From the Mailbag: “I Feel Attacked”

I received this letter from a reader last week following the advice I gave to the grad student who felt back-stabbed by her classmate.

I really like the co-worker advice you gave. It was useful and brought up really valid perspectives in the comment section. However, I noticed that any time a Gen Y LW gets published on your blog the community gets extremely critical because of the stereotyped assumption that any and all Gen Y babies are entitled, passive brats [or something]. I understand the critique, but as a Gen Y “baby” myself, from my perspective, I can tell you this is entirely unproductive. I’ve been a reader of DW for four years now [since I was 16], and I have spent a portion of that time hanging back from the comments section, when commenters have criticized my generation and made generalizing statements, because it’s just too damn awkward.

Personally, it makes me feel dismissed, attacked, and like an outsider to the community. I am sure this deters potential Gen Y readers to join your site because, frankly, no one wants to enter a site and feel attacked. To be clear, I am not asking to get coddled, and have you tell me that everything will be okay, or whatever stereotypical phrases are apparently used to address me and other members of my generation. (I see the need to point this out because these comments are what I am trying to address).

I have seen this for the past two years, and as a member I have had enough. Making generalizing complaints about another generation is archaic and dismissive. It’s honestly like hearing a relative recall how “back in their day…” their lives were harder or more productive or something. Do you understand where I am coming from? I don’t know many people who want to hear that their current time-period is something to diminish to a few generalizations because it’s not the equivalent of a nostalgic past. I also don’t think that any research that points to the lazy/spoiled Gen Y trope justifies attacking an entire generation. That’s the same as men making generalizing statements about how women should stay home because some study “confirms” that women are happier there.

Would you consider addressing this? — Gen Y Feeling Attacked

OK, I’ll bite. I once made the mistake of making a remark at the end of a column that upset and alienated a lot of my readers (and for the record, many commenters agree with your perspective, LW, so it isn’t everyone ganging up on just one or two Gen Y-ers, and we absolutely don’t have this discussion every single time I post a letter from someone in his or her 20s! But I’m digressing…). What I wrote that one time was: “The fact is you do seem to have a sense of entitlement. But the “you” I see here isn’t just you. It’s a whole generation of you’s. Babies of the 80s, hear this: You are adults now and the world — and your parents — don’t owe you anything. You gotta make your own way, just like the generations of young adults did before you.” Oh my God, did I ever get my ass handed to me after that.

I can’t say that I thought the backlash was totally warranted, but I did appreciate that I hurt some feelings and was genuinely sorry about that. So I wrote this sort of apology/ explanation. And people still were upset. And I have to tell you, I was surprised by the extent of the anger. It’s not as if Generation Y/ 80s babies are a marginalized group of people. Not in the way, say, gay people are, or women, or minorities. You aren’t fighting an uphill battle for rights and equality. But I can understand that you’re fighting for respect (respect in the work force, respect in your families, and respect in society in general). That, I can see. And I can also see how perpetuating or reinforcing unflattering stereotypes may make getting the respect you want more difficult. And maybe that’s where all this anger comes from?

But here’s the thing: your generation is not unique in being teased or picked apart or not taken seriously enough. Every generation before you was young once. And we all went through it. And there were two things that made going through it a lot easier: representing our generation with maturity and dignity; and not taking everything so damn seriously.

I don’t know what it’s like to be 20-something in this era (and for the record, you don’t own this era just because you’re 20; it belongs to all of us. I feel the need to point this out in response to your statement: “I don’t know many people who want to hear that their current time-period is something to diminish…” It’s not your time period, and maybe you thinking that it is is part of the issue.). I know that it comes with challenges that are definitely unique. But it also comes with challenges that aren’t unique — challenges that every generation faces as it “comes of age.” So, I think we can learn from each other if we respect those two points. I, especially as an advice columnist and a parent, can learn from younger people about how the changing world affects the way we relate to each other since they are often more engaged in those changes than older people are. And I hope that young people can respect that old geezers like me have life experiences that give them a different perspective… and sometimes that perspective is going to make us roll our eyes a little bit and chuckle because the things that we see some of you getting so worked up over? It’s really not worth it.

Enjoy yourself. And if some old-timer says something disparaging about your generation that doesn’t even relate to you, shrug it off! Who cares! Life’s short. Eat a donut. And if someone says something disparaging about your generation that stings because maybe it does relate to you just a little, tiny, itsy bitsy bit, take that in and think about it a minute or two. And then go eat a donut. Because, seriously, in about ten years you will not be able to eat donuts like you could when you were 23. And, yes, I am bitter about that.

(And for the record, among the several thousand Gen Y-ers who read this site regularly, there is a community of smart, feisty, hard-working, opinionated, and compassionate people. Their voices are not only welcome here but necessary, and I hope they know how much they’re appreciated, even when discussions sometimes get heated. I also hope this is the last time we need to address this issue.).


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  1. Avatar photo theattack says:

    God, I’m so sick of having this conversation. I’m annoyed with the 80s baby comments too because they’re usually only used to dismiss someone and not start a genuine conversation, BUT I don’t think the way to stop those comments is to write a letter about it and reopen the conversation. Sheesh.

    1. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

      I can’t even formulate a response because I am so f-ing done with this conversation.

  2. exactly the type of letter you expect from an 80s baby… amiright?

    lol, but seriously- this is why people the say the things that they do. you might think that you arent asking “to get coddled, and have you tell me that everything will be okay, or whatever stereotypical phrases are apparently used to address me and other members of my generation.”, but that is what these kinds of attitudes/letters say. sorry to say, but its true- and im definitely an 80s baby! i was born in 88.

    also, go read the forum topic about “sage life advice”- that student wrote in with the same attitude, and deserved that response from that professor.

    1. Haha, my first thought was to comment like, “Ohhh, the irony…”

      But LW, if I did that (which I kinda did) I’D BE JOKING. So don’t get upset!

    2. ele4phant says:

      It’s kind of a catch 22 you know? For us 80s babies, if someone says something disparaging about our generation (warranted or not) and you push back, at all, the response is “see you’ve proven my point. You’re so thin skinned and entitled”. It’s not really possible to try to defend yourself.

    3. Sassy but Classy says:

      But she’s not an 80’s baby, she’s a 90’s baby. If she was 16 four years ago, she is 20 now which means she was born in 1992-1993. I’m 30 born in 1982 and technically Gen Y but I think the people born in the early mid 80’s are not the same as the early 90’s babies even though we are the same generation. But yeah, sick of the conversation.

  3. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

    As an 80’s baby, I really don’t care about the stereotype. It doesn’t personally affect me, it doesn’t define me and I am more than just an 80’s baby. Really, it is just a part of who you are and I hope not your entire identity. I take the stereotype and try to shatter it. I think I do pretty well. Also, it’s no big deal! If being lumped into the 80’s baby group bothers you so much then you are doing pretty well, there are much bigger problems in life!

  4. lets_be_honest says:

    Love this Wendy! Well thought out.

    People get defensive, sometimes too much. I know I need a reminder of “eating a donut” on here often.
    I truly hope no one turns away from DW because of things that are said on here, because for every person who thinks X, another thinks Y. Its nice when we’re all respectful, but sometimes people aren’t. That’s just life. It sucks sometimes.

    1. Avatar photo theattack says:

      I’ll agree that people can be too defensive sometimes, but I think there’s more of a problem with people being rude to other people. We’re much more civil here in this part of the internet, but we could all work on being a little nicer to each other.

      1. I would never advocate being flat out rude, but I feel like niceness online is overrated. And when we talk about it in the context of this web site, I feel like wow, have you seen other message boards? It’s usually kill or be killed in online communities. I feel like the fact that there are mostly women here has a lot to do with the tone… we’re so trained to be polite to everyone.

        I’m not saying that kill or be killed is ideal. But, I personally feel like I’d prefer an honest discussion over people just being online friends with everyone. We’ve seen it happen here, where well-known members don’t get the same honest advice because people don’t want to hurt their feelings. That’s not really why I surf the web. I surf the web for brutal honesty and intellectually interesting discussion.

