Narcissism And The Millennials
Written by Craig Rogers,
in Section Featured Focus
Very recently, there was the idea that this newer generation – coined the Millennials – was full of narcissism and held a critical outlook on the world.
The generational gap resulted in many older adults perceiving this younger generation as being self-absorbed. In fact, not too long ago, news went viral around the internet that the American Psychiatric Association had actually classified taking “selfies” as being a sign of having a mental disorder. It spread like wildfire until it was revealed to be a hoax. Is there some truth to it, though?
Through the Eyes of a Millennial
A lot of people in this Millennial generation are focused on aesthetics and the image they project onto the world via their social media accounts. They will take dozens of pictures of themselves – “selfies” – in a row, yet only select the best one. There is some sense of self-loathing that takes place after doing this. After all, it’s not really capturing a moment – “Out with friends!” – but capturing themselves in a moment of extreme vanity. There is nothing wrong with this, however, unless it gets out of hand and controls their life.
For the most part, this Millennial generation is young and full of themselves in the way every other generation of teenagers has been at some point. This generation simply has the technological tools to make such vanity easier to practice and share with the rest of the world. Consider the 1976 issue of New York Magazine, in which an article by Tom Wolfe declared that the ‘70s was “The Me Decade.” Every generation seems to be just a bit more full of itself than the last. This isn’t so much narcissism as it is the mark of transition between adolescence and adulthood. They focus on their image as individuals, get their first jobs, meet their potential romantic interests, and so forth. The confidence of this generation – as with others before – is what gives them that boost towards doing these things.
Is It Really That Bad?
Furthermore, the rise of individualism has been going on for countless centuries. The way adulthood is defined is changing, as well. People used to feel that adulthood meant getting married and/or having children, but today’s Millennial generation has a different perspective. The 2014 Clark Established Adult Poll found that the top three markers for adulthood were accepting responsibility for self, financial independence, and making independent decisions. Todays’ generation wishes to capture such moments – even of choosing a cute outfit that makes that person feel good about themselves – as often as possible, and just so happens to have the technology to do it with. The previous generations lacked the ability to be able to share photographs with just a few clicks of a button. If, say, SnapChat and Instagram had been around at that time, this generation wouldn’t seem any more narcissistic than the last.
But, still - the Millenials have some inklings of narcissism, don't they?
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