TIME magazine recently published a cover story about millennials penned by Joel Stein. With a cluster of research, he argues that millennials are justifiably lazy and too narcissistic with a bad sense of entitlement. The public’s response has been somewhat obvious: millennials claiming that they are only this way because of their ancestors, who at one time or another were also labeled lazy and narcissistic young people.
I think we’re certainly about “me, me, me,” but we’re not even all that narcissistic. We’re different. I’d like to call it "social narcissism." And here’s a quick list of five social movements that have been overwhelmingly supported by millennials to prove it.
1. LGBT movement
Even though we spend most of our time taking “selfies,” a lot of us make time to change our profile pictures for a cause. The picture above is the altered Human Rights Campaign’s logo. On March 26, 2013, several thousands changed their Facebook profile pictures and Twitter avatars to this photo, which initiated a viral movement in favor of gay marriage.
2. Immigration reform
According to this op-ed in the National Journal, millennials support immigration reform like no other group: “‘As a result, millennials agree more strongly than older generations that "immigration is an American legacy worth keeping," 57% to 52%. The majority, 51%, also agrees that their community should be “immigrant friendly, compared with 39% of older generations.” It’s safe to say that millennials support the push for the DREAM Act by President Obama.
3. Occupy Wall Street
This New York magazine’s article titled “Meet the Occupants” says it all.
4. International Human Rights
Remember “Kony 2012”? Regardless of whether it was a hoax or not, it was a powerful movement because millennials got online to spread the word of the injustice. And we overwhelmingly support several other initiatives, such as cheering on other millennials in the Arab Spring.
5. Mother Earth
Seventy-one percent of millennials believe our energy policy should develop “alternative sources of energy such as wind, solar and hydrogen technology; only a quarter believes that it should focus on'expanding exploration and production of oil, coal and natural gas,'” David Weinberger of the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network said. We care more about the earth than any other generation.
In general, I think we’ve turned to social movements because we feel that our current government is made up of a bunch of narcissists. And guess what? We rarely get paid for supporting any of these movements (and the jobs aren’t plenty for us). We’re really the volunteer generation. It’s all from the bottom of our selfish hearts.
So, being selfish is not always a bad thing. People can’t function without having some sort of self-serving motive. Today’s millennials are just products of the environment, as were young people 100 years ago.
No other generation has ever celebrated or supported so many diverse social movements. At least, no other generation has accomplished as much to the same extent. We use our technology, social media, and other devices for our “narcissism” to help others. Basically, we have the power to think for others like no other generation. Thanks to our “unmatched” levels of narcissism, we’re going to be better politicians, advocates, and voters. If we were a part of the LGBT community, we’d want inclusion in America. If we were immigrants, we’d want to be treated like Americans. We’re the generation that can vote beyond ourselves because we wouldn’t like to see ourselves in an unjust situation. That hasn’t happened much in the past. So, we’ve learned from the narcissism of our ancestors. We’re selfish enough to realize our power, if that’s what Stein’s complaining about when he says we’re entitled. And we’re not afraid to use that power. That’s the beauty of narcissism.