      2. I dunno, I think we DO have honest, open, sometimes-harsh discussions on here without the atmosphere being toooo nice. There’s a way to phrase harsher advice & throw down some truth without being mean, & the majority of us achieve that.

      3. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Yup. I agree. People dole out some pretty honest truth on here, but usually do it in a way that is “nice” rather than straight up rude.

      4. I agree, I think we have a good balance here usually which is why I’m here.

        I’m not saying that being nice and being honest are mutually exclusive. But I do think that niceness can hinder honesty occasionally, like if a well-known member asks for advice vs. an anonymous one.

      5. Yeah, I do notice people can be ruder to anonymouses.

      6. I disagree. It may hinder bluntness, but not honesty. I’m certain when I asked for advice about my breakup in the forums people were a lot nicer than they would’ve been if I’d been an anonymous LW. And that’s exactly why I went to the forums- because we’ve cultivated a relatively kind community of advice giving here and people were already a bit familiar with my story. At the time I needed compassion just as much as I needed advice, if not more. Everyone on there was probably like “MOA, that shit is doomed!” but the way everyone responded to me actually made it easier for me to make the right decision when the time came.

        And that’s my favorite part of the DW community- it’s a community and not a YouTube free-for-all.

        (<3 you guys for all the advice and support btw!)

      7. But I guess I’m agreeing with parts of what you’re saying, HmC. And thinking about it for a second, you’re probably right about niceness hindering honesty. I guess I’m just saying that I don’t think it’s a bad thing.

      8. It’s not an inherently bad or good thing, it’s just not something I’m particularly looking for from the internet. Politeness, sure, but compassion I want from people that I know and have reason to trust and that know me in real life and know the nuances of my life and situation.

        I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with asking for advice like you did. I remember your situation and I think I commented on it and was rooting for you. I’m saying that compassion isn’t my primary purpose in reading things online. I’m usually looking to learn something new or hear a different perspective. And if someone says something interesting in a not very nice way, it doesn’t ruin my day.

      9. (and I specifically responded to theattack^^ because I do think there is such a thing as too much niceness)

      10. Avatar photo theattack says:

        That’s interesting… I guess it goes to show that we’re all looking for different things here. But I’m a stickler for people being nice to each other. I cannot stand rudeness or people being inconsiderate in any setting. I have high expectations of people and their ability to use common decency.

      11. Stay away from the comments section on… pretty much anything on the internet.

      12. theattack, I agree wholeheartedly. This is probably why I always enjoy reading your comments on DW 🙂

        It’s also probably why I often choose to NOT read and comment on posts or threads that have gotten heated. Once the conversation hits a certain measure of rudeness or unkindness, I figure it’s just not worth it. It just seems too upsetting to bother.

      13. lets_be_honest says:

        I think you can have an honest and frank discussion without insulting or belittling people for disagreeing though.

      14. lets_be_honest says:

        I just get really pissed or shut down when someone has a totally bitchy tone on here. Its just not necessary. You can get your point across without sounding like a total a-hole. When you sound that way, I stop listening and/or start treating you the same way resulting in a bitch fight rather than a good discussion/debate.

      15. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Exactly. It’s counter-productive.

      16. lets_be_honest says:

        Is it weird I never find myself reacting in real life the way I do on here sometimes? Strange.

      17. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Why is niceness overrated? When is there ever an advantage to attacking someone instead of thoughtfully offering advice? You can offer tough love without being rude to people, but that escapes some people, which is why others are defensive. There isn’t a single good reason to be rude.

      18. WTAS!

      19. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

        Your screen name is so opposite of how you are. I frequently think that when I read your comments!

  5. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

    I think my problem with generation Y is that many of them do often whine so. I’d have killed to have had it so easy with regards to gay rights. As happy as I am for how much better it truly is for gays and lesbians — I also feel twinges of sadness in that I sometimes think — Damn. My life could have been so much easier had I just been born ten or so years later. (This thought is often tempered by the profound relief that I was NOT born a decade earlier… Why? Well, because I’d probably have died a truly horrible death. 1980s AIDS…) Such is the oddity of being gay right now. You straight people have NO idea how much the mere difference of ten years can shape and change your life.

    Truthfully, I think we caught way more flack as Generation X. I mean there were bitchy magazine covers galore about the dreaded Generation X… I’ve seen a few for Y. But not nearly so many. And sad to say, I have run across some utterly absurdly entitled members of Generation Y in the work place acting in ways I simply NEVER saw members of Generation X act. Which is telling in that I worked with far more Generation Xers than Yers.

    Then there’s the REAL reason I hate Generation Y. It’s simply the pure unadulterated rage that they are still in their 20s whereas I? Am not.

    1. I just want to say, every time I’m reminded of LGBT history, I thank my lucky stars I was born when I was.

      1. Whenever I’m reminded of history I think that. And I’ll throw in a thanks for where I am for good measure. With all the crap we have today, I still get to be female, polyethnic, have a Ph.D., and a lot of choices and control over who I am, who I’m with, what I look like etc. I have a voice, and I am so so grateful.

    2. I think every generation is looked down on when they’re young and inexperienced. At that age, you think you know everything and are very idealistic. The older you get, the more realistic you get – in good and bad ways. But each subsequent generation (despite the bad music – just kidding!) does add value and make us change how we view the world in surprising ways. We need the young’uns to keep us moving forward by taking risks and being optimistic.

      Anyway, I am Gen X, and dang was it hard living through the AIDS crisis and the anti-gay vitriol. And there was a lot of anti-woman vitriol too, because we women were rising up and destroying families. Guess what – it’s 2013 and the world hasn’t ended. Women have more choices, gay people and bisexual people (like me) can be more open. And Gen Y can thank us for paving the way just as we can thank the Boomers for paving the way for us, and so on.

    3. I think Gen Y gets a bad rap and I think they entered adulthood under the shittiest of circumstances. I also think people forget how hard it is to be starting out in your career, etc. And like Wendy said, every generation gives the younger generation some grief. Some of that is justified (lessons we’ve already learned) and some of it is misguided and unfair.

      With all that said, I am SO GLAD someone spoke up about Gen X because, hell yeah, it was not a good label. Generation Apathy, remember? The latch-key generation. The children of divorce generation. The disillusioned kids of the hippies who sold out on the dream they tried to persuade us of. We were “X” because we supposedly had no identity. No compassion. No interest in anything. We were the solo acts. And yeah, we wore combat boots.

      None of that has changed except that we hold more power and respect in society. We are not at the top of the food chain yet –baby boomers still holding those spots. But in many cases, we are in positions of supervising Gen Ys and that does afford us more respect and control than we had as youth.

      1. Rebecca Grace says:

        I guess I’m confused on the statement “entered adulthood under the shittiest of circumstances”? Every generation has shitty circumstances. I think what I’ve seen a lot of that gives me an unfair? perspective of the Gen Y is the idea that you don’t have to start at the bottom and work your way up. That if you magically appear in the workforce with a degree you start in the middle or the top. Degree or not, I’ve always started at the bottom, worked my way up and learned an amazing amount (well beyond anything a degree can give me). I’ve never considered living with my parents beyond college and have never expected them to pay for anything after I turned 18. All of which “Generation Y” seems to think is normal? But… maybe that is because those are the “Generation Y ers” that are the most vocal, bragging about it on the internet on a daily basis… it is the electronic age now and maybe my generation (X) just didn’t have the same ability to! oh well – done with my comments. 🙂 But Wendy – love your comments! Keep up the amazing advice 🙂

    4. Natasiarose says:

      I usually agree with BGM but this is ridiculous. You hate the lgbt community of Generation Y bc they have it easier than you did? I don’t even get understand. I’ve never met an older gay person that wasn’t jealous of how much easier we have it, but I’ve never heard them say that that’s why they hate them. There is enough hatred for gays in this world without it coming from within the community.

      1. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

        Um, no. I never said anything anything about the gay community, I was speaking about the Generation Y in general…. You clearly MISSED the entire point of my post which — apparently — plenty of others got.

  6. I’m an 80’s baby… and everything bad that’s said about us is what I say about 90’s and 00’s babies. Can you believe we have kids at our dance studio that don’t even know what a CD is because they’ve had iPods all their lives? LoL. Anyway, I’m mostly just teasing when I talk about 90’s kids. I think making fun of the generation that came after you is just something that every generation does.

