Gen Z vs Millennials: The new generation wars

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GIRD your loins: the generation wars are flaring up again. In recent times, we have had Gen Z and Millennials vs Baby Boomers (spawning that irritating catchphrase: “OK, Boomer”). Now a fresh round of intergenerational sparring has begun as Gen Z takes on Millennials.

Who are the players?

According to the US-based Pew Research Centre, Millennials were born between 1981 and 1996, while Gen Z are those born from 1997 onwards. Baby Boomers – as we know – were born in the post-Second World War years of 1946 to 1964.

What sparked it?

Tensions have been simmering for some time. This has gone largely unnoticed among older folk as the insults have been mainly traded on TikTok, a social media platform that, a bit like Boohoo clothing and nightclubs with sticky floors, isn’t somewhere that anyone over the age of 40 should venture.

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Gen Z first started mocking Millennials last summer for their love of Harry Potter, wine and saying “doggo”. In the most recent exchange of barbs, Gen Z is making fun of Millennials for their side partings and skinny jeans.

Side partings and skinny jeans aren’t cool?

Apparently not. Middle partings and baggy jeans are in vogue now.

Anything else?

Gen Z has declared the crying-with-laughter emoji (that little yellow face with a broad grin and two giant, blue teardrops leaking from its eyes) to be over. Instead, Gen Z favours using a skull – meaning “I’m dead” or “dying” – to show that they find something funny.

The “crying-with-laughter” emoji is uncool, according to Gen Z. Picture: Lauren Hurley/PA

What about Baby Boomers?

They are sitting this one out and observing from the sidelines.

Hang on, isn’t someone missing?

Yep, Gen X over here minding our own business as usual.

Gen X is flying under the radar?

We’re used to hanging out alone. Lest we forget Gen X – those born between 1965 and 1980 – is also known as the “latchkey generation”, often left to our own devices after school while our hardworking parents were out earning a crust.

Besides, it’s not for Gen X to point out that middle partings and baggy jeans are nothing new. That was practically our uniform in the 1990s. Whatever.

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Do say?

“Show some respect. We survived dial-up internet and brick phones.”

Don’t say?

“Just hanging out with my doggo, drinking wine and watching Harry Potter in my skinny jeans.”

Where will it end?

It would be prudent to tread carefully. Having already had Gen Z/Millennials vs Baby Boomers and now Gen Z vs Millennials, things could take a deadly turn as three generations join forces against Gen X like something out of a George RR Martin novel.

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