THERE are certain things that the millennial has made acceptable in modern society, or at least palatable: paying £2.50 for an avocado or wearing sliders as a fashion statement, for example.
Existing and trying to flourish drunk on the idea of social liberalism, millennials like to believe they can maintain a sense of “individualism”, whilst still working the 9-5 and fighting for [insert social injustice here] whilst attending 2-4-1 cocktail hours in the evenings.
Growing up in a moderately conservative household in an even more conservative area (my neighbour has a giant Conservative Party poster in his window, just in case I forget), I was always told to uphold a conservative image, i.e. no piercings, tattoos, wacky hairstyles (as a woman of colour, this means anything that isn’t long and straight) and no short skirts (or trousers, actually, because god forbid one attempt to subvert gender boundaries).
Fast forward a few years later, and you may be surprised to find me face down on a chair, about to get my first tattoo. As the buzzing of the needle came in contact with my once untainted skin, I pondered on how far I had come (or how far I had fallen, depending on your outlook) since being a cautious and socially anxious teenager.
Although I was super pleased with my inkings (the nature of which I will keep to myself to avoid getting “#basic” tweets from you all), I did have a moment of slight panic. Who was going to hire a woman with a tongue piercing, three tattoos and an afro? I almost asked if they were hiring at the tattoo parlour; I’m really quite good at making tea, coffee and a plethora of other beverages, upon request.
“Millenials’ sense of individualism is something we are attacked for due to our willingness to expose it so obtusely and unforgivingly.”
Unfortunately, I know a lot of things to be true as I start my new “adult” job in September. I know I cannot wear my natural hair, I know I will have to take my piercings out and I know my tattoos cannot be visible. These specifics haven’t been written down anywhere in the terms and conditions of my contract, but it is an ideal that continues to be ingrained in all of us. If you don’t fit the bill of what is “professional” (by which they mean “normal,” by which they mean a standard, white, middle-class male, preferably, but we’ll take you if you’re a little bit brown because we have a diversity quota to fill), you will never be taken seriously.
This doesn’t just end with outward appearances either. Our sense of individualism is something for which previous generations have fought for and for which Millennials are attacked for due to our willingness to expose it so obtusely and unforgivingly.We are, after all, the “snowflake” generation who believe we deserve everything this world can give us in spite of who we are or what we look like.
Idealistic as it may seem, what’s so wrong with that? Our generation, whether you like it or not, is the most colourful yet, from our melting pot of cultures to our likes and dislikes to our fashion sense. If businesses and organizations refuse to see the world in anything but black and white, they will risk losing out on the most diverse and dynamic workforce that this country has ever seen.
FOLLOWING… @yinkabokinni not only is this young lady a super talented DJ, her Instagram feed gives me serious hair, body, fashion and tattoo envy. Look no further for your next style icon.
LISTENING… “The Receipts“, a hilarious and frighteningly relevant podcast featuring four women of colour chatting about everything from interracial relationships to being cheated on, as well as playing agony aunties to their listeners’ “receipts.”
READING… The Good Immigrant; a collection of essays by British BAME writers detailing, as the book puts forward, “what it’s like to live in a country that doesn’t trust you and doesn’t want you unless you win an Olympic gold medal or a national baking competition.” I haven’t been able to put this down despite some parts being so relatable that I’ve had to take a step back. Moving, engaging and incredibly diverse, this is required reading for everyone, especially considering the current socio-political climate.
EATING… Every lazy vegan knows that hummus is basically its own food group in our diet. So thank God for hummus bros, a deli in Soho dedicated to this mushy-chickpea delicacy. They cater to non-vegans too, but their falafel hummus bowl is my go-to; served with pitta bread and so much hummus you risk drowning in it (which, by the way, is my ideal way to die.)