16 Times GenX Was Totally Forgotten And Misunderstood

Generation X are those awesome humans who were born between 1965 and 1980. When it comes to generations, GenX is the most likely to be overlooked and misunderstood. Sandwiched between the larger Baby Boomer and Millennial generations, GenXers have had their share of struggles and triumphs and deserve their voice (and memories) to be heard. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and remember 16 times when GenX was totally forgotten and misunderstood.

Video Killed The Radio Star

mtv logo on phone
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In the 1980s, MTV revolutionized the music industry with its round-the-clock music videos. This is when “Video Killed The Radio Star,” which might explain the Boomer hostility. GenXers grew up watching their favorite bands on MTV but rarely get credit for being the first generation to enjoy this music video phenomenon. Instead, “Best Of… ” articles often skip GenX music altogether.

The Grunge Movement Alternative

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When Nirvana and other Seattle bands burst onto the scene in the early 1990s, GenX embraced the grunge style with flannel shirts, ripped jeans, and combat boots. Bands like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and Radiohead dominated the alternative rock scene as GenX rocked along with them. Yet, Millennials love to claim this era, acting like GenX was already asleep in their rocking chairs.

The Birth of Reality TV

Man and Woman Streaming Reality Show
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Shows like “The Real World” and “Survivor” paved the way for the reality TV craze that followed. GenXers were the first to experience the voyeuristic thrill of watching real people navigate unscripted situations on television. GenXers played a significant role in shaping the reality TV craze. However, their impact on the genre is frequently overlooked for more recent shows such as The Bachelor And Real Housewives.

The Internet Revolution

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GenX witnessed the birth of the internet and the rapid advancements in technology that followed. From the static and screeching of dial-up internet to smartphones, this generation easily adapted to the digital age, yet their contributions to tech innovation are often overlooked. The truth is, without GenX, there would be no Google, Yahoo, eBay, PayPal, Craigslist, or Twitter. 

Let The Games Begin!

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GenXers grew up playing classic video games like Pac-Man and Super Mario Bros. As the gaming industry exploded, this generation embraced new consoles and genres, laying the groundwork for today’s gaming culture. Now, we have about 162 million homes with video gamers, many of them millennials and GenZ who’ve forgotten GenX even exists. 

The Brat Pack

Los Angeles circa 1991 Anthony Michael Hall leaves Roxbury nightclub
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In the ’80s, actors like Molly Ringwald, Emilio Estevez, and Judd Nelson formed the iconic Brat Pack, starring in coming-of-age films that resonated with GenX. Despite their cultural impact, this group of actors is sometimes overshadowed by other Hollywood stars. While that era of movies seems to be forgotten, it could be argued that stars such as the Brat Pack helped mold today’s society. 

Hip-Hop’s Golden Age

LL cool j album
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Artists like Run-D.M.C., LL Cool J, and Public Enemy dominated the hip-hop scene in the ’80s and ’90s, blending beats and lyrics into a powerful cultural force. GenX was right there with them, pushing them to stardom, yet their influence and contributions to the genre are sometimes overlooked. In the words of Marcus Reeds at VH1, “You can’t compare” the rappers of today with those whom GenX brought onto the scene. 

The GenX Work Ethic

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Known for their independence, resilience, and adaptability, GenXers entered the workforce during turbulent times and navigated economic challenges with a strong work ethic. Despite their contributions to the professional world, this generation’s achievements are sometimes overshadowed.

As of 2018, GenX made up 51% of the leadership roles in the business world forging their way into a new work day. Their work ethic drove the job force in ways that even Forbes had to acknowledge.

GenX Parenting

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GenX parents approached parenting with a blend of traditional values and modern sensibilities, balancing work and family life with creativity and flexibility. Their parenting style, characterized by independence and resilience, has influenced how future generations raise their children. GenX was the first generation to admit and teach that former discipline methods could be abusive and the first ones to embrace mothers in the workforce. Yet many Millennials would swear GenX has no idea how to parent.

The Changing Climate

Using of charge station, solar panel and windmill background. Sustainability assessment, renewable energy concept. Electric vehicle using sustainable source, wind generator. Saving, climate change.
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GenXers were at the forefront of the environmental movement in the 1990s, advocating for issues like climate change and sustainability. GenXers have seen the effects of climate change firsthand, from extreme weather events to rising sea levels. They have been vocal advocates for environmental conservation and sustainability, yet their activism is sometimes forgotten by Millennials and GenZ, who also have concerns.

The Rise Of Streaming Services

African American Streaming And Watching Movie On TV Screen
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GenXers have embraced the convenience of streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. They have bid farewell to cable TV and embraced a new era of on-demand entertainment. Now, GenZ spends around $377 a month on streaming services, with no idea that GenX basically opened that door.

The Rise of Independent Cinema

Quintin Tarantino
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GenXers embraced indie films like “Pulp Fiction” and “Clerks,” ushering in a new era of independent cinema. You could say that their support for indie filmmakers helped launch the careers of directors like Quentin Tarantino and Kevin Smith. Yet, their contributions to the film industry are sometimes overshadowed.

Cold War Depression

cold war illustration
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Okay, we will admit, the Boomers actually started this one, but while baby boomers are often credited with ending the Cold War and The Depression, GenXers were raised in its influence. GenX grew up with parents who passed down Depression-era survival tactics, such as saving everything, eating cheap, and sewing or patching their clothing. They hid under school desks, waiting for the “bomb” that thankfully wasn’t coming. Their experiences living in a post-Cold War and Depression world shaped their worldview, yet they’re often misunderstood because of it.

Tear Down That Wall!

Mr Gorbachev - Tear Down This Wall!, Kulturkaufhaus Dussmann, Berlin-Mitte
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While Millennials may remember the fall of the Berlin Wall as a momentous event, GenXers were the ones who witnessed it firsthand. They were the ones who were watching the screen as those words were spoken. GenX had hidden under desks and in hallways from more than tornadoes and were finally seeing a potential end to the fear. 

While other generations may not understand them, the end of the Cold War and the reunification of Germany were defining moments for GenX, shaping their views on politics and global affairs.

The Challenger Disaster

challenger space shuttle
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The explosion of the space shuttle Challenger in 1986 was a tragic event that shocked the nation. Many GenXers remember watching the disaster unfold. It was on live TV in classrooms across the US because a teacher was on board for the first time.

Many GenXers were teenagers at the time and stood in shock and unbelief, marking a moment of collective grief and loss. It’s another moment that helped shape the personalities of many GenXers and left them misunderstood and forgotten.

Don’t You Forget About Me

generation x on wall
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Although GenX may be forgotten, overlooked, and misunderstood at times, their influence and legacy are undeniable. From cultural trends to social movements, GenXers have left their mark on the world and will continue to do so for years to come. Let’s not forget the generation that gave us so much and continues to inspire us every day!

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