Essay on Gen X

This essay has a total of 1166 words and 7 pages.

Gen X

Did you know that you are considered part of the first generation symbolizing the decline
of the nation? Generations are labeled all the time by historians, novelists and
journalist in an attempt to capture the spirit or essence of an era. But the term
Generation X carries all the negativity of propaganda and stereotype.


The term Generation X has become a derisive media batchphrase, a snide put-down for those
80 million people who, like me, were born between 1961 and 1981. They are the children of
the baby boomers and the 13th generation since the pilgrims landed in Plymouth. This group
is, were told irresponsible, materialistic, abnormal and apathetic. So how did the term
Generation X originate, what are some of their characteristics and why is there so much
controversy of the term Generation X?


How did the term originate?

Back in 1991 a 28 year old named Douglas Coupland wrote a book titled Generation X. The
book was about three fictional characters who decided to withdraw from society in order to
find themselves. They then moved to Palm Springs, CA where they lived in bungalows and
worked at the bottom of the food chain. The book received no publicity and almost no
reviews. But that summer a Texan released the movie Slackers, which was filled with
overeducated and underoccupied oddballs who loosely paralleled the characters in the book.
And at the same time in Seattle, a new form of music was exploding. Its attitude had
everything to do with withdrawal, contemplation and seeking new margins. As the media
goes, two's nothing but three's a trend. Thus were born the most abused buzzwords of the
early 90's Generation X, slacker and grunge.



The meaning of generation x

Generation X is also sometimes refereed to as the Latch key Generation. With no one at
home after school. Generation X has become a negative term to describe their generation as
aimless, unfocused, disorganized, unmotivated, lazy and distrustful of ideas and
institutions. X'ers were labeled monsters. Their protestants became whining, being mellow
became slacking and the struggle to find ourselves became apathy.


Stereotypes portray generation x as transfixed by MTV, Beavis & Butthead, wearing baseball
caps backwards, safety pins through nipples, rings through noses and wearing flannel
during summer. They are characterized as deadbeats who lack the personal ambition to rise
above and who would rather whine about our life's misfortune than tackle life's obstacle
head on.


Unfortunately these are all terms and stereotypes that this generation is not. It has been
said that other generations have labeled them as such because they are seeing Generation
Xers through their own eyes and haven't tried to look at it from their perspective.


How generation X perceive themselves

Generation Xers see themselves as a generation with its own voice and vision. They are
said to be savvy consumers with an annual spending power of 125 billion dollars. Most of
which they spend on electronics and computer products. However they have economic
problems: the starting wages of entry level jobs are declining, housing cost are so high
that 46% are still living with mom or dad. But despite their financial pressures, they are
as likely as baby boomers to think about long term savings and retirement plan.


To them sex means aids and drugs mean addition. They watched their parents climb the
corporate ladder in the 80's and then when their parents divorced, they grew up quickly
and took on household responsibilities. They have learned from their parents mistakes;
they are marrying later, having kids later in life and want to spend more time with their
own children. In 1992, 40% of Gen Xers were married, in 1970 67% of the same age group of
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