Millennials: The Entitled or Excluded generation?

opinion, Uncategorized

If you’re a young person you’ll be well versed in the theory that you’re a selfish millennial who needs to lay off the lattes and smashed avos. But does this stack up?

With a series of issues like housing affordability, employment opportunities and increased uni fees disproportionately affecting Australia’s youth, being a millennial isn’t just the privileged bed of roses it’s often been been painted to be.

Jan Fran from SBS’ ‘The Feed’, Jacqui Mckenzie a Policy Advocate at Youth Action, Dr Troy Sarina a specialist in employee relations and the head of marketing management at Macquarie University and Sajaheat Mara, a Member of Australian Taxpayers Alliance and Macquarie University’s Liberal Club joined me on a discussion panel to discuss. 



The Tween Zone: insecurity and expectation.



Yesterday I embarked on an extensive mission.

The task ahead would be difficult, it would force me to confront my fears, to explore the darkest depths of selfhood. It was time to review the facebook statuses of my 14 year old self.

Things got ugly pretty quickly. Even if it were possible to disregard the godawful grammar (special mention goes out to my ability to unnecessarily extend every vowel and even consonant available – ‘hhheeeeeeeeeeeeyyyy’) it was the content that officially sunk the already submerged ship.

When elderly people scorn facebook for being nothing but boring recount of peoples actions I can’t help but roll my eyes a little (they save that for twitter bc its 2017, duh!). In my almost hyperreal newsfeed, memes, video and news dominate- meaning diarised content has become virtually non existent (save an annoying distant cousin or a weird relative or two). But in hindsight if I could unroll my eyes I would, as the statuses of 14 year old me were very much a manifestation of this.



Fig 1: Seems a little hypocritical, all statuses considered….


It’s not the oversharing aspect that concerns me, I do realise the hypocrisy of me writing a blog post (or snapchatting- as I did) about my 14year old oversharing and then labelling it a problem. I’m only too happy to reproduce relatively similar content under new media channels such as, instagram, twitter or snapchat (in accordance with the  strict socially accepted standards that govern them). Rather, what truly troubled me is the tension of self and performance present of my meanderings. I’m hardly suggesting my modern dalliances in social media aren’t linked to ideas of performance, but what I am suggesting is the immense confusion 14 year old me was experiencing when she wrote them.

Almost too fittingly I woke up to hear the wise words of Madonna King, author of the new must have book, ‘Being 14’. She spoke on ABC’s the drum, discussing the pressure 14 year old girls face trying to identify themselves in a world where they are supposed to ‘beat the boys at science and on the sporting field’ while ‘dressing in a pretty dress and waiting to be asked to a dance. Add in increasing access social networking and hormones and you have a cocktail for anxiety and insecurity.

My old posts reflect this; if i’m not writing about how much I LOVE films about cars (modern day me couldn’t care less about them) and football ( I barely watch it) I’m posting about how girls my age ‘really shouldn’t act so desperate around guys’ and sharing images of overtly feminine dresses. I’m the ultimate male ally, I can be one of the boys and I want them to know it, but also I’m NOT a boy!!! I love dresses silly!!!. I guess I was waiting for someone to tell me I wasn’t like the other girls, waiting for them to tell me I was smarter, more well rounded, more interesting…..  because isn’t that exactly what a fourteen year old girl thinks she wants?

Again I’m not suggesting females can’t be engaged in action films or have an interest in professional sport as well as loving feminine dresses; these things are hardly mutually exclusive. Rather, what I am suggesting is that for me personally these statuses were obvious acts of gender performance not an expression of a passing phase of interest. I saw girls my age as my competition, I had to be better than them, more well liked, far nicer and of course a lot smarter. Most importantly I had to avoid getting caught up in all that stupid *girl* stuff they were interested in. All the mean while I engaged in a system of ratings, posting on girls walls and ranking them on a scale of 1  – 10. I liked their posts “Like this status and me and Jade [sic] will give you a rating xoxo” waiting anxiously for their response, craving the affirmation and a sense of validation from the number. They did the same back and I laboured over my responses, ensuring ‘accuracy’.

