Millennials have been labeled as lazy and easily offended, but is that really true about this generation? Do they truly fit these stereotypes? Perhaps this is just another case of underestimation and misunderstanding by the previous generations.
The millennial generation is being relied on to positively influence future generations. Yet, with every generation comes a stereotype and millennials are no stranger to that.
Let’s break down the stereotype about this generation being easily offended. The millennial generation is more outspoken about each of their own thoughts and feelings.
Millennials have been brought up in a more liberal society. Gay and transgender people of today have become more acceptable than all the previous generations have. Today, people are focusing more on gender equality, racial equality, religious equality and knocking down stereotypes. According to the United States Chamber of Commerce, millennials are more tolerant of races and groups than any previous generation, with 45 percent versus 19 percent agreeing with special treatment to improve the position of minorities.
In the generation before the baby boomers, women were seen as people meant to be good submissive housewives, while the men were seen as the “dominant” gender. Then the baby boomer generation came about and challenged that ideal, which opened up for more gender equality movements.
Today, the millennial generation continues to challenge gender stereotypes just like their parents in previous generations. Male stereotypes are also being challenged more as well. It is a lot more acceptable in society for a man to cry today than it was in any other generation. All of this social and liberal progress has made this generation more conscious of other people’s feelings, and in particular, the feelings of racial, religious and sexual minorities.
This is where the easily offended stereotype comes in. With more tolerance of minorities and being a more outspoken generation, we are more likely to challenge any form of hate speech that targets people of a certain sex, sexual identity, gender identity, religion and race.
Previous generations have been quieter about these issues until more and more people began to express their differences. A gay man and a transgender in the millennial generation is more likely to come out and express their identity more than any previous generation. The more normalized something is, the more acceptable it becomes. The generation is making an effort to make people feel safe, understood, and valued, even if it means challenging a person’s view.
Another stereotype that is often associated with millennials is the notion that they are lazy, but statistics show otherwise. According to the Pew Research Center’s survey conducted on over 2000 adults, 41 percent of millennials obey what their managers tell them to do, which is more than the previous generations.
This generation has also expressed a bigger need to balance both work and life than other generations have, which creates a misunderstanding that they don’t value work as much. According to a survey by Project: Time Off involving 5,600 people, 43 percent of people who said they are workaholics are millennials, compared to 19 percent from previous generations.
Another challenge to the lazy stereotype is that previous generations were also being challenged as lazy by older generations. According to an article in the New York Times, when Plato was alive, he commented that the younger generation was lazier. This was a couple thousand years ago.
As technology progresses, so does the easiness of completing everyday tasks. Hundreds of years ago, people often washed and made their clothes by hand, but now most clothes are washed in washing machines and all of the clothes we wear were bought in a store. The same can be said with the technology of today.
A person can now speak into a computer and it will write down everything. People can cite their sources automatically by putting a website link in an online generator. People no longer have to rely on going to the library to look for books for their school reports because we have the technology to look things up on our phones and computers. People can do more things in the comfort of their home than any other generation. Millennials have more resources than all the previous generations and they utilize them to help themselves efficiently work in a quicker fashion.
Therefore, millennials are not lazier or more offended than all the previous generations. They not only take advantage of the technological advancements that they have, but they are becoming more empathic and conscious of people’s feelings. They are not afraid to speak up when there is something wrong and we are active in our careers.
Putting the blame on any generation hinders our progress as a human race, and if one continues to encourage such a notion, generations will continue to be divided.
Katherine Glosser can be contacted at Kglosser@kscequinox.com