Are traditional values the new counter-culture?

A traditional family

Matthew, a 34 years old computer programmer living and raised in New York city, got her better half off guard two days ago when after lunch he uttered these words: «Honey? I am gonna set a Christmas tree up in the afternoon…Do you believe it would be better placing it in the corridor or you’d rather opt for the living room?». The reaction of Lisa, a redhead breathtaking Italian beauty was in between amusement and concern. She simply couldn’t believe that those words came out from the mouth of a dude that had done anything but throwing scorn towards traditional habits, customs, celebrations and so on over the last decade. Apparently, though, Matthew is just one belonging to an army of guys who are currently re-embracing long-standing traditions and habits partially forgotten by masses of Generation X and Millennials.


Millennials more traditional than previous generations?


According to a study carried out by Nielsen, Millennials generation love Christmas jingles indeed much more than other generations including the Generation X, the one immediately precedent the former. It seems that 36% of the music passionate between 18 and 34 years old are great aficionados to Christmas jiingles which turn out to be 40% more than the corresponding baby boomers jiingle lovers.

David Bakula, who is the Nielsen’s senior VP of Industry Insights, expresses his disbelief in this way:

I thought that, because so much of Christmas music is rooted in classics from the ‘50s and ‘60s, boomers would be the biggest fans.


Christmas songs


Furthermore, another really interesting study appeared on the Sunday Review Do Millennial Men Want Stay-at-Home Wives?. The nitty-gritty of this article is basically that Millennials, who were supposed to be the generation that ultimately would put the gender inequality behind their backs according to a script that has been rolled out for ages by the ‘mainstream narrative’, are ‘rolling back’ the clock hands instead.

As a matter of fact, Millennials are flipping this script and re-embracing traditional gender norms for which men are the ‘breadwinners’ and women more prone to raise kids at home. Rolled out in this way the issue seems quite strong but the reality is that all of this is happening despite the fact that either men or women belonging to the Millennials firmly believe in the principle of equality of roles and opportunities among them.

Millennials have reversed the trend started since 2000 which have seen the percentage of those rejecting the gender role differentiation steadily climbing up.


Is society regressing or simply re-establishing harmony?


The reasons behind this apparent ‘u-turn’ may be many but one of the main ones to be highlighted is a sort of lashing back at the 90s feminism that wanted women to pursue it all and saw them inevitably getting frustrated due to the challenge to find a balance between family duties and work ones which turned out to be too daunting and demanding in most of the cases. Another important one seems to be the frustration of Millennials males engendered by the 2008 economic downturn which has practically erased their earning power. As a consequence, they feel like being deprived from their role of breadwinners and inevitably wind up assuming a confrontational stance against women who appears as fearsome competitors. Women, in turn, may feel threaten in their brand new role as individuals legitimated to pursue a career as much as men do. The fight, though, have been wearing off both of them over the last decade and it seems that a renovated will of concord and harmony is being pursued recently.

After many years of claims of supposedly denied social rights by the more variegated segments of our contemporary society that have stretched out the meshes of the social fabric to include them all on behalf of justice, freedom and democracy, a new wind seems to be blowing right now. Someone would label this as “conservatism”, others “nostalgia” for a world that no longer exists and so on. We would surely agree with this interpretation of the facts going on if the blowers were baby boomers who used to live that world made up of ‘traditional values’.

The fact is, though, that those whom are pulling the bride of this very beginning of what it look likes a process of reversal of values aimed at re-embracing the more traditional ones are Millennials, that represent a generation which most likely has grown up amid a wave of “progressivism” during the 2000s without pair. Neverthless, they are in need of changing something in their angles and strategies to reach a new balance and harmony to come to terms with their busy and convoluted lives in many cases.


Millennials Couple


They seem to be trying to re-establish some steady standpoints, some norms and values that fit better with their current condition and really help them out get by with the complexity of the contemporary life.

We will not be able to come to any valuable conclusion here since it appears to be too early for that but surely it is possible to affirm that there are already enough data to drive us towards some reflections and meditation. If there is a preliminary acknowledgement to be made is that Millennials are starting making their own way towards a change of direction in the ‘evolution of values’. Those that appeared to be obsolete just a couple of years ago are slowly becoming the backbones of what it seems to be a new emerging counter-culture.


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