were just a wee tyke).
So let's get into it, shall we? Here are some of the quotes only we older Millennials understand because, you know, we lived them.
1. "BECAUSE I believe with my wholeheartmindbody that girls constitute a revolutionary soul for that can, and will, change the world for real."
It's been decades, and yet Riot Grrl Kathleen Hanna's Riot Grrl manifesto still gives me life. This early '90s underground feminist movement may not be part of pop culture vernacular today but, well, it should be. Although I like to think that even if younger Millennials don't understand what this quote is in reference to, they embody the very belief behind the words.
2. "I want my MTV."
I was pretty young (read: a baby) when MTV first launched its "I want my MTV" campaign, but the sentiment pervaded the '80s and early '90s — making it the MTV older Millennials remember. Hey there, Jesse Camp!
3. "I'm going to pump *CLAP* you up!"
Not only did I think Hans and Franz — the weight-lifting "gurus" created in part as a parody of Arnold Schwarzenegger — were hilarious, but I can't remember middle school P.E. without recalling Arnie's voice saying this through an old boob tube screen as my gym teacher cued up the body-builder-slash-action-star-slash-politician's instructional fitness program on VHS.
4. "A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti."
If I were to say this to a younger Millennial today, they might very well just run in the opposite direction or, at the very least, throw me some quizzical shade. In the '90s though, we were fascinated with this line from the chilling 1991 movie classic, Silence of the Lambs . Accordingly, uttering the iconic quote in the company of another older Millennial would result in instant recognition.
5. "Now you know ... and knowing is half the battle."
In full disclosure, I haven't seen the modern G.I. Joe movies starring Channing Tatum, so I'm not sure if this catchphrase made it into those adaptations. However, I will say that everyone who was anyone born in the '80s and growing up in the '90s knows these words are from the OG (and tragically short-lived) cartoon series.
6. "I did not have sexual relations with that woman."
This statement from Bill Clinton was uttered in '98 in response to the Monica Lewinsky affair, which means that when it happened, many younger Millennials were under the age of 5. Or not even alive yet.
7. "Just say no."
Part of the "war on drugs," this slogan was part of an advertising campaign that was particularly prevalent during the '80s and early '90s. Since it was created and championed by First Lady Nancy Reagan, it's essentially a direct quote we older Millennials remember passing her lips often.
8. "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."
Let's be real — there are countless cult classic movies and TV shows from the late '80s and early '90s older Millennials quote to this day. But, for me at least, Ferris Bueller's Day Off is one I feel is largely underrated by Younger Millennials. Why doesn't it get the same renaissance love that Clueless has? Bueller ... Bueller ....
Images: Paramount Pictures; Giphy (7)