It was cruel, and although at the time people cited my ‘niceness’ and ‘kindness’ (they never do that anymore) my language could be incidentally biting. I always meant well, I meant to help (I think), but what i was actually doing was simply rejecting any lifestyle choices that didn’t fit into my narrow frame. Its easy to see these statuses as a manifestation of my youthful world view- and of course in part that is true, but I think  I was also seriously overwhelmed.  I was 14, no longer really a child but definitely not an adult, how can a parent relate to that? how can anyone relate to that?. The question became am I enough? And for who?

I just want to take a moment to apologise to any 14 year old girl who I’ve simply dismissed as being a little misses. Being 14 is really hard and relating to a 14 year old is even harder. I  want us to remember that these girls need to be actively built up rather than torn down for their ‘silly little interests’; they already feel insignificant enough. The language we use reflects a lot more about our own personal insecurities than it does about the person we direct it to. At 14 we need to teach girls to stop seeing their peers as competition and to start seeing them as what they actually are – which is their equally confused and scared allies. If we teach girls that they are enough they will go on to teach other girls the same and help to stop the dangerous exercises of comparison that kill their confidence. We need to listen to young girls and remind them that soon they’ll be 15 and then they’ll 18 and onto their 20’s and while the world won’t be any confusing they’ll have the skills to cope the room to carve out a space to discover themselves.




Another pressure young girls face is sexting, what do you think about sending nudes ?

Why selfishness isn’t always a bad thing


IMG_8256 2.jpg


Taking care of your own social, psychological and emotional well being doesn’t exactly sound like an inconsiderate and indulgent way of living, so why do we feel so guilty about it?

The connotations of selfishness are generally negative, labelling people as thoughtless, egotistical and self-obsessed. While these implicit overtones are often completely accurate, acts of self care convey the positive associations of ‘selfishness’.

Our anxieties over not being a Mother Teresa clone in every aspect of our work/school/social life can leave us feeling flat and incompetent in our role as ‘do-gooder’ humans.

Yet it’s a little personal healing and self focus that could actually lead to us feeling more content and happy, which as research psychologist Post 1 shows, leads to us being more altruistic human beings.

Here’s a list of must do ‘selfish’ acts to make you a happier and therefore more giving human being.


Let go of negative relationships:

Not staying in contact with one-sided friendships doesn’t make you a bad person, we all deserve to feel equally valued and validated in any relationship.While it’s great that you always make the effort to plan a catch up or allow your friend to uninterruptedly rant to you, this needs to be tempered by an equilibrium.

It’s exhausting to be the only one to putting in effort, and while I occasionally condone (neigh, advocate) a good old barriers down tirade (re:existence) its far too draining to constantly be on the receiving end.  Friends are supposed to care about YOU and make time for YOU, so  you need to stop feeling bad  for not completely destroying your schedule to fit in a coffee date that only leaves you feeling empty.


Face your problems:

Often,  via a ‘selfless’ immersion into another’s issues you manage to create a diversion, or a way to avoid facing your own hang-ups. While helping a struggling friend is undoubtably noble, ensure you aren’t using it as a substitute for approaching your own problems.

Sometimes helping others ‘fix’ their problems can  provide you with a sense of control that may be absent within your own life, be careful as this is often a false sense of security and leave you tired and unfulfilled. It becomes increasingly less fun watching as other people conflicts are resolved while yours remain open and messy.


Accept help from other people

Often a big component of being ‘selfless’ involves helping other people while refusing to ‘burden’ anyone else with anything. It’s taken me 20 years to realise that it doesn’t mean you’re a failure if you need assistance; despite the fact that I have handed out this advice to every single friend that even comes near my friend-cinity.

Whether its talking about your emotional wellbeing, asking for career advice, or just needing a different perspective, it’s ok to ask for things.


 Stop worrying so much about other people 

*Time to insert a cliche* Do what makes you happy, even if its not what your family or the people who surround you expect of you.

The amount of times overthinking peoples hypothetical reactions has stopped me from doing things borders on ridiculous (when the list includes not only your mum & dad but also Bruce  who lives up the street you’re too far gone).

Obviously, you don’t want to be insensitive and should always remain aware of other people, but it’s important to remember that it’s not their life and it’s just plain wrong of them to restrict you from enjoying your existence.

Its also unfair on yourself to let opportunities pass you by because you don’t want to tread on anyones toes, this world is fierce, you need to be too.


And just remember it’s okay – in fact it’s productive and healthy- to engage in self validation and  act in your own interest. Investing in self care makes your world, and the contributions you can offer within it, increasingly positive and satisfying.


On that note… how do you feel about nudesTo sext, or not to sext?


1)   Post, S.G. Int. J. Behav. Med. (2005) 12: 66. doi:10.1207/s15327558ijbm1202_4 

To sext, or not to sext?




Nudes have become the cornerstone of modern dating, acting as a means of spicing up existing relationships and a gateway into new ones (read:hookups).

But are they a good idea?

Explicit images do have the potential to leave you vulnerable in cyberspace and are often (problematically) performed to meet certain social expectations. Alternatively nudes can be a means of liberation and empowerment- a way for marginalised groups to reclaim their sexuality.

So is it performance or empowerment? Ian and I found ourselves seriously undressing this question (pun v. much intended).



Pre-‘lewd’ texting  (geddit) 





Donald Trump;  billionaire,  real estate mogul, TV personality, probable toupee wearer and potential president of the United States. IDK, you may have heard of him he’s kind of mainstream at the moment …

In June last year when ‘The Donald’ hilariously announced his presidential bid ( classic Donald) I – amongst most sane people- assumed it was something for tumblr to go wild about and for reddit users to produce endless meme material on.

In a few short months it would be over.

I naively assumed the Tycoons limelight would simply provide the world wide web with fresh humour, my favourite comedians with some new material and then slowly fade into a distant memory. I imagined I would revisit Trump’s failed campaign from time to time with cries of;

omg, remember that crazy time Donald Trump ran for president???? Thank GOD even AMERICA wasn’t crazy enough to vote him in’

But alas, Donald Trump did not fade, in fact his neo-liberalist ideology and his brash nature have so far guided him to winning 10 states and 15 primaries, making him the Republican front runner.

While Trump is largely emblematic of all of the values and ideals which are so highly esteemed in America; wealth, power, belief in free market values, personal success,  (not including his extensive list of failed ventures including my personal favourite ‘Trump Vodka’ introduced under the slogan ‘success distilled’), to many his successful trajectory into the world of politics seems flabbergasting.


It shouldn’t.

As Waleed Aly conveyed in last weeks Sydney Morning Herald:

“Republicans have been training their voters to indulge every reactionary prejudice for years. Trump simply does this better, louder, and with less varnish than his rivals”  

His ideologies are nothing new to the Republican party, particularly among devout Tea Party candidates like Ted Cruz. As Aly confers they are simply making headlines more frequently due to the ferocity with which Trump espouses them and the powerful resonance citizens have with them.

Constantly I find myself expressing my shock, my disbelief, in fact my utter horror at the success of Trump (won’t anyone think of the children???) . Generally this rant begins with begin with the classic opener;

I would honestly be so embarrassed to be an American right now”,

followed frequently by;

“What even is America?? How the heck (insert more colourful language at your discretion) do you go from Obama to Trump??”,

and finally my closing remark,



* The author was not using expletives, simply referencing Trumps alikeness to Troll Dolls

This is generally where I find myself backtracking, reminding myself that in Australia we’ve only too recently seen a similar story unfurl.

“I enjoy onions”

You see the people voting for Trump are the same people who (to a lesser degree)  voted for ex Australian PM Tony Abbott. If you don’t recall that was the PM who munched 0n raw onions, called being an Aboriginal  “A lifestyle choice”, told a female party member she had sex appeal, *pauses for breath*, stated that women would never reach equal political representation for “physiological reasons“, said he’d feel “a bit threatened”  by gay marriage (why Tony you gonna die in a stream of rainbow glitter???),  called climate change “absolute crap”  and many more questionable things…


199280-d1e256c8-e07f-11e3-9096-801fbb4e8d9b.jpgNow that’s what I call real sex appeal

His success, like Trump’s, was in his ability to play on the fear harboured by ordinary (and if you’ll pardon me – unsavvy) citizens, it’s not simply fear of the unknown, but fear of change which perfectly plays into a conservative agenda. To see this one must only refer to the respective slogans of the neoliberal politicians; “Make America great again” and “Stop the Boats“. Both campaigns, either explicitly or implicitly, convey the desire for a retrospective form of governance, both unprogressive and aggressive in its nature. Both campaigns seemingly say, ‘stay out if you’re not one of us, you’re not welcome here’, this exclusive brand of politics is an essential component of both Abbott and Trump’s rise.It is these hard-lined approaches appeal to voters who see them as un-sanitised truth talkers, an approach to politics unmarred by the constant need to be politically correct and filtered.  This is positively met by many individuals who are unwilling to change their mode of life or accept partial blame for societal or environmental issues (re: climate change) and feel they have a strong leader, who will battle for their right to do as they please (‘damn the environment Susan, if I don’t want to recycle I bloody well won’t, this nanny state of politics won’t control ME’).

Basically its this freedom to do as you like (so long as you’re a white male) that has gained Trump so much support in the self-serving states of America all the while creating contempt within his own party. Donald Trump is a showman, he’s rude, he’s demanding, he’s image obsessed and aggressive in almost every manner of the word – he is therefore far from a team player. So it makes sense that his popularity with disillusioned and discontent voters is  not reciprocated amongst his fellow republican party members. Rather he is regarded with wariness by most members who have founded concerns about his ability to toe party line and present to the world the brand of the Republican, rather than Trump-esque, politics. Like Tony Abbott, with his idiotic introduction of Knight-hoods, Trump gives the finger to party politics that don’t suit him and refuses to consult his elders for reassurance.

“We have to stand up tall and answer freedoms call”

Like Abbott was, Trump is in bed with right wing media publications, allowing for a dissemination of his views to potential party voters and a healthy amount of outrage from the left (this only further enhances his popularity with conservative voters). As in Australia , America’s lack of diversity in media ownership has seen the domination of single viewpoints across multiple outlets. This lack of diversity has skewed the public’s perception of ‘moderate’ publications as dominantly neo-liberal and right winged sentiments are presented to the point where what is a balanced publication/source will be labeled as leftist. To this extent Trump’s, like Abbott’s, brand of politics easily gains support through invariably un-fact checked claims designed to disseminate fear.

He is THE man, not just a man running for the Republican party, voters feel an attachment to him and the well marketed personality he has formed for himself. His lack of prior allegiance to politics and absence of experience in such government positions is also surprisingly working in his favour, allowing the billionaire to appear as an outsider who works for no-one and acts solely for the concerns of the people. I think this has been Trump’s greatest calling card, while we can draw similarities between Tony Abbott and Trump’s ultra-conservative approach to politics, Abbott was solely a figurehead lacking the bravado and personality Trump has cultivated in order to succeed in  a very American style of politics.

So here he is folks, let’s take a moment to appreciate the eloquence and finesse of the probable leader of the Republican party and potential president of America. . .





Also lets take a moment to reflect on the similarities of our own ex- Prime Minister, before we rush to judge America too hard…








Fact or Fiction.

Virgos tend to be neurotic bitches.

(FACT !!!)

And there we see it, anecdotal evidence for the factual nature of astrology and star signs, I mean damn son that shits definitely realer than kim kardashian’s ass (and maybe even realer than Kanye’s promise for a  2020 presidency run).

As a pragmatic and logical person I naturally find myself scanning astrology and birth charts for some individual sign of personal accuracy and desirable advice, something I very personally (along with a probable 6 billion others) can use to either justify past actions or pre-meditate future ones. Its all written in the stars you know, its science really…

and thats exactly what the pseudo science of astrology tries to sell itself as, an exact science, when really its a market that has been driven by selling universally applicable ideas to individuals who are naively seeking guidance. Its success lies in our desperation for our lives and our actions to have meaning and to be tied to a universally divined path. Essentially the use of astrology is alined with our self satisying use ofpositive bullshit like ‘when one door closes another one opens’ which makes us feel  a-ok because life has a plan for us!. Life hasn’t forgotten us because that other door is opening !, it hasn’t forgotten us because Leo is supposed to offer us a change in the form of finance between the 22nd & the 23rd of this month !, don’t worry there is a universally derived PLAN !!!. 

This desire for order is intrinsic to the human condition, and as a new age phenomena astrology is the perfect low-key and low-involment way of allowing often logically driven people to introspectively and therefore guiltlessly indulge in what the universe will offer this month (will it be love or an office promotion, find out next week on ‘the star signs we live by’). 

