Ok Boomer: The Purpose Behind the Phrase


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If you haven’t heard of the phrase “Ok Boomer” by now, it’s time to start getting up to date. This small saying has sparked one of the biggest generational uproars in a long time, prompting talk of “the end of friendly relations” between both Gen Z (born 1997-2015) and the Baby Boomers (born 1944-1964). This begs the question, can the older generations (Baby Boomers and Gen X) understand generational differences? The short answer is: typically, no.

While some Boomers can be technologically savvy, that does not necessarily make them any more understanding or accepting of younger generations and their lives or humor. The phrase “Ok, Boomer!” has sparked an uproar from some of the Baby Boomer generation. Some Boomers went so far as to call it a slur, but one does not simply compare a meme to any racist or sexist slurs. The “Ok, Boomer” phenomenon is actually just a symptom of a larger underlying issue: the older generations’ failure to relate to the struggles of the younger ones. Boomers often tell teenagers to “Hit the pavement and get a job!” or say, “When I was your age, I paid for college by working part time!” However, times have, in fact, changed, and Millennials and Gen Zer’s live in a very different world.

Baby Boomers grew up in a much more economically prosperous time, when college was cheaper and the job market was more stable. Times are different now, especially with the rise of technology. For example, nowadays if you actively seek out a business and go inside to apply for a job, they often tell you to go and apply on their website instead. We can’t just hit the town and apply to places anymore because the world (for the most part) has changed. We wish we could pay for college with a part time job, but the rising cost of tuition makes that nearly impossible. We’ve often felt shut down by older adults dismissing our struggles or being unable to empathize with them. While older adults have wisdom to offer, they should consider how our experiences differ from theirs, and that our lives are very different. We often do not feel heard when we try and seek advice or vent about issues close to us.

The saying “Ok Boomer” stems from this feeling of lacking a voice. We Gen Z’ers and Millennials want to have our opinions taken seriously and we’d like to be treated with respect just as everyone else. Younger generations are passionate about lots of issues and we’d just like to express ourselves.

“Ok Boomer” really encompasses the age old problem of generational understanding. If people do not start to bridge this gap and listen to each other, there will constantly be discord between generations. Younger generations simply want to try to fix some of the issues in the world. These aren’t “utopian ideals” or “silly fantasies” that we have, but instead are actual options that could change life for the better. We simply want to be respected and heard. Ok, Boomer?