11 People At Rule Breakers Share The Rule They're Happiest Our Generation Is Breaking
U.S. millennials are reshaping norms as they age into more powerful positions at work and in society and refuse to live in the mold of their predecessors. It's been said many times, but Gen Y really is a "generation of rule breakers," from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who will probably become the youngest-ever congresswoman, to musical icon Janelle Monáe, who's come out as pansexual, giving much-needed visibility to people beyond the gay/straight binary. We asked 11 people at the Bustle Rule Breakers event on Saturday about the rule they're happiest millennials are breaking.
Unsurprisingly, one of the first topics to come up was the #MeToo movement, which hit the country nearly a year ago with the accusations against Harvey Weinstein. "There's so many things I've experienced in academia and the field of archaeology that I can’t talk about because my field is so small," says Justine, a 30-year-old archaeologist. "I applaud the women talking about what’s happened to them in a way that’s public. But there’s still a really long way to go in other, more niche fields.”
Ariel, 32, said she's grateful for how Millennials are "breaking the stigma around abortion." She tells Bustle that "it’s not something you don’t talk about anymore. That’s really super important to me, cause I had an abortion last year, and it changed my life. It has driven my career path so that other people can have access to abortion easily and cost-free the way that I did." Ariel also modeled her vulva cape for Bustle.
Many people referenced millennials' commitment to self-expression. For Phoebe, 22, it's best seen in how young people use the internet: "It's so much different than our parents or anyone else, just as a way of being ourselves when we can't be in the real world."
For Natalia, 26, and Monica, 22, it's about getting rid of the bra — the "no bra life," Natalia, calls it. She says she was inspired by Monica, her friend, who she calls "the 'no bra life' queen." Monica accepted the title, saying, "I never wear a bra. Ever, ever. The more comfort the better. It’s just the best thing ever. No, seriously. Let them breathe. Let 'em rock."
"I love to see the pride of the LGBTQ community," says Justina, 24. "Our generation is very open. We're like, 'Do you, I’ll do me, and we'll all be happy.'"
Many brought up shifting gender roles. "Some of the expectations of women are kind of going by the wayside, like we don’t all need to be focused on getting married and having kids, we can decide our own path," says Amy, 32. (Others brought up a growing stigma against stay-at-home moms that they wish would change.) Shayna, 31, agrees with Amy, adding, "With career, too. There's no set path anymore, you can kind of just try a lot of different things."
Kelsey, 29, and Clarissa, 31, say they appreciate how women are breaking rules related to ageism. "Women can turn 30 and be single and have no idea what they want to do with the rest of their lives, and it’s totally fine and cool," says Kelsey. Clarissa adds: "Women don’t give a sh*t anymore about where they are in their life stages. [They're] doing themselves and being happy doing it."
Speaking of age: Bustle spoke to one person who says she was the youngest female Democrat to run for a legislative office in 2016. Christy, 24, broke the unspoken rule that young women shouldn't run for office by . (This really is changing; a record number of female candidates are on the ballot in 2018, many of them under 40.)
Christy is also pleased to see fellow millennials challenging traditional gender roles. "My partner is very much into the idea of being a stay-at home dad, and I am definitely on the law school, breadwinner track," she said. "I'm very happy about that."
Quotes have been edited and condensed for clarity.