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Generation Y: The selfish generation?

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Posted: Tuesday, December 3, 2013 12:00 am

Generation Y, also known as Millennials, are the people born between the 1980s and the early 2000s. They are the Internet generation: it is me, and most likely you too. The generation that spearheaded the use of social media into our everyday lives, the reason “30 Under 30” lists exist and apparently, the most selfish generation. Says who? Well, almost everyone.

A quick Google search of millennials will result in a plethora of in-depth articles with reputable publications jotting down their every opinion of Generation Y. Headlines ring of the selfish, and at times narcissistic, Millennials: “Are the Millennials the Screwed Generation?” from The Daily Beast, “Do Millennials Stand a Chance in the Real World?” from The New York Times and “Millennials: The Me Me Me Generation” from Time Magazine. There is certainly a pattern here.

What did we do exactly to get ourselves into this position? And more importantly, how can we show the world, nay, baby boomers and Generation X, that the world will not come crashing down once Generation Y takes over?

It could have something to do with Oxford Dictionaries declaring “selfie” as the 2013 word of the year or it could be that teens and 20-somethings aren’t as passionate about social issues as they used to be in the 60s, 70s and 80s.

In the 1960s, women were burning their brassieres for female liberation and men burned their draft cards in opposition of the Vietnam War. There is no doubt that young adults today have hardly the troubles as those before us, but that is not to say Millennials are not fighting for what they believe in or bringing their passions to life. There are always news segments of Millennials making a difference. There are Internet wiz kids, who are selling their computer programs for millions, teenagers raising thousands of dollars for natural disasters across the world and 20-somethings becoming CEO’s of their own company’s. And there is Malala Yousafzai, Tavi Gevinson and Mark Zuckerberg.

Malala Yousafzai, a 16-year-old student from Pakistan, was shot by the Taliban for continuing to attend school when it was banned for all girls in a Taliban-controlled region. Since her recovery, Yousafzai has been nominated for the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize, has written a memoir “I am Malala” and was one of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People In The World.” She continues to be an advocate for education rights and women’s rights, and at the young age of 16 there is no telling what else Yousafzai will conquer.

Tavi Gevinson started a fashion blog at the age of 12, three years later she became the founder and editor-in-chief of Rookie Magazine, an online magazine focused on pop culture and feminist conversation. The website features articles written by young women for young women. In 2011 and 2012, Gevinson was named one of Forbes 30 Under 30 in Media list. Now at 17, Gevinson just released the second print edition of the online magazine, “Rookie Yearbook Two.”

Mark Zuckerberg needs no introduction. The 29-year-old co-founder of Facebook was just 19 years old when he and his Harvard classmates founded the social networking website that changed the world as we know it, well, has changed the more than 1 billion users who use the website. Most recently, Zuckerberg launched, whose goal is to provide Internet access to the 5 billion people around the world without it.

Millennials are clearly making big moves. Millennials are, after all, the future: the future leaders and newsmakers, and we are more than capable of problem-solving and addressing issues besides our own. Besides who wasn’t a little selfish at an age when the world was at their fingertips.

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