Generation Y or Generation Whine? Old People Hate Us Either Way, No Matter What They Say

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Psychology Today's resident psychology expert (and editor at large) really flexes her studied, academic brain muscles when she proclaims that, in short, those born between 1982 and 2002 are turning the country into a "nation of wimps." That's the official term. And that's also the gist of this weekend's New York Times Magazine attempt to box in anyone still growing up. But the derision doesn't stop there! Paired with a photo of some ironic tees and (artificial?) tattoos of rainbows leading to a pot of gold, Judith Warner, the author of We've Got Issues: Children and Parents in the Age of Medication, hands us our candied asses in ink. Then she pulls an expected reverse: "Or maybe having a bulked-up ego really does serve as a buffer to adversity," she writes. But by that point it's too late and it feels insincere.

Here's a list, admittedly devoid of context, of the ways members of "Generation Me" -- a bunch of "basket cases" -- are described in the piece:

Entitled, spoiled, unmanageable, unable to take criticism, profoundly narcissistic, deprived of a sense of agency, unwilling to work, supremely confident, irrationally exuberant, an example of group psychosis, headed for a major crash, overconfident, jobless, dissatisfied, off-putting, entitled (again), lacking humility, hard to take, not necessarily maladapted, annoying (yet admirable), and egotistic.

To be sure, some think us optimistic, idealistic, or destined to do good, and after interviewing nine students -- as in the single digit 9 -- Warner concludes that maybe the above traits are actually ideal:

[W]ith their seemingly inexhaustible well of positive self-regard, their refusal to have their horizons be defined by the limitations of our era, they just may bear witness to the precise sort of resilience that all parents, educators and pop psychologists now say they view as proof of a successful upbringing.

The "self-esteem gurus" always said it would be this way, she argues limply. Oh, really? Because if there's anything our parents and their friends were when we were adolescents, in addition to "anxiously overinvolved," it was patronizing. We're used to it.

The Why-Worry Generation [New York Times]



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38 comments
Kruger
Kruger

Gen Y or whatever they want to call theirselves are sunk by one simple fact: distracted by technology. These super nerds have no individuality or independent freedom. But what do you expect from a generation raised on Best Buy and Gymboree? If there is a Gen Whine, it would probably have to be my own, Gen X. But at least we whined for overthrow of status quo as opposed to not getting the new Apple Gwhatever

Sapphyreopal5
Sapphyreopal5

I think it's hilarious seeing some people sit here and complain about how awful Gen Y "is". Guess what? Many of us Yers are still in college. Yes, a lot of us were coddled by boomer parents but you know what? One day and one day soon, Gen Yers will see past that. They'll see that the boomer-operated media demonizing them and their parents' coddling style and essentially buying their love is to guilt trip them into bending over backwards for their selfish, greedy needs. They also don't want others to remember just how much they as a generation collectively speaking suck! Btw many of the leaders of the civil rights movement, women's rights movement, etc. were NOT boomers: they were either from the silent generation or the generation before (said to be greatest generation). No not all boomers hate their kids secretly and such, but you know what? Many of them do!  I am a Gen Yer myself (am 21) and find it sick how the media portrays us. We are just as screwed as Gen X is, whether they see it or not. Gen Yers will wonder where the hell all the jobs they were promised are that the boomers refuse to give up. The employed Gen Yers (and Gen Xers of course) are stuck paying into Social Security, Medicare, etc. so the boomers can laugh in their lavish retirements, as Gen X and Gen Y pay into that only to find those gone by the time they can even consider retirement. And we must be so lazy if many of us are actually attending college trying to better our futures. But then again, we must be lazy and unwilling to contribute. So for the Gen Xers who bash on us, bash the people who screwed our future not those starting to enter the real world! 

Lifesablur
Lifesablur

Gen y loves Facebook. Facebook sucks. Nuff said.

Mike
Mike

Gen x hates gen y for the simple fact times have changed.  We have electronics to make out lives easier, and yes, we use them better then you.  You hate the fact we have them while growing up, but ask yourself which generation invented them?  It's the year 2011, accept that most things you grew up with are obsolete.  X also complains all Y does is sit on the internet, yet look at these comments.  A bunch of bitter 50 year olds, posting mindless hate online.  Hypocrisy at it's finest.  It's gen y who will continue to make changes, and evolve.  

