“God, this young generation! They don’t know how to be children only!”
“They don’t talk about the iMpORtanT issues! All they care about are superficial things.”
“These kids will ruin society one day. No concern only. They’re so lazy and selfish.”
Recently, I’ve been hearing a lot (too much, might I say) of criticism directed towards the younger generations, specifically Gen Z. This post will probably make me seem self-praising, overly offended and very, very pretentious – but with all due respect, I don’t care.
Gen Z constitutes of people born between the mid 1990s to the early 2000s. These people have just entered college or are in school right now. And we are the most critiqued, especially by the millennials and baby boomers. We’re referred to as the tide pod-eating, technology-obsessed, shallow, disgraceful creatures by our elders.
But I refuse to be remembered by a few internet trends and habits that, frankly, are results of the environment we grