Why ‘being a mess’ is so hot right now (and it’s pissing off Gen Xers)

I have the type of girlfriends who let it all hang out.

Sure, they have decent jobs, nice homes and expensive hand towels.  But beneath their organized purses, symmetrical eyebrows and iron pressed skirts — lies a real human, with a trespassing chin hair and a fart begging to escape an enslaving pair of Spanx.

And they’re not ashamed to admit it. Even my most “prudish” friend recently solicited help in deciphering a genital wart from an ingrown via SnapChat.

Like it or not, millennial messes are out there, and they’re loving every minute of it. As active participants of Generation Y “generation overshare,” ‘being a mess’ is no longer a woman’s dirty little secret: it’s a celebrated liberty.

We’re a generation that challenges the lopsided portrayals of women with crass headlines that make grandma grab her rosary. Millennial ‘trend pieces’ about farts getting stuck in your vagina, hiding poop in your purse and shoving weed in your crotch are being shared and posted on the regular.

To be fair though, Kate Middleton’s Easter Sunday outfit isn’t a ‘relatable’ read when you’re gongshowing your way through unemployment, Tinder life and being broke AF.

But these candour conversations are only adding fodder for Gen Xers who are tired of our shit. In case you’re just tuning in, we’ve been labelled “generation me.”  According to a recent New York Times article, millennials are using way too many exclamation marks and CNBC suggests we’re” entitled, lazy, narcissistic and addicted to social media.” We need to cut the bullshit and stop idolizing being a mess.

I’ll admit this bearded hoverboard culture is kind of uncomfortable and napping under your desk in a homemade hammock is pretty bold. It’s also uninspiring to devalue your health, youth and opportunities by being a messy joke.

But let’s not forget that millennials are the most collaborative and inclusive generation to date.   We’ve learned that open communication can be kryptonite for anxiety and mental illness.  And we just really like having dogs around the office!!!!!!

I get it though — messy is a scary word. Messy is dirty, disorganized, shameful, imperfect. Messy isn’t very lady-like. Webster’s defines its antonym as clean, methodical, careful and systematic…aka the characteristics of a serial killer.

Let’s be perfectly honest, there’s a dusting of mess in every woman. Maybe she’s consistently 3 hours late. Maybe her bedroom looks like Steven Avery’s (post key planting). Maybe she put poop in her purse  to avoid a first date floater. (Brb, just remembered I left laundry rotting in the machine again).

The disgustingness varies, some women just hide her better than others. I’m not gonna lie, deep down it’s a delightful relief to discover a “closet mess.” Not just the woman with (god forbid) mismatched hangers…the one who looks like Kim Kardashian, yet has a bedroom littered in stale thongs and curdled Cheerio bowls.

Avant-garde comedians like Amy Schumar, Lena Dunham and Chelsea Handler are the Bridget Jones’ for millennials, but on steroids. Their bold ‘trainwreck’ behaviour is shaking up the female stereotype, one boozy-masturbation-tale at a time. 

In a recent female comedy roundtable in the Hollywood Reporter, SNL’s Kate McKinnon tributes her sense of humour to exploiting the things inside of her that are “objectionable” and “celebrating them.”

“Because, there’s nothing funny about a confident person who’s doing well.”

Not only is it super unfunny, but it’s remarkably unlikeable. I have zero interest in pursuing a friendship with a perfect human — my girls gotta have grit. Even my spirit animal Oprah is a little messed up (sorry O, but what kind of a rational human talks about bread that much?). 

But of course, there’s still a cult of superhumans who wear their self-diagnosed OCD like it’s a badge of honour. You know the lineup: Kelly the self-proclaimed “neat freak,” who finds cleaning “therapeutic.” Miranda  “swims in Purell” and is “totally grossed out” by door handles. And Leah’s husband is “the worst” at loading the dishwasher.

If ironing your panties is your authentic self — cool, you do you. As long as it’s genuine, you’re doing yourself proud. Quick reminder though: this isn’t 1952, fresh laundry and perfect hair isn’t a female requirement. And we all know how harmful the pressure of perfection can be on our tribe.

It’s a problem that’s still prevalent with Gen Ys. According to a study last year by the University of Kansas, millennial women are burning out in the workforce. Females are leaving journalism jobs due to “higher rates of exhaustion,” “role overload” and “feeling less support from their organization.”

And with all of the parts women play on a daily basis, role overload is very real. Hiding your inner Roseanne Barr in a June Cleaver costume, is painfully exhausting (for both the performers and spectators).

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that a new wave of feminism involves cupping farts and orchestrating armpit symphonies with your colleagues. It’s important to ‘read the room’ and preserve respectful boundaries. But isn’t it exciting that women are starting to feel free to be human? And staying true to the millennial stereotype, I take full advantage of my liberties. 

Now, let’s all take a moment to appreciate that even Kate Middleton takes dumps.

best friends


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