What comes to mind when you think about stereotypes of Millennials? I'd be willing to bet that you you came up with something like, "We're all supposedly lazy, self-absorbed, selfie-taking narcissists who don't care about anything other than our smartphones." But if you're going to lose it if you hear about why your generation sucks one more time, you can rejoice at MTV News' Rock Your Brain video series' latest creation. Simply titled, "Why Millennials Don't Suck," it busts countless myths about Millennials, because guess what? We're not just stereotypes. Who would have thunk it, right?
I'm already quite convinced that all these ideas about Millennials from older generations (thanks, Mom and Dad) are very untrue and downright annoying. But, as Washington Post columnist Catherine Rampell notes in the video, these ideas about young people have been going on for centuries and are not unique to this particular generation. What is unique, though, is that we're not living our lives in the same ways as generations before us: "There are trends suggesting that we are behind on a lot of these milestones," Rampell says. These milestones include marriage, having children, and even landing in a stable career, which all of which Millennials are doing less of than previous generations. Older generations might be quick to blame us for not living the kinds of lives they did or hitting those goals of success and fulfillment as fast, but that doesn't mean we're doomed to lives of failure. We just may be redefining what is normal.
I know you probably agree that our generation doesn't, in fact, suck and that a lot of the stereotypes out there aren't reflective of reality. In that spirit, here are four myths busted about Millennials that prove we're not as bad as everyone says:
1. Myth: We Don't Value Marriage and Family
There's a lot of panic about Millennials not wanting to get married out there, but it actually isn't based in fact. According to Rampell, only nine percent of Millennials aren't married or don't aspire to marriage in the future. That means that almost all of us are going to get hitched (so much for living in sin). There's no doubt that we are getting married later in life though as the average, as only 26 percent of 18 to 33-year olds today are currently with spouse. But, Millennials also have a low divorce rate, so maybe we're just more cautious than our parents about who we're going to say "I do" to.
2. Myth: Millennials Have Had Everything Handed to Them
I'm sure you've heard the stereotype that Millennials are lazy and that's the real reason behind why we're struggling. Many cite the "everyone is special" methods of parenting that became popular when we were children, which attempted to build self-esteem by highlighting individual achievement. But, what they don't consider is that we actually face harder circumstances than those who came before us, with skyrocketing college costs and a hard long-term career outlook. We've probably all been affected by the Great Recession, which precented many Millennials from getting on the stable career path previous generations hopped on early; furthermore, our economy has still not fully recovered. We are working hard — we just don't always have the opportunities of our forefathers.
3. Myth: Millennials Are Entitled
The idea of Millennials not getting ahead because we want our lives to be handed to us on a silver platter is a popular one. But, Millennials have actually had to work harder to get the same opportunities for success as previous generations, with college basically becoming a requirement and rising living costs that have left many of us in debt without hope of getting out anytime soon. "There are plenty of young people who are trying to get ahead... but are facing a lot of headwind," Rampell says.
4. Myth: Millennials Don't Care About Anything But Themselves
When I picture the ultimate Millennial stereotype, I see someone who is taking selfies nonstop and has no thought or concern about others or the greater good. In reality though, 85 percent of those ages 25-30 donated to a nonprofit in the last year, and so did 87 percent of total Millennials who were employed. So the idea that we don't care about anything outside of ourselves just doesn't hold up.
How can we get past these tired ideas? Rampell offers a valid suggestion at the end of the video, which you can watch in full below:
Images: MTV News/YouTube (4)