OK, Boomer: iGen strikes back

Posted On December 2, 2019

If you are of a certain age and like to share your opinions on open social media platforms like Twitter, you may have come across a cryptic response: “OK, Boomer.”

It should not be mistaken as acquiescence. You have just been given a two-word slap-down by the younger generation, a phrase that has taken on a life of its own.

As noted in a recent New York Times article, what started as a cynical reaction to the same old, tired generalizations about millennials and iGen has become a rallying cry of sorts, complete with memes, merchandising opportunities and the inevitable race to trademark the phrase.

While older generations belittle millennials and iGen as overly entitled and wallowing in a suspended state of immaturity, the younger generations have grown increasingly fed up with Baby Boomers who dismiss them as “snowflakes” for their concern about issues like climate change, student debt and gun control.

So, in the best traditions of viral social media, they created their own dismissive catchphrase, what NYT writer Taylor Lorenz called “the digital equivalent of an eye roll.” And in the best traditions of capitalism, they’re marketing it.

Teens interviewed by the Times say they see the proliferation of the phrase as one thing they can do about wider societal and economic issues over which they have very little direct control. But for some of them, it’s also become a practical way to deal with some of those issues as well.

“I’ll definitely use the money for my student loans, paying my rent,” 19-year-old Everett Solares told the Times about proceeds he’s making from selling “Ok Boomer” merchandise. “Stuff that will help me survive.”

Other teens interviewed by the Times say one doesn’t necessarily have to be a Baby Boomer to get slapped with the phrase. It can be anyone who’s resistant to change, ham-fisted with technology, or dismissive of the concerns on the younger generations.

But don’t feel left out, Generation Xers. You have your own special title, as well – the Karen Generation, which Daily Mail writer Carly Stern says is in reference to “a stereotype of a dissatisfied, demanding woman who always wants to complain to the manager.”

If that stings a bit, perhaps we should ask ourselves how many times we’ve used the phrase “participation trophies” and resolve to reduce or eliminate that number.

Categories: Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y / Millennials, Generations, iGen