Boomers are sexist bigots. Gen X have let down their children. Millennials are constantly moaning. What Gen Z REALLY thinks about you – and what the rest of us think about them

With their different perspectives, old and young have always disagreed on things.

Today, though, the generational divide seems more toxic than ever – with technology and so-called ‘woke culture’ driving a deepening wedge between the age groups.

Baby Boomers (those born roughly between 1946 and 1964) slate Gen Z (born after 1996) for being self-centred, rude and downright lazy; Gen Z call out the sexism of their grandparents’ generation. Meanwhile Gen X (born between 1965 and 1979) lambast ‘snowflake’ Millennials (born between 1980 and 1996), who are universally derided for their sense of entitlement and lack of direction. But who is right? Here, the four generations go head to head…

Baby Boomer: ‘Millennials are jealous of our money; Gen Z are spoilt

Travel writer and tour guide Jane Keightley, 66, from Boston, Lincs, has been married to Martyn, 68, for 46 years. They have a son, 42, daughter, 36, and four grandchildren, aged 14 to five. She says:

Gen Zer Ella Collins-Godden and Baby Boomer Jane Keightley give their generational opinions

We baby boomers have had it easy. Not only did we all buy houses for about £10, we enjoy full-salary pensions and are forever zipping off on holiday, spending the kids’ inheritance. Having had it all our own way, we are so self-centred that not only do we duck out of grandchildcare duties (we’re far too busy socialising for drudgery like that), but the dire state of the planet is down to us too.

Well, that’s what the three younger generations would have you believe. I think the main reason we’re judged so harshly is jealousy — they think we’re all rolling in it.

Yes, I am financially secure — my husband and I own our own home and he has a decent pension — but we do help the children out financially on occasion. And I certainly can’t be accused of shirking my grandparent duties. Ever since my eldest grandchild was born, I’ve been on tap for babysitting.

I must admit I do think Gen Z are spoilt, rude and have no manners. My 14-year-old granddaughter is always prancing about on TikTok; I do feel she is under a lot of pressure to be slim and gorgeous.

It’s a world away from my own childhood. My sister and I were out climbing trees, riding our bikes and building dens. As teens we loved dancing to Motown at the local weekly disco. Mum stayed at home and Dad had his own business. When I went on to marry, my husband, then a carpet salesman, and I bought a four-bed detached house for £14,500 in 1978.

Gen X and Millennials are constantly moaning that they have it harder but I’d argue they just have higher expectations, whether it’s a bigger house or a swanky car.

It’s the same when it comes to relationships. I met my husband at college when I was 16. Back in the Seventies, there was no ‘multi-dating’; when you met someone, you settled down. It might have been the punk era in London but that rebellious attitude didn’t reach Lincolnshire.

Entitled Millennials sometimes look down at women like me for not building a life-long career. They forget that back then many women had no choice but to stay at home. Besides, they have far better childcare and maternity leave now. I had to juggle all sorts of menial jobs in retail and admin around raising my son and daughter. I didn’t get to use my brain in a professional capacity and I feel resentful about that.

In my 40s, though, I got an Open University degree in Art History. I wanted to prove I could do it and have since carved out a career as a tour guide and travel writer.

Politically, I’m a product of where I live; it’s a rural market town and I have always supported the Conservative party. I’m not a political animal but come the general election I’m dithering about whether I’ll support the Tories. My MP was very snobby with me when I tackled him about women’s pensions.

As for marriage, we’re certainly the generation that sticks at it, unlike Gen X! My husband and I have nothing in common; he is sporty and never reads unless it’s about fishing. I hate sport and own about 5,000 books. The secret is to have things that are just for you.

Gen Z: ‘Gen X have kids… to be raised by nannies like me’

Nanny Ella Collins-Goddin is 23, is in a relationship and lives with her parents in Lancing, West Sussex. She says:

Watching our overworked Gen X parents has changed the way my generation approaches the work-life balance. As a nanny, I’ve worked for Gen X professionals who were never at home; what’s the point of having children only for them to be raised by someone like me?

Many of my mum’s friends have lost relationships and live what I consider to be pretty miserable lives because of their preoccupation with their careers.

Millennials look down at women like me for not building a life-long career 

Then there are the ‘drinky-drunky’ Gen X mothers who see their daily wine o’clock fix as a badge of honour for motherhood. Please!

I’m sure they’d all be the first to criticise the fact I choose to work only 15 hours a week. My job requires me to be flexible and I don’t earn a massive amount — I still live at home — but I get to spend time with my partner and actually enjoy my life.

Working long hours is seen as virtuous and self-sacrificing. No thanks! Gen Z wants to normalise working from home, the four-day working week and setting up a side business. I look after my mental health. If I’m having a down day it’s important I can tell my employer that I’m not coming in. No questions asked. My mum had a career as a dancer before having three kids. My youngest brother is 15 and it’s only now she’s gone back to university to do a degree. My parents are divorced and Mum worked as everything from a receptionist to a pageant coach when we were growing up.

But in other ways Gen X-ers like my mum, who’s 55, had a simple time of it; she never had to curate an online presence, for example. Though I think middle-aged women are more addicted to their phones than any other generation — my mum is forever scrolling Facebook.

After a bout of online bullying, I implemented a no-phone day each week when I’m not contactable or on social media. This is actually pretty normal among my friends. On the whole I think we’re the best at handling technology because it’s all we’ve ever known.

Yes, we love TikTok and are very aesthetics orientated, but whose fault is that? We didn’t invent this online world that encourages us to wear extremely sexualised clothing like crop tops and thong bikinis.

