Matt Honan has a tumblr and he has written about how Generation X doesn’t want to hear it. [via lis_sy_ on twitter]
It was this paragraph that struck me in particular:
In fairness, Generation X could use a better spokesperson. Barack Obama is just a little too senior to count among its own, and it has debts older than Mark Zuckerberg. Generation X hasn’t had a real voice since
Kurt Cobain blew his brains out, Tupac was murdered, Jeff Mangum went crazy, David Foster Wallace hung himself, Jeff Buckley drowned, River Phoenix overdosed, Elliott Smith stabbed himself (twice) in the heart,Axl got fat.
[paragraph as written in linked article]
I really don’t care that Axl got fat, he’s still got that voice and that hair, and hey I don’t look like I did when he was skinny and I was 16 either. I wouldn’t kick him out of bed, unless he was nasty to the cat. But it made me wonder, who would be the feminist Gen Xer to put in that list? Remembering that it is American centric, who is the out there spokeswoman who should be in that list?
Categories: gender & feminism, Life
Janeane Garafalo, Margaret Cho, Sinead O’Connor, everyone in Sleater Kinney, everyone in Le Tigre (though Kathleen Hanna looks a little hipstery with her giant ugly glasses these days)
That’s a start.
Doesn’t really count for the US, but JK Rowling (b.1965) is an interesting Gen X voice – not especially feminist perhaps, but certainly not anti-feminist.
Liz Phair (1967) is probably a bit too hipster obscure?
Salma Hayek (1968) would probably be considered too un-American.
The rest of this list of celebrity Gen-Xers is not especially inspiring.
How about three Naomis: Klein, Wolf, Watts?
Okay, shoving in an Australian slant here, how about our own PM, Ms Julia Gillard (born 1961)? Gen X, female, and with a demonstrable feminist consciousness. She’s also (as our media keeps reminding us) not married (by choice) and not a mother (again, probably by choice). So I’d certainly list her as an option.
It’s also worth noting she’s probably the first in the generation X cohort of politicians to hit the international scene (she was in there as deputy PM of Australia before Obama was elected President, so I figure she counts). So she’s a trailblazer in another sense as well.
Wait, you have/had a crush on Axl Rose?? Am I thinking of the right Axl?
I’m starting to think that this might be the wrong kind of question. The majority of generation X is extremely at home with technology to the point where you can almost pin down someone’s year of birth against how good with a computer they are (up to a point – around 1990). Part of that has been a drift away from the centralised method of learning and info-gathering.
For instance; the town’s newspaper used to be the way you got announcements out to all your relatives and acquaintances that you couldn’t be stuffed ringing personally. You know, births, deaths and marriages in the classifieds. Now, you update your facebook and anyone you care enough about to click “accept” on a friend request knows about it.
This drift away from one soap-box per location and onto one soap-box per person means that leaders of the whole group don’t seem to exist. Or phrased differently, I have people to follow, but they’re not people that the whole generation is following – there isn’t really any one person that’s a leading light for the whole generation like that.
Which is wonderful from my perspective: I don’t have to pretend to like things to fit in, like I would have a generation beforehand… 😛
Wait, what kind of bracket are people saying Gen X fits into? I must be 20 years out going by the names here.
Jason, I’m presuming you’ve googled it by now? there’s a bit of disagreement over whether the cohort begins with birth years 1960 or 1965 or somewhere in between, but there’s fairly strong agreement that the cohort ends with birth year 1981-2.
I guess I’m on the cusp between Boomer and Gen-X, depending on whose numbering is used.
Yeah, I had it completely mixed up. This whole time I had it in my head that it was “born late 1970s-1990″.
Incidentally, a lot of things retrospectively make a bit more sense now.
For me, as a Gen-X feminist, my cultural influences in young adulthood would have all been from music, since music was the centre of my life: Tori Amos, Bjork, Annie Lennox, k d lang, Pat Benatar, Madonna… not necessarily feminist voices, but they were certainly my inspiration as empowered women.
As far as Gen-X aged feminist spokespeople… I would have once said Naomi Wolf… but not any more. I’m not sure.
@bluemilk are you thinking of this Axl Rose? If so, then yes.