An Open Letter to "True" 90's Kids

Dear "true" 90's kids,

I was born in 1996. To you, this fact prevents me from calling myself a 90’s kid. Yes, I’m aware that I didn’t grow up in the 90's. I’m actually fine with not being called a 90’s kid.  What I’m not fine with is that you have made it almost impossible for me and other "90’s babies" to take pride in our own childhood nostalgia and have any kind of connection with the era due to your obnoxious manner in expressing your "superiority."

I want to first inform you that we are actually part of the same generation. Officially, those born from the early 1980's to the late 2000's are considered "Millennials," and since your qualifications for being classified as a 90’s kid fall within the same time frame (1982 to 1995 in most cases, in case y’all forgot), this puts us both in the same generational group.

Knowing that other generations classify us as one and the same makes your egotistical attitude about your childhood years appear even more ridiculous. Do you really need to have a separate, exclusive group in order to feel special compared to the rest of our generation? Yes, you’re the front-runners of our generational group, but that puts you in the position as the "older kids." You’re the ones that are supposed to set a good example for the rest of us.

Your behavior towards 90s nostalgia has set a bad example for my age group, but luckily it’s one that we’ve learned a lot from. Thanks to you, most of us don't have the desire to rave about our own childhood memories while bashing others in the process. I don’t think it’s wrong that you guys are passionate about your experiences. You have the right to celebrate all the great things of which your childhood was comprised. Rather, it’s the manner in which you express your passion on social media that annoys me and my age group.

You act like other kids' nostalgia doesn't matter, and often go out of your way to make that clear. For instance, I’m an avid Full House fan, but since I was born in 1996, I’m often told I'm not a "true fan" because I wasn’t alive when it first aired. Since when does watching a show in its heyday prove one's fan-hood? You were fortunate to be alive to watch and remember it when it was filmed. I, on the other hand, was not, but that didn’t stop me from watching the entire series when I was seven. The show was an integral part of my childhood. I’m a fan of the show, and you can't denounce that just because of my age.

It’s also very upsetting that you often post 90’s kid appreciation articles that are embedded with negativity towards other generations. For example, I conducted a Google search on "90’s kids," and in less than ten seconds, my search provided me with several links to "things only true 90’s kids will appreciate" and lists of "reasons why 90’s kids had the best childhoods."


This leads me to believe that you don’t consider how this wording is offensive. If these posts were titled "Things that 90’s Kids Will Appreciate," I wouldn't complain; this phrasing identifies 90’s kids and celebrates the things unique to the generation while maintaining respect for other age groups. Exclusive diction like "true" and “only” makes it seem like you've put yourselves on a pedestal. I understand you want to take pride in your childhood, but this desire doesn’t give you the right to mark yourselves as the best. You don’t let my age group preach about our childhood years, so why should we tolerate your boasting? Let’s show each other some respect and cut the “I’m better than you” attitude.

Those born from 1996 to the early 2000's are the perfect age for several pop culture trademarks; we grew up with the Harry Potter series, Mean Girls, and The Hunger Games, just to name a few. Now I know you love to say that these were all part of your childhood, but they weren’t; by the time the last Harry Potter book was published in 2007, for instance, the oldest 90’s kid was twenty-five years old. On the other hand, I was eleven. I was still a kid, and had grown up with the series. By the time the last movie came out, I was still only fifteen. The series lined up perfectly with my own childhood and that of other 90’s babies', but we don't brag about it. Trust me, we’re tempted to when you speak of the grandeur of 90’s cartoons and how "everything’s gone downhill" since those ended, but we hold back. We don’t need to brag, because we know we’ve had sweet childhoods and don’t need your validation.

Try to realize that this resentment isn't because we want to be like you-- it's because we're fed up with your smug behavior. We shouldn’t have to feel like we can’t express our own nostalgia just because you make us feel like our childhoods weren't as iconic as yours. If you try to understand where we’re coming from and improve your behavior, we could have the potential to get along better, and possibly be one of the best generations in history. I have faith that we both have the ability to respect one another, but you have to get off your 90's high horse, first.


Elizabeth Kane


Images: 1, 2*

*Screenshot courtesy of author