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Generation Z: living in the shadow of Millennial culture

Jan. 11, 2018
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To those who belong in it, Generation Z is not just an extension of the Millennial generation. The unique, diverse congregation of people making up Gen Z share similarities with their predecessors yet their attitude is on a completely different level.

Gen Z exists between the years of 1998, intersecting with the cutoff date for the Millennial generation, and 2016. The oldest in Gen Z are teenagers and the youngest are only a year old. This makes Gen Z the youngest generation in the world, and with youth comes open-mindedness.

In a 747 Insights report titled “Generation Nation”, 81% of Gen Z participants agreed to the statement: "I have one or more friends who are of a different race than me"—much higher than the 69% indicated by Millennial participants. Additionally, 77% of Gen Z participants were in favor of multiracial marriages and 66% were in favor of same-sex marriages.

The inclusivity portrayed in these statistics is stifled by a handful of trends that have given the kids of Gen Z a poor reputation, one of those being the infatuation surrounding internet stars such as Jake Paul and RiceGum. The kind of frat mentality encompassing these two and others like them encourages whiny complaining in place of acceptable communication, complete with temper tantrums whenever demands are not met.

Furthermore, fidget spinners have become ever-present in this generation. Initially, fidget spinners were created to combat anxiety and fidgeting as displayed in its title. However, they have since become a symbol for restlessness and entitlement. Fidget spinners play a part in the problematic, entitled, obnoxious, and Supreme-wearing aesthetic that has spread throughout our society.

This regression has caused division within Generation Z. However, the omnipresence of Millennial culture has been equally as damaging. Overshadowed and overlooked, Gen Zs are huddled in the corner, looking on as the Millennials take center stage. Millennials created Internet memes and have even had a color named after them: Millennial Pink. Yet the attention on millennials is often not positive.

The Internet is teeming with articles that are dedicated to spelling out what Millennials have “killed”. From light yogurt to fabric softener to golf, the older generations blame Millennials for the decline of almost everything. Declined interest in these subjects is certainly prevalent, although the term “kill” is a little over the top, in my opinion.

But these days, Generation Z is beginning to blossom. “Gen Z Yellow”, consisting of several shades of yellow from mustard to pale marigold, has been popularized. The use of mobile applications such as Snapchat has increased due to a growing desire for privacy. Activism has spread largely through movements like Black Lives Matter, and support for the LGBT+ community has swelled enormously. Generation Z has not known a time without technology; therefore, exchanges of ideas have been predominantly spread among social media platforms. This form of communication has made Gen Z the most well-connected generation ever. And from here, the only way for Gen Z to go is up.

Models: Sophia Palacio, Will Horn