The top three things people love to say about Gen Y

May 07, 2015
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It’s become fairly routine to bash Generation Y ever since we started entering the workforce. We're often accused of being materialistic and entitled, with attention spans put to shame by the average goldfish.

With HBO’s The Newsroom calling us the “worst – period – generation – period – ever – period”, and comedian Bill Maher blaming sexual objectification squarely and solely on millennials, the idea that our generation is somehow inherently inferior is becoming pretty hard to escape. Even fellow members of the internet generation occasionally like to chime in.

So is there any truth to this? Is Gen Y really just a vast brood of self-obsessed Miley Cyruses? To answer that question, we’ve investigated the most common allegations leveled against young people today.

We’re afraid of hard work

Young people are afraid to get their hands dirty. All they want is to be reality TV stars with “dope fades”, and roll around in Justin Beaver’s entourage smoking “lmao” – whatever that is. I suspect it’s a chemical indulgence from the Far East.

Actually, according to a 2011 study by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, while our generation is more likely to work part-time, those of us who work full-time are more likely to work longer hours. And while we do tend to stay at home longer, we’re also subject to far stricter mortgage criteria and, here in Australia, one of the lowest rates of affordable housing in the developed world.

While it’s true that some members of Gen Y need more supervision at work than their Gen X or Baby Boomer predecessors, it’s been suggested that this is the result of excessive support and guidance provided in high school.

We’re selfish

Gen Y are self-centered, arrogant and narcissistic. We all think we’re super-duper special and we throw tantrums when things don’t go our way.

To a certain extent, that’s kind of true. Research has shown that young people are more prone to vanity than they were 20 years ago.

And yet, according to a pesky empirical study, members of the “hoodie generation” are also more likely give to charity, and less likely to decrease those donations if their income goes down. We’ve also been dubbed “generation generous” by a study that found that young people were far more committed to volunteering than previous generations.

So sure, some of us might think we’re awesome – but that doesn’t mean we don’t want to help out.

We’re singlehandedly bringing about the moral collapse of society

Millennials simply don’t have any values. To us, life is just a free-for-all of material excess, substance abuse, and wanton, unnatural fornication.

Just the other day, UK news site The MailOnline ran a crotchety old story accusing Cambridge uni students of celebrating nearing the end of semester with fancy dress and drinking games – near families! You can practically hear the fabric of civilisation tearing asunder, despite the fact that the celebrations in question have been a Cambridge tradition for over 80 years.

But in fact, Generation Y are shaping up to be the most socially conscientious generation in history. Research shows that members of Gen Y are more likely to be motivated by social and environmental contribution than money, and are also more tolerant of differences in both race and sexual orientation.

Like any generation, ours has its flaws. We tend to be a little self-centered, and we want nice things for ourselves. But we also want those things for others, and we’re not afraid to act on that generosity.

So while we may have some collective housecleaning to do, we’re far from the egomaniacal monsters we’re sometimes portrayed as.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to Photoshop some DUFFs out of my selfies.

Joel Svensson

Business major, journalism minor and sometime voice-actor, Joel Svensson pretends to be smart at La Trobe University in Melbourne.

Image: Kamyar Adl, Flickr Creative Commons license