Gen X Siblings Grew Up With Greedy Gordon Gekko on First Wall Street Movie

Oliver Stone’s film eighties movie Wall Street with Michael Douglas as the hyper materialistic defined the life of Gen X siblings. Gordon Gekko, wearing power suspenders, slicked back hair, consumed with himself and his Wall Street riches, and Charlie Sheen as the young, ruthless broker in training was the background for Generation X’s many miserable brothers and sisters both blood and lots of steps . The first Wall Street film showed young Generation X kids that the world was full of economic uncertainty, not the Eisenhower largess and security that their parents had as kids
Generation X children resorted to the sounds of Van Halen, Heavy Metal grunge, punk icon Patti Smith, the famous Nirvana, the Ramones, all expressing their sense of unrest and uncertainty mixed with anomie or just hopelessness about the world they lived in. They withdrew into a celluloid world that mirrored their disenfranchised plight, in Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, and The Breakfast Club. They were at the same time the latchkey generation and the MTV generation, the first generation growing up with the Internet and destined to teach their parents how to navigate the World Wide Web.
What this did to the family was to shatter it economically when it was already irrevocably changed culturally by divorce. With a newly depressed economy, single moms struggled to support their children, and latchkeys siblings evolved because moms could not afford day care and were not home themselves to care for their kids. Broken families became more the norm, and remarriage started to occur between recently divorced men and women, spurring on the blended families within which Generation X children grew up.
Generation X siblings reacted to the strain of their parents in divorce, the depressed economy, and the new tension of the stepfamily. Siblings were introduced to the stepsister or stepbrother, the new conundrum of the sibling relationships that would echo out into midlife in the twenty-first century with the sequel Wall Street Money Never Sleeps
Generation X children strapped on backpacks and marched lockstep back and forth between their parents’ homes. They had Mom’s house and Dad’s house but no home of their own. The nest that was so tightly woven against the cruel winds of the economic meltdown and was kept together by previous generations blew to pieces for Generation X. This launched bitter sibling I Hate You stories that play out today as the new I Hate You Stories in Mom Loves You Best, Forgiving and Forging Sibling Relationship, New Horizon Press.


About momlovesyoubest

Cathy Cress holds an MSW in Aging from U.C. Berkeley. Her new book Mom Loves You Best, Forgiving and Forging Sibling Relationships , New Horizon Press, was published October 2010. Cress’s book , Handbook of Geriatric Care Management, Jones and Bartlett, is the bible of geriatric care management and is out out in a third edition in February 2011 .Her book Care Managers, Working With the Aging Family, Jones and Bartlett,2008 is one of the few major books on the aging family. Ms. Cress is the founder of GCM Consult ,working with small and national who want to add or launch GCM businesses. She is on the faculty at the University of Florida in their on line master’s in geriatric care management -GCM . She has taught geriatric care management at San Francisco State University , UC Berkeley and teaches at Cabrillo College and San Mateo College. She was founder and director of Cresscare, a GCM business, for 25 years.
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2 Responses to Gen X Siblings Grew Up With Greedy Gordon Gekko on First Wall Street Movie

  1. I think you’re buying into the hype. I’m a Gen Xer (born 1971) and this wasn’t my experience at all. It’s true that the Boomers were very cruel to us in the late 80s, early 90s, but in general I would say Xers are much more family-oriented than the work-obssessed Boomers. It’s true that our Boomer parents had the highest divorce rate of any generation in the 20th Century, yet half of them did stay together.

    Everyone I know is pretty close with their siblings. Nearly all of my friends have remained married. And, frankly, we have great lives. I realize that there is a market for this kind of blog, but adult Xers are responsible for a lot of great things including Google, MySpace, and It couldn’t be all bad for Gen X…

  2. It’s always interesting to me to see others’ views on the past. I have a completely different life story (I’m 34) and can relate to only a little of what that stereotype of the past generation was. No step-siblings or divorced parents, only a little latchkey but not until I was 12 or 13 anyway, and not for very long periods of time. But I knew many kids who fit that mold exactly…

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