Its popularity is also tied to the fact (see the way you can use ‘fact’ without actually using any evidence, v.concerning) that its message is not linked to an authority or derived from an overbearing figurehead. This allows us to feel like we are in control of our destiny when things are going right and that the randomness of the universe is at play when things of wrong. While you can blame a God for allowing your cousins cancer you can’t blame the universe because its just the natural path of life and death, its totally random. 

You can’t escape life, but you can change it. 

And that’s exactly what star signs offer all, a chance to reflexively consider our immediate futures and the actions we will undertake to direct them. Its kind of like visiting a guidance councillor only more immediate and introspective, we take away what we want to and add to it as we wish. We feel like its all going to be ok but it is still our actions which finally determine this.  

ps. Mercury is once again in retrograde for all (probably) so be open minded and something open-minded-y will happen (you’re welcome). 

‘Yeah I’ve heard of them…’


“Oh, ‘that band’ .. yeah I’m really into them”

We’ve all done it.

Whether its regarding a ‘positively life-changing‘ piece of art, a novel which is ‘so very poignant that it forces you to question your existence‘ or an album which ‘like totally blows your mind man‘ we’ve pretended to know it, often well, in order to seem “cool”.

It is an interesting trajectory that we transgress in our desire to be seen as “cool”, and one -it seems- that is entirely defined by who we surround ourselves with. I feel myself transition, in both language and presentation, depending simply upon the age group of the people I am in the company of. For example, at my Grandpa’s 80th just a few weeks ago I was the perfectly agreeable grand-daughter, one who loved study and pretended to have an understanding of the stock market in order to converse with the multitude of stock-brokers and accountants who regarded me. My aim was to impress, I wanted these 60-90 year olds to leave thinking how lovely, mature and un-teenagy I was. For what purpose? for acceptance. To feel comfortable with the image I projected and be interpreted by the group in terms of what they deemed as socially acceptable.

In comparison, after a few drinks at a social gathering with friends and peers I’ll be swearing like a solider and referring to Tony Abbott as an ‘Onion Eating Bigot’. You’ll also probably see me nodding emphatically as someone recites the works of a poet I’ve never heard of and calls them “transformative”. While surrounded by peers I will speak passionately about the “languid beauty” of foreign film and act as though I’ve heard of the obscure Swedish arthouse indie that just came out. Many times these lies are aspirational images we wish to perpetuate, I do, for example, have an interest in Foreign film but have never viewed Cinema Paradiso despite the fact I wish I had. The reason I may pretend at one house party to have listened to Bob Dylan’s entire works and at another to be familiar with the entire works of Saul Eslake’s economic vision for Australia is the same.

While I’ll be the first to decry my distain for anyone ‘fake’ (a sentiment that feels fairly ironic after what I just wrote) I do believe that there will always have to exist a certain component of ourselves which is fake. For all you Neysayers just try -and reflect a little here please- to tell me honestly that during a job interview or in a work environment you’ve never pretended to have a greater skill set or even knowledge base than you actually do. Tell me that you’ve never pretended to agree with your bosses perspective on Tolstoy’s War and Peace. That’s right you can’t, you wanted to be “cool” and informed didn’t you?.

In our bizarre and divergent job-sphere you could argue that every interaction we share can be seen as potential networking and that therefore the impression you wish to share is an agreeable and mutually affable one. This essentially means that we have commodified our daily interactions and used them as tools to gain access to certain environments which they would otherwise be denied. This is an idea that further develops into our representation of self through social media. From a business perspective social media can be your make or break, with most companies scanning your online presence before hiring you, the image you perpetuate has a huge impact. Further, the ability of your online presentation to be turned into a business in itself has had serious implications on the willingness of people to represent themselves in certain ways. I have admittedly, on multiple occasions, reconsidered posting a photo onto a social network, not because I want to avoid embarrassment (check out my instagram: nativecoast) but because it  hasn’t ‘fit’ with the way in which I wish to be perceived online. That is to say, it would reduce my cool factor.

With modern society dominated by the impacts of image and many relying on the impressions given off by both their virtual and real selves to gain careers one could argue that the little white lies we spill in order to be seen as “cool” make ‘good business sense’.