    1. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

      I think the part of this conversation that drives me the most crazy is that the 80’s baby generation actually stretched from 1982 to 2003 (I beleive). So, it’s not just the 80’s, it’s the 90’s and some of the 00’s too…anyways. I can’t participate in this conversation because I get so heated.

      1. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

        Huh? That’s odd. I hear about 1990s babies all the time. I don’t get where you hear that it lasts until 2003? I think you are wrong on that actually. I mean, nobody calls themselves a 1950s baby if there were born in 1973.

      2. I think she meant that Gen Y is from 1982-2003 – though I’ve heard it’s actually only until 2000 but whatever – either way people born in the 80s/90s

      3. also I think the generation is just known as 80s babies because it rhymes much better than 90s babies lol. Also people born in the 90s are either entering or finishing up college so not really in the workforce yet whereas people born in the 80s are finishing up college/entering workforce – so there is more contact with for other generations with the people born in the 80s. But generation Y is the formal name

      4. I was going to say the same thing. When people are using these stereotypes on here, it’s stereotypes for Gen Y, which is not just people born the 80s. It’s people after that. Also, if you were born in 1980 – 82, you’re a Gen Xer.

      5. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

        Oh, to me that’s silly though. I mean having lived through 1970s, 1980s, 1990, and the 2000s I do genuinely think that each decade produces a “sub-generation” of profound differences… Both good and bad. For instance, as much as I might rail against the “laziness” of Generation Y… they get a BIG bravo for their enlightened stances on gay marriage. Which believe me, even among college students in Generation X was NOT at all popular. Or even talked about. Hell, I’m not even sure if I was for gay marriage at 19. The mere concept? Was simply unheard of…

      6. haha yeah I agree. There is probably a difference between people born in 1989 and those born in 1999 but I dont think you can really say there is a difference between people born in 1988 and 1991 for instance – they were toddlers, in elementary school, middle school and high school together

      7. I distinctly remember being 19 in ’94 and seeing some poster about gay marriage somewhere, and bursting out laughing. I founded my school’s PFLAG, half ass identified as bi, had gay friends, spoke out for HIV awareness, and I burst out laughing. Was the silliest thing I ever heard of. Why would gays get married, they didn’t date longer than 10 minutes after all… 😮

        Fast forward 9 years…. Canada makes same sex marriage legal and I’m explaining to my 4 yr old daughter that now she can marry a boy OR a girl here, whichever she wants! I’m talking to our uni’s first openly gay president (ex-pat American) and his husband about the trials of adopting older kids, adopting through foster care, noticing their sons were straight, openly at a gathering in their home. That’s fucking amazing.

        Now to get our trans brothers and sisters with us. Finally got a bill for them passed in parliament but it’s just a beginning.

      8. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        I was refering to the Milenial or Gen Y generation. People tend to use the two terms (Gen Y and 80’s baby) as interchangeable when they are two different things. Yes, 80’s babies are part of the generation, but they are two different things.

        Obviously no one born outside of the 1980’s would call themselves an 80’s baby. I think my aversion to this generalization is that being born in 1985, in a generation that stretches from 1982 to around 2000 (I’ve read different sources citing a different end date), I’m on the “fringe” of the generation. I don’t think that I, or many of my friends, exhibit many of the characteristics that are halmarks of the generation. Now my siblings who where born in 93 and 95, smack in the middle of the generation- they exhibit most of the markers of the generation.

      9. I was going to jump in and say the same. GG is correct. The general analysis on generations is done in wider timespans, not by decade. Millenials or Gen Ys span 15+ years. This is normal. Gen X is the same. I was born in the mid 70s and that puts me on the latter end of my generation –the bulk of whom were in their teens in the 80s. Typically there are certain markers that define a generation so the dates are not fixed arbitrarily. For the boomers, it was the civil rights movement and the Vietnam war. That generation includes anyone who was a young adult during those events.

      10. Oh, and for anyone interested, I posted the dates below –way down in the comments.

      11. YOU’RE on the fringe? I was born in January of 1982. 😉

      12. Sassy but Classy says:

        Yeah 1982 is the beginning of Gen Y usually, it can span +/- a few years but generally 1982 is used because those people (me included) graduated HS in 2000. I’ve heard the ending of Gen Y being anywhere between 1995-2001. But think kids born in 1995 are only 18- they’ve just started college, I’m 30 years old almost graduated college 10 years ago.. it’s strange to think we are the same generation.

      13. Woohoo Class of 2000! 😛

    2. I always think it’s funny when you make a pop culture reference that just seems like a given and the younger person doesn’t get it. I worked with a student born in the 90s and I said something about ancient technology like the “Zack Morris Phone” and he had no idea what I was talking about. He says “Who’s Zack Morris?” I couldn’t stop laughing at him. But then again, when I was 16 and I mentioned in front of my mom that I didn’t know any of the Beatles music I thought she was going to disown me so it happens to everyone.

      I also love watching old Simpsons episodes now that I’m an adult. They’re so much funnier.

      1. Lemongrass says:

        My husband grew up in an extremely remote location with no tv and he never gets any references that I make. He didn’t know who the Brady bunch is! Also, I f-ing love the Simpsons.

      2. I felt old yesterday – one of our 26 year old friends didn’t know David Hasselhoff or Bob Hope!
        I get that he missed Knight Rider, but has Baywatch been off the air that long? And doesn’t everyone know Bob Hope? I mean…Bob Hope!

      3. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        I don’t know who Bob Hope is and I’m 27.

      4. He’s an old comedian – he and Bing Crosby did a lot of movies together. He’s on a George Burns level of funny. I had a really old dad, maybe people my age don’t know Bob Hope? 30-somethings out there, do you know of him?

      5. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        My parents were very young (17) when they had me so perhaps that’s the snafu.

      6. That’s funny =)

      7. Oof, hit send before I could elaborate. The part that’s funny is … I think our parents generations can have a secondary effect on how we turn out too. For example, my dad was in his 20s during the great depressions, and I have some, umm, light hoarding tendencies I picked up from him. As well as a love of AMC that developed looooong before they had MM and BB.

      8. I know of him because we watched old movies but also because he was still hosting specials when I was a kid. I’m also 10 years older 🙂 But yeah, his heyday was part of the GI Generation (aka Greatest Generation –smug much?!) so it would have been our grandparents era.

      9. applescruffs says:

        I’m 27 and know who Bob Hope was. But I also watched a lot of old TV when I was younger.

      10. lets_be_honest says:


      11. Sue Jones says:

        What???????? You do not know who Bob Hope was? Wow!

      12. I know Bob Hope because of The Simpsons.

      13. I know Bob Hope because of his lemon merengue pie recipe. Which I’m actually having today. Oh so good.

      14. I honestly get sad when I think about how people may never experience Saved By The Bell, because TBS no longer plays it every weekday morning now.

      15. Avatar photo shanshantastic says:

        It’s on Netflix now!

  7. kerrycontrary says:

    I think Wendy’s response is really well thought out. As someone who gets fired up about stereotypes about my generation, I understand where the writer is coming from. But I think Wendy is right and we do need to all go eat donuts.

  8. I don’t get what the issue is. If you read something that clearly doesn’t apply to you, can’t you just think “Hmmm, well that’s not really talking about me”, and let it go?

    I mean, that’s what I do when I read BGM’s comments about women being clingy and insecure in their relationships 🙂

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      Not everyone is always feeling that mature, bethany (cough, cough, myself included embarrassingly enough!)

      1. Oh, I feel you. I’m sure none of us are 100% unaffected all the time, but we should use those situations as an opportunity for growth and introspection, not as a chance to lash out and have a pity party.

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        You’re right. Thanks mom 🙂

      3. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        let’s test this. bethany, you’re clingy and insecure. and your standing bow sucks! and your mom sucks!

        [god that was so harsh. i take it all back.]

      4. AP– This weekend I was doing Standing Bow while drinking red wine with my mom (and cousins). It was awesome, you should have been there.

      5. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Haha. I was doing standing now last night for my sisters! And I realized how much easier it is to do when you’re not all sweaty.

