Why we shouldn’t shame younger people for liking objects of our nostalgia

Art by Gianne Encarnacion

Mean Girls was released 13 years ago. Feel old yet?

This could be one of those nostalgia tweets (that’s since become a meme), but it’s actually something that I remembered after seeing my 12-year-old cousin’s Snap story. It’s a still from the Jingle Bell Rock scene from Mean Girls — an iconic one that’s been replicated and parodied ‘til time’s end: The Plastics and Cady are in their Santa costumes, arms raised for the finale. Over the pixelated photo is the text “Mean Girls ahahaha”.

Casual, yes. But it also got me thinking of how the movie came out in 2004, which happens to be the same year my cousin was born. I shadily replied “lol that movie is as old as you,” then proceeded to tweet about it.  

At the time, I thought my observation was funny. Subtle, but witty enough for a tweet. My cousin is 12 going on 13 now, and recently she’s been getting interested in lots of the cultural cornerstones that I enjoyed and/or was obsessed with when I was younger.  

Suddenly, she’s looking for all of Titanic-era Leo DiCaprio’s movies on Netflix, and telling me that she misses High School Musical-era Zac Efron. She pipes in on our conversations on the Drake and Josh reunion and nigahiga’s How to be a Ninja video, and tells me that she wants to marathon Teen Wolf and The Vampire Diaries.

My initial reaction whenever she’d tell me these things used to be a mix of indifference and shade. Like, “Ugh I swooned over the ending of A Cinderella Story way before you did!”

 

My initial reaction whenever she’d tell me these things used to be a mix of indifference and shade. Like, “Ugh I swooned over the ending of A Cinderella Story way before you did!”

 

But lately, I’ve been feeling guilty about this whole “I’m way more superior because I grew up watching Hannah Montana attitude.” As a cusp Generation Z-millennial person, I can’t count the times that a kuya/tita/generally older person asked me how I knew about classics like Breakfast at Tiffany’s or Pretty in Pink. “Ipinanganak ka na ba nang lumabas ‘yan?” is the baby boomer equivalent of my “lol that movie is as old as you,” and the tone that comes from a question or statement like that is discouraging.  

In case you need reminding: the Internet exists! It’s how we discovered almost everything that contributes our life-building, whether they’re from this decade or the last. It was only a matter of time before the kids of today grew up and followed suit.  

This cycle is interesting — how we all tend to be possessive of the objects of our nostalgia, as if another generation doesn’t deserve to enjoy it because they weren’t there when it came out. Kind of like how a former bunso uses every chance to assert his superiority over the new bunso.  

I get it: these pieces of culture carry with them personal memories and are meant to be enjoyed within their respective contexts. But that doesn’t mean that they can’t last beyond the eras they were made in. Any quality show, album, or movie is meant to be timeless, after all.  

So instead of rolling your eyes whenever you see a high schooler tweet about something you love, like Destiny’s Child or Dramione fanfiction, welcome them to the (fan) club. Offer up your wisdom on whatever they’re starting to get into. Give them episode recommendations and let them in on the inside jokes. The more the merrier.  

It’s high time that we break the cycle of generation shaming. Don’t want to turn into that cranky old geezer who hates change and growth, amirite?

TLDR; don’t throw shade at your little sister or brother for enjoying Mean Girls 13 years after you watched it or else you will get old and die.

Tags:
#movies #self #tv

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