Did you know that you are considered part of the first generation symbolizing the decline of the nation? Generations are labeled all the time by historians, novelists and journalist in an attempt to capture the spirit or essence of an era. But the term Generation X carries all the negativity of propaganda and stereotype.
The term Generation X has become a derisive media batchphrase, a snide put-down for those 80 million people who, like me, were born between 1961 and 1981. They are the children of the baby boomers and the 13th generation since the pilgrims landed in Plymouth. This group is, were told irresponsible, materialistic, abnormal and apathetic. So how did the term Generation X originate, what are some of their characteristics and why is there so much controversy of the term Generation X?
How did the term originate?
Back in 1991 a 28 year old named Douglas Coupland wrote a book titled Generation X. The book was about three fictional characters who decided to withdraw from society in order to find themselves. They then moved to Palm Springs, CA where they lived in bungalows and worked at the bottom of the food chain. The book received no publicity and almost no reviews. But that summer a Texan released the movie Slackers, which was filled with overeducated and underoccupied oddballs who loosely paralleled the characters in the book. And at the same time in Seattle, a new form of music was exploding. Its attitude had everything to do with withdrawal, contemplation and seeking new margins. As the media goes, twos nothing but threes a trend. Thus were born the most abused buzzwords of the early 90s Generation X, slacker and grunge.
The meaning of generation x
Generation X is also sometimes refereed to as the Latch key Generation. With no one at home after school. Generation X has become a negative term to describe their generation as aimless, unfocused, disorganized, unmotivated, lazy and distrustful of ideas and institutions. Xers were labeled monsters. Their protestants became whining, being mellow became slacking and the struggle to find ourselves became apathy.
Stereotypes portray generation x as transfixed by MTV, Beavis & Butthead, wearing baseball caps backwards, safety pins through nipples, rings through noses and wearing flannel during summer. They are characterized as deadbeats who lack the personal ambition to rise above and who would rather whine about our lifes misfortune than tackle lifes obstacle head on.
Unfortunately these are all terms and stereotypes that this generation is not. It has been said that other generations have labeled them as such because they are seeing Generation Xers through their own eyes and havent tried to look at it from their perspective.
How generation X perceive themselves
Generation Xers see themselves as a generation with its own voice and vision. They are said to be savvy consumers with an annual spending power of 125 billion dollars. Most of which they spend on electronics and computer products. However they have economic problems: the starting wages of entry level jobs are declining, housing cost are so high that 46% are still living with mom or dad. But despite their financial pressures, they are as likely as baby boomers to think about long term savings and retirement plan.
To them sex means aids and drugs mean addition. They watched their parents climb the corporate ladder in the 80s and then when their parents divorced, they grew up quickly and took on household responsibilities. They have learned from their parents mistakes; they are marrying later, having kids later in life and want to spend more time with their own children. In 1992, 40% of Gen Xers were married, in 1970 67% of the same age group of baby boomers were married.
They have been left with a 4 trillion debt and they have no faith that politicians will deal with societys ills and wont bother to protest about it because they would rather do it ourselves. 63% are dissatisfied with the U.S. government 42% thought it was worth their while to call a politician while 56% volunteered 17% contributed to political campaign; 71% donated to charity
Most of them believe it is more likely to see a UFO
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