For those born between 1982 and 2004* – congratulations! You make up part of the millennial generation that the world sees as powerful industry killing monsters with a sense of entitlement rivaling that of any prior generation.
* Give or take a few years – it varies depending on the source and there remains a lack of universal agreement over the exact age range.
The term was coined in 1987, during a time when George Michael's, "Faith" ruled the airwaves, Prozac was the new FDA-approved wonder drug, and a society was growing increasingly obsessed over the looming, millennium (preschoolers in 1987 would the graduating high school class of 2000). That correlation was evidently noticed, and the "millennial" was born, the term credited to William Strauss and Neil Howe, who wrote about this curious cohort in their 1991 book, "Generations - The History of America's Future," and their 2000 work, "Millennials Rising: The Next Generation." The pair of demographers believed that millennials would reject their boomer forebears' individualism and libertinism, becoming the "next Greatest Generation."
Via Lindsey Pollak
Strauss and Howe anticipated that this generation would radically reshape American life, based on their theory of repeating generational archetypes directly correlated with historical events of the time. They saw this sheltered generation resulting from the "most sweeping youth-safety movement in American history" and recognized them are a generation that consider themselves special, both as individuals and as a group, deeming them as confident, team-oriented, high-achieving, and pressured to succeed. They pretty much nailed it.
However, they didn't foresee how this innate confidence - while largely a positive trait for any other generation - would spill over into the realms of perceived entitlement and narcissism. These days, millennials are called many things, and Greatest Generation is not quite one of them. Psychologist Jean Twenge described millennials as "Generation Me" in her 2006 book and in 2013, Time magazine ran a cover story titled, "Millennials: The Me Me Me Generation." There's also "Generation 9/11" an apocalyptic name that aligns with Strauss and Howe's ideas explored in the 1997 book, "The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy."
Strauss and Howe's optimistically thought that the confident, high-achievers would yield the creation of institutions that would transform society. Instead millennials proved interested in forcing the old ones to live up to their high-minded rhetoric in a time where their future is still uncertain, reeling from unexpected economic upheaval.
Millennials are now viewed as a force of narcissistic nature, demanding treatment no one before them ever received, and drastically reshaping everything in their path, from college campuses to the housing market. According to all the media everywhere, millennials are responsible for killing pretty much everything and retain the all the power to lead to an Ayn Rand vision of a dystopia with entire industries being demolished. Millennials even get credit for brutally murdering the mayonnaise industry!
Millennials do wield a certain power, the same power that every generation to emerge has - the sheer number of millennials is intimidating and combined with the native digital language that naturally formed with exposure to emerging technology absolutely terrifies industries across the country. These older businesses view millennials as a threat while the generation sees themselves as powerless, pummeled by the world left for them by their elders.
Millennials have been surrounded by technology their whole lives, the effects only heightened by their helicopter parents (new term that emerged for overprotective baby boomer parents of millennials who are excessively involved in their children's lives), enabling constant contact. These "helicopter parents" have a tendency towards coddling and micromanaging, stemming from an inherent need to keep their children save from stranger danger (and anything else that could hurt them) and likely overcompensating for feeling neglected and unloved by their own lack of present parents. As such, millennials were raised to believe that they are special snowflakes, with the mantra "follow your dreams" instilled in them since childhood with their parents shielding them from anything that could potentially hurt their self-esteem, eliminating the very developmental phenomenon known as failure (the new apparent achievement of merely participating means that everyone gets a trophy and there are no losers).
With baby boomer parents preparing their children for the expected hyper-competitive 21st-century labor market, millennials were led to believe in meritocracy and forced into competition for their spots within it — only to find themselves paralyzed by a disintegrating job market, a catastrophic debt load and a financial crisis that struck just as large numbers were entering the workforce.
In a case of straight up bad timing, millennials collided with a time of economic trauma, creating an already disillusioned generation who entered into adulthood with unrealistic expectations, unprepared for a recession marked by structural shifts in the economy with detrimental impacts. Millennials have been defined by this era of economic trauma; stagnant wages, a skyrocketing cost of housing, colossal student debt have put millennials on the path to a lower quality of life than their parents (this is the first generation since the Silent Generation that is expected to be less economically successful than their parents).
Taking everything into consideration, it could be argued that millennials are unfairly blamed for things out of their control, victims of circumstance to a certain extent. Yes, millennials do have some unsavory traits bred from the environment around them, but perhaps society can give them just a bit a slack?
Over the past month, both Haiti and Afghanistan have been pummeled by tragic disasters that left devastation in their wake.
In Haiti, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake erupted, leading over to 2,189 deaths and counting. A few hours later, in Afghanistan, Kabul fell to the Taliban just after U.S. troops had pulled out after 20 years of war.
In many ways, these disasters are both chillingly connected to US interference. The United States invaded Haiti in 1915, ostensibly promising to restore order after a presidential assassination but really intending to preserve the route to the Panama Canal and to defend US creditors, among other reasons.
