This Millennial Woman Is Going Viral For All The Things A Gen Z Coworker Taught Her Over The Summer, And I’m Taking Notes
As a hardcore Zillenial ('97 baby), content about the Gen Z/millennial generation war often stops me dead in my tracks because I'm spiritually and emotionally very confused about where I lie. Essentially, this is how I feel:
Being a Gen Z / millennial cusp is just being a millennial around Gen Z’s and a Gen Z around millennials
So when a video by TikTok user @bailshenry came across my For You Page, I was made veerrry aware that calling myself Gen Z feels a biiiit of a stretch. In her video, which has now been viewed over 2.5 million times, Bailey, 33, presents TikTok with a list of things she learned while working with her Gen Z intern over the summer.
And as one commenter wrote, class really was in session, cause, like, thousands of us learned a thing or two.
She began, "So, I'm a millennial. I'm in my 30s. It is what it is. But I still feel young-ish most days. I often say I still feel 19. Well, wouldn't you know it, this summer, I worked with a precious 19-year-old who's a rising junior at the University of Mississippi. And she taught me a thing or two — number 1, I am NOT 19."
Then, in possibly the most millennial act, Bailey proceeded to sound off her list of learnings from a MapQuest-esqe printed piece of paper, rather than just reading off her Notes app, as one commenter pointed out.
So let's get into it:
1."First things first, DHgate. Now, that's not a generational thing, that's just being like an in-the-know thing, and usually, the youth are in-the-know. I did not know. I had nooo idea what DHgate was. I do now. Off the top of my head...seems illegal. Off the bottom of my head...we don't care."
For those also unfamiliar, DHgate is an online marketplace that links primarily Chinese wholesale sellers to people worldwide. It's kind of like Amazon in that you can buy pretty much anything on the website, but for a fraction of the cost, and instead of two-day shipping, you'll wait at least three weeks. But it's also kind of like the modern, online version of a sketchy designer goods seller, which is what it is notoriously associated with amongst Gen Z shoppers.
2.Onto number two: "Specifically in college towns, there's a great divide. There are the Golden Goose girlies, and then there's the Air Force 1 girlies. Because you don't wear heels to the bar anymore. And you're in a camp...you're either in the Golden Goose camp or the Air Force 1 girl camp. And there's a big difference, and you just are what you are."
And in case you are the lucky one to be unfamiliar with Golden Goose sneakers, they come "pre-distressed" with scuff marks and fake dirt marks, and cost somewhere in the range of $500–600 a pop. They're kind of a contentious topic, and they're definitely not a camp I will be in, unless my $50 dirty Reeboks count.
3.Moving onto number three: "Alix Earle and Sofia Richie are very important. And to me as an outsider, it seems Sofia Richie is a Golden Goose girl and Alix Earle is an Air Force 1 girl. I don't know what I am saying, but it feels right."
If you're sitting here wondering who the h-e-double-hockey-sticks these women are, I got you. In the eyes of Gen Z girlies, if Beyoncé and Taylor Swift are the gods, these are their demi-gods. For her religious Gen Z TikTok followers, Sofia Richie popularized the recent "quiet luxury" style trend, which nods to a sense of style that is minimalist, but high-quality. In comparison, Alix Earle gained her nearly five million TikTok followers by re-popularizing "get ready with me" videos, which feel like an intimate, confessional Facetime experience with your best friend.
4.Anyways, moving out of the Sofia Richie and Alix Earle lore, here's Bailey's fourth bit of knowledge: "They use just *words*. 'Sus.' Does that mean suspicious? I still don't know. 'Mid.' 'Felt,' or 'felt that.' The vibe is so 'mid' here. Like mediocre. I don't know why they can't just say I'm not having a good time."
If you're like me and constantly on Urban Dictionary for clarification, here's a little explainer:
5.And for Bailey's final part one revelation: "Snapchat is everything. You don't ask for someone's phone number. So you say, 'What's your Snap?'... And then apparently friendships and relationships die on Snap."
For me, I knew I was aging out of Gen Z when I no longer viewed Snapchat as a reasonable form of communication. In my mind, Snapchat died with the dog filter.
6.Moving onto part two of Bailey's video, she explained: "Millennials, us, we walk a very thin line of being 'cheugy.'"
You're probably acquainted with this term by now, but if you're not here's what it means: coined by Gen Z, describing something as "cheugy" basically means it's out-of-date and often associated with millennial 2010s aesthetics, like skinny jeans, Gucci belts, Rae Dunn housewares, GIFs, and yes, even BuzzFeed listicles.
7.Onto number seven, for Gen Z, Bailey explained, "Dating is grim. Gen Z-ers, oh bless their hearts. I wouldn't trade places with them for anything in the world. I truly wouldn't. Snapchat, to recap, it has ruined communication [and] flirting. The day after I posted that video I was in Target and I heard a child on the phone — which I didn't think that they did anymore — and she said, 'If you were in my Snap, you would know.' So, get in their Snap!"
8.For Bailey's eighth Gen Z revelation: "They're little hustlers, and they're very capable, which leads into, like, kinda the economy," Bailey said. "They haven't seen great economic examples, especially in the United States, in the duration of their short, youthful lives, so they're just going for it; they're just living. Credit card debt what? Homeownership who?"
9.And for nine: "They don't wear open-toed shoes...they think it's very vulnerable to show off your toes. I find that cute, and endearing." As this teacher put it, they don't want to see ya dogs:
The same cannot be said for the array of Jesus and gladiator sandals I wore throughout my coming-of-age years. We were ready to fight the Greek War of Independence.
10.And lastly on Bailey's list: "Gen Z, they're not super close to their parents. I'm not saying that is a broad [experience], but a good bit of them are not really close to their families, and that makes me sad."
Overall, Bailey had a fun summer digging into the Gen Z divide, but she said what surprised her the most was just how different Gen Z's experience really is. She told BuzzFeed, "My heart breaks for Gen Z a little bit. So much of their lives have been lived out on the Internet, dating is pretty grim, and thanks to pressures of influencers and pop culture, their standard of beauty is basically AI-generated filters."
While Bailey said her Gen Z intern taught her way more than she could ever teach, she did have one piece of advice for her, which TBH, I think we all need to hear. She told BuzzFeed, "I did try to guide her a little bit. I told her not to worry so much. Her life will land exactly where it is supposed to, even if it stings a little."
You can keep up with Bailey on Instagram and on her website. Bailey also published a book, which is about living life with infertility. She hopes to take the stigma away from infertility and help women realize they are not alone in their struggles. Yay, millennial women!