I walked into a car (thankfully one that was parked) while tweeting about my very, very close summer trip. And then, something in my head gave me the same old lecture:
“This generation is fucked up”
And I am not going to lie to you. Yes, yes we are addicted to social media. We are a generation that wakes up to check how many instagram likes we got, and compare them to our friends’ accounts. We are a generation that tries to think of something witty only for the Twitter retweets and follows. We are a generation that goes to a restaurant and tries to connect to the WiFi only to check in, and let the world know we’re at that hip place that they haven’t been to yet.
Yes, most of us have expensive phones, using which we check our nonexistent bank balance. We all pay gym membership fees but continue to have fast food while on our way back home. High school is difficult, and even more difficult is to fund college and pursue a degree in something we like, because the careers in it won’t pay our student loans. We all own bras from Victoria’s Secret and Axe but convince ourselves that we’re unique. Red cups in our hands make our inhibitions and worries disappear as we lose track of time at night.
We are not without our flaws. But understand that our generation’s fall isn’t entirely our fault. It was your generation, and the generation before that, who designed this capitalist system in which we live. The world that is so consumeristic wasn’t something we created, but were born in. No, the blame isn’t entirely yours. Nobody had any idea about the effects some historic choices would have on the quality of human life. There were some warnings, largely ignored. And perhaps if we were in your position, we would choose the path you did as well.
We are desperately trying to adjust to the world we don’t completely understand. We are trying to survive in a world where cheap oil prices mean the blood of hundreds of thousands on our hands. We’re trying to figure out if beautiful lips are worth the tortured animals. We’re honestly trying so, so hard to not destroy the environment, but what can we do, we were thrown into the world of air conditioners.
There is an urgent need for us to change. It isn’t sane, or justificable, to shrug off all responsibilty off our shoulders and live in the bubble of nothing being our fault. Even though the models on the magazines telling us to be thin to have decent self-esteem is not our fault, shaming other girls for their bodies is. No, we cannot control what is going on in the Middle East, but we can exert influence over local political forces. And we need to start acting.
My generation is trying to act, a good part is. When Trump was called out by Chicago, it was this generation- the generation that everyone seems to assume is apolitical and apathetic- that came out on the streets. The social media we seem addicted to helps us connect and bring about real, substantial change. Maybe more of us need ot use it more often to exert our political and social will.
However, this generation, my generation, is not fucked up. We are young and we have a better grip over reality than most of you when you were our age. Because now, more of us work through college, more of us read through one medium or the other about politics, more of us actively talk about climate change, more of us are concerned about the racial and gender prejudice. We are not fucked up. I don’t advocate that we will bring world peace, but we sure have the potential.