ethan hawke, winona ryder, janeane garofalo, steve zahn in reality bites.

In This Time of Panic, We Look to Generation X for Inspiration

Keep calm and put on some flannel.
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The differences between baby boomers and millennials have been constant fodder for political debates, online feuds, and memes about everything from avocado toast to medicare for all. But amidst the boomers and the millennials, one generation has been left out of the cultural conversation. I’m talking, of course, about Generation X.

Generation X is comprised of folks who were born between 1965 and 1980, and are commonly referred to as “the latchkey generation”, thanks to a childhood largely spent looking after themselves. With both parents having to work and the moral panic of “stranger danger” still years away, this generation raised themselves thanks to microwave dinners and cable television.

It is no surprise then, that the kids who were left to entertain themselves for hours on end are now the adults best equipped to thrive during COVID-19. After all, latchkey kids grew up self isolating and staying at home, aka social distancing. Now, Gen Xers are taking to social media to brag about their staying at home prowess, with #GenX trending. And honestly, we could all take a page from their book:

Those of us in the Xennial or Oregon Trail micro-generation (late 1970s to early 1980s) grew up idolizing the icons of Generation X, like Winona Ryder, Janeane Garofalo, and Ani DiFranco. We’re the last generation to remember a time before the internet, faint and fuzzy as those memories may be. In tribute to them, I’ll be blasting Little Plastic Castle and rocking a babydoll dress while washing my hands for the 50th time today.

What do you think, Mary Suevians? Do you identify with your generation?

(image: Universal Pictures)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.