Re: Gen X

Subject: Re: Gen X
From: Kara Leigh Schubert <kschube -at- BGNET -dot- BGSU -dot- EDU>
Date: Tue, 28 Nov 1995 13:46:55 -0600

On Mon, 27 Nov 1995 19:24:48 -0800, Karen Kay wrote
>I think you're confusing Gen X and "Slacker". You *are* Gen X by your
>birthdate; that's an inescapable fact. This doesn't imply 'lazy and
>unmotivated', any more than the term 'Boomer' implies something other than
>birthdate about those people. 'Slacker', on the other hand, is a term of
>derogation claimed proudly by some Gen X'ers.

To some extent I agree with you. The term "Generation X" might have started
out as just a simple age label, but that is no longer the case. Generation
X has now taken on such meanings as "lazy" and "unmotivated." I've heard
many stereotypical remarks made categorizing my generation in this way. In
fact, the conference speaker I spoke of in my previous message used the
terms "lazy" and "unmotivated" to define Generation X. (Those were her
exact words, by the way.) This may not have been the original meaning of
the phrase, but the phrase has become tainted with widespread use and
interpretation. Slacker and Generation X have become synonymous in my
opinion. I've heard this meaning too many times to think Generation X is
just an age label anymore. As someone pointed out to me in a personal
e-mail response to my first message, the negative connotations of this
phrase are an important factor when considering my age group as an
audience. My reaction to the term "Generation X" should be proof enough
that this term immediately puts younger generations on the defensive. I'm
an individual, and I stand by my own merits.

By the by, I feel the same way about labeling people "Boomers." Audience
analyze is very important, but as writers we must not get so lost in group
labels that we forget that INDIVIDUALS are reading our material as well. As
a reader, I don't like feeling like an author wrote for a stereotypical
group instead of considering the possible members of that group. Ta-Da,
enter user testing! (Sorry, Karen. I know you didn't get into all of this
in your post, but while I was on a roll I thought I'd bring it up for
discussion purposes.)

At least, that's my take on this matter...


Kara Leigh Schubert
kschube -at- bgnet -dot- bgsu -dot- edu 201 Hayes Hall
Technical Writer and Editor Bowling Green, OH 43403
BGSU Computer Services Documentation (419)372-7740

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