Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Generation O

Everywhere, on payphones and stuck onto sidewalks, we're being forced to "Meet Generation O," the "trenders, spenders, and recommenders." O stands for the Oxygen Network as it aims for the demographic of young women "who consume heavily and influence others' spending patterns."

Look at this image of young womanhood: She's on the cell phone, preoccupied, tuned out. She's got a giant handbag and a giant shopping bag. She is walking. She is about to walk straight into you. She is about to hit you with one of her bags. She is about to hit you with her cell-phone elbow. She will call you a jerk after she hits you. Or she will just ignore you.



Hating this image makes me feel like a misogynist and I hate that it makes me feel that way. But I do hate this image. I don't think this was the idea post-feminism had in mind.

I can hardly express how much it makes me miss the brainy young women of New York City. The ones with funky glasses and clunky shoes. The ones who read books. The ones who think of other things, and talk of other things, besides shopping and real estate. The ones who were pushed to the margins, then pushed out. My heart aches for the return of those nerdy girls.

42 comments:

Joshua said...

Don't bother feeling bad about hating her, she has no problem whatsoever feeling superior to you.
Or pushing you out of your city for that matter.

Anonymous said...

J, in another era, there was another word for these Generation O females: harpies.

Laura said...

She looks really annoying to me.

I was one of those clunky bookish girls - and still a New Yorker (though in Canada) - always will be, though it no longer feels quite like my home when I go back and visit family...

Cari said...

We miss you too. We've all moved to Portland.

Anonymous said...

I've been reading your blog for about a year. I'm a brainy young woman in my mid-twenties.

My whole generation isn't made up of Yunnies, ya know. Some of us moved here old school style (no rich parents, etc) to chase creativity and to meet interesting folks. I keep on keepin' on in the East Village just to spite my Yunnie peers (and because I love living in the East Village).

Perhaps you should run a feature on young non-Yunnies that are keeping it real.

Also, we should meet for a milkshake, because I have a total cyber crush on you.

Romy said...

We should thank Oxygen for giving a solid definition to that group of yucky girls who do nothing but blab on their cell phones and shop. I looked up the definition of "O" in the dictionary. One of the meanings of "O" is Zero. So I looked up the meaning of Zero, and here is a list of definitions:

# indicating the absence of any or all units under consideration; "a zero score"
# nothing: a quantity of no importance;
# a mathematical element that when added to another number yields the same number
# of or relating to the null set (a set with no members)
# zero: having no measurable or otherwise determinable value

So it would seem that this name they've been given is really very apt. Kind of delightful, don't you think?

Anonymous said...

we're here! we just don't work in midtown because bookreaders don't work in PR.

Jeremiah Moss said...

hey mustard, i'm sure there are lots of smart 20-somethings out there. Gen Y's not all bad. maybe we could do a "brainy anti-yunnie girl/guy on the street" feature...thoughts?

...and thanks for the cyber crush (*blush*)

Jeremiah Moss said...

thanks clunky girls! and thanks romy for the zero analysis. it reminds me also of that crazy women's clothing size of the past decade or so. how can you be a size zero? you would have to cease to exist.

Anonymous said...

Where in the City are these on the sidewalk? They are illegal.

Anonymous said...

New York has gone from Holly Golightly to Carrie Bradshaw. Golden children, Audrey Hepburn died for our sins.

Karate Boogaloo said...

I feel your pain Jeremiah.

Jeremiah Moss said...

the stickers are all over chelsea/meatpacking. and they are stuck with some super-ass adhesive. are they really illegal?

so_chic_darling said...

First let me say I'm not a hater,but I don't like this kind of sex and the city girl.I have a name for them "screaming handbag girls".
Even Chris Noth(Mr Big)said that the show had ruined New York in an interview!

Anonymous said...

Screaming handbag girls ..... perfection! Anyone see today's Times? The middle class in Europe are having to tighten their Vuitton belts. Golden children, hope that doesn't affect NY condo sales.

eff this said...

how about some spray can vigillante-ism to remove these blights from our city? any come uptown, i got em! i think the time has come for a mass of people armed with paint pens to deface any of this "lux lifestyle" shit with perfect NYC sacarsm to mock these adult children for what they are.

we'd be doing them a service, how else can they know how fucking irritating and foolish they are?

Anonymous said...

""Live Out Loud," which is intended to represent women who "like to look good, feel good and have fun living life on their own terms."

"On their own terms." Terms which have been manufactured and presented to them by spectacular corporate culture, which they've hastily and greedily accepted. Carry on, girls.

Steve said...

J you should give the O Golden Girl a Golden Shower. I know I woulde if I still lived in NYC.

Love this blog it is filled with mystery. Just what the city had plenty of 76-95. Mystery is gone but she left her shoes.

Nicholas said...

"hey mustard, i'm sure there are lots of smart 20-somethings out there. Gen Y's not all bad. maybe we could do a "brainy anti-yunnie girl/guy on the street" feature...thoughts?"

Count me in! I'm 23 and a long-time fan of the site. (I also hope to contribute a few more photos to the pool once I completely recover from surgery) Anything to help combat these leeches and viruses (since what else can you say about a creature that consumes so much and contributes little, if anything, in return?)

Jeremiah Moss said...

maybe the flickr pool is a good place to put them. so anyone who wants to photograph a non-yunnie NYer (of any age really) and do a little Q&A in the description field (off the top of my head: favorite book about NYC, favorite NYC place, most missed vanished piece of NYC, most despised aspect of the new NYC...?), go for it.

i will then pick ones periodically for the blog. and let's see what happens.

Anonymous said...

Tell me exactly where one or more are and I can get them removed. They are an illegal. City Department of Transportation is the agency that governs the sidewalk.

quixoticire said...

A non-yunnie NYer? Good luck finding that -- if they're still in NY, they're in Brooklyn (Park Slope and Brooklyn Heights), or Queens (LIC & Astoria). Otherwise, they've moved out of state (Portland, Canada, etc.). Yeah, I miss them clunky bookish girls (where have you gone?). Apparently, these Generation O harpies spend their time shopping, gym, spa -- instead of reading. Then again, can't fully blame them since the new NYC caters to them: Barnes and Noble are being replaced by a gym and Crate & Barrel...

The same way that Moss doesn't want to be a misogynist, I, too, don't want to be a racist, but there's nothing that irritates me or I hate more than a Generation 0 or a yunnie who happens to be a twinkie. I guess that makes them a yunkie?

leftoverboy said...

"a little Q&A ...: favorite book about NYC, favorite NYC place, most missed vanished piece of NYC, most despised aspect of the new NYC...?)"

This is an excellent idea. I'll start here -- don't have a Flickr account, still using Polaroid and disposable camera. :-P

(all these are off the top of my head, which I can add more or change when I get a moment of clarity).

favorite book(s) about NYC: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn; Breakfast at Tiffany's; New York Trilogy by Paul Auster

favorite NYC place(s): The Frick Collection; Jules Bistro and St. Dymphna's in the East Village.

I'm only in my early 30's yet I miss these places
most missed vanished piece of NYC: Rizzoli, Brentano''s, Gimbels, 8th street, 8th avenue 42nd to 39th st. -- Show World Center(like the seediness of it), Cheap Jack's Vintage Clothing, Billy's topless, Coney Island High, Horn & Haddart

most despised aspect of the new NYC:
need I repeat it? -- the whole suburbanization, yunnification, vongerichtification.... that leaves the city soulless and without character.

L'Emmerdeur said...

When the economy drops to its knees and coughs up its lunch, these O-chicks will follow suit and drop to their knees to keep the trending, spending and recommending going.

it's not like they have a shred of morality to stop them from sucking their next Louis Vuitton bag out of a bunch of Wall Street organs.

L'Emmerdeur said...

Oh, and the last five minutes of Looking for Mr. Goodbar?

I finally get it.

Anonymous said...

twinkies are a significant force of the vongerizing of NYC. good colleges, financial jobs, general indifferent acquiesence to the social order, upwardly mobile, whitewashed from their time in the burbs yet with ethnic features to retain some token ivy league pseudo diversity. remember the cue laws - they are only welcome becuase they work so hard to make the man so rich.

T said...

It seems that this is now the updated version of the dream of getting on that greyhound bus headed for NYC to sing, dance, paint, write your way to success or the gutter. Now the gals take daddy's amex show up in NYC and shop their way into a delusional life(and debt)styled after a sitcom/cable show. It makes my heart ache, for this city and for this country.

If I happen to find myself in my neighborhood on a w.e. night. I franticly look for 'backroads' back home to 13th st. to avoid all those sidewalk-wide herds of mini skirts and shiny high heels that suddenly show up in the after 9pm.
A freelance life allows me to still love my neighborhood, sadly only during a few hours on the weekdays now.

Bob said...

My God. To think that the women who used to come here to make a new life for themselves were once of the caliber of Jane Jacobs. Now look at what the quintessential New York woman has become - a dead behind the eyes Sex & the City wannabe. I'm not sure but I think I hate female yunnies even more than their male counterparts. They're both equally vacuous but at least the latter have to sometimes feign wit to get by. These walking Barbie dolls are superficial, vapid, and dumb as hell and unafraid to proclaim it to the world.

Anonymous said...

I just saw one of those O floor ads on the southwest corner of 7th Ave. and 36th St. in front of the Alpine deli.

Jeremiah Moss said...

bob, i think you're right about the female yunnies, those "zero girls," being worse than the males. i struggle with this, i'm not sure why it would be this way. but i do find that my daily enraging encounters are more often with young women--are they on the cell phone more, pushing more strollers, have more shopping bags, big purses? what is it?

Joshua said...

Probably for the same reason that, in yunnie-oriented advertisements, when a male and female yunnie are featured together, it is almost always the female who carries an intelligent expression, faces the viewer, or is otherwise made the focal point. The male is relegated to a sort of accessory to the female. This is just a small example of a much larger phenomenon. Suffice it to say that, within yunnie society, males and females are not equal. The females are given much greater lattitude in what are considered the limits of acceptable behavior. Naturally, in their minds this gets combined with their universally shared, class-based ego problems to create thouroughly obnoxious individuals.

quixoticire said...

Yes, there is definitely something I hate or irritates me about a female twinkie yunnie; perhaps it's their whiny, shrilly voices -- especially when they're in their cell phones, walking through a don't walk sign without regards to the cars in front of them, or simply stopping in the middle of the sidewalk rummaging through their big hand or shopping bags while still talking or texting in their cellphones.

Some people (like the yunnies -- esp. the female twinkies one) are like Slinkies; not really good for anything, but they bring a smile to your face when pushed down the stairs.

queencallipygos said...

I can attest that some of those 20-something nerdy girls you miss are still here -- we're just not in our 20's any more (says this 38-year-old).

But -- we've changed little, and time has done little to beat done the qualities you liked in us all along. And that's ultimately what will win out -- nerdy girls age well. Yunnies, I would wager, will not.

...Just give it time, my friends.

john said...

Rough quote from Malcolm X: "Anywhere you go, the flaws of a society are more clearly displayed by the women."

He would have lots to say about what's going on around the country right now.

A more accurate quote from Nas:

"Its elementary they want us all gone eventually."

Anonymous said...

"... I, too, don't want to be a racist, but there's nothing that irritates me or I hate more than a Generation 0 or a yunnie who happens to be a twinkie."

Wow, twinkie? Really? If you don't want to be a racist, then you don't have to be.

Jeremiah Moss said...

i don't know what a twinkie is, other than slang for a young, smooth, skinny gay guy. please illuminate. also, i think we're getting into some general woman-bashing territory here...let's rein that in. thank you.

Anonymous said...

From my experience, twinkie is a racial slur for Asian American people (yellow on the outside, white on the inside). I don't understand why an inattentive person who is walking while talking on the phone deserves any more hatred for being rude just because that person is asian, female, or [insert label here].

sarstar said...

Hey, we brainy 20-something women are still here; we've just picked up and moved to Brooklyn!
Murray Hill is the epicenter of Zero Girls, but Wall St is the mothership for Zero Guys.

Anonymous said...

Because it's more so with the female Asian-American (to be politically correct)yunnie. Everyone knows it but are either afraid to talk about it or simply ignore it, because they can and will make a scene when confronted about their narcissistic and sociopathic ways. And boy, talk about an infantile rage -- they will kick, bite, and scream to make their point. At least the white yunnies will probably internalize things, and take their hard-core drugs to make them feel something and eventually just self-destruct.

Anonymous said...

J,
You my friend are awsome....
Thank you for for realizing this and stepping up to the plate to let it be known to the world.
You My Friend
ROCK!!!!!!!!!!!!

New York Forum said...

I love New York - it will always be home to me!

LsR said...

"J"-just found this post (random). is it too late to post my photo on flicker. i read books! (also like handbags, hope im still in).