Are McMansions a a defining feature of baby boomers?
This year has highlighted America’s generation gaps, especially between the two largest generations. Both have been stereotyped as being self-absorbed — millennials as selfie-obsessed avocado toast addicts, boomers for their oversized “mcmansions” and self-indulgence. And both are feeling pandemic pain, though in different ways.
The piece does acknowledge that this is a stereotype. Yet, some of the stereotypical pieces do go together:
- The term “McMansion” arose in the late 1990s and the homes have been in the United States at least two decades. The baby boomers were adults with careers and money when McMansions became a thing. Baby boomers also came of age in the era of consumerism and “greed is good.” They had the money and resources to buy the new big houses. This argument has been made before.
- McMansions are known for their tackiness and quest to impress; baby boomers are also stereotyped for their indulgent behavior.
- Commentators have suggested baby boomers will have difficulty selling their McMansions. Additionally, baby boomers will try to pass their homes to their children.
- If McMansions are often viewed negatively, perhaps it is easier or convenient to attach them to a group – here a generational cohort – that receives its own share of criticism. If McMansions are bad, it can be handy to blame someone for them.
Whether McMansions get passed along to millennials and future generations remains to be seen. But, based on what I have seen, there is a good chance that baby boomers and McMansions may be tied together for decades.