By Isobel Chambers
As a united front, Millennials and generation z’s have brought light to movements and topical issues that in turn, have gone on to achieve a greater level of equality in society. No, I do not mean the #OKBoomer movement- whilst it may provide an interesting reaction, it dismisses an entire generations’ contextual upbringing. Narcissism as a stereotype of millennials is, in reality, an unfair representation of youth motives. Whilst a fair share of us capitalize off the use of a few snapchat filters, is not our need for external validation. In fact, many of the cultural trends of millennial ideology have crept into mainstream society, despite perceived criticism and stereotypes.
Cultural change has seen in the rapid growth in popularity of rights movements such as abortion and animal rights. The changing perceptions of abortion stem predominantly from the views of younger generations in modernity. Though progression towards a more liberal and tolerant society has been seen through all age brackets, it is youth that takes the most democratic standpoint. Aged under 30, 70% agree that abortion should be legal in all or most cases, pro-choice being the presiding value. However, though views towards this concept vary according to religious affiliation, party identification, conservatism and gender, it is undeniable that youth activism and protest has widened views within society, resulting in a more tolerant population view.
A rapid cultural change has seen an influx of veganism to society, animal rights a predominant force for those in participation. Commonly mistaken for hipster, the plant-based ideology crept into mainstream dietary and lifestyle choices by youth activism of the millennial and gen Z populations. 2019 was dubbed ‘The year of the Vegan’, with order of vegan meals sparking 388% between 2016-2018. While it’s easy to marginalise the vegan perspective as ‘radical’ or ‘realistically unachievable’, there has been undeniable mainstream growth of this choice that stems from youth beliefs and activism, be it deliberate or accidental.
Youth culture’s rejection of certain leadership has been seen in many political statement pieces. The 1975’s song ‘Love it if we made it’ quotes "The war has been incited and guess what? You're all invited, And you're famous, Modernity has failed us.” In reference to the war suggested over particular political leader’s twitter interactions. Younger generation’s currently seem to voice their upset with the values of modernity and the figures by which society is led by. In doing so, millennials are inserting political and social influence into mainstream society.
A cute boomerang of a Sunday acai bowl hardly seems a large political statement, and it’s not. However, the use of voice to spark socio-political culture changes is both an accidental and purposeful occurrence of the millennial generation. It’s thoroughly important in times of crisis that change continues to spark conversation and action; The outcome may be far more impactful than ever imagined.
Whilst devastating, the reaction to the COVID 19 pandemic from the millennial population could interestingly expose the power and influence possessed by the youth, should action be taken from influence.