As a younger millennial, I think most of the common jokes thrown around about my generation are kind of warranted. I mean, we once thought it was revolutionary humor to put mustaches and bacon on every possible piece of merchandise — in hindsight, that was pretty stupid of us. The Gen Z crowd on TikTok, particularly, seems to get a thrill out of roasting their slightly older peers like this, and usually, I’m down to laugh along with them. But I have to draw the line now that our beloved side-parts have become part of the slander.
For a hot minute now, a contentious TikTok feud has been brewing between Gen Z and millennials over whether it’s better to part one’s hair to the side or down the middle (huge partisan issue, I know). As far as anyone can tell, it all began when user @missladygleep made this bold statement last July: “Prove me wrong, but I don’t think there is a single person who looks better with a side part than they do a middle part.”
We all know how short the life cycle of a TikTok meme can be, but it’s been about seven months and my For You page is still accumulating videos of people arguing for or against this. I’ve watched countless TikTok teens (who we all know are fond of center-parted mullets and shag haircuts) part their hair to the side and scoff in embarrassment. I’ve also seen more than a few 30-year-olds part their blunt cuts down the middle and realize they look more like Lord Farquaad than they do Kylie Jenner.
Skinny jeans and the laugh-crying emoji, other staples of “millennial culture” have also been touted by the youths as lame in recent months. And truly? I would just like for Gen Z to please stop giving a fuck about how we’re not as “cool” as they are. I know I sound like I’m whining (this is all in good fun, and I know that not all teens are judgmental), but I have a point, I promise.
For people within a certain age range, the side-part had a distinct role in self-discovery. We were raised primarily by baby boomers who considered middle-parts the standard because they grew up at a time when that was extremely popular. In the 1990s and 2000s, before some of y’all were even born, we looked for little ways to make ourselves stand out, or, in other words, rebel, from our folks. Maybe it’s just my experience, but having big, swoopy side bangs with the part to match used to enthrall me specifically because it wasn’t what my parents were into. And I guess, for lots of millennials, that look just stuck. We finessed it over time, but I guess most people my age just got comfortable seeing themselves with that specific hair.