Is this the new “OK, boomer?”
An article referring to older millennials as “geriatric” has sparked a backlash among 30-somethings on Twitter, who’ve deemed the label inaccurate and “ageist.” The problematic moniker was first dropped in the recent Medium piece entitled: “Why the Hybrid Workforce of the Future Depends on the ‘Geriatric Millennial.’”
Author Erica Dhawan coined the term to describe people born in the early 1980s, who are considered too old to be a regular millennial but still younger than any Gen Xers. This generationally homeless age group is often referred to as “cuspers” or “xenials,” the Independent reported.
Per the piece, this “special micro-generation” is “comfortable with both analog and digital forms of communication” and was the “first generation to grow up with technology like a PC in their homes.”
The article’s message was overwhelmingly positive: Dhawan, who is a “geriatric millennial” herself, essentially argued that this hybrid group is effective at communicating across generations as they straddle two different age brackets.
“Geriatric millennials can read the subtext of an SMS just as well as they can pick up on a client’s hesitation in their facial expressions during an in-person meeting,” wrote Dhawan. “They are neither ignorant of technology nor so engrossed in it that a voicemail inspires fear.”
Nonetheless, the elder millennial crowd took umbrage at the being dubbed “geriatric” when they haven’t even hit 40.
“Congrats, I am both insulted and inspired,” wrote one detractor of the perceived backhanded compliment.
Another wrote, “As an older millennial and someone that has friends and family that are older millennials, this is highly offensive. This is ageist. I am literally shaking right now!!! Delete this.”
“This is the worst generational nickname of all time,” griped another curmudgeon.
One jokester quipped, “shout out to everyone born between 1980 to 1985, you’ve been Gen X, Gen Y, a millennial, the Oregon trail generation, a xennial, an elder millennia, and now a *checks notes* geriatric millennial.”
In response to the backlash, Medium posted a Twitter survey polling elder millennials on what they wanted to be called instead. Out of the 23,208 votes, 44.6% of participants claimed they preferred the term “Original Millennial” to “Geriatric Millennial.”
This isn’t the first term to tick off an entire generation. Gen Z sent 70-somethings into a tizzy in 2019 after coining the phrase “OK, boomer” to dismiss people they deemed old and out of touch.