Are you caught in the middle or picking a side?
( @addisonraee / Instagram )
Gen Z isn’t a fan of side-parted hair – and Millennials took that personally.
As those in Gen Z are opting for the once-shunned trends of middle-parted hair and baggy jeans, Millennials are shocked to realize that the younger generation has the audacity to like different things.
The discourse created the “outdated Millennial” trifecta: wearing skinny jeans, using the “crying laughing” emoji (😂), and, of course, parting your hair on the side instead of the middle.
The battle began, as many online feuds do, on TikTok. Gen Z TikTokers began vocalizing their distaste for skinny jeans compared to the comfort of straight-leg, wide-leg or mom jeans.
Millennials retaliated immediately via TikTok stitches and tweets, deeming Gen Z the “Tide Pods eaters” or insisting that their trends are merely reiterations of Millennial styles to begin with.
Gen Z clapped back with the #MiddlepartChallenge, trying to prove their point that no one looks better with a side part than they do with a middle part.
Although it has been difficult to define a clear cut-off between these two age groups, millennials were typically born between 1981 and 1996, while members of Gen Z were born between 1997 and the early 2010s. Born Zillennial, a viral Facebook page created by University of Florida alum Matt Duffy, defines those who fall somewhere in the middle as: “Born sometime in the '90s and shaped by the early 2000s, we're too young to be Millennials and too old for Gen Z”. If you’re a “zillennial” like me, you probably have some conflicted feelings surrounding the debate.
Millennials, on the other hand, feel entitled to their skinny jeans after enduring years of ill-fitting, low-rise bootcut jeans. Some have memories of the side part ingrained in their formative years after their first-hand experience with a barrage of side-swept bangs selfies flooding MySpace and Facebook profiles.
There is also a notable theory that millennials hold the side part near and dear to their hearts as a psychological comfort. Gen Z cultivated a more accepting attitude towards their unique, individual features whereas millennials may have felt pressured to physically hide their insecurities but brushing more hair over one side of their faces. A middle part exposes the entirety of one’s face, which puts it all out in the open for others to see.
This trend is also likely fueled by Gen Z’s fascination with the nostalgic looks of the ‘90s and early 2000’s. It’s also worth noting that some of TikTok’s most famous creators, such as Charli D’Amelio and Addison Rae, rock the middle part unapologetically.
Despite the intergenerational drama, this heated discussion emphasizes some important points for the beauty community.
Both Gen Z and millennials should feel encouraged to wear their hair in whatever way feels the most comfortable for them. Although most of the drama was all in good fun, neither generation should feel bullied into a certain style.
Trends are cyclical — meaning someday skinny jeans and side parts will probably be welcomed by the younger generations with open arms. A trend should be an opportunity for each of us to experiment with our appearance and feel inspired to try something new, not to meet an overly definitive standard.
I attempt the middle part a few days each week, but I find myself regressing back into a mild side part every time. At the end of the day, your go-to hairstyle should be the one that makes you feel confident.
Unless you have a zig-zag part. If so, we need to have a talk.
Samantha Redditt is an Online Writer at Rowdy Magazine. She enjoys long, romantic walks to the nearest coffee shop and roller skating to obscure Spotify playlists. You can reach her on Instagram at @samantharedditt for more information.