But the US forces soon realized that they were not able to control the country alone, and so formed an army of Haitian enlistees, powered by US air power and intended to quell Haitian insurrection against US controls. Then, in 1934, the US pulled out on its own, disappointed with how slow progress was going. Haiti's institutions were never really able to rebuild themselves, leaving them immensely vulnerable to natural disasters.
Something similar happened in Afghanistan, where the US sent troops and supported an insurgent Afghan army – only to pull out, abandoning the country they left in ruins, with many Afghans supporting the Taliban.
In both cases, defense contractors benefited by far the most from the conflict, making billions in profits while civilians faced fallout and devastation. While the conflicts and circumstances are extremely different and while the US is obviously not solely to blame for either crisis, it's hard not to see the US-based roots of these disasters.
Today, in Haiti and Afghanistan, civilians are facing unimaginable tragedy.
Here are charities offering support in Afghanistan:
1. The International Rescue Committee is looking to raise $10 million to deliver aid directly to Afghanistan
2. CARE is matching donations for an Afghanistan relief fund. They are providing food, shelter, and water to families in need; a donation of $89.50 covers 1 family's emergency needs for a month.
3. Women for Women International is matching donations up to 500,000 for Afghan women, who will be facing unimaginable horrors under Taliban control.
4. AfghanAid offers support for people living in remote regions of Afghanistan.
5. VitalVoices supports female leaders and changemakers and survivors of gender-based violence around the world.
Here are charities offering support in Haiti:
1. Partners in Health has been working with Haiti for a long time, and they work with the Department of Health rather than around them, which is extremely important in a charity.
2. Health Equity International helps run Saint Boniface Hospital, a hospital in Haiti close to the earthquake's epicenter.
3. SOIL is an organization based Haiti, "a local organization with a track record of supporting after natural disasters." They are distributing hygiene kits and provisions on the ground to hospitals and to victims of the earthquake.
4. Hope for Haiti has been working in emergency response in Haiti for three decades, and their team is comprised of people who live and work in Haiti. They focus on supporting children and people in need across Haiti.
When the new Tiffany's campaign was unveiled, reactions were mixed.
Tiffany's, the iconic jewelry brand which does not (despite what some might be misled to believe) in fact serve breakfast, featured Jay Z, Beyoncé, and a rare Basquiat painting in their recent campaign.
The aesthetics were undeniably luxe and historic. The campaign showcased the rarely-seen Basquiat painting Equals Pi (1982), which the brand acquired for the background's proximity to its distinctive Tiffany blue. Also notably historic is that Beyoncé was the first Black woman to wear the 128.54 carat Tiffany Diamond.
Before Beyoncé, the only other stars to wear the yellow diamond were Mary Whitehouse, wife of American diplomat Edwin Sheldon Whitehouse, Hollywood icon Audrey Hepburn, and singer Lady Gaga.
"Beyoncé and Jay-Z are the epitome of the modern love story …. Love is the diamond that the jewelry and art decorate," said the press release accompanying the campaign.
The campaign, titled "About Love," is stunning and has both classic and contemporary references. The image of the couple posing in front of high art recalled the iconic stills from their "APESHIT" music video, for which they famously rented out the Louvre and posed in front of the Mona Lisa.
THE CARTERS - APESHIT (Official Video) www.youtube.com
Their "APESHIT" photo made a giant cultural impact for its juxtaposition of Western beauty and Blackness. Tiffany's campaign seemed to have similar goals — showcasing Beyoncé and Jay Z as the peak of luxury, this time juxtaposing the Basquiat and the Tiffany diamond.
As a Black couple, their appearance in such a luxury campaign was a big move for representation, but in a post 2020 landscape, there was an outcry of criticism.
Despite the aesthetic beauty of the image, the high capitalist undertones didn't sit right with some on the internet — largely younger demographics. Though this campaign was an effort by Tiffany's to appeal to younger audiences and make the brand feel more relevant, Twitter's verdict was clear: a blood diamond wasn't the way to go.
The diamond, which was mined in South Africa in 1877, comes from origins laden in the implications of colonialism. The practice of mining in South Africa at the time was exploitative and destructive, eschewing the livelihoods and safety of African miners and their communities for... what? Money? So Tiffany could try to sell us some dream of affluence using Black celebrities as to "Blackwash" the history behind their treasured piece?
The Washington Post also had some choice words, saying: "Its campaign does not celebrate Black liberation — it elevates a painful symbol of colonialism. It presents an ostentatious display of wealth as a sign of progress in an age when Black Americans possess just 4 percent of the United States's total household wealth. If Black success is defined by being paid to wear White people's large colonial diamonds, then we are truly still in the sunken place."
Alongside the campaign, Tiffany & Co have promised to donate $2 million to HBCUs to fund scholarships and internships. But this measly amount (considering the multi-billion dollar net worth behind LVMH) is not enough to cover up that, despite their performative efforts to promote "diversity," Tiffany's is entrenched in a colonial history that neither beauty nor Beyonce can make us ignore.
While Black representation has been increasing over the past few years, the question of how we are represented is starting to be considered with more nuance. And as we examine the structures of wealth and hierarchical values, many people are starting to ask whether these should be the standards we aspire to anymore.
Jay Z and Beyoncé have come under fire before for their promotion of Black Capitalist values — which the kids don't seem to want. Jay Z especially seems invested in the trappings of traditional (read: white) success and wealth. His cannabis line recently unveiled a campaign based on the work Slim Aarons — which was famously focused on "attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places" — and its unashamed opulence raised some eyebrows.
Images like this aren't as revolutionary as they once might have been since they reinforce the status quo and tell marginalized people to reach for the same luxuries and lifestyles deemed aspirational by the people who have oppressed them.
Anti-capitalist theory has been around as long as capitalism has, but younger generations are more likely to question the status quo — even when it comes packed with Basquiat and Beyoncé.
The conversation about the Tiffany campaign is indicative of how Gen Z thinks differently about money and what it means to them. They are less likely to be seduced by the luster of the aspirational, and more receptive to relatability.
No more does financial literacy seem restricted to the pretentious or the elite — we get it, finance bros; you love capitalism. With Cleo, understanding your money is something that can align users with their values.
And those values don't look like blood diamonds or corporate pandering.
- Sorry, Beyoncé, but Tiffany's blood diamonds aren't a girl's best friend - Washington Post
- The Black-white wealth gap left Black households more vulnerable — Brookings
- The Unashamed Opulence of Jay Z's Luxury Cannabis-Themed Slim Aarons Photoshoot — Popdust
- ATTRACTIVE PEOPLE DOING ATTRACTIVE THINGS IN ATTRACTIVE PLACES WITH SLIM AARONS — Elle Decor
Road trips can be a lot of fun — but they can also drain your wallet quickly if you aren't careful.
From high gas costs and park admission fares to lodging and the price of eating out every night, the expenses can add up quickly. But at the same time, it's very possible to do road trips cheaply and efficiently. Without the headache of worrying about how much money you're leaking, you can enjoy the open road a whole lot more. Here's how to save money on a road trip.
1. Prepare Your Budget, Route, and Packing List in Advance
If you want to save money on a road trip, be sure you're ready to go. Try to count up all your expenses before you hit the road and create a budget. It's also a good idea to plan your route in advance so you don't end up taking unnecessary, gas-guzzling detours. And finally, be sure to pack in advance so you don't find yourself having to buy tons of things you forgot along the way.
2. Book Cheap Accommodations — Or Try Camping
All those motel rooms can add up surprisingly quick, but camping is often cheap or free, and it's a great way to get intimate with the place you're visiting. You can check the Bureau of Land Management's website for free campsites. Freecampsite.com also provides great information on If you don't have a tent or don't want to camp every night, try booking cheap Airbnbs or booking hotels in advance, making sure to compare prices.
camping road tripConde Nast Traveler
If you're planning on sleeping in your car, a few tips: WalMart allows all-night parking, as do many 24-hour gyms. (Buying a membership to Planet Fitness or something like it also gives you a great place to stop, shower, and recharge while on the road).
3. Bring Food From Home
Don't go on a road trip expecting to subsist on fast food alone. You'll wind up feeling like shit, and it'll drain your pocketbook stunningly quickly. Instead, be sure to bring food from home. Consider buying a gas stove and a coffee pot for easy on-the-go meals, and make sure you bring substantial snacks to satiate midday or late night cravings so you can avoid getting those late night Mickey D's expeditions.
Try bringing your own cooler, filling it with easy stuff for breakfast and lunch — some bread and peanut butter and jelly will go a long way. Bring your own utensils, plates, and napkins, and avoid buying bottled water by packing some big water jugs and a reusable water bottle. Alternatively, try staying at hotels or Airbnbs with kitchens so you can cook there.
4. Avoid Tolls
Apps like Google Maps and Waze point out toll locations, so be sure to avoid those to save those pennies. (If it takes you too far off route, you might have to bite the bullet and drive across that expensive bridge).
You can also save on parking fees by using sites like Parkopedia.
Road TripThe Orange Backpack
5. Save on Gas
Gas can get pricy incredibly fast, so be sure that you're stopping at cheap gas stations. Free apps like GasBuddy help you find the most affordable gas prices in the area. Also, try going the speed limit on the highways — anything faster will burn through your tank. Be sure that you don't wait till you arrive at touristy locations or big cities to fill up.
6. Get a National Park Pass
All those parks can get really expensive really fast. If you're planning on visiting three or more parks, it's a great idea to get an America the Beautiful National Parks Pass. For $80 you can get into every National Park for one year.