And don’t get me started on the Boomers. I only know a few — my grandmother is 81 — but I know they aren’t fond of my generation. From our point of view, their ingrained misogyny and sexism is shocking. The things they used to watch on TV like Benny Hill and ITV sitcom Mind Your Language; I joke when I visit one I have to turn my watch back 70 years.

Gen X's Faustina Anyanwu and Millennial Jessica Lorimer don't pull any punches

Gen X’s Faustina Anyanwu and Millennial Jessica Lorimer don’t pull any punches

That said, my generation is prejudiced in other ways. I live near Brighton, the LGBTQ capital of Britain, and there are places I can’t go to because I’m a straight white girl. Then there’s the significant neurodiverse section of my generation who constantly complain that ‘the normies [normal people] don’t understand’. We’re a very woke culture where you can’t debate issues in case you offend someone.

I’ve always supported Corbyn. He gets slated in the mainstream media but a lot of that is fake news. Today Labour is a wishy washy party; I’ll probably vote Green.

I once dated a Millennial who was a decade older than me and my impression is that they’re very confused. They don’t have a solid life plan; one Millennial friend is 30 and utterly directionless.

I’ve been seeing my boyfriend for a year. Contrary to the belief we only date online, we met IRL (in real life) through friends. Although some people I know are into polyamory, it isn’t for me. They only do it because they’re afraid of getting hurt if they commit to one person.

Gen X: ‘Gen Z are undoing the equality we fought for’

Entrepreneur Faustina Anyanwu, 46, from South-East London, is married with three daughters aged 17, 15, 13 and a son aged five. She says:

Some Baby Boomers still believe women should be ‘seen and not heard’. Those of my generation who have taken up the baton on equal rights are thought of as a nuisance. It seems to me we are the only ones who have continued to challenge the status quo. And we haven’t pulled up the drawbridge behind us like some of the successful women who came before us.

Yes, our mums led the way in the workplace but we were the first to demand men lifted a finger around the house. Unlike the Boomers, women today are more empowered to negotiate their position in a marriage.

We also fought against the sexual exploitation of women, campaigning to get rid of the likes of Page 3 topless models, for example. So it infuriates me that Gen Z are now demeaning themselves by stripping off for free, posting reels and images all over Instagram and TikTok. They are forever posing their ‘hot takes’, a term used to give their, largely unfounded, opinions. And their attitude to sex is shocking. Relationships have lost their sacredness. Love has become artificial. They have sex without a thought.

 It infuriates me that Gen Z are demeaning themselves by stripping off online

I was raised by strong women in an environment where education and hard work mattered. Mum was a secondary school language teacher who inherited her work ethic from my grandmother, who was a saleswoman. Two of my siblings are educated to master’s level and I have a degree in nursing. I met my husband when I was 25 and working as a midwife. He proposed on our third date and we’ve been together for 19 years. I had my first daughter at 27 and my youngest son, who’s five, was a surprise 13 years later.

My parents and grandparents didn’t live nearby so couldn’t help me with childcare. I had to do it all on my own, which certainly hindered my career. Although the Boomers taught us you could have it all, they were wrong. I fear for Gen Z who don’t want to hear opposing views. Recently at my daughter’s school there was an issue around racism.

Kudos to the school, they had the matter investigated independently and when the report concluded racism wasn’t a factor, the pupils wouldn’t accept it and demonstrated. But it’s dangerous to live in an echo chamber where those who don’t share our views are ‘cancelled’. As for the environment, ironically Gen Z are doing the least to help combat climate change. They want another phone, another laptop and are funding fast fashion.

If I see a pair of jeans I like costing £30, my daughter says she can get me three pairs for the same amount on an app like Shein.

One thing I would say about Gen Z is that they’ve made powerful inroads around mental health. It’s all they talk about and with the pressures they face, it can only be a good thing.

Millennial: ‘I blame our Gen X parents!’

Sales training consultancy business owner, Jessica Lorimer, 34, is married, childfree by choice and lives in Winchester, Hants. She says:

My generation is the most hard done by – everyone hates us! The misconception is that we’re lazy. Meanwhile Gen X and Gen Z hate what we wear, citing our skinny jeans as ridiculous and uncomfortable. There are social media accounts dedicated to slating our fashion.

We’re also the generation of eating disorders, all thanks to being raised by Gen X, who themselves were brought up on Bridget Jones obsessing about 9st 10lb being too heavy. Even now they’re far too try-hard.

As for the Boomers, they benefited from low property prices, low interest rates and have good pensions, and yet are forever moaning about young people.

We have four generations in my workplace so I’ve seen how the different communication styles and attitudes to work can cause issues. Boomers, Gen X and Millennials were all taught to work long hours, while Gen Z are more focused on work-life balance, not to mention social media; they genuinely see being an influencer as a career choice.

I think Millennials have had it hardest. We were hot housed at school and taught to chase perfectionism to the point of burnout. Tony Blair assured us any degree would get us a job. I did a theatre degree but what was the point? A retail Saturday job as a teenager proved much more beneficial.

We’re also the generation who’ve been fed a diet of dating apps, with dizzying amounts of ‘choice’. If we did settle down, we then typically ended up living with partners for a long time, unable to afford weddings or houses.

I met my husband on an app in 2021 but, unusually for my generation, we married a year later. While I was raised by my mum, my husband’s parents have been married for 45 years.

We have no plans to start a family. Concern for the environment is one of the reasons. I’ve always known I didn’t want them but I wouldn’t want to bring children into a world where climate change is such an issue.

My husband and I are focused on retiring between the ages of 45-50. It might sound unrealistic but we have had financial lessons with this in mind. We’ve invested in crypto currency, bought houses to rent out, invested in wine, stocks and shares – and I am on course to give up work in the next 15 years or so. So much for unmotivated Millennials!