      6. I have to confess, I always wipe my hands and my ankle off before Standing Bow. It’s the only pose I do that for. 🙁 I should really learn to not do that though.

      7. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        jeez, i wipe my hands before each move it seems! i’m a fidgeter.

    2. I get that age isn’t as touchy a subject as some things (aka, race, sexuality, etc.), but I don’t think it’s wrong or immature to be offended if your demographic group is insulted, even if it doesn’t apply to you personally. People might shrug off BGM, but if nearly everyone on the site was saying those things, I think that it would be a lot harder to deal with, to me, at least.

      1. But you have to take the context of the comments. Everyone jumped on Gen Y with the letter where the girl thought that her BF’s mother didn’t like her and was too involved, but the LW and the boyfriend were living in the Mother’s house. The living at home thing is weird and it gets even more odd when people make demands of their parents who are letting them live there for free. Of course people get fired up in that context.

  9. When people make generalizations that don’t apply to me, I don’t get personally offended because I know they don’t apply to me. Some generalizations are true, and exceptions do not disprove rules, so I never understand why someone is like “oh but I’m not like that!” Ok, no one said *you* were.

    1. Coke Ya! (Does anyone remember that?”)

      1. yep! haha

  10. Lots of us in this community are Gen Y like yourself LW (myself included – though I am a couple years older than you) and I too get annoyed at the constant “well you’re problem is you were born in the 80s/90s”. That really doesn’t help fix things for a LW. Sure tell a specific LW to grow up/have entitlement issues but don’t tell them that they have all these issues because of when they were born. There are plenty of people born in any generation that are entitled/passive/whiney/need to grow up. Can we please give advice to people based on THEIR problem/situation and not on some overarching issue we perceive (whether it’s right or wrong) with a generation as a whole?

  11. Look, I am an 80s baby, & I don’t understand the defensiveness in some of the comments when this conversation comes up. And I definitely DON’T think the comparison between some insulting theories about millennials & racial/sexual oppression is… apt. It is not. To quote Wendy, um, “It’s not as if Generation Y/ 80s babies are a marginalized group of people. Not in the way, say, gay people are, or women, or minorities. You aren’t fighting an uphill battle for rights and equality.”

    The coming-of-age generation is always criticized. It’s not a personal attack, & it definitely shouldn’t deter anyone from this site. Honestly, most of what I’ve seen written about “80s babies” has been purely speculative. Or it’s been a debate. There’s never comment after comment just straight-up disparaging an entire generation. And a lot of the comments that do? are ~made~ by someone OF that generation.

    If it ever comes up again, I’d advice to just read it like an intellectual debate on a subject that’s getting a lot of attention in the media. Because that’s what it is—nobody is attacking you, personally.

    1. Amen. I’ve always found this complaint about the persecution so odd since It – in the truest sense – is not personal. It’s downright universal.

  12. I see both sides, but I don’t understand the argument of “well, every generation gets this, so why are you upset about it?” Just because each generation in the past has been given hell/generalizations doesn’t mean it’s something to perpetuate going forward (yes, by that logic us Gen Y’ers have to leave the next set alone too.)

    1. If you are going to talk about a generation you are going to have to generalize. There is no out to that. Accept it as it is. It applies to some and not all. I have always found it fascinating that generalizations are only ‘bad’ when negative. Gen Y tech savvy. No problem. Of course we are. Gen Y having a sense of entitlement – outrage. Baby boomer the engine of the economy? Of course. Baby boomers a burden on social programs? Outrage. It’s a discussion. If it applies to you, take note. If it doesn’t keep walking.

      1. Seriously next time somebody talks about how Tech Savy that generation is, I hope somebody gets rip shit mad because they can’t figure out how to work an Iphone so don’t generalize them.

        Definitely the best reply so far Firestar.

      2. Or we could just stop talking about generations altogether? I mean, that’s a HUGE group of people to categorize. Why is that necessary?

      3. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Agreed. Outside of things like economic trends, I don’t see much of a purpose to it.

      4. You want to remove the word generation from the lexicon? Or any collective noun? Seriously?

      5. Trends in human behavior, good and bad, are super interesting! And that kind of understanding is important to understanding people in general. I think it’s just like any generalization for any group of people- as long as it’s not used as a basis for hatred or poor treatment, there’s nothing wrong with it all being part of an honest discussion. What’s so wrong with gen Y being aware that they are perceived as entitled? Maybe a lot of them are, and it would be helpful for them to think on that and learn to appreciate what they have more. Win win win.

    2. I fully agree on this point and, as one of the older/Gen X members of this site, am always trying to remember/share it.

  13. I have to say, compared to my parents’ generation, we are extremely entitled. If you aren’t, good for you. But accept that this stereotype exists and actively work to prove otherwise if it bothers you that much.

    Also, I think most people were using the Gen Y thing as a defense. Not “oh stupid gen Y baby, stop whining shout nonexistent problems” but more so “the expectations of your generation are typically this way, which is why the LW may be surprised and upset about the situation”.

    And writing a lengthy email about this? So Gen Y. (And yes, I’m a 90s baby.)

    1. *about, not shout…Autocorrect is not my friend today.

  14. This letter just makes me laugh. Really? “I don’t like it that some people say that some members of my generation act entitled and need to be coddled and babied, so I’m going to ask the moderator of the website to tell them to stop because it upsets me personally.” Oh. My. God.

    Look, I agree that dismissing any LW as an “80s Baby” and the like isn’t always the best answer to their letter. Unless it’s the LW’s problem. And, sometimes, in some of the letters, it is the LW’s problem. And, that’s usually, in my experience, when the whole “80s Babies” thing comes in. It’s not the go-to for every single LW in their 20s. But, really, Wendy’s right. People shouldn’t take things so personally. Do Boomers get in a twist every time someone on a website critiques them as a group? No. Do Gen Xers do it? No. They shrug it off and move on, sometimes acknowledging that there’s some truth in it and that’s why it stings. Gen Y folks should do the same. There are way bigger things to get worked up about on this earth than what some folks say about your generation.

    1. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

      “This letter just makes me laugh. Really? “I don’t like it that some people say that some members of my generation act entitled and need to be coddled and babied, so I’m going to ask the moderator of the website to tell them to stop because it upsets me personally.” Oh. My. God.”

      Ha ha ha… I have to admit that this so crossed my mind! Bravo, to you, Miss MJ for calling it out. It is hilariously and absurdly ironic. 😉

    2. Yep, crossed my mind, too. I personally love hearing about how things where when my parents were growing up (40s & 50s) because:

      1. I just like it;
      2. Whenever I get depressed over the state of the world, it reminds me that we got through it once, we will get through it again.

      The easiest way to get rid of a stereotype is not to be that stereotype.

  15. Also, I just re-read over this part: “I have spent a portion of that time hanging back from the comments section, when commenters have criticized my generation and made generalizing statements, because it’s just too damn awkward.”

    JOIN US 😀 Seriously, we don’t bite. It’s not like we’re going to be all, “Oh hi! Wait…you’re in your 20s? Get out. Get the fuck out. We don’t want your generation’s entitlement around here!”

  16. I’m 23 (a 90s baby) and sometimes I get annoyed with stereotypes that I don’t feel describe me. But really, the opinion of people that don’t know you and know your own circumstances don’t truly matter that much. I don’t really think any of this unique to any generation. The entitlement simply evolves with the change of society and technology. But people grow up (eventually) and often, I already feel like I’m in a rocking chair. I feel so annoyed by those younger/more immature than me, but that’s just a part of life. I think so often when we’re young adults and we’re doing it “right” and not behaving “like the rest”, we want to be noticed and told, “Yes, you did a good job”. But really, no one gives a shit. And yeah, that’s kind of hard to hear sometimes, but it’s true.

    You know, I’ve been craving Krispy Kreme since last night, and now I really want a doughnut.

    1. pamplemousse says:

      I just got so confused when I read that you are 23 and a 90s baby. I was thinking “how can she be 23 and a 90s baby when I am 23 and an 80s baby?” Then I remembered I’m actually 24. Apparently I am now at the age where I cannot do simple math, nor remember my own age. Yay.

