Stereotyping an entire generation is as ridiculous and uninformed as stereotyping people based on race, class or gender. And yet, it happens all the time. The latest? Some Gen Zers (peeps born between 1997 and 2012) are lashing out – mostly via TikTok – about very specific Millennial and Gen X fashion choices. Specifically, the wearing of skinny jeans and parting their hair on the side rather than down the middle. Somehow the ‘90s zigzag part has been scrubbed from history, probably a good thing.
(And yes, I actually used the word “peeps,” but please don’t tell my Gen Z offspring, they’re already at their wit’s end with my frequent use of the laugh-cry emoji.)
Sure, "generation wars" are old news – every generation has a beef with those that proceed and preceed our own – and it's quite possibly no more than media-generated bullsh*t. Usually, as people age we simply put our energy into subjects that matter. Not to mention, who really cares – and I am not the first person to say this – what a generation who ate Tide pods thinks about the circumference of our pant legs?
That said, I admit this latest accusation hit a little harder than others – probably because I’m rocking a side part and skinny jeans at this very moment. Although I have no intention of giving up either, it bothers me that I am now (or have been for a while?) in the dreaded fuddy-duddy category when I really don’t feel it nor want to reflect it. I remember being in my twenties during the 90s and silently judging people who still got perms and wore neon sweaters or stirrup pants. (Perms, for the record, are completely back).
It's complicated. Like everything. Recently, we tossed the question via Facebook to Gen Xers and Millennials, asking them what they thought about the recent Gen Z roasting of our hair and jeans style and here are some of our favorite responses.
On middle parts:
“Those were called 'butt-cuts' when I was young and you didn’t do it unless you were a hippy deadhead.” - Sarah J.
“I started the side part back when the old Becky was on ‘Rosanne!’” - Renee H.
“Sorry Gen Z, maybe my style is dated but I’ve been busy trying to dismantle systems of oppression and fight injustice. Have fun with those pleated front jeans though!” - Megan M.
“Middle parts remind me of Marsha Brady or Cher. Now I would love to be Cher. But I just can’t do the middle part. Sorry.” - Jenna S.
“The part has its own agenda. A middle part for some of us is like touching a snake against its scales or petting a porcupine backwards." - Andrea J.
On skinny jeans:
“They can pry my skinny jeans off of my cold dead body. I will never walk around again with wet and dirty pant legs." - Carrie W.
“Coming from the generation that wore JNCO jeans, I don’t want to hear shit about this wide leg pants trend. Unless you can fit a whole-ass person up each leg of your jeans and still have room, it’s all skinny jeans to me.” - Ava H.
“I wear what I want! But I’m secretly insecure about looking ‘old.’” - Kelly E.
“I have stretch marks and cellulite older than Gen Z, not worried about their weighing in on how I roll. Though boot cut jeans do look better on my ass than skinny jeans.” - Jessica F.
On the ‘Gen X and Millennials vs. Gen Z’ thing in general:
“Unfortunately, a lot of media is out for clicks, and getting people to be angry at each other means a lot of clicks and a lot of comments, which boosts their social media numbers. The best way to rebel against this is to stay out of it.” - Becky T.
“I think people should wear what is the most flattering for them. This 'war' between the generations is fake news.” - Jessica K.
“Wear what you want. Also I think it's a distraction to the real problem: Boomers who wear American flag apparel unironically.” - Kari N.
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.