This is the thesis of comedian Adam Conover, who takes serious issue with how the media makes sweeping generalizations about millennials — those of us born between 1980 and 2000.
And when asked to speak at a conference about marketing to millennials, he didn't hide his gripes.
In 25 minutes, he ripped into society's biggest untruths about millennials, from who they are to what they like.
Here are some lessons Conover wants to teach the world about his generation. And all generations.
1. Millennials don't exist. People exist.
"Generations in general don't exist. They're not real things that exist in nature. We made them up. ... Here's what really exists: People who are alive at the same time."
2. Beyond being incorrect, it's offensive to characterize generations.
"Generational thinking has been reductive and condescending to the people being described. ... Generations are the same story over and over."
3. Millennials are no more narcissistic than all people at that age.
"The real truth about narcissism is that if you look at people as they age, narcissism is highest when they're a student, goes down when they're a parent and then is lowest when you're a grandparent. ... Younger generations aren't narcissistic, you're just old and mad at them."
4. Millennials spend time on phones ... like the rest of the world.
"Millennials are always on their phones and it's running their lives, but you know who is also on their phones? Moms and Dads and also some dogs ... everyone is on their phone all the time. ... Social media is just more media ... it just happens to be a new one that old people find frightening."
5. To connect with young people, treat them like people.
"Young people don't need you to talk to them in their language. They just want to be treated like intelligent people who are worthy of respect."
6. Millennials are not a monolith.
"Millennials are the most diverse generation ever ... any monolithic statement made about millennials other than how diverse they are is going to be false by virtue of how diverse they are."
7. There's only one real way to connect with millennials.
"They're people. That's all you really need to know ... We can drop the pandering and like all of the reductivism and the generalizations. ... If we just like treat them with respect, we'll do pretty good."
To see the full speech, watch here: