Tuesday, February 7, 2023

The Day the Cry-Laughing Emoji Died: A Millennial Claps Back in the War Against Gen Z’s ????

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I’m sorry, but you can prise my laugh crying emoji from my cold dead hands – Kelly Bertrand looks into just why the kids are coming for the millennials and why skinny jeans, side parts and Netflixing and Chilling are firmly in the firing line

Before I begin this story, I want to preface it with one important fact. I have never, ever, been cool.

I’ve never thought myself to be cool. Coolness was a concept that completely passed me by in my youth, much like the ideas of dating, drinking and going to the ice-skating rink to flirt with boys in the hopes they’d buy you a frozen Coke.

But even in the throes of my peak teenage un-coolness – and we’re talking debating club, Shakespeare club and a litany of academic awards that meant I was great to have in group assignments but never on group dates – I’ve never, ever felt as uncool as I did last night as I scrolled through the internet.

“Generation Zers Clap Back at Millennials – Side Partings and Skinny Jeans Aren’t Cool”.

Now, it’s not so much the fact that apparently, wearing your hair to one side or encasing your legs in stonewashed tight denim aren’t the done thing.

I haven’t worn a side part since I was 15, purely because my wild mane of hair refuses to do anything but obey gravity and hang equally limp down both sides of my face. And while I do still love a skinny jean, the older (and flabbier) I get, the more I think of a butcher squeezing meat into a sausage casing and wish for pants with elastic.

But it’s the fact that I didn’t know these things were no longer seen as cool. Even if I haven’t cared if something is trending, I’ve still always known it was a thing. Copper wire baskets? Saw it, checked it. Air fryers? Yup, all over it. The Gucci belt? To be fair wouldn’t mind one of those.

So it’s a mollifying and humbling feeling to be told that a pop culture revolution has seemingly passed me by.

When the f*** did this happen? How? Why? And what is cool?

And then, the death knell – the headline that had me reaching for the eye cream and starting to think about funeral cover.

“Sorry, Millennials. The ????  Emoji Isn’t Cool Anymore”.

I’m sorry, but you can pry my cry laughing emoji (officially called the Loudly Crying Face) from my cold dead hands. And I’m not alone – it’s the number one used emoji in the world, and the perfect way to make it very clear to the recipient the tone of your message. (Is overthinking also a millennial thing?!).

Image result for cry laugh emoji
I will always fly the flag for you, sweet angel of unambiguity

Actually, apparently the proper emoji to convey laughing is ???? as in, ‘I’m dead from laughing’. I’m sorry what.

These harsh strikes into the core of millennial culture (that we didn’t even realise was millennial culture) are the latest battlelines in the clash between generations – but instead of millennials coming for boomers, it’s the Zers coming for us. The temerity. (Sorry Xers – but you guys are fine with your houses and spa pools.)

What the Gen Z’s don’t understand is that, we tried. They don’t seem to get that sometimes, our straight jeans have become skinny all on their own (don’t raise your eyebrows at me, you know what I mean). We had to navigate the shit show that was MySpace so you could have your Tik Tok.

Of course, a lot of the generation game is all in good fun – and a lot of it is probably deserved. A lot of criticism of millennial culture is the idea that we’re a little stuck in the past, trying to figure out which Hogwarts house we belong to (guilty – Gryffindor) and saying things like ‘Netflix and Chill’, ‘Adulting’ and ‘Doggo’.

Sorting Harry Potter GIF
Come on, finding out what house you’re in is still a thrill

And as 30-somethings, do we really care if a 17-year-old thinks our jeans are lame? Not really, we’re too busy worrying about interest rates and when a new shipment of home décor lands at Kmart.

(But if you look at how at the Gen Z’S (born from 1996) dress today, you know exactly where the vibe of that look has come from – any outfit from the first season of Friends. We DID THAT for you, kids.)

We also sidestepped a few trends on your behalf – if you think side partings are bad, just wait until you discover zig zags and butterfly clips – and we formed a solid foundation of social equality and activism that you are building on, it has to be said, wonderfully.

The Tik Tok teens, as they’re apparently known (When someone says Tik Tok to me I still think of the Kesha song, God help me) do have some wonderful traits. They’re the most individual generation of all time, aided by technology and the ability to find their tribe no matter where they are in the world. They don’t want to fit in as much as we did – I mean, it was ALL we wanted to do – and they actively celebrate differences and embrace inclusivity.

Perhaps it’s time for us millennials to move on and into the throes of has-been generations – granted, without any of the financial security that the generations previously enjoyed (NO WE’RE NOT BITTER ABOUT IT).

So I guess it’s all power to you, Generation Z. Good luck with your baggy jeans and middle parts. We’ll sip on our rosé and wish you luck – because one day, the Generation Alphas will be coming for you too.

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