Conflicted Between Millennial & Gen Z? The Sweater Weather Generation Is Here for You
Too tired to keep up with TikTok drama, yet too wired to be obsessed with avocado toasts? Sweater Weather’s got your back.
While I do have my fair share of fun observing the millennial vs Gen Z feud on Twitter, I still can’t quite figure out which side I should root for. Should I call myself a millennial because I still remember DVDs? Or should I side with the edgy Gen Z kids because hey, I’m not that much older than Greta Thunberg?
Being born in 1999 puts me in a special in-between place. My younger sisters jeer at me for being born before the millennium, even though I don’t remember anything from the 20th century. (Let alone the better part of last year. Wait, too soon?)
I desperately tried to identify with the rest of the 90s kids. All those ‘90s Are The Best’ Buzzfeed posts? Yeah, I’d scroll through and try to conjure up sentimental feelings about bucket hats, Lizzie McGuire, Mean Girls and cosmic brownies. While in reality, I don’t remember ever wearing a bucket hat, I watched Lizzie McGuire on reruns, I streamed Mean Girls illegally in high school, and I’ve never had cosmic brownies.
Thus, the minute ‘Generation Z’ entered the cultural lexicon, my spirits sprung up and I immediately jumped on board as part of the Z clan. Yeah, sometimes I do struggle to keep up with TikToker drama, but it’s all worth it because these people are definitely my tribe. I also started marching (for women’s rights) when I was 17, so we’re all super cool with each other right?
That is, until, #2014aesthetic became a thing on TikTok. Watching clips upon clips of kids (such as this one) being nostalgic of a time when they were still struggling with counting to 10 did quite a number on my newfound sense of belonging. Before then, it did not occur to me that a majority of these kids got their first phones after Tumblr became decidedly uncool.
“Oh, to be a teenager during Lana del Rey’s Ultraviolence Era” has become a new trigger for my fight or flight response. Are you now going to tell me you didn’t beg your mom for a Zoella beauty set for Christmas? That you’ve never had an iPhone with a separate earphone jack? Or that you don’t remember where you were when Hannah Montana took off her wig on Jay Leno? God, WHERE DOES IT EVEN END?
My friends and I, we had the privilege to watch YouTubers being nice to each other. We were there when Kanye West and Taylor Swift reached a truce (and for a short, blissful time, world peace was restored). We downloaded Sweater Weather illegally, changed the covers on iTunes, and played it on repeat.
Which brought me to the question, “Where were you when Sweater Weather dropped?”
If your fashion-forward, edgy friend gave you an earphone bud one day, said “Now, this is real music” and the chilling hook came blaring through the speakers, then congrats, you’re a part of the Sweater Weather generation!
You now have a pass to mix up the bajillion white LA jocks on TikTok, not dye your curtain bangs red, and, most importantly, use the word ‘adulting’. Because, y’all, adulting is hard.
You also have a pass to roll your eyes at every single avocado toast-related counter-takedowns on Twitter, cringe at manic Ross x Rachel shippers (We get it, they were on a break), and not be a devout evangelist of the keto diet.
Being in the in-between can be a liberating state. I get to pick and choose whichever trait I’d like to emulate from each side. I also get to be the heckler during millennial vs Gen Z debates. Which side is winning right now? Oh, that one? Okay, I’m one of them now. Don’t sweat it.
Meanwhile, being a Sweater Weather kid also means that you probably graduated into the pandemic. Or maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who got to land an entry-level job before everything went down, and now you’re fighting to not be on the next firing round. Either way, you’ve already queued up your favorite Vine compilations on YouTube to laugh to on your off days.
While it is jarring to be in a position where my teenage escapades can be construed as war stories now, I am more than happy to tell middle-school kids of my long-winded trek to watch a One Direction concert. Or to fast-forward at the exact right moment so my Disney FastPlay DVD will actually do its job and I can binge-watch FOUR Wizards of Waverly Place episodes.
It will be an anxiety-inducing ride going forward, as we thread the lines of offense from both sides of the aisle. But maybe, the upcoming iCarly reboot will make it worthwhile to hang on a little bit longer.