The term Millennials generally refers to those people who were born anytime from the early 1980s to the early 2000s. This generation is also commonly known as Generation Y, or less commonly as the echo boomers. While the millennials vary by region and socioeconomic status, by and large they have a fairly negative reputation in the mainstream media.
While not every part of the world looks down on the Millennials, it seems to be the common view held by older generations in western nations. The authors William Strauss and Neil Howe made the prediction that the Millennials would become politically active, global citizens with a generous sense of community. Almost no one else shares their positive opinion. A psychologist Jean Twenge coined the term Generation Me as a more apt description of the Millennials who she sees characterized as entitled and narcissistic.
There is support for her view in new research being done today. A recent PEW Research Poll from 2014 suggested that Millennials are “detached from institutions”, while holding an unfounded optimism about the future. They also tend to vote at much higher rates than the previous generation, Generation X, at an almost fifty percent voter rate.
One of the biggest reasons for the general distaste the older generations seem to have for the Millennials is political in nature. As a whole, the Millennials are far more liberal the previous generations. This, combined with their self assurance and vocal advocacy has made them widely unpopular. That, and the birth of the term ‘Social Justice Warrior’.
This focus on social justice is undeniably a defining characteristic of the Millennials and one that many people find fault with. The Millennials have strong beliefs about social and economic equality, and the ways in which disparities in wealth and privilege favor the wealthy white majority over minorities. They want to fight for social justice, and right what they see as wrongs in our society. However, their critics see this focus on identity politics and the idolization of victimhood as a simplistic and illogical in nature. They would describe these social justice warriors as oversensitive and willfully ignorant in their pursuit of blaming everyone else for their own problems.
The Millennials have a clear advantage over the older generations however. They are the first generation to be raised with such access to the internet and high levels of technological development. This allows them to connect with each other at an unprecedented level and use this amazing technology to accomplish their goals. As the world today grows more and more computerized, this familiarity with technology is incredibly helpful the Millennials.