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Breeding Greed: The Materialistic GenY

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By Naini Singh:

To all those reading this piece, be appeased by a disclaimer I am ready to issue- not every single individual who is part of the deemed and damned Generation Y fits into the emerging stereotype I am about to reinforce right now. There are many young adults who earn their own bread through college and save as much as they can when they start working. These kids are smart, motivated and know that the only one watching their back is themselves only. They put in the long hours. They don’t depend on anyone but themselves and have a strong work ethic. They may have rich parents, or they may have not very rich parents. They’re not being mentioned here, because more than serving as a role model, they exist in small numbers today.

I will, however, scrutinize the larger population that is financially unaccountable and materialistically insatiable. This large group is defined not by a particular social strata or ethnic group or city. It extends across states and languages, and is marked by a derisive need to assign self-esteem and respect according to their material possessions, determined by their standing in their social circles. The meaning and importance of the concept of ‘popularity’ has changed since the early 2000s. It became less about what kind of friends you have, and more about the number of acquaintances who could work as quasi-pals; less about personality, more about purchasing parity. Consumerism has found itself a permanent niche in the 18-25 group, where style takes priority over social compatibility, because what’s the point of having good skills if you don’t have a way of putting them on your back? There’s a reason why companies with agendas to push sales target this age group- not just because they can easily be swayed through pop culture and gimmicks, but because a large number of households making long-term investments in property or purchases in technology and facilities do so only after consulting with their children. The average teenager is well informed and well equipped to make decisions that often leave their parents confused. Parents pressed for time or lost in a sea of many choices that they’re not used to picking from leave those decisions to their children, apportioning them with immediate authority, often tilting the power balance in their favor.

This entire trend of ‘materialism’ manifests as a result of the lack in passing on of true money values from parents to their children. In a time when many households have both parents working and portions of family time that shrink with every passing month, a large communication gap and lesser accountability for expenditure ensure that young adults find the notion and need for personal savings redundant. With parents finding lesser incentive to give advice, their children find lesser reason to listen to whatever fiscal wisdom that ever comes their way. For one, while there is an apparent development in the last decade in the often frivolous outlook of the youth, what with the superficiality and the ridiculous sensitivity to ‘fitting in’, I am compelled to also argue that most of this emerges from the exaggerated label by a national and international social media that feeds itself in this cycle- creating the perception of a generation of mindless drones who only want to buy-buy-buy, and then serving the interests of this group. Not knowing better, a young generation imbibes what it sees everywhere- swallowing this image of what they are supposed to be like without any qualms. And this young generation’s only fault? Being impressionable.

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  1. meenakshi Gandotra

    it is true there is a large no. of youth going for the Buy & fit in concept but it is not only their fault.The whole cycle starts with loss of parental guidance and teachers with this the media too plays an important role.It should be the elders responsibility to guide and facilitate the thinking process of the youth.
    Criticising youth will only lead to gap but understanding each others view through talks and sharing ideas is how one can get the youth in balance with the real situation.

  2. praveen

    It is definitely showing in the GenY consumer behaviour, but with the global blow to this type of economy, i think there would be repercussions here also.They may change there trend when the effects start visible here in india. The crucial point should be – how will they bring up there children? Would they change with global wave of change? Would they not resist & mend their ways ?
    GenY is the line between the old experience & the new ways, they are crucial in leading the way.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

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A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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