      And in response to the LW, my general advice for anyone who writes in complaining about DW: No one is holding your eyelids open and forcing you to read this website. You are not obligated to read anything you don’t want to read or be a part of a community you feel does not accept you (regardless of whether it is true or not). It might seem harsh but I don’t think the DW community should have to defend themselves, change, or convince a person to stay just because that person is offended. Being offended does not automatically mean you are right. Also, WWS. On all points.

  17. First, feel free to check out this graphic on US generations of the past century (who knew there was a silent generation? maybe because they were silent?) 🙂

    Second, get over yourself and give it 10 years before you are doing it to the next generation. Newsflash: the Greatest Generation shit all over the Boomers, the Boomers shit all over the GenXers, GenXers are clearly enjoying (after dealing with all the grunge inspired lazy, disaffected, do-nothing, will never amount to anything commentary, ahem guess what I am) giving some shit to the GenY/Millenials… and so it goes.

    1. landygirl says:

      Someone get some wet wipes, stat!

    2. Thanks for the link – it has me questioning my identity! All these years I thought I was a baby boomer, but the Pew Research center says I’m part of Generation X!

      1. Datdamwuf says:

        And I still remain a boomer, but only by a hair – I do get the gen Y getting tired of the generalizations, I sometimes get that tired of the ones about boomers too, only it would never occur to me to write in and complain about it. We all know everything wrong in the world is the fault of the boomers, in 20 years it will all be the fault of the gen Ys – no worries. TBH, I still don’t get the “greatest generation”, like why are they so great? Enough time has passed that their contributions are looked at instead of the negatives, that’s pretty much it.

  18. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

    Oh for pete’s sake. … But that was a good, thoughtful response, Wendy. I particularly liked how you pinpointed the respect issue – and how all generations before have to deal with this as they are starting out…. This well-crafted response hopefully won’t get your ass handed to you again. … But really, babies, stop taking things so personally.

    1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

      Oh, but don’t eat donuts. Eat a carrot. It’s harder to lose donut weight at my ripe old age of 34.

  19. Um I’m 22, and I’ve never felt attacked or dismissed on here. I’m not usually offended by any comments about entitlement because I was raised not to feel entitled to anything… So I don’t really care what people say about my generation.

    1. Avatar photo findingtheearth says:

      Same here! I have worked since I was 14. I am 26. Everything I own is in my name and bought and paid for by me. It may not be a whole lot, but I put my time in for it.

  20. Listen up Gen X-ers/babies on the 70s- you actually aren’t all that and a bag of potato chips. You think you’re smarter than older people and wiser than younger people- frankly, you think all these other generations are fools.

    You’re having children, but you know more than your parents because new research shows how wrong they were. Oh, and you are in your 20s having a baby? Well, make sure you listen to Gen X-ers because their way of raising children is perfect.

    At work, you dismiss older workers because they’re not good at modern technology (how do you not know how to use computer?), and you dismiss younger workers because they rely on technology too much (how do you not know how to use a typewriter!). Thank god for Gen X-ers because they have the perfect blend knowledge and experience and they never want you to forget it.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      All that and a bag of chips! Man, that brings me back.

    2. LoL I’m a Gen Y-er but I totally feel this way half the time.

      1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        But in defense if my fellow babies of the 70s, we reasonably expected to be the oldest and wisest souls here, considering you old folks don’t read blogs and barely know how to navigate the internets.

      2. Oooop—now don’t be bagging on us oldies (Baby Boomer here–born 1963, represent ya’ll). I have a fantastic blend of melding old tech–turntables (anyone? *blank stares and crickets*) to reel-to-reel, to cassette, to CDs, to MP3s–and that’s just the music-side of things! My first computer I worked on was an IBM3741 data station (yes, STATION, which meant it took up 5×4′ area), and now I have laptops, tablets, droids, etc. I consider myself to be incredibly lucky and wise in that I get to continually update my knowledge and skills but yet retain a sense humbleness in that I don’t know everything, and there will be a shit-ton of tech to come.

        However, I do sometimes just shake my head at the self-entitlement that I do see–my daughter being one of those amongst the group. (I was already into a 4-year marriage when I was her age.) I just have to remember that she will eventually grow up and she will realize the world does not revolve around her…hopefully.

      3. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Said the Baby Boomer, about 24 hours LATE to the online convo.

        Hahaha. <3

      4. I’m sorry; just trying to follow some of the nonsense you youngins’ were going on about!

    3. All so true, we a perfect blend!

      1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        And we are all fit and good looking! I can’t imagine not being born in the 70s. Must suck.

      2. We are masters at nutritional and exercise science. It is why we win all the marathons.

    4. Heyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy, are you an X-er in disguise? How else would you know about our “bag of chips” phrase.

      Well the addition of “potato” might be the clue.

      1. I’m on the cusp. No wants us born at the end of 1979 babies.

  21. Lemongrass says:

    Btw, Wendy, I’m offended that you assume that I could eat donuts all I wanted at 23. I don’t fit into that category and a sweeping statement about it is clearly worse than the problem itself.

    1. Haha, seriously. I think a lot of my problem now at 28 is all the donuts (sub taco bell) I ate when I was 23.

  22. landygirl says:

    Here’s what I know:

    When you’re in your teens you think you know everything and have all the answers
    When you’re in you’re 20’s you think you know a lot of things and have a lot of answers
    When you’re in your 30’s you realize that you don’t know everything and don’t have all the answers
    When you’re in your 40’s you can’t remember anything and have no answers but don’t care anymore

    I’ll get back to you re: the 50’s in a few years time.

    1. Datdamwuf says:

      When you’re in your 50’s you realize you know a helluva lot, although you cannot remember your 40’s, oh, and you wish you were 20 again

  23. Avatar photo sobriquet says:

    I, too, am sick of this debate. Only on this particular site, though. I actually enjoy having this discussion with people who can offer interesting insights about the generation. There is just so much anger and bitterness when discussing Gen Y, here! I don’t get offended, but that’s usually my cue to leave.

    And I think that’s the bigger point that I took away from this letter. Whenever a commenter attacks someone or everyone gangs up about an issue, I worry about the alienation of potential readers. I want this site to stick around for awhile! I’m sure that everyone who has commented on a regular basis has been “attacked” at some point or at least experienced a rude comment or 2. It’s not the end of the world when it happens, obviously, but it usually leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I think it’s unfair to say that people are not allowed to be offended just because it’s the internet, or because it wouldn’t offend you, or that they would only be defensive if there was truth behind the statement.

    But what do I know? I’m just a spoiled, entitled 80’s brat 😉

    1. Avatar photo theattack says:

      Love this! It’s not okay to tell other people they’re wrong to be offended by something, and it’s not okay to gang up or attack someone, especially on arbitrary characteristics like their gender, generation, or whatever.

    2. Totally. Sometimes I have to just close the window instead of reading or commenting on posts because of that kind of stuff. I think you’ve got to be pretty brave to send a letter in, knowing that you might get called all sorts of names. That said, I really do like the site and the people on it, but sometimes it goes too far for me.

      1. I’m hitting the point of just reading the letter and Wendy’s comment and Xing it out after. Sometimes the replies are totally warranted toward the LW – and then sometimes it just becomes extreme.

  24. sarolabelle says:

    Truthfully I LOVE letters that are about something more than college/high school boyfriend complaints. I’m over that stage of my life and I HOPE this website never becomes that.

  25. Also, as someone born in 1979, sometimes I get put into Gen-X and sometimes Gen-Y. Can someone tell me how awesome I am for not caring about things?

    1. sarolabelle says:

      same here. I was bored in 1981 and don’t care!

      1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Your generation is so apathetic! Haha

  26. I’m kind of curious about the whole entitlement thing. I’ve seen fellow millenials being really entitled at work, but I think that they are less entitled in some ways. I mean, my friends who are a lot older than me (I’m in my late 20s) graduated from college and expected to buy a house, have kids, buy a nice car, etc. I don’t really know a single person (yes, yes, anecdotal, whatever) who thinks they’re going to be able to afford a house or a nice car anytime soon, and most of them can’t imagine where they’re going to get money to have kids. Many of my friends assume that they’ll never be able to buy a house or that they’ll never be able to support themselves on retirement, something that many previous generations have not worried about.