Alix
Alix

Um, wow. As a proud Gen Y i am mildly offended and very bemused by some of these age-ist comments! I am a university student, who works part time to afford my rent [yes i live independently], food, uni  fees etc and have many friends in similar situations. Yes, many gen ys are still living at home with although this is primarily due to the increasing living and educational expenses. I, however have never met a gen y who fits this horrible materialistic, impatient stereotype that the media portrays of us!

I am tired of people complaining that gens y have so far acomplished nothing, i am 19 years old and have many years ahead of me to change the world... John Hynds, what world changing contribution had you made to society at 19 years of age? Many surveys have shown that gen y is the most tolerant of difference [whether that be race, gay-rights, religion],  the most optimistic, and the most eager for change of all the generations. We also hold the greatest value in education of all of the generations.

That said, i have nothing against other generations- i have gen x and baby boomer friends and collegues who are amazing people regardless of the year they were born.

Sorry about the rant everyone, but i really hope we can break down these age-ist stereotypes for everyones sake!

Jon hynds
Jon hynds

Anonymous - I actually lived thru the space race era - witnessed it first hand, remember looking at the Moon with my folks & realising that astronauts were walking on it as we looked, so didn't need internet or books or face ache..., space case... whatever!

Anonymous
Anonymous

jc thats your fault for knowingly embarrassing yourself in public. and john hynd, could you actually tell me who won the space race with out looking it up on the internet nor a book? the way your talking you talk like your from gen y and might i say i think its the people raising these gen y kids who are at fault. the gen y are not fully to blame

JC
JC

You want to know why people think Generation Y is nothing but disrespectful brats? It's because YOU ARE!!! Here's an example. EVERY summer over the last 10 years, as you Y'ers have started to reach adulthood, I've worn the same 80's/early 90's style shorts. The kind virtually every guy that time period wore that expose about 70% of the thigh.

Well, over the last 5 years, it's been those under-30's who have whipped out their cell phones, and snapped my picture without asking me if they could, especially guys. I've found those pictures of me on the internet, with all kinds of disrespectful comments by you brats! It's NOT a stereotype, Generation Y IS THE MOST DISRESPECTFUL GENERATION EVER!!!!!!!

hmm...
hmm...

I'm a generation "Y'er" and in all honesty I agree with the New York Times piece. Most of the people I knew in college are either unemployed and living with mom/dad or are now attending grad-school...living with mom and dad. When I suggest to them openings in the place where I work, my (now former) friends look at me like I'm some kind of nut. Meanwhile I am putting away for retirement while the kids I knew growing up are writing about how "great" they are. Just saying.

Justin
Justin

Oh gee whiz. If it wasn't for the older generations standing in the way we (Gen Y) would land on our feet. Seriously, they (Babyboomers) need to retire/die so we (Gen Y) can get a job and begin to live our lives without interference. In other words, stop blaming others and making excuses. There are just too many people after the same jobs and to add to it we've got people working well into their 70's. It's impossible. The expectations are too high, there's too much competition, and nepotism get's in the way as well as the rich taking all the good jobs. Hopefully, the Truth or natural laws will take over soon or in other words competency will once again rule over incompotents and intelligence and creativity will once again be rewarded instead of being punished.

John Hynds
John Hynds

So Strulas, "knowing well that no generation will ever reach the decadence and moral decay that your generation reached"... so what does 'Generation Y bother' do; continue the consumption & destruction, can't be bothered standing up for the environment, no time for that, have to update their f...ng Facecase Apps. Where's their spirit in doing something philanthropic to help the planet & rile against us evil Sodom and Gomorra boomers- oh no, more important things to do, have to check them selves out cause they want to fu.. themselves cause they love themselves so much. & about the wrinkles, Some Gen Y's are about to enter their 30s - not so young,just look in the mirror, see those tiny lines on the face. Get a grip, get some guts & do something helpful, 'cause history will write 'Gen Y, the lazy arse hole generation'

