How would you describe our current culture in the world around us, starting with this current generation of “great future minds”, most often referred to as “millennials”? First, let’s make a quick run down of former generations and decades and what marked their culture. So the 50s I hear was a great time, fresh off of an economic comeback, marked by an effort on most people’s part to be nice and polite, a time when men wore suits and women wore aprons. Mid to late 60s saw the start of that immense hippy uprising going into the 70s, you were either freeing your mind or were a tool used by “The Man”. We all know the 80s were weird but cool. I’m personally fascinated with this era but most of my friends who were grew up in the 80s look back with no other feelings but shame and embarrassment. The 90s saw the beginning of a lot of companies and technological brands and products that we still see around today, it was a time marked by man getting his hands on a computer and running with it. The early 2000s were like my “80s” so to speak, culturally speaking, people struggled to find their identity as a generation, much like the 80s, the lingo, the fashion, the movies, the music, just a shifty time.
That brings us to the 2010s. What marks this generation’s culture? In this article, we’ll examine three things to eventually allow us answer that question later on. First, we’ll describe what a generation’s “culture” is. Next, we’ll consider how an era’s culture can be evaluated. And last we’ll understand exactly who make up this generation of millennials.
First off, how does one describe what “culture” is? We’re not talking about major historic events in a particular era, or the political tone that was present. What marks any particular era’s “culture” is what the natural and prevailing disposition is of the generation that dominates that period of time. It’s the attitude of the majority, the prevalent interests, priorities, perceptions, actions, feelings, opinions, hobbies, standards of the dominant crowd. What’s looked at as cool or “in”? What’s lame? What’s respected? What will make you praiseworthy amongst your contemporaries? That’s what a generation’s culture is.
Next, how do we evaluate a generation’s culture? It’s hard to do so while living in it, whatever the culture is in any given era, it just simply, is, and if your alive and active during that time you just go with it. Looking back on former generations, how did men of the 50s know what their culture was? It’s not like they sat in front of a mirror and asked themselves, “What is my culture?”. What influenced the popular mental attitude in that time was dictated by competition and media, which can be said for most generations. If the Denton’s next door got a new vacuum, everyone on the block would have to come up. If the newspaper told a man he needed a better razor, he’d go out and get a better razor. If you want to know what the culture of the 50s was, look at a newspaper or magazine ads from that time. For the 70s you just found out what people were upset about and protesting at the time (amongst other things). 80s- look at a fashion magazine. 90s- listen to the music and look at what businesses were hiring for. 2000s bury in a hole. And how do we find out what the 2010s are all about? You scroll the Instagram, Twitter, or Tumblr. That’s what we’d put in a time capsule to let future generations know what we as millennials are all about, a bunch of petty Twitter posts, sleazy Snapchat stories, and memes from Instagram. Your welcome, future.
In all fairness to us millennials, in tackling that last point, we come from a very unsure, directionless time. I’ve bashed early 2000s culture a few times in this article, but can’t forget that that’s where we come from. We say we’re children of the 90s because that’s when we were born (and perhaps because subconsciously we know the 2000s were kind of weak sauce), but we grew up in the extremely forced culture of the 2000s, marked by trying hard (in the wrong way, as in trying to impress others), being superficial, materialistic, and going out of one’s way to be “different”. Now that we’re all grown up, seems like we’re this big, weird, constantly changing monster that takes the 2000s culture that I just described and adds the spice of social media into the mix, which I don’t know makes it better or worse. I’ll have more to say about it later on, but yes a very interesting culture indeed. Agree or disagree? Let me know in your comments down below.