Epiphoney Columns

It’s not a fine line

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Think you can separate the millennial from the Gen Z? Here’s a list, just to make sure

The line that divides millennials and Gen-Z seems dotted at best. But, in truth, it is a thick border, replete with a No Man’s land zone in-between. There is more that separates these two species than the boomers and the Gen-X. But this piece isn’t about the older set. Here are a few ways to tell who you are dealing with.

1. Millennials are Insta-loving. They like shiny happy things. They like filters. Love filters. Having had only a rudimentary idea of what real life is like, filters have always helped tone down the onslaught of reality around them. Gen-Z, by contrast are more realistic and, to balance it out, also more fantastical. They thrive on TikTok. If Instagram makes you feel like a celebrity, TikTok can deliver the superstar high because here you don’t just need to look good, you also need to move and lip-sync good. Back in the day, a skill set like that took Milli Vanilli to Grammy fame. No? Britney Spears then. Better?

2. Millennials don’t like alcohol too much. I don’t blame them — they possibly saw the older lot (us) make a fool of them/ourselves on a regular basis and decided to stick with sensibility through moderation. So, they drink wine and beer, maybe Sangria if it’s a Sunday. The Gen-Z takes it a step further by shunning alcohol like a Bihar-election manifesto and sticking with tea, coffee and, when they really want to rack it up a notch, maybe the occasional kombucha.

3. Millennials, as I mentioned above, have had a comfy upbringing. The sense of accomplishment has a completely different measure with them. For example, when it comes to saving the planet, the Boomers and Gen-X simply don’t seem to care, continuing to be plastic-propagating petrolheads. Gen-Z, of course, are the most focussed of the lot, but their consternation stems from a very personal level of concern considering that they will be the only ones around when the apocalypse and meltdown begin. Millennials, given their only superficial understanding of most things, believe that setting the screensaver to 15 seconds instead of 30 is akin to “doing their bit” for Mother Nature.

4. Food is another moot point. Here again, the pyramid slopes from the meat-loving oldies to the tree-hugging millennials and now, the uber-vegan Gen-Z. Veganism, for those who may not know, is a kinkier form of vegetarianism, and proscribed to those who have tired of Paleo, Atkins, and other shoddy fads.

5. Finally, the one thing that everyone hates the Gen-Z for is how they can take things out of context and reinvent them. For example, pole dancing. It was a completely harmless past-time, giving young boys their first taste of smut while spawning an entire economy — from the dancers to the servers and bouncers. But Gen-Z couldn’t leave good enough alone and somehow took this totally stag night activity and made it into a clean quasi-sanskari form of a workout. How are we supposed to find something sexy once it is so mainstream and non-vilified? What’s next, will Tinder find new meaning as a revolution catalyst? Will Jerry Springer be the next Oprah?

This column is for anyone who gives an existential toss.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 2:04:38 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/its-not-a-fine-line/article30470707.ece

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