strulas
strulas

This is the truth: Baby boomers are the reincarnation of Sodom and Gomorra. The only thing that kept them from bringing ultimate shame to America was a green illegal plant. Fire with fire phenomenon, I guess. History will judge you right. And before you are dead, you will be aware of how you will be remembered. No generation after the 1900 generation had the luxury to die and not know how they will be assessed. You boomers will not have this luxury either. You suck. Thanks for making the Gen X's pick up your bill, you narcissistic self-centered bigots. I hope the next generations will treat you with only the minimal respect required to stop the destructive wheel/cycle you put in motion. DO NOT TELL ME YOU RESPECTED YOUR ELDERS!! No boomer respected his/her elders. You were the most disrespectful, instant-gratification generation ever. A shame generation in the history of America. You will get what you have sown. We all do. I love these laws that no level of voting power can change. You boomers are now trying to vote yourself pure, vote yourselves white. Wrong. Not possible. Not even the wealth of your murderer-hero Andrew Carnegie could do that. Please, stop talking. You have talked all your lives. Nothing but talk. Nothing else to show for your existence. But talk. Please, stop bashing the later generations in the hope that you will demoralize them into committing heinous crimes and behaviors. All so you will not look that bad in history books. You do that, knowing well that no generation will ever reach the decadence and moral decay that your generation reached. Be proud - You are not strong, just dirty. Stay that way. Of course, I am just a spoiled little brat. Wrong. I don't care about you. I just care that now I have to support your wrinkled skin with my hard earned pennies. Remember one more truth that Baby Boomers have proved beyond a shadow of a doubt: Age does not have a direct relation to Wisdom. All you Woodstock Hanoi Janes! Read this! Thanks for welcoming the soldiers home with a shower, of your spit and drug phlegm and mucus. Nice�. Try to exit gracefully� and quietly. And may God have mercy on your souls.

strulas
strulas

This is the truth: Baby boomers are the reincarnation of Sodom and Gomorra. The only thing that kept them from bringing ultimate shame to America was a green illegal plant. Fire with fire phenomenon, I guess. History will judge you right. And before you are dead, you will be aware of how you will be remembered. No generation after the 1900 generation had the luxury to die and not know how they will be assessed. You boomers will not have this luxury either. You suck. Thanks for making the Gen X's pick up your bill, you narcissistic self-centered bigots. I hope the next generations will treat you with only the minimal respect required to stop the destructive wheel/cycle you put in motion. DO NOT TELL ME YOU RESPECTED YOUR ELDERS!! No boomer respected his/her elders. You were the most disrespectful, instant-gratification generation ever. A shame generation in the history of America. You will get what you have sown. We all do. I love these laws that no level of voting power can change. You boomers are now trying to vote yourself pure, vote yourselves white. Wrong. Not possible. Not even the wealth of your murderer-hero Andrew Carnegie could do that. Please, stop talking. You have talked all your lives. Nothing but talk. Nothing else to show for your existence. But talk. Please, stop bashing the later generations in the hope that you will demoralize them into committing heinous crimes and behaviors. All so you will not look that bad in history books. You do that, knowing well that no generation will ever reach the decadence and moral decay that your generation reached. Be proud - You are not strong, just dirty. Stay that way. Of course, I am just a spoiled little brat. Wrong. I don't care about you. I just care that now I have to support your wrinkled skin with my hard earned pennies. Remember one more truth that Baby Boomers have proved beyond a shadow of a doubt: Age does not have a direct relation to Wisdom. All you Woodstock Hanoi Janes! Read this! Thanks for welcoming the soldiers home with a shower, of your spit and drug phlegm and mucus. Nice�. Try to exit gracefully� and quietly. And may God have mercy on your souls.

John Hynds
John Hynds

also forgot to mention: GIs-Builders also started the space race & yes, ICBM's too but they also put a man in space & eventually on the surface of the moon & they invented electronic computering.not trying to brag or compare, just stating achievements

John Hynds
John Hynds

Generation Why?

I'm a tail end boomer - at 47 definitely no babe but these Y 16 to 28 year olds certainly are. A couple of pejorative generalisations to describe the not so good elements of Gen Y; Narcissistic & infantile in a nut shell. 'In my day' anyone making a show of themselves would be ridiculed & deemed as 'up themselves' - now Y & it seems Z too, self adulation is a pre-requisite attribute. Its been said that Y echo boomers are the victims of pampering, helicopter, child esteem aggrandising baby boomer parents, but these kids are in their 20s now, grow up, excuses shouldn't cut at this age.Generational achievements: GIs-Builders - fought WW2 against evil (thats world war 2 & no it is not a Hollywood movie starring Taylor Lautner)& rebuilt the devastation, Baby Boomers dodged the draft & had the balls to say no, we're not off to SE Asia to get blown to bits by a land mine at 18 & suffer PTSD 20 years later, we also democratised & simplified computer use. Gen Xers worked bloody hard like the GIs-Builders & Gen Why achievement to date, invented & flaunted MYYYYYY Face & Spaced Book, bringing Andy Warhol's prophesy to be & then some! Reality check, its probably too late for Y to stand for anything benevolent & world changing, hopefully Z will rebel against Y's excesses; though you never know just as Y's are still living at home at 28, maybe they'll be the 1st generation to actually achieve something in their geriatric 30s +. There's a cause ripe for the offing & it happens to be the most pressing issue man has ever faced; man kind's shameless consumerism, overpopulation & natural world degredation, sure is a worthy cause & Y's, Z's & their progeny will be the ones that really cop it environmentally. Can Gen Y get their noses out of their own a-holes & consider things greater than e-networking & buying the latest gaget?

webdoyenne
webdoyenne

Gotta tell you...as a "baby boomer," I feel the same way. Also tired of being "boxed in" by age-ist stereotypes in the media.

