Yesterday I was talking to a friend who’d recently been shopping for new bras. Because she hadn’t been professionally fitted for a number of years, she went to an upscale department store, where the saleswomen are trained to measure for the proper size and shape bra. The saleswoman told my friend that a woman’s bustline, when viewed in profile, should fall halfway between the shoulder and elbow. My immediate reaction was to turn sideways and ask her if my chest ‘hung’ in the proper place. “Nope, it falls about here,” she answered, holding her hand three-quarters of the way between my shoulder and elbow.
Later in the day this whole issue started to nag at me. Why do we insist that everyone fit some sort of mold? Not long ago, I attended a seminar put on by the New York Times that dealt with the question of whether traditional newspapers will cease to exist as more and more people get their news electronically. According to their research, baby boomers still get most of their correspondence and pay their bills by snail mail; do their banking at the bank; get their news from traditional printed newspapers and magazines; have no idea what a blog is; do not text or use instant messaging; probably have a cell phone but also still have a landline; do not participate in social networking sites such as Facebook; don’t own an iPod, listen to music on CD’s, and feel no need to be electronically connected 24/7.
On the other hand, those born into the Millennial Generation (also referred to as Gen Y’ers and generally considered to be those born since the early 1980’s), are highly likely to own a computer and be electronically connected 24/7, receive most of their correspondence and pay all their bills online; do their banking online; get most of their news on the Internet; write and read blogs; communicate primarily by texting and instant messaging; have at least one account on a social networking site; and have ONLY a cell phone.
If this profile of the two generations is accurate, where do I fit in? Born in 1952, I am definitely a member of the baby boom generation. But, I feel naked without my laptop and I am electronically connected 24/7. I do all my banking online, pay all my bills online, and get very little snail mail. In most cases, if it can’t be emailed, I don’t get it. I own an iPod and all my music is electronic. I have ONLY a cell phone. I text, IM, and Tweet. I can’t remember the last time I read a traditional newspaper; I tend to get all my news from the NY Times, CNN, and BBC online editions. I blog regularly and have accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. I even have a YouTube channel. Am I a baby boomer who acts like a Millennial? A Gen Y’er who was born out of sequence?
OK, OK, I am being sarcastic…oops….snarky. But I am leading up to an important point. Among other ills, this country is suffering from a dearth of creativity and individuality. We are too quick to “put people into boxes” and even quicker to expect everyone to fit a certain mold. Rather than striving for some ridiculous image of perfection, why not celebrate our differences and revel in the riches that come from this diversity. As for my boobs – well, the fact that they hang three-quarters of the way between my shoulder and elbow instead of midway between simply means that my arms are short. And I am delighted that I don’t fit the mold.