A Look at the Phrase “Okay, Boomer”

Bailey Childress, Staff Writer

Upon hearing the phrase Ok Boomer, you might either smirk or get offended by the term depending on who you are. This phrase has single-handedly set media outlets and people 56+ on fire claiming that it is very ageist and derogatory. It’s just a phrase after all, so why are people so offended by it?  

In order to fully understand the scope of the phrase, you would have to go back to a simpler time, 2009 to be exact. In 2009 the first appearance of the phrase would seemingly show itself on a Reddit board whenever a user used it to reply to a picture seemingly mocking the person in the picture. It wasn’t until 2015 that users of 4chan would take the phrase and begin using it to reply to people who were closed-minded, or showed other stereotypes that the Baby Boomers carry. 

From then on it went on to spark tons of controversy between the “Gen Z” kids (1997-2010) and “Boomers” (1944-1964), so much so that the media started covering the phrase by stating it was derogatory and ageist towards the elders of a past generation. The people of a new generation fought back by stating, “Ok boomer”, whilst stating that the boomers were close-minded and didn’t accept new ideologies that were brought to the table. 

Call it an age war if you would, the Boomers believe that the newer generation is “soft” and “childish,” while the Gen Zer’s believe that the older generation is “stubborn” and “close-minded.” 

Many of the students at Central Hardin believe that the phrase is just a one-off joke that will pass as time goes on. Take Central Hardin senior Kate Pierce for example.

“It isn’t really funny,” Pierce stated. ”It’s honestly overused at this point, but it is a good short response to say to someone that says something stupid.” 

That is not to say that everyone believes that it is a simple joke that evokes no response. One such person is media specialist Becky Rawlings, who believes that the sentiment behind the phrase is almost a part of growing up. 

“I am not offended,” Rawlings said. “I think it is a rite of passage; you’re going to question your elders. You’re just going to do that.” 

Viewing it as a rite of passage makes the phrase have a sense that questioning your elders or criticizing them is all a part of growing up. As you grow up, though, according to Rawlings, you begin to understand more about what your elders said to you early on. 

“I can remember thinking they [Rawlings’s parents] don’t know what they’re talking about, but they did and I know my kids will be like God, Mom, you don’t know what you’re talking about.”  

As she best put it, “It is the growing pains and that is how we learn. That is our journey.” 

The philosophy of Mrs. Rawlings is an interesting one, considering the fact that she is in the boomer era of adults. =

She takes a more open-minded approach that settles more on growing up. Rowlings has stated she attributes much of this to her choice to have kids later in life than most parents would. 

Overall looking at the phrase as a whole, we can see that many people have different opinions on the subject at hand. 

Some believe it is ageist and offensive, while some find it as a one-off joke or a passageway of growing up. 

whatever you believe, I think that we can all agree that the phrase will come and pass with time. Soon before you know it, the phrase will no longer hold any significant meaning to those who use it or get offended by it.