Mike
Mike

@Sapphyreopal5 This.  I'm tired of hearing how I'm "such a bad person" for things I don't even do and had no part in doing.  I've seen my generation (gen y) blamed for the downfall of the economy, but guess what?  I didn't come of working age until a few years ago, WHEN THE ECONOMY WAS ALREADY GARBAGE!  Guess what that means?  GEN X AND THE PREVIOUS GENERATION LEFT US A DESOLATE, BARREN JOB MARKET AND IS NOW POINTING FINGERS!  By the way, they say WE'RE the ones who don't take responsibility.  I always hear how we're such bad people because of technology that we didn't even create, we just use.  Once again, gen x created this tech, but we're bad for using it.  They can use it to spread their hatred all day, but we use it for leisure and we're awful.  Their generation is nothing but bitter, toxic, negative, hypocritical whack jobs who have forgotten to take their meds at the time of their posting here.  EVERYTHING WRONG WITH THE WORLD IS THE FAULT OF PREVIOUS GENERATIONS AND YET WE GET BLAMED.  EVEN THE WAY WE ACT IS THANKS TO GEN X'S PARENTING.  TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR WHAT YOU'VE DONE!  WE'VE INHERITED YOUR MESS, AND WE'RE TRYING TO MAKE THE BEST OUT OF IT!  

brookstyle
brookstyle

 I would say Gen y may make some changes but "devolve" would be more appropriate for a generation that cheats, lies and steals and says their morals are "OK."  The first generation that is just as fat as their parents (which was an anomaly in previous generations).  I have never met a bigger group of chubby, lazy, whiny, entitled idiots than this group. There are many good kids in the bunch, but the fact that the bad ones are not censored and have no shame has really pushed the envelope for the fall of civilization here.

klieb
klieb

I can agree with you on many fronts except for the idea that gen y values education the most.  Most signs point to this gen as being intellectually lazy.http://articles.latimes.com/20...

 Having said that, I am a boomer and was not necessarily crazy about my own peers while growing up.  Must be hard to be an individual and constantly hear harping about your group and not take it personally.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Gen Y will most likely go on to become the most successful generation the world has ever known. Ideas flowing left, right and centre. Someone will make a difference.

Barb
Barb

Just goes to show you another trait of Gen Y- they don't take responsibility, they want to pass the blame onto someone else. When I was their age, I was mature enough to stand up, and say certain things were my fault. Like what this person said, clearly, Generation Y has not followed my example. It's a shame, because it's actions like this that are causing the youth today to take their own lives in unprecendented numbers- now I certainly see why!!

Mark
Mark

Wow, now I've heard everything, GenerationY's disrespect is Generation X's fault. Looks like another characteristic of Y is blaming others- WAITA MINUTE, that IS a common characteristic, not taking responsibility for their actions, they blame other people! So, shut your disrespectful mouth, listen up, because it is the reason of actions like these that your generation went around shooting up schools, something I never worried about in school, because they hadn't happened yet!! My generation didn't respect our elders, but at least in my day, our elders got to slap our faces if we dared do what you kids are doing- you lucky brats!!When you brats grow up, you'll realize there are FAAAAAAAAAR more important issues in this world than snapping someone's pic and making fun of them- which is HORRIBLY disrespectful!!!! I can't wait until you kids are my age, you'll be complaining, because the kids now will be your age and will disrespect you more!! How can they not? They sure aren't learning how to respect elders from your actions, which speak louder than words!!

John Q. Public
John Q. Public

YOU do something that spans 5 DECADES, then we'll talk- by the way, it's NOT embarrassing yourself, it's the disrespect you kids don't give your elders!! If it's something done LONGER THAN YOU'VE BEEN ALIVE, SUCK IT UP, QUIT DISRESPECTING YOUR ELDERS, because when you get to this age, it will come back on you TEN TIMES OVER!!!

Fred
Fred

I wish you gen y's had been aborted!

JC
JC

YOU are obviously a Gen Y'er because it's NOT embarrassing. You kids are just too stupid to do the research to know anything, and you need to learn how to respect your elders you disrespectful BRAT PUNKS!!!!!

raiderfan
raiderfan

@JC That is because you look retarded.  Also your generation make up the majority of pedophiles and serial killers so really it was your generation that is evil not ours.

Sapphyreopal5
Sapphyreopal5

umadbro? Ha ha get over yourself. You don't like Gen Y because of a few bad seeds. Here's a thought: get a life!

raiderfan
raiderfan

@hmm... Its harder to find one a job and most people who are living with their parents are doing so out of necessity, not because they want to.

brookstyle
brookstyle

  "Hopefully, the Truth or natural laws will take over soon or in other words competency will once again rule over incompotents and intelligence and creativity will once again be rewarded instead of being punished."

Hurray for Justin.  Your words (the ones spelled right) ring true as ever.

August
August

Actually, most of those generation Y people should have been aborted. We are going to live more years, so, those guys were not needed in the first place, they shouldn't have been here at all.

Mike
Mike

Oh no, technology *gasp* what ever shall I do!  Get a grip and stop the mindless hate.  A lot of Gen Y'ers are just starting their lives.  What did you do to change the world when you were 20?  Look at me, being all disrespectful and what not.  There is a world of difference between being disrespectful and defending yourself.  History will write Gen x off as the bitter generation afraid of change.  

raiderfan
raiderfan

@strulas The fact that you are old does not automatically mean I should bow down to you.  Idiots get old as well as evident by your comment. People like you are probably too retarded to use half of the technology that is out there today.  Also if generation Y is screwed up it is because generation x's dna is in us.  You idiots raised the generation that you are complaining about so really it is your fault. If anything it is your generation that is shameful.  Lets look at some facts here:Your generation had WWI,WWII, Korean War, Vietnam, Panama, Desert Storm, the most racist era, more street gangs, more police brutality, more riots, The Crack Epidemic, and the overall highest crime rate (particularly murder and assault) of all time and yet you whine about this generation. Get over yourself.

raiderfan
raiderfan

@John Hynds This generation is developing more technology, innovation, medical information etc than your ignorant generation ever will.  Diseases you had no idea about, we are finding cures for.  This is the most benevolent generation because we are doing something in regards to healthcare, treatment of people, improving schools etc.  What have you done to change the word.  Most people in generation y are in their 20s or younger.  If you old folks would quit holding up progress we could get things done.

Mike
Mike

@brookstyle That's because there is no need to censor anyone.  Every group has it's wildcards, even gen x.  Unfortunately, the complainers are always singled out as figure heads, as people always focus on the negatives in every situation.  Laziness, entitlement, that all comes down to how the kids were raised, which also falls on previous generations.  I've seen no lies, no cheating, and no stealing from this generation, at least no more than I've seen from previous generations.  Look at political office, consists of gen x, and nothing but lies comes out of them.  It's almost as if people think gen y is "whimpy" simply because they don't want to go to war, like the big bad previous generation.  Seems like that's all they did back then.  Majority of the whining comes from the good ol' gen x and the media.  These are your children, your future, stop the stomach churning amount of hatred for them.  It's unreal

Mike
Mike

@Mark @Mark  You'll get respect when you give it, old man.  The way you speak to the younger generation is disgusting, and if you were raised to speak like that, you should have had your face smacked harder.  Again, we act the way we were taught to act, by YOUR GENERATION THERE MARK!  Talk about not accepting responsibility.  Its clear who needs to grow up here, Mark, and it's not gen y, it's gen x.  Hate spewing morons. 

raiderfan
raiderfan

@John Q. Public Your generation had WWI,WWII, Korean War,Vietnam,Panama,Desert Storm, the most racist era,more street gangs, more police brutality,more riots,The Crack Epidemic, and the overall highest crime rate (particularly murder and assault) of all time and yet you whine about this generation. Get over yourself.

Joe
Joe

The true shame here is JC was never aborted.  You talk to us like this and wonder why were disrespectful.  You get what you give.  Your prime has passed, ours is now, let us live our lives.  These comments are absolutely pathetic.

raiderfan
raiderfan

@JC The fact that you are old does not automatically mean I should bow down to you.  Idiots get old as well as evident by your comment.  He is simply asking you a question.  People like you are probably too retarded to use half of the technology that is out there today.

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