    Anyway, I don’t think that she’s asking to be coddled. I think the response here is the point. If she were any other generation, the word “coddled” probably wouldn’t have been used. Maybe someone would call her grumpy or something, but it would be framed in a different way. Personally I’m not a fan of the millenial stuff, but I don’t care a ton because I spend so much time trash-talking baby boomers, that I probably can’t talk.

    1. Chiswickian says:

      I’m 20, and there are definitely people I know who feel entitled to things they perceive as rightfully theirs– an iphone, a Mac, and in the future a house, a car etc. I was talking about this recently with my dad though, and he was saying how although my parents are pretty well off now, he lived hand to mouth in his 20s and that my generation is foolish to expect that that’s not something they’ll have to do. My problem, and where I guess it could be perceived that I feel a sense of entitlement, is that I fear I’ll be living hand to mouth still in my 40s or even 50s, and find that upsetting. I know I’m not “entitled” to a job that will allow me to save and potentially buy a house and car. But it’s still scary to read every other week in the New York Times or on CNN that our generation will never have as much as our parent’s generation.

    2. Sue Jones says:

      I am a GenXer / tail end Boomer, born in 1961. In my 20’s I had NO money, only what was left over from my student loans ( I was a poor student) and what I earned at a job. I remember my parents got mad at me when I went and bought my first (used) computer. Thought I was being frivolous, and they never would have bought one for me. I drove a 20 year old VW. That broke down regularly. I guess it builds character. It was only when I moved to my current town that I met so many spoiled kids with nice cars and nice everything that they did not pay for. And it hasn’t changed. These “kids” are now almost 40 and still get a lot of money from Mom and Dad because they earn so little by choice or circumstance. And their kids go to the BEST preschools, etc. again paid for by Mom and Dad… and so it goes…

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        So this comment got me thinking. I was talking to my dad a couple months ago about how to not spoil your kids, but at the same time give them a better life than you had. Is that the goal in parenting? Giving your kids a better life than you had? Or just to show them everything that is out there if they want it? I struggle with drawing the line between spoiling and not.
        Anyway, my dad’s stance was expose them as much as you possibly can to everything the world offers, then when the kid decides THAT is the life I want, or the place I want to live, they will have something to strive for. An interesting conversation in my opinion.
        We didn’t get exposed to much growing up since we had no money. I’m fortunate enough to be able to expose my kid to things like traveling. It blows my mind the places she has seen already, when I hadn’t even been on a plane until my teen years. My mom on the other hand, has only been on a plane once, a few years back.

  27. Wait a minute. Both of my children (21 & 26) are enormously entitled. I thought it was just poor parenting on my part (maybe my ex told me that a time or two…) and now you are telling me it is their whole generation?! I am off the hook, then? WooHoo! No more therapy sessions or antidepressants for me. Just think of all the money I will save in co-payments alone. My kids will probably ask for it, though, cause, you know, isn’t everything theirs for the asking? I just can’t win….Sigh. Back to therapy… Spoken like a true “Boomer”, I am sure. 😉

  28. 6napkinburger says:

    The math is confusing me. I’m 28 — born in the 80’s, aware of pop-culture in the 90’s — and I thought I was Gen Y. Being 20 years old right now puts you as born in the 90’s, knowing pop culture in the 00’s — I thought that made you a millenial. Are my generations wrong?

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      Seeing as how you think you’re entitled to a response, I’d say you are very much an 80s baby.

    2. Generations are not just by decades. They usually span about 18 years – so the baby boomers are not just those born in the 50s but also those born in the late 40s and the early 60s

      1. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        wait. I crossed my words. You’re Gen Y as are the 90’s babies.

      2. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        And Milenial and Gen Y are used interchangably.

  29. Avatar photo findingtheearth says:

    I comment and read on this site once in awhile. Maybe not an extremely often amount, but I am a busy lady.

    Anyway, I often read and scroll through comments and I don’t really think I have ever been offended by anything said. I sometimes don’t agree, but it’s a public site/forum. People say things. They don’t know me personally.

    With that, I am a product of the 80’s. And I feel my generation is very entitled. It’s a part of the reason why I have a hard time identifying with my generation and younger – I grew up without a lot of the “give give give” from my parents and elders.

    But, I know there are parts of me that are entitled and act spoiled. I try not to let those parts dominate who I am as a person. I think, in general, most people are guilty of that when technology and such has made life so much easier.

    And thank you Wendy, I will eat a donut.

  30. Older and (hopefully) wiser says:

    Funny, I thought most of you guys were late 20’s/early 30’s and so together that this whole Gen Y thing was a myth.

  31. Sue Jones says:

    The Millennial generation seems to span a large time period. It is hard for me to lump my 9 year old in with a 31 year old.. I would put him in the Homeland Generation… And I fall right smack between the Baby Boom generation and GenX, though since my parents were G.I. Generation, I feel more like Baby Boomer relates to me, though talk about SELF ABSORBED! The older Boomers are fucking OBNOXIOUS with how special they think they are and how much they changed the world, and I am like “meh! I am actually doing the world changing work here, so shaddup!” … so maybe I really am a Gen Xer…

    1. Grilledcheesecalliope says:

      Boomers, yes let’s all discuss how truly irritating boomers are. And how they are just going to continue living, voting, and making everyone’s life hard.

      1. Sue Jones says:

        Re: Boomers – ” I am so special and I am breaking all the rules and we are such pioneers and we will either coddle and hover over our children (when we are older), or completely neglect them in favor of our own selfish pursuits (when we were younger) so that our kids either way are complete fuck-ups… oh and we blew the trust fund that our G.I Generation parents worked their entire life to save for us on having the biggest house (because we deserve it!) the nicest car (what is the matter with you kids, why are you driving such junkers? Go and BORROW the money so you can live like us!), drugs, facelifts, etc etc etc just because we WANT what we WANT and we are now old, broke and washed up, but we are still special, and boy did we change the world!”

        Gen-X ” I see that you Boomers had lots of ideas, about 10% which were any good. Well just go away because we are the ones who are actually doing the practical work to make the world a better place! And stop blowing the trust fund up your nose! “

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        My stepdad has this extremely entitled personality and its so dangerous. I once said to him that I wished I had a backyard for my daughter to play in. His response was that I work hard and therefore deserve a house, so I should get a credit card and use it for a downpayment. He very much decides on his own what he “deserves” and then goes and buys it regardless of whether he can afford it, whether its a tv or a vacation. You can imagine the debt he’s accrued with this attitude, and even with all these things he’s bought, he’s never happy, always sees someone else with something and thinks it should’ve been him. Its awful and frustrating.

  32. I’m with the LW.

    And Wendy, could you see to it that your predominantly female readership refrains in the future from making any blanket statements about what men are like even though men are often like that, because i am not like that and it hurts me that my gender is maliciously albeit accurately nonmisrepresented by private individuals over whom you have no control apart from outright censorship. This overly open polylogue (think dialogue among many people – I’m not sure if I just made that word up, but we gen-Xers are entitled to make up words, especially since I have a degree in word-thingies) is discouraging me from being open because not everyone sees me as I see myself and deserve to be implicitly understood by people who don’t know me. Freedom of speech for some, whirly-twirly gumdrops for others! Wait, i got a bit lost in the middle of that. What did I want again?

    Hey LW, I get what you are saying. Believe me, in my day we had it TOUGH – those boomers and their Beatles and Stones and free-love-based capitalism! Sorry if anything I ever said cut you. It’s nothing personal because I don’t know you. But ya gotta grow a thicker skin. Or I will devour you whole. While being polite.

    1. Lemongrass says:

      I don’t know how I missed this earlier today. Best comment ever! Wendy, can you bring back comments of the week just so I can nominate diablo for this?

  33. Generational Theory fascinates me. You can read the cliff notes about it here:

    As for the dates, here how one author defines the living generations right now:

    G.I. Generation (1901–1924)
    Silent Generation (1925–1942)
    Baby Boom Generation (1943–1960)
    Generation X (Gen X) (1961–1981)
    Millennial Generation (Gen Y) (1982–2004)
    Homeland Generation (2005 – ????)

    The last one is speculative because they are too young to have been truly defined!

    1. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

      So I had to click on the “Homeland Generation thing because I was intrigued, and it says “Many members of Gen Z are highly “connected,” having had lifelong use of communication and media technology like the World Wide Web, instant messaging, text messaging, MP3 players, and mobile phones” These kids are 8 years old at most…why are they using all of that stuff?? Go play outside! Read a book!

      1. See how the cycle continues! haha. I agree but then again, the internet became widely used when I was half-way through college so I think I’ve had a long time already to feel like those younger than me are more connected and highly connected. I actually like being in the middle where I grew up without the internet and social media but came into it at an age young enough to adapt and embrace it. You know? But it’s the way of the world these days. I guess its up to parents to do their best to “unplug” from time to time.

      2. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Yeah, there is a huge difference with between my siblings and me. They are 1993 and 1995, I am 1985. We didnt’ get internet until I was in 6th grade and it was dial-up (UGH) until after I left for college. Facebook didn’t “allow” kids from my college to join until after my freshman year. Texting didn’t become a thing until I was in college. For them, they grew up with high speed internet, got facebook in middle school, always have texted, etc. It’s baffling to me that I can be in the same generation as them because our life experiences were so different.

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        As a parent, you really have to stay on top of your kids to ensure they are getting outside, reading books, etc. If you are lazy with that, your kid will be in front of a screen 24/7. Once they find an interest in something outdoors, they will stick with it though, hopefully.

      4. lets_be_honest says:

        I fear her being in high school with facebook. Thank god that wasn’t around when I was in school.

      5. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        I’m pretty worried about this outdoor play time part of being a parent. I spent the bulk of my childhood on a farm so there was no question where I was. (Okay it was actually a pretty big question as to where I was because I had 64 acres to run on, but I was outside, no doubt.) I’m paraniod that we will 1- have kids in the city and I have no idea what to do with out a yard to put kids in or 2- the kids will get sucked into tv land and we’ll loose them to spongebob or what ever crap childrens programing there is. McStuffins or whatever. Yeah, we’re going to have to schedule outdoor playtime or something. Daily.

    2. Sue Jones says:

      This is great! I love it!

  34. this argument has gone on EVERY generation and is nothing more than an elaboration of “KIDS TODAY! GET OFF MY LAWN!” Seriously, EVERY generation thinks the one after had it so much easier and that they personally were so hard done by. Gen Xers? (me)? Please. Not only do we whine that the Gen Y kids have it easier, we whine the boomers fucking ruined everything for us. It’s just a matter of perspective. See for a fabulous example of whining (although I also kind of love it I confess ;-)).

  35. I’m an 80s baby (very very early 80s, but nevertheless). I couldn’t care less what someone on the internet says about 80s babies. Once someone starts attacking generations, or generalizing about any group of people really, they’ve already lost the argument. What’s the point in getting mad? It’s just another person, like so many on the internet, who can’t back their argument up with anything but vague attacks. Whatever, you know?

    1. Hey Ammie, speaking of vague generalized attacks, don’t we also get plenty of very specific attacks on LWs, which are often responded to directly by LWs, often touching off a firestorm of “Oh Yeah?” Those people would seem to have more cause to be offended than a silent person (I don’t say lurker – well, OK, I said it, but you are allowed to read without joining in) refraining from making use of her/his voice?

      I mean, speak UP, everyone. It’s your job to let me know I’m wrong and why. I obviously can’t figure it out for myself. For me, the real value of the site is people who think really differently than me. I already know what I think, and look at where it’s gotten me. I mean, isn’t this why anyone follows an advice site, for differing views on how to tackle life’s issues?

      1. The debate is the joy of the thing, Diablo, I agree. I don’t see the point of responding to or caring about generalizations… that way lies idiocy and anecdata… but disagreeing with specific LWs and critiquing behavior and assumptions and social mores is exactly why advice columns are entertaining. 🙂

  36. You Go Girl says:

    I am 55, and the oldest Baby Boomers are about ten years older than me. When I was in college, I was very annoyed by how older Baby Boomers criticized young people my age. Supposedly we were apathetic, materialistic, and did not care about social issues because we did not picket. Now people of my generation like to criticize the younger generation for being entitled, which I do not think is fair. As a college instructor, I have found that the vast majority of my students are polite and hard working. Of course, some are lazy and act entitled but the same thing was true 30 years ago.

  37. Born in the 80s, but I didn’t have the “Gen X”, “Gen Y” bullshit slapped on me. If I did, I don’t think I noticed with everything else going on.

    I generally feel that if someone is being labeled something, it’s because the person labeling them has seen/heard/read something about them that triggers that response/reaction. Occasionally, you do get some biased idiots who will call an entire generation out for the crimes of the few (I can think of soldiers coming back from Vietnam being spit on just because the protestors didn’t like the views of the politicians, when many of those protestors refused to vote as a part of their protesting – we are starting to get something like this again).

    While it’s unfortunate that the LW feels this way, perhaps if more of the younger crowd stopped hanging on, jumped in and became “ambassadors” (if you will) for their generation, a bridge could be spanned between the generations and the stigma of their generation could very well be dispelled.

    However, I question her timeline. If she was 16 four years ago, she is 20 now, meaning she was born in 1991-1992. Not an 80s baby. She would be a “new Millennial” or whatever they are calling themselves.

  38. One of the things that I find interesting and appealing about this site is that, unless someone makes a specific time-identifying reference in their comment, I usually can’t identify the age of the commenter. You all seem to be a bunch of mature, well-adjusted, non-entitled, realistic group of folks that are fun to e-hang out with. Generation-What?

  39. I am an 80’s baby. Just barely, born on the very tail end of the 80’s. I don’t think I fit this stereotypical GenY characterization. You know what I do about it when people talk about things that bother me about my generation? I listen. And then I check myself. Am I doing these things that really bother so many people? Am I falling into the trap of terrible behavior? No? Good for me, I’ll move on with my life. Perhaps say “I understand your concern, but fortunately this specific thing isn’t the case.” It could be tiresome, but it also keeps me from falling into bad habits.

    There are reasons these stereotypes are out there. There are plenty of us who defy it, but there are definitely some who fit it and are a huge part of the reason it perpetuates. Are you going to try to argue that there isn’t a reason for the stereotype? For example, plenty of people blame the previous generations and the economic slump “they got us into” as why so many of us are “stuck” living with our parents after college. Yes, the economy has gotten hard. But I also know a hell of a lot of people who blame the previous generation for them not having enough money to move out, but then won’t move into an apartment in their price range (because it isn’t nice enough, or it’s not super spacious, etc) and still insist on having the latest, greatest smartphone, clothes, etc, simply because they “deserve to be able to have nice things.” Why? Because. Because they deserve it. That’s why, and that’s all the justification they can come up with, because to them it’s all they need.

    Hell, I know one girl who was going to completely cut her parents out of her life because they weren’t super supportive of her relationship with a guy she was sleeping with (who was almost a decade older than her, who wouldn’t call her his girlfriend, who wouldn’t be friends with her on facebook, who had a baby he didn’t see with someone who lived in the same city, who was basically a functioning alcoholic, etc) even after they “broke up.” Despite the fact that her family had been incredibly supportive of her for her entire life and loved her dearly. Her reasoning is that they should support her in anything she does, because she deserves that. Sure, they didn’t react anywhere near as well as they should have, but no one has a right to demand that anyone likes someone just because she wants them to, and she should get what she wants.

