Hating on Millennials and What it Could Mean for Young Women

Photo taken from Time Tumblr

Photo taken from Time Tumblr

Generation Y just can’t win.

By now I am sure most of you have read, or at least heard of, the famous Huffington Post article: Why Generation Y Yuppies Are Unhappy. The new favorite past time of the 21st century has become complaining about Millennials.

The biggest takeaways from the ever-so-popular HuffPo article are the following 3 things: Millennials are wildly ambitious, delusional because we all think we are special (and have been told so our entire lives), and we are being taunted by our perceived notions of other people’s success.

In this article, that was made famous over night by spreading across social media, the pervading example used in order to show how Millennials are wrong about their approach to the real world is shown through a young woman: Lucy.

This concerns me.

In terms of women’s empowerment, a frequent message has been advocating for a higher sense of ambition. You hear it all the time. There is still a large ambition gap that women face in striving for leadership positions. Generations of women before us have paved the way for us Millennial women to go and expand our realities and morph our careers into life-long journeys that will help shape and change the world. But now we are being told that this is delusional, unrealistic, and on top of it all, entitled.

What sort of a message is this sending to young women?

I was so relieved to see a counter article entitled I’m Gen Y, and I’m Not a Special Snowflake. I’m Broke. I believe in many ways it paints a more realistic picture of why we Millennials behave the way we do. Especially when you think of young women who believe they can have self-determined and fulfilling careers. Women are not settling, continually striving for higher goals, and negotiating their demands up front. This should be valued and seen as a step forward in many ways, not something that makes young women entitled and un-hirable.

Morley Winograd, co-author of multiple books concentrating on how Millennials are remaking America, tells Huffington Post that, “Millennials are driven by external motivations. The group gives them guidance. The group brings them power. Where the group is going is of the greatest interest.” Morley adds that a “Millennials definition of happiness has more to do with changing the world together.”

Think about that for a minute: Millennials are motivated by the success of the group, believe that the success of the group is a success for the individual, and they define individual happiness based on the advancement of humanity.

Wow, Millennials sure do sound awful.

I fail to see how this new collective sense of idealism in terms of making a career out of changing the world is a bad thing, especially for young, ambitious, career-driven women.

My message to Millennial women is this: keep driving change, even when you’re staring into the face of resistance. Dream big but have a dash of reality thrown into the mix to keep you grounded. As a wise man once told me, “sometimes you have to become something you’re not in order to do something you love.” Allow that vision -that cause that is greater than yourself – to drive you. But realize that it may come in a form you were not expecting, and that is OK.

Kaitlin writes about current events, pop culture, and innovative ways to promote gender equality through online advocacy. Read more of Kaitlin’s posts here.

About the Author

Kaitlin Rattiganis a recent graduate with an M.A. in International Peace and Conflict Resolution with a concentration in Gender and Peacebuilding. She is a firm believer in social media as an effective and meaningful tool to promote positive societal change. Never underestimate the power of 140 characters. Kaitlin is a voice for the Millennials, a constructive disruptionist, an advocate for women’s leadership, and is a believer in challenging and expanding the definitions of what it means to be a feminist. For gender-analytical fem-tastic commentary on current events, follow Kaitlin@KaitlinRattigan. Do you have an issue you want highlighted on The Movement Blog? Is there an area within women’s leadership that you feel passionate about and want to share with a wide audience? Feel free to send Kaitlin a DM or Tweet to@KaitlinRattiganwith the hashtag #Women2025 and let’s keep the conversation going and work together to propel women into their equal share of leadership positions by 2025.