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Millennials are often considered pioneers of modern trends, from technology to social causes. However, many ideas associated with millennials have roots that predate them. While they have amplified and repopularized established concepts, they can’t take credit for inventing them. Let’s re-examine some things millennials are known for to separate facts from misconceptions about what they’ve originated.
The gig economy expanded with millennials, but people have always had side hustles to earn extra income.
Millennials advocate for gender equality in new ways, but efforts like women’s suffrage began generations before them.
Plant-based diets align with millennial values, but vegetarianism and veganism have long histories in many cultures.
The Digital Revolution
Millennials grew up during the rise of the internet, smartphones, and social media. While they were early adopters and influencers in these realms, they didn’t invent them. The foundational work for the internet, for instance, began way before they were born.
While many millennials are passionate about sustainability and eco-friendly practices, the environmental movement has roots in the 1960s and 1970s, long before they came onto the scene.
Millennials often get credit for prioritizing work-life balance. However, the desire for a balanced life has been a human pursuit for ages; millennials just have new platforms to voice it.
The Gig Economy
Platforms like Uber, Airbnb, and Fiverr might seem like millennial inventions, but the concept of freelancing and side hustles has been around for decades.
The minimalist trend, especially in fashion and home decor, is often associated with millennials. Yet, minimalism as a concept and design principle has been around since the mid-20th century.
Craft Beer and Artisanal Food
While millennials have certainly contributed to the boom in craft beer and artisanal foods, these industries have historical roots going back centuries.
Activism and Social Justice
Millennials are vocal about social issues, but they stand on the shoulders of previous generations who fought for civil rights, gender equality, and more.
The COVID-19 pandemic saw a surge in remote work, often associated with millennial preferences. However, telecommuting has been around since the 1970s.
From Netflix to Blue Apron, subscription services are booming. But the model itself? Magazines and newspapers have used it for ages.
Brands like H&M and Zara are staples for many millennials, but the concept of rapidly produced affordable fashion has its origins in the post-WWII era.
Platforms like Kickstarter have popularized crowdfunding, but the idea of pooling resources for a common goal is an age-old practice.
Open Office Spaces
Millennials are often blamed (or credited) for open office designs. In reality, the concept was introduced in the 1950s in Germany.
Mental Health Awareness
Millennials are more open about discussing mental health, but the movement to de-stigmatize mental illnesses began in earnest in the 20th century.
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Michelle Harler is the founder of Guide2Free, a website dedicated to finding and sharing freebies, product testing opportunities, and other ways to save money. With over a decade of experience in the industry, her expertise in finding quality offers makes Guide2Free an invaluable resource for anyone looking to try new products and save money.