Boomers are Blamed for the Demise of the Laugh-Cry Emoji

So, have you heard? Supposedly, the laugh-cry emoji has become uncool and using it is a sure sign you’re old. Not only that. Boomers are blamed for the demise of the laugh-cry emoji.

boomers are blamedStop the presses!

Gen Z – those born after 1997 – have apparently declared this to be so on social media, especially TikTok.

This despite the fact that the emoji has been extremely popular since 2017. As a CNN article noted: “‘Face with Tears of Joy,’ the official name for the laughing crying emoji, is the most-used emoji on Emojitracker, a website that shows real-time emoji use on Twitter.” In 2020, it was still the most popular emoji.

So, what happened?

Why Are Boomers Blamed?

Of course, as with a lot of other things, we boomers are being blamed for its demise. Jeremy Burge, the chief emoji officer of Emojipedia, recently wrote a blog post that said: “It’s common wisdom on TikTok that the laughing crying emoji is for boomers. And by boomers I mean anyone over the age of 35.”

God forbid, teenagers and young adults don’t want to be seen using the same emoji as their grandparents! I kind of get that. But we aren’t the only targets as evidenced by Burge’s over-35 comment.

Interestingly enough  the millennials (those born between 1980-1996), many of whom are trying to remain cool as they approach their 30s and 40s, also seem to be the target this time around. Add to the millennial’s overuse of this suddenly uncool emoji, calling their dog “doggo” (didn’t even realize this was a thing), skinny jeans, and even side parts are also out and a sign that you’re old and “out of touch.”

As one millennial writer put it in an article for Yahoo!Sports: “As a life-long side parter, ouch.”

According to that article, Gen Z also makes fun of the way millennials use the word “adulting”, their addiction to avocado toast and Starbucks coffee, and the way they refer to themselves as “90 kids.”

It’s Karma Folks

What’s kind of funny about all this is that some millennials have been making fun of us boomers for years.

Remember the popular phrase, “OK Boomer” that began circulating a couple of years ago? As I wrote in a blog on this subject, the term seemed to insinuate us boomers are old-fashioned, resistant to change, behind on technology, and out of touch.

So, I guess, what goes around comes around.

After a recent viral TikTok listed all the things millennials do that Gen Z doesn’t approve of, millennials responded by defending their fashion choices, hairstyles, and emoji usage. They pointed out that Gen Z once encouraged each other to eat Tide Pods as a viral challenge and that younger people lack the ability to write in cursive. So there!

But does all of this really matter?

Admittedly, a small part of me – a part that I’m not terribly proud of, by the way – is chuckling about the millennials getting a taste of their own medicine. No doubt, one day, Gen Z will become old and suffer from being ridiculed by the younger generation. (I’m so confused by the alphabet soup of generation names, but I believe “Alpha Generation” has been coined for the youngest children on the planet.)

The fact is that everyone does get old eventually. In reality, I hate to see anyone using insulting and dismissive catchphrases purely based on what generation people happen to be born in – which is completely out of our control, by the way. Can’t we all just get along? I’m tired of the way all the social platforms has made insulting each other way too easy. I’m tired of ageism. I wish mutual respect could replace this senseless mocking of each other. Why can’t the “generation gap” become uncool and out-of-date?

Take comfort, millennials and all the other younger generations,  getting older isn’t all bad. You’ll reach the age when you won’t care what anyone else thinks about your emoji habits and won’t feel this need to defend your choices.

In fact, I think this boomer will use the laugh-cry emoji even more just to be rebellious. And my side part is staying too. And even though I’m not a millennial, I do enjoy me some avocado toast from time to time. That’s the great thing about getting older, as I wrote about when I turned 60.  I know what matters, and the overuse of an emoji isn’t one of them! Make fun of us, but being an older adult is liberating in that sense.






Julie A. Gorges is the author of two young adult novels, Just Call Me Goody Two Shoes and Time to Cast Away and co-author of Residential Steel Design and Construction published by McGraw Hill. In addition, hundreds of her articles and short stories have been published in national and regional magazines, and she received three journalism awards from the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association while working as a newspaper reporter. Julie currently lives in southern California with her husband, Scott, and has two grown children and three grandchildren.

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8 Responses

  1. Cat Michaels says:

    Julie, your post had me in stitches. I am so beyond caring if I am cool, even more so during lockdown! I am not giving up my emoji faces for Zs (hey, I will take it if somebody thinks I am over 35!) and am feeling smug that Millennials are getting their comeuppance. This delicious tempest in a teapot is a welcome distraction from the woes of our world.

  2. Julie, I read this and I almost don’t know what to say. 😂
    Having sons in the Millennial age status, I have to say this is the first time I’ve heard of this and going to ask them about it. They are not Tik Tok followers, so I’m betting they have no idea.
    I agree what you said in your article here, “I wish mutual respect could replace this senseless mocking of each other.” I’m so thankful to have the respect from our sons and their friends from their generation. I know you will be able to say the same thing about yours.
    Keeping my laughing emoji. It makes me happy. 😂

    • juliegorges says:

      We have that in common, Rosie. I have two sons who are millennials as well and get along with them fabulously. We have a mutual respect, thankfully. Wish all this noise on the social media reflected what I have in my personal life. And yes, let’s save the emojis together! Lol

  3. As a baby boomer with millennial kids, I so want to use the laugh cry emoji right now. I’ve never used tik tok and neither have my kids. We will keep doing whatever we want. Thanks for the laugh on a Friday evening.

    • juliegorges says:

      Yes, this article was written tongue-in-cheek – I guess stuck at home in this pandemic, some people don’t have anything else better to do than debate emojis. Glad it gave you a laugh!

  4. Millennial here. Didn’t know about the laugh cry emoji. I’m also not on TikTok so maybe that’s why. I do call my dog doggo mostly because it sounds cute. I’m also an older millennial, 35, and I’ve reached the point where there’s too much stress in my life to be caring about what others think about me on social media. I stressed about that nonsense when I was in high school. I moved to NY becuase their motto is,”You don’t botta me and I won’t botta you.”

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