Sunday, May 16, 2010

'stuck at home' kind of misses the point

Ardhra linked to this article, Gen Ys stuck at home for longer, and I'm so sick of these articles. They're so 'Anglo is the central experience' and I really don't enjoy how they ignore the experience of many, many Australians.

I don't talk about my family very much, but here is a little thing I would like to share with you: my sister lives with my parents (I hope she doesn't mind the reveal! Also her favourite food is noodles*). She is in her mid-twenties. I moved out the year I turned twenty, and with the exception of a brief period where I had to avail myself of their hospitality for a few months before moving in to Animal House, I have stayed out for the last eight years. I moved out in order to be closer to uni, and *I* am the black sheep in our family. Not my sister, for living with my parents. I am, for moving out of their house.

Before my Ahpoh passed away a couple of years ago, there were five people living in my Aunt's two bedroom apartment. That's crowded, but that's not something I think even twice about. It's cultural, I know that, and I don't know if it comes from being Chinese or Malaysian or what, but it's not something that's unusual to my family - so many family friends, both here and in Malaysia, have multi-generational living arrangements.

Anyway, my point is kind of: although this article says this:
The factors converging to keep young adults in their 20s and early 30s living at home are many. Delayed marriage, extended study, later house purchasing, a propensity not to get serious about career until their mid-20s, and an attitude that places lifestyle factors – living close to the city, public transport and mum's seemingly automatic washing machine and oven – over chasing the home ownership dream that was popular with older Generation Xers and the boomers. Another factor affecting the official statistics is that families who have moved from overseas to Australia in recent years are more likely to come from cultures where young people stay at home for longer.
which is nice, thanks for giving us a nod, the entire article is super duper Anglo-centric. Like - hey, guess what? Those of us who fit into that category are automatically excluded by your title! ('stuck at home for longer' sort of doesn't apply, is what I mean).

Also, petty side note: when we're included as a nod to blah blah blah, it makes me really frustrated because it is a tiny bit more difficult for me to get my words together in order to criticise the article! What a hard life! (I criticise things anyway)

*I made that up. I think it's claypot rice


  1. I often think about this when I read these articles, which of course appear every few months. I admit usually think about Italian families, because that's my experience, but I agree that the articles nearly always leave out a huge segment of the global population that stay at home into adulthood! I also think that they leave out the part about homes being so outrageously expensive that they aren't affordable anymore, but I digress...I mean, who cares about affordable housing? The article does mention that in passing, but more in a "look at this Gen Ys, they don't even think they can afford a house!" sort of way, rather than being concerned about the fact that living here is so expensive.

    "It's been said in the past that Generation Y could afford to buy – they just need to lower their expectations. They might have to start on the city fringe, in a less desirable suburb and work their way up. The accommodation favoured by many young people in their 20s is apartments close to the city centre."

    Go live in Yangebup or Banksia Grove, and then you won't have to *gasp* stay at home with mum and dad and be called a loser because of it! These articles are indeed annoying.

  2. Sarah, oh yes! Let us not talk about the issues in Australia that contribute to ridiculous housing rates. Also I would like them to talk about how unsustainable (or at least, not as ecologically awesome) the idea of the Australian dream home is, all that space for so few people! And I like how the pull quote you've selected is super condescending to those Gen Yers - so unwilling to let go and compromise! My word! etc.

    I think it's funny that you mention Italian families because you're right, and having something like what it says in the article, 'families who have moved from overseas to Australia in recent years' also kind of erases those who have been here for a long while and also do inter-generational living! And lets face it, when these articles say something like this, they're usually referring to people from Asian countries - people of European descent don't figure into it at all. It's Anglo all the way, I guess.

  3. Close! It's Claypot Noodles :P Crunchy noodles, at that. Sometimes Noodle Soup.

    It's really uncomfortable sometimes when in conversation with my anglo friends (or employers!) and they're like So, you're still at home? Like there's something wrong with it. Also, when my friends do it, I call them on it.