alright millennial

Patrick Duffy

alright millennial
global fashion exchange
baubles bangles and beads
quoting


I’m almost over the “ok boomer” thing, almost. Like most “things” these days you’re practically forced to pay attention to them, and when it’s something like “ok boomer,” give it some thought. And my thought is alright millennial.

Just to make things easier, I’m using the term “millennial” here to stand in for all generations coming after boomers. I’m well aware that there are differences between every generation and that the differences are important.

Also, no generation is monolithic, and we should all acknowledge that. But demographics tells us that there are some, widespread similarities between the people in any given generation.

For those of you like me, who forget the exact years associated with the generations, here’s a graphic to remind you. Apparently, no women were born in these eras according to the blog Kasasa? (Insert hand to forehead emoji here.)

First, a “confession.” Generally speaking, I like millennials, and I also like Gen Z and Gen X.

Let’s just say I like the youth, and unlike many other anti-ageism activists, I don’t even have a big problem with “ok boomer.” Mostly, and except of course, when it affects me directly, funny how it works that way. 

*Read a good, short, anti ageism activist’s post here, on Ashton Applewhite’s blog, including my comment.

But alright millennial, there is one instance, when a blanket dismissal of the boomer generation, by those of a younger one, is to be examined very closely indeed. 

That’s when a movement you’re involved in, is struggling (as most nascent movements are), and needs help.

Whether it’s gay and transgender rights, women in technology, or climate change, if you really are as passionate about your cause as you profess, you need all the help you can get.

And I know you know it, but over and over again, I see younger generations forgetting to call on boomers to participate, let alone contribute with their own passion. While I’m not strictly against the “calling out” thing, I think we’re doing too much calling out and too little calling on.

My readers know, that the two things I engage with the most these days, are fashion and anti ageism. You are also aware of the “ethical and slow or sustainable fashion movement.” You know that I praise, write about, and frequent sustainable fashion classes, meetups, and events.

Most often these occasions leave me exhilarated and inspired. So much so, that in the beginning, I didn’t even notice that the average age of the organizers and participants was, let’s say, 27. I go a lot of places where I’m like a “matriarch,” even though I’m childless. I’m used to it, and a lot of the time I even like it, matriarchs are cool.

After a while though, I couldn’t help but notice the overwhelming preponderance of dedicated “youngers” and the absolute dearth of people my age at these events.   

My reaction, and I’m not proud of it, was to blame the boomers!  

“Boomers don’t care about sustainability in general, let alone sustainable fashion,” I told myself. And let me tell you, not enough of us do, but that’s not the issue here. What is, is that concurrent with my “awakening,” I became aware of an undercurrent, slights aimed at boomers who “just don’t care.”

It was like church, and I was being called out, scolded for those not present. 

I was at one event, where after a presentation, during the audience comments, I brought up the lack of grey hair, and someone actually said “awe.” Awe, as in poor little old lady, that’s so sad. Like I was just interested in a “girlfriend” to sit beside!

Shit, millennial, I thought to myself. It’s not right to fault people you don’t include in your movement, for not being present. That has never worked. It’s human nature to feel excluded when we don’t see faces like ours represented.

Generally, younger people are so very good at inclusion, and it’s something to be really proud of. So it baffles me when I see photo after photo of sustainable fashion events, and for every 20 youngers there’s maybe one older present.

When I know how many of us grew up with slow fashion, grew up sewing and repairing, how many know about fibers and the construction of garments, and come from ethnic groups with sustainable practices, it pains me to see that knowledge and experience go to waste.

And for those olders who don’t yet understand why brands like H&M and Zara are a pox on the world, seeing people who look like them would surely mean they might listen more closely to what our movement has to say.

Inclusion means including age.

The ageism shouldn’t have surprised me of course; fashion is traditionally and steadfastly about youth, and proudly so. And while I get that and even that doesn’t bother me like it does some, when you’re trying to save the world you might want to weave some grey hairs in with your chocolate and honey colored tresses.

Matriarchs, crones, geezers, or boomers, what ever you want to call us, we know some stuff.

I loved it when Greta Thunberg stood up and lambasted the elderly gentlemen and ladies at the U.N. Absolutely loved it, because I believe in part we do deserve it. But the day she stops actually talking to and working with elders, is the day she will have lost her credibility.

global fashion exchange

That gorgeous, young man at the top of the page, is Patrick Duffy. As you might have guessed, he’s a sustainable fashion activist, “ecopreneur,” and someone you should know about if you care about the same things. 

One of his many undertakings is Global Fashion Exchange, of which he is a founder. GFE is a big and growing international organization that is probably best known for its “swaps.”

The swaps are just that, clothing swaps where participants can get together, schmooze, talk fashion and sustainability, and swap clothes.

But the organization does more than swaps, and if you want to follow the movement and see what’s going on, here’s their Instagram account.  

Their latest call to action is the best, “Take Back Black Friday.” Global Fashion Exchange is urging us to “buy nothing” on Friday, November 29, that infamous shopping day after Thanksgiving.

“Help us get the #TakeBackBlackFriday message out to millions of people across the world, activating global awareness of the waste generated on Black Friday and Cyber Monday through mindless consumption, reclaiming the days through digital protest.”

I think you’ll agree that this is something worth supporting and sticking to.

baubles, bangles, and beads

I talked about the lack of evolution, and “Advanced Style” in my last post, and I’m still thinking about it. What if we really could embrace change the way we often say we aspire to? It helps to understand what we think change entails. For me it’s learning, understanding, and courage?

So I’ve really got to stop saying, “I never really liked…” Firstly, who cares, and secondly, we change, and hopefully the change is evolution not devolution. I never really liked cameos, but this blue one by, Marcie McGoldrick, its clean lines and simplicity, have got me.

quoting

“As a boomer, I think the worst thing in aggregate about boomers is the magnitude of selfishness that loaded our kids with massive federal debt, crumbling roads and bridges, stagnant wages, while the most common boomer reaction isn’t horror, but “Not me!”

—Kurt Eichenwald

This tweet started a tweet storm. I’m still pondering it, as well as the question whether or not it’s ever good to call people, in aggregate, out. I believe it’s something worth pondering.

Some might say that we haven’t got the time to sit around and philosophize about things like these, and others say that to stereotype people, to ever speak of them in aggregate is at the least non-productive and at worst just bad, I think that “owning up” is honest and cathartic for all concerned. 

Like it or not, all of us belong to aggregates, and I don’t find it onerous to assume some blame for the bad that the groups I belong to may have wrought. 

I’ve never enslaved anyone, but can I be absolutely sure that the next Vietnamese woman who does my pedicure is not right then, enslaved? No. We are governed by karma, action and reaction. We have to do our best to not be an agent of the bad, but inevitably we are entwined with it.

Anita

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