We’re young (aged 22-37). We were raised by the previous generation, and yet our habits appear to be completely alien to them. We millennials aren’t the biggest group of consumers, but our changing habits have alerted big businesses that times are changing. This list shows how and why. Of course, it is just based on my personal experience, my own consumption habits, and the need for a little giggle. So, let’s hop to it!
- Millennials smell. Okay, this one’s a bit weird, but it came up on the Mail a while ago. Sensationalist as the Mail is, I know I shower less than the rest of my family did when I was growing up. This is because our planet is running out of water, and having a full shower every day is nothing short of wasteful. Future decades will see water become the new petroleum; we’re just getting prepared. As for the lack of deodorant that the Mail seems intent on shaming us for, we’re just aware that these chemicals lead to cancer. Bring on the tea tree oil, and leave paraben-laden sticks to old people who don’t listen to us.
- Millennials are murdering chain restaurants. Seriously, die a good death. For the most part, we want to know where our food comes from. Particularly for those of us with allergies, chain restaurants with blasé staff are exactly the kinds of places we want to avoid. Why would we go to a mid-range restaurant to spend £60 and leave feeling as if something better could have been made at home?
- Millennials are killing the napkin industry. As someone who never considered buying napkins as an adult, I’m not surprised by this. Paper napkins are made from trees, and we grew up wanting to save the trees. So knowing that we avoid unnecessary paper products in a way that is noticeable makes me very glad. Or maybe we just eat more tidily.
- Millennials buy avocado toast but not houses. In the face of unrivalled student debt and high house prices, this is true. Avocado on toast is attainable when a starter home is not. It should not be assumed that we buy avocado toast instead of a house, though. That would be foolish.
- Millennials boycott diamonds. There are a few explanations for this. First, we know about blood diamonds and don’t want to support this industry. Also, fewer people are getting married. Even those who are getting married recognise the diamond engagement ring as a ploy by DeBeers. Lastly, Kate Middleton had a sapphire. Enough said.
- Millennials don’t wear bras. Or stilettos. Maybe we’re just not a sexy generation – at least not in the way that the Victoria’s Secret-idolising generation perceives sexy. We have Stoya, Kiera Knightly and Carey Mulligan; who needs pushup bras with them around? Or, maybe we’re just aware of our health. This study indicates that bras are not only bad for our breasts’ perkiness, but also their general health. While I haven’t burnt my bras, I did stop wearing them years ago. As for stilettos, our mothers had ingrown toenails, bunions and feet that curled inward. I’m not going to apologise for wanting to have healthy feet.
- Millennials eat less meat. I have a vegan+honey diet myself, so I do fit this bill. Again, we go back to the environment: the meat industry is one of the most water-hungry and polluting industries on our poor Earth. Even if we grew up eating meat, we know when the previous generation made a mistake.
- Millennials are killing golf. I don’t think I need to go over our debt again, so who wants to pay for clubs, house fees and then spend four hours walking very slowly in spiky shoes? You’ll probably stab an earthworm, you monster. Not to mention, courses destroy wildlife. Pesticides, overwatering, petrol used to cut the grass – for pretending to be in nature, it’s awfully managed. And there’s the association with a certain president who bullied Scottish residents until he got a course. Give us crossfit and nature walks.
- Millennials don’t eat marmalade. Okay, I have no excuse for this. Marmalade is delicious. Also, that Metro article is hilarious.
- Millennials don’t know how to defend their country. I read this opinion in the local paper when I went to visit my mom. (Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a link for it, so you’re just going to have to trust me.) Thus, it may not be a universal belief, but it hints at the general disdain heaped upon us. The reason we are so reluctant to be combative and thus so quick to ensure the protection of ‘safe spaces’ and inclusive speech is because we know that the next big conflict will be the last. With the creation of the hydrogen bomb and its presence in so many countries, taking the time to listen to each other is imperative. If we come off as thin-skinned and hypersensitive, so be it. But the old models of conflict must be rejected.
The fact that the economic trends have been noticed is, in itself, great news. It means that voting with our money really works. It also means that businesses will need to adapt to our needs if they want to stay afloat. More transparency, fewer chemicals.
My main conclusion about us as a generation is that we are more focused on living naturally, with a sense of conscience regarding where our stuff comes from. While we appreciate doing things the old way (let’s not forget, knitting is on the rise), we’re also focused on understanding what cannot be sustained. Unlike those younger than us, we haven’t yet accepted that the climate change-based flood is definitely coming. Likewise, unlike those older than us, we know that it’s probably coming, and our own actions can make a difference. We can’t do what they did if we want to survive.