Monday, September 12, 2011

"The 90s Kid"

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Now that I've gotten myself on this little rant...

90s kids are not kids born in the 1990s, contrary to what seems to be popular belief on sites like Tumblr. It's not that simple. I don't know who decided this, but it's not really the way it works, is it... And I say all of this because I'm rather sick of all of these posts on my dash saying "asfhypsf reblob if u wer born between 1990-1999! yay 90s kids1!1!!!1 everyone else is stupid and has no sense! if you weren't born in this decade you're not a 90s kid so shut up!" It's like nonstop ageism on this site! I get that the main demographic tends to be younger people in their mid to late teens, and those of my age group are apparently a minority or something, but it's a little ridiculous, don't you think? (There are a few of the "bigger" 90s culture blogs that are perpetuating this and have been mocking those not born in the 90s decade, insisting that we cannot possibly call ourselves 90s kids. THAT is why I'm writing this.)

Yeah. No... Not only is that incredibly rude, but it's inaccurate. 90s kids, from a sociological standpoint, are children who grew up with the predominant [pop] culture of the early to mid-late 1990s. Generally this includes children born from 1985-ish to 1995. Technically we all also belong to the generation loosely defined as Generation Y, Millennials, or Echo Boomers - 1982 to 1995, if I remember correctly, though the range tends to vary between sources. Some start in the late 70s, some end with 2000, but I think children born in 2000 have probably experienced a very different world than those of us born much earlier. Things change too quickly... Anyway, back to the 90s kid thing. It's a technicality, perhaps, but in misidentifying "90s kid" as one solely born between 1990 and 1999, you're excluding many of us who do identify with that culture, perpetuated that culture, (and in some ways, created that culture). Just because you were born within a certain decade does not mean you experienced the culture of that decade. Again - it's not about when you were BORN, it's when you GREW UP. Your childhood. A lot of things do get passed down, and we share tradition and oral culture via playground games, etc, but it's not quite the same as living it. Remember how cool Windows 95 was when it first came out? (And how infuriatingly SLOOOOOW AOL 2.0 was when you got your first email address in 1994. [Oh yeah, but that was Windows 3.1. Wasn't that a blast...] And I still have that same exact one, at 23.) And remember when Carmen Sandiego was a game show? And jellies and Baby Sitter's Club and Oregon Trail -- in 8 bit, on the old Macintosh that only had green on a black screen? My sisters were born in the early 90s and some of that they don't even know about.

Anyway, I'm going to leave before I feel stupid for even pointing this out in the first place, because I really hate to be *that girl* who tells someone they're not a part of something, like they don't belong. I really don't want to be like that, and I worry that's exactly how I've come across right now. I don't want to try to re-label or redefine people-- which I'm sure I have, and I apologize for that... I just... I want to ask how others define "the 90s kid" and why? I'm curious to know how and why the definitions have changed over time...

and if there's some sort of reason why some believe that being born within a certain decade somehow makes you better, or more worthy of a label, than others. What even is that. Stop that.

tl;dr - it's not about when you were born, it's about what you've experienced, which is mostly determined by when you grew up. It's about your childhood and the culture around you, not your birth year.

1 comment:

Jeremy Ponniah said...

I just wish people weren't so desperate to be "90s kids" in the first place. There's nothing wrong with being a 00s kid. I was born in 95 but I grew up in the 21st century and I'm proud of that- I am a 00s kid. My childhood did not lack innocence or simplicity merely because there were technological advances at the time. Access to the Internet allowed me exposure to every decade's culture, be it music, history or art. Maybe that's why people are so damn nostalgic all of a sudden.

Either way in a few years, when 00s kids start getting PhDs the hate will likely shift somehow to "2010s kids" or some rubbish like that.