Never did I expect that in 2021 we would see one of the biggest arguments on TikTok be between Gen Z and millennials over…the middle part vs the side part. Call it quarantine boredom or general unrest. Either way, the conversation around Gen Z and millennial trends is heating up, with Gen Z (those born after 1997) giving millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996) a hard time for their skinny jeans, “cringe-worthy” emoji use and side parts. Lets unpack this.
I’m not only a millennial but actually what’s called Gen Y.2, as in the second half of Gen Y, or millennials. This is commonly referred to as an elder or old millennial. I had AIM, a pink Motorolla Sidekick phone and I wore low-rise, flared jeans. All the Y2K trends teens are wearing all over TikTok? Yes, I wore them first. Do I care? No, not really.
I’m not upset that Gen Z thinks skinny jeans and side parts are lame. They should. The younger generation isn’t supposed to think the older one is “cool.” I thought girls older than me dressed terrible too when I was a teen in the early 2000s. That’s how it’s supposed to be.
Don’t hate me for this but those saying that side parts and skinny jeans don’t feel fresh and on-trend are right. I switched up both of those because they started feeling stale. At first I felt so awkward with a side part and now I can’t remember not having one. There’s a reason I had a hard time finding a celebrity wearing a side part for the images in this story. They’ve all switched over to the middle. It’s a trend. But if you love both of these things, keep them! Why do you have to do what teens saying are trendy? You don’t. You’re a grown-up.
Sure, it can sting a little when Gen Z says our obsession for Harry Potter is cringe-y. Maybe putting your “house” in your Tinder bio is cringe-y. That’s okay! Own it. What is making me cringe is millennials going on TikTok upset that people don’t think they are “cool.” My question is: why do you care? Isn’t being in your 30s all about embracing who you are? And you have to admit, the teens pretending to be millennials on TikTok is pretty funny. They’re nailing it down to the “girl boss” hat.
Some may say “it’s not that deep” but really, it’s deeper. Many millennials, especially women, are traumatized by the early-2000s standards of beauty. When we were in high school, if you didn’t have hips are narrow as Paris Hilton’s or a stomach as flat as Jessica Alba’s, you felt like an outcast. This is the reason so many millennial women struggle with disordered eating and body image issues. The fashion trends catered to one body and that body was skinny.
That being said, it’s not like Gen Z is asking us all to bust out the low-rise flares and the bedazzled thongs. That’s not going to happen. We millennials have two choices. We can see how a middle part feels (I bet you’ll like it!) and try on a pair of straight-leg jeans. Or you can laugh at how much fun it is not being a teenager anymore and wear whatever the hell you want.