Millennial Matters: How the ‘lazy’ label conceals our young Saudi talents

In this day and age, milking cows is not required to survive, but being comfortable with technology definitely is

Maha Alrashed

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I do not know how to milk a cow, and my grandmother does not know how to write an email. My grandmother used to only listen to the radio for entertainment, while I get to play video games on virtual reality devices (which my grandmother describes as “shocking”). My grandmother and I are born in different times, and different times call for different skills to be acquired.

“Girls these days!” is a phrase I hear often when I’m around a group of older women. They complain that their daughters cannot do this and that, while overlooking the causes for their poor knowledge of certain skills. After all, we can only earn knowledge that we need, and how could we ever learn if everything is done for us? How can I, and why should I iron my clothes if the housemaid neatly places them every day in my closet?

I can hear countless people from the older generations refer to us millennials as “lazy.” If we are spoiled as you say, we cannot be spoiling ourselves. You may describe us as lazy, but it is because we know that we will find an easier way to do a certain task. Yes, there are some millennials who are lazy and useless, but then again, surely not all people in my grandmother’s generation were active or productive.

Us millennials do have our own achievements which cannot be dismissed. In 1961, there were only four female students (studying by correspondence) in King Saud University, which was the only university in Riyadh. In 2010, there were over 113,000 female students studying for their bachelor’s degree in the kingdom. Clearly, our generation is far more educated than any other living generation. Someone in my grandmother’s generation wouldn’t dream of going of going to Harvard, for instance, and becoming lawyers and doctors and studying abroad. We, as a generation, were given education as a golden opportunity and most of us intend to use it to ensure a bright future.

A window to the world

Our grandmothers may not be aware of the things we do when we’re tapping away on our smartphones and laptops for hours, and that is when they describe us as lazy. At the time, we could be completing a form online or engaging in a political conversation on an international blog.

Technology is our window to the international world. Through the internet, we are able to connect to different cultures, share and discuss ideas internationally, make friends across the globe, learn languages, and even learn skills that we don't learn at school.

Older generations need to remember that we are the products of their generation, and I believe that they need not worry, for we are learning the skills we need to live, thrive, and develop the modern world. In this day and age, milking cows is not required to survive, but being comfortable with technology definitely is.

Maha Alrashed is a high school student living in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. She writes in both Arabic and English on gender and social issues.