Op-Ed: Millennials Need To Stop Spiraling Over Gen Z Thinking They’re Uncool

The youths roasting the older generation is a tale as old as time, and we need to accept it.

TikTok users @julia3lle, @ayyylexi, and @amelie_coleman_ all posted videos declaring skinny jeans uncool, which has sparked a divide between millennials and Gen Z. | TikTok
TikTok users @julia3lle, @ayyylexi, and @amelie_coleman_ all posted videos declaring skinny jeans uncool, which has sparked a divide between millennials and Gen Z. | TikTok

Gen Z doesn’t believe in parting your hair to the side. While young people voicing their opinions on trends is not revolutionary, they have for some reason sent their elders into existential panic.

In recent weeks, millennials have gone off on Gen Z, whose members declared several once-popular trends, including skinny jeans and side-parted hair, out of style. Full-grown adults are taking jabs on Twitter and TikTok about a generation made up of mostly teenagers telling them they are no longer hip.

Millennials: we need to get it together. 

As a millennial myself, who owns jeans ranging from skinny to baggy and has not parted her hair down the middle since 2005, I’ve had enough of my peers. Why are we so passionately fighting the youngins deciding the trends? We’ve been through this before with styles that have come and gone. Have months of social distancing brought out the worst in us?

While many millennials immediately pointed out the issues with Gen Z’s fashion taste, we should also remember how long our generation let Ed Hardy clothing be in style.  

Where It All Began:

The feud between generations started on TikTok, as most things do in the modern, cool world. On the popular video app, Gen Z reigns supreme and decides what’s in — including fashion, slang, and music (see: making Boney M’s “Rasputin” from the 1970s a top hit again and reviving the “Just Dance” routine that we all once tried to master in our parents’ living room). 

In a video from July 2020, TikToker @missladygleep challenged people to test out the middle part, hoping to prove that it’s superior to the side part. Then, in another devastating blow, TikToker @ayyylexi made a video about baggy jeans being “swag.” 

The hits on skinny jeans kept coming:

Gen Z would literally rather die than wear them:

At some point in the Gen Z discourse, the crying-laughing emoji also signaled you were indeed, old. 

The TikToks are a direct hit to millennials, the generation defined by the Pew Research Center as being born between 1981 and 1996. Gen Z — whose members were born between 1997 and sometime in the early 2010s — have made millennials their target for a while. 

In June, a widely shared tweet showed screenshots of the Tide Pod-eating generation endlessly roasting millennials in the comments of a TikTok. Gen Z can be seen making fun of millennials for being “obsessed” with Harry Potter and saying “adulting,” which is arguably the worst word. 

This was one of the first signs that showed just how great the divide between the two generations would become:

Millennials Have Become Obsessed With “Clapping Back” At Gen Z

Naturally, millennials — who invented cyberbullying and clapbacks — have hit back at Gen Z. Countless TikToks. Endless tweets. Every time I saw one, my millennial soul died a little inside. 

Please… I’m begging you to stop:

OK, this one is funny:

This is the only TikTok on the subject that matters:

Most Gen Z-ers can’t even legally buy alcohol yet and are still in high school, so why, millennials, are we letting the youths get to us like this? Millennials are so angry that Gen Z is deciding what’s trendy — as so many young generations have done before.

Millennials have appeared to take skinny jeans and side parts being deemed uncool more personally than when Brad Pitt left Jennifer Aniston for Angelina Jolie. To us, we earned the right to skinny jeans after living through the dark days of low-rise jeans that were not flattering on anyone besides Paris Hilton, and we saw the era of side-swept bangs that flooded MySpace profile pictures.

But here’s the thing: Gen Z literally does not care about your feelings. Many of us are in our 30s, and we need to let it go. Becoming uncool is a natural part of life.

If we millennials directed this same energy toward solving the climate crisis, we’d help repopulate the polar bears by next week. But alas.

Millennials Are Jealous Of Not Being The Main Character Anymore

For so many years, it was “millennials this, millennials that.” Avocado toast, student loan debt, and being hated by baby boomers was (and still is) millennials’ entire public persona. Not long ago, we were the youths. We controlled the discourse. We created new trends. We bought Facebook to its height of popularity and watched its subsequent downfall when our grandparents, conspiracy theorists, and hackers overtook the social media site (a warning for TikTok, perhaps?).

And while we have long battled with Boomers and their outdated worldviews, we’re somehow imitating them in this very recent quarrel. It’s clear we’re having a difficult time accepting change and grappling with the fact that we are retiring as the cool, rebellious generation.

We're used to being the most-talked-about generation, but maybe we should let Gen Z have this one. Let’s take a note from Gen X, whose members minded their own business and watched quietly from the sidelines, seemingly not a thought in their heads.

Because if we’re going to let jeans and hairstyles make us this upset, how insufferable are we going to be once more members of Gen Z can run for office or open businesses? What other new ideas will Gen Z present that will crush our aging spirits?

So, it’s time to zip up our jeans, part our hair however we like, and use that laughing emoji as much as we want. Because trends are cyclical, Gen Z will be over baggy jeans within a few years, and will probably be picking a fight with the next, younger generation over crop tops.