    Sorry about the rambling. But even though those types of people are in every generation, but they’ve become the noticeable, defining people in our generation. In school we were told we were special, so long as we tried. It didn’t matter if we did well, we just had to try, and that was supposed to get us good grades. That worked fine for some of us, we learned to appreciate the support and still hold ourselves accountable. Others gained that notorious sense of entitlement.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that of course the stereotype of the generation doesn’t fit us all. But goddamn if it doesn’t fit a fair number of us. I don’t get offended when people state the stereotype and say “some” or even “many” of our generation do one thing or another, or act in some specific negative way when it doesn’t apply to me. I might be irked if someone were to say “EVERY SINGLE person born from 1982 to 2005 (or whatever) is an entitled brat!” but I’d still let it roll of my back. I know I’m better than that. I know I consistently do things to show people that I can be a good person, a nice kid, generous, and not entitled. Instead of getting pissy about what strangers on the internet say, I prefer to be a ray of goddamn sunshine in my day to day life, showing people how important it is not to base people just on generalizations about their generations. You know what that earns me? Instead of more people on the internet dissecting why I might be whining, I get heartfelt letters of appreciation (seriously, I’ve gotten so many thank you letters for my thank you letters it’s hilarious), job offers, friendly conversation, discounts (I never ask, people just like nice people sometimes), and more. Most importantly, people then like me and don’t pay attention to defining me as part of GenY. I’m me. I don’t fit those stereotypes, and interestingly enough most people don’t bother telling me how I’m so unlike other people my age, at “worst” I’ve heard that they “like it when people [my] age are so polite and thoughtful.”

    Heaven forbid I eventually run into someone who has a strong opinion on my generation and I start changing their mind instead of whining and reinforcing their logic for their opinion.

    Not to forget, eating a donut and ice cream does make everything easier to take in stride.

    1. Goodness gracious, I need to go to sleep and not write things on the internet at night.

      Ignore me, please.

    2. “Are you going to try to argue that there isn’t a reason for the stereotype?”

      This question is always a very slippery, dangerous, ankle-breaking kind of slope.

      1. Good point. Sometimes stereotypes start because some uninformed people make inaccurate observations and perpetuate them, and that’s how they start. There are plenty of incorrect stereotypes out there, some of which were always incorrect, some of which were once semi-accurate but no longer apply, but people can’t let them die.

        But I do sincerely believe that in the case of this stereotype there was a reason it came to be. I know so many people who think they deserve everything, even if they do nothing, and it’s “unfair” somehow if they don’t get it. There have always been people like this, but somehow they’ve been a defining group for our generation. It’s unfortunate that people see us that way, but it’s what it has become and it will take a hell of a lot of work to change it.

        I guess my stupid, sleepy brain was trying to ask that for this stereotype specifically. Not stereotypes in general. I personally don’t think I personify it all that well, and I know so many GenY people who are generous, humble, wonderful people who don’t fit it either, but I see enough examples daily of people who do fit the stereotype that I am not surprised that it exists.

  40. Natasiarose says:


  41. Avatar photo HuggaWugga says:

    I was born in 1982, and just due to a lot of circumstances early on like getting bullied, and money issues in my family, I didn’t really have much self-confidence or this expectancy that I would always get what I wanted (even when I tried really, really hard!). I wouldn’t say my life’s been particularly hard or more difficult than anyone else’s, but I’ve worked hard to get where I am at this point–and at the same time, I’ve recognized the areas where I’m pretty privileged (I’ve got a very strong support network, for one thing!). So, yeah, hearing the notion that my generation is entitled does cause me to roll my eyes from time to time. But at the same time, I can definitely see the difference in the college students I’ve taught, who were usually 5-6 years younger than me. If I got a bad grade on a paper or test, I’d go meet with a prof or TA to learn what I needed to do better the next time. I’ve had students come up to me and plead for a higher grade just because they’ve gotten A’s in all of their other psych classes. Most students I’ve had are awesome to teach, but every now and then you get a few that really make you wonder how you can possibly be lumped in the same generation with them.

    And just for a second, can I debunk the whole “everyone gets a trophy” thing? I think I remember one instance where we had an elementary school field day in Phys Ed–if you didn’t place, you got a “participation” ribbon. This ribbon does not boost your self-esteem in any way–well, maybe it did for some kids, but not me. We knew what it meant–that you sucked at the event and got a pity ribbon. The whole trophy notion gets brought out to explain why people my age are so entitled–I can’t speak for them, but that ribbon never helped. Kids aren’t dumb and know a “you suck” trophy or ribbon when they see it. Not to mention that there’s a big difference between healthy self-esteem and entitlement. You can be the former (and boost the former in your kids) without creating the latter.

    1. I’ve recently heard from lot of graduate students who TA that there’s always a number of parents who call in/email to try to get the TAs to give the students better grades. Do you experience that much? If you have, have you noticed much change in the number of people who do that?

      Just curious. 🙂

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        A woman I work with does this for her son. I think he’s 20. She emails his professors all the time, calls, etc. Its so crazy. She actually went into his college interview with him, has written papers for him, applications, calls his boss.

      2. Well, you can’t have her son thinking he can one day be a self-sufficient adult! He’d get all uppity!

        People. Ugh.

      3. I taught university English for 6 years as a Grad student and part-time lecturer. I had a number of parents who would try to get involved in their kids’ grades. They would usually get very angry when I refused to discuss the situation with them. I’d say, “L’il Jimmy is an 18 year old adult, and if he wants to know why he failed his paper, he should come talk to me himself.” OK, I didn’t really say “L’il Jimmy,” but I did say the rest of it. It was the middle 90s, the beginning of the era of education as commodity, in which if you fail my class, it’s my fault because I am not providing full value for the education that was paid for. I often wonder what happened to those kids when they actually joined the workforce.

      4. Avatar photo HuggaWugga says:

        Was this before FERPA, or after it was already enacted? You could at least cite that now–giving out that info, even to parents, is a huge violation.

      5. I’m Canadian, so FERPA would not apply to me, and I don’t know the relevant Act here, but it was simply a matter of two principles. One, I don’t think I should disclose this information about your adult university-attending child. Two, I don’t wanna hafta deal with you.

        PS – Nobody should point out that I regularly use bad grammar. Just because I have an English degree doesn’t mean I’m stuck up about it.

      6. Avatar photo HuggaWugga says:

        I can happily say that it never had happened to me. The most I ever got were emails about “I won’t graduate if I don’t get a B”, etc. Then again, I was at a large state school that wasn’t super-duper competitive. I wonder if you’d see more of that in an elite institution.

  42. belongsomewhere says:

    RE: “’I don’t know many people who want to hear that their current time-period is something to diminish…’ It’s not your time period, and maybe you thinking that it is is part of the issue.”

    The letter wasn’t very well-written, so I understand this interpretation—but from context I think the LW was referring not to this time period (the twenty-teens, I suppose), but to this time period of our lives (twenty-somethings).

    I’m 23, born in late ’89, and I know that the stereotypes about “my generation” don’t apply to me (I also happen to think that generations are a pretty unhelpful way of looking at things). I’m not an entitled brat, and I am pulling myself forward in life through my own hard work and the kindness of people who are older and more established than I am. But that does have a lot to do with the way I was raised (let’s just say there were no participation awards). I do see that entitlement in a lot of my cohorts—from elementary school through these days in grad school. It is a problem. Do I think it’s as widespread as some people would have us think? Definitely not. But it is a reality. And unfortunately I think this LW just made herself—and the rest of us—look pretty bad. (I do, however, feel the need to say that because something happened to previous generations it’s okay for older generations to keep up the tradition is pretty scary thinking–that strikes me as being awfully similar to the brothers of a frat saying, “Well, we were hazed, so we have the right do the same awful sh!t to the new pledges.”)

  43. I’m a Gen Y, 80’s Baby, Millennial, and the generational traits that people throw around don’t really bother me. I think part of that is because all twenty-somethings over the course of time (maybe teens in earlier days) have stumbled their way to adulthood. That’s part of the fun. And also, the generational traits don’t bother me because they really don’t apply to me. I take care of myself (with the exception of bug killing and toilet fixing), pay for my own shit, work a job that isn’t my dream job because hey, it’s work, and if I want something (career, house, etc.), I expect to work hard for it. So I think if there’s a hint of truth to the criticism, that’s what hurts. Like if you call a regular marathon runner lazy, she’s not going to get her feelings hurt because she knows that’s the opposite of who she is.

  44. Er, is being entitled such a bad insult? I think the average North American would find me pretty entitled; but compared to most fellow North Americans of South Asian origin, I’d be pretty normal: my parents paid for my education, living expenses, laptops, clothes etc. I don’t take the word ‘entitled’ to be a personal attack. It’s human nature to feel entitled and sometimes, certain people get angry that others have a bigger share of the pie than they do (and that’s human nature as well).

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