It looks possible that the last Trump rally in Tulsa was a dramatic display of differences between GenerationZ and GenerationY (the Millennials). We say ‘possible’ because there’s a raft of claim and counter-claim, but there does seem to be credence that the rally’s poor attendance was partly orchestrated by GenZ along with K-pop fans booking seats in droves and then not turning up.
It’s fair to say that GenZ are not Donald Trump fans, yet Millennials make up a significant proportion of his support base. At the last US elections, 41% of white American Millennials voted for Trump. One can assume that they were not particularly amused by the antics of their younger cohort in disrupting a political rally.
It is significant that Millennials were apparently no more aware of what was planned than the GenX and Boomers who were organising the rally itself. It caught them by nasty surprise, but one reason for this is that GenZ didn’t use Facebook or Twitter as their organising tool, they used TikTok. And TikTok is currently the GenZ social weapon of choice – as well as being the platform that showcases stupid dances, daft pranks and some cool videos from the Hype House.
Obviously, Boomers are still viewed as too old to be useful or relevant by either generation, but Millennials, some of whom are staring down the barrel of 40, are becoming uneasily aware that they are no longer the smart young kids. If they’re honest, some of them won’t mind the Boomer habit of lumping anyone under 40 together as a Millennial, since that lumps them in with GenZ. But GenZ are starting to mind.
The 21-year-old TikTok and Instagram star Isabella Avila complained online about this precise problem, being put in the same box as Millennials, with their love of Facebook and avocado toast.
The very recent online spat about JK Rowling’s views on womanhood has again drawn the battle lines. GenZ mock Millennials as being huge Harry Potter fans, to the extent of putting themselves into Hogwarts Houses, even in their 30s. Millennials are mocked for using the term ‘adulting’, which to GenZ just sounds creepy and old, since Millennials, about 40% of them, are indeed parents.
Millennials, again, weren’t aware of this stream of mockery for a while since it started on TikTok, but then it got noticed and migrated to Twitter, where Millennials tried to fight back. But two of the most telling GenY replies were these:
‘GenZ thinking they’re so cool calling us out, not realizing we’re all already dead inside, so they can’t hurt us!’
‘Joke’s on them, no one hates millennials more than millennials themselves.’
Ironic or not, those responses highlight how the world has moved on. It’s no longer the cool kids against the Boomers. Now it’s becoming generation against generation, with the Millennials caught uncomfortably in the middle. And the Millennials are the ones currently suffering the nihilistic angst.
In a time when people are increasingly being told to ‘stay in their lane’, or they feel they need to have a tribe around them, more inter-group negativity is hardly a good thing.
But Millennials can take comfort from the thought that the next generation, maybe called Generation Alpha, will be along soon and make GenZ feel really old.