Women born between 1981 and 1996, roughly, are considered part of the millennial generation. The youngest millennial woman is turning 23 this year. She will have been privy to some of America’s most unprecedented political actions to date within that 23-year lifespan. The mosaic that is American government and politics has shifted before her very eyes. As a result, charting the new civic territory lies in the journey and actions of the millennial woman.
The ability to make civic-conscious decisions in the face of change is a key item on the millennial woman’s agenda. Her ability to do so relies on her propensity to critically analyze information, among other important factors. One such factor is her understanding of the U.S. government. Another is the news source(s) she depends on for current events. Although keeping up with the U.S. government’s current events sounds simple enough, it can represent a straining mental task; because of the number of variables involved in the process of keeping current, the task can be rather tumultuous. If one does not have access to the internet or television news, their ability to remain informed substantially depletes. To further complicate matters, there is the issue of literacy and education overall. The barriers to being informed are both overt and covert.
Sources, Biases, And Critical Thinking
News feeds can now update within seconds of major disasters, bill passings, and the verdicts of national cases. It is archaic for sources to operate without a twitter handle in today’s news cycle. Social media algorithms are being exploited to propagate misleading information. The situation is vexing. Attempting to keep up with the various avenues of information can cause one to lose track. Trying to verify that the sources of information are legitimate is a different job, all together. As a result, a sense of political apathy can set in. The millennial woman cannot afford to give into that apathy. It would be in her best interest to adopt an attitude of a life-long learner.
Remaining in the know is a daily activity. To be civically engaged can certainly feel like a side hustle on top of the regular nine to five. Who is to be trusted? Who doesn’t have their own personal agenda? What news source is giving all the information needed without their dose of bias? Such questions are valid and should be answered before putting trust in the source reporting the events. However, a trap to avoid is one’s own implicit and explicit biases.
A study published in 2018 by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America delved into the information retrieval habits of Americans on social media. The study found that social media users tend to seek information that aligns with their already-present viewpoints. Those biases and subsequent searching behaviors can be detrimental to critically engaging and analyzing all the facts presented. This is especially true when dealing with political information and news. The millennial woman is not immune to the trap of her own biases.
In an effort to quiet those biases, the millennial woman has no choice but to form and base her decisions on the facts at hand and her own moral compass. The millennial woman bears the responsibility of forming a personal understanding of the facts at hand. She has no choice but to hold herself accountable. In the era of fake news, the millennial woman must be leery of becoming overly trusting or dependent on any given source. One can fall victim to putting more trust than is deserved in certain sources as opposed to others. This behavior must be avoided, along with the temptation to give into mental fatigue.
While political apathy can leave one with a disinterest in political engagement, mental fatigue can leave one feeling unable to engage at all. Each day can feel as if it is packed to the very last second. Adding the necessity to corroborate information from numerous news sources seems like a stretch. Nonetheless, it is the precaution that today’s times call for to feel secure in one’s own knowledge of the civic activity. These actions allow the millennial woman to set the tone to become dependent on the facts, alone. She will take her favorite sources into account but to a fault. Her feelings about political events will not be based on the tone and take from her favorite reporter or publication. Those sources are but starting points to help steer her research, thereby helping her to manage her time more efficiently.
Conscious For Tomorrow
The millennial woman is learned in her rights as a citizen, her duties as a citizen, and the current events that affect her as a citizen. What now? What is to be done with this new information and insight? The discipline of philosophy and critical thought suggest that after critical analysis of information has taken place, the critical thinker should synthesize new questions and information based on the original analysis. Next and perhaps, more importantly, the critical thinker should apply creative thought to that new information. This helps the critical thinker create new arguments, new methods of problem-solving, and form new judgments. The millennial woman that masters such tenets of critical thought and action are uncontrollable. Above all, unstoppable.
Existing in a time of such political turmoil, fast-paced information sharing, and untrustworthy sources, it can seem more feasible to let the next generation tend to the fallout of whatever comes next. While she sojourns through time and space, the millennial woman is met with the moral obligation of leaving the condition of women better than how she arrived. The millennial woman has been handed down the job of extending the conversation of civic consciousness to the next woman who will come into her own. She must be civic-conscious to combat the ever-present threat of going backward on the journey towards equitable conditions for women on a global scale.
The millennial woman must not become lackadaisical or stagnate. The more informed she is, the more civically engaged she will become. This is the only way democracy will function appropriately and in her best interest. With practice, this mode of thinking will become second nature to the millennial woman. With time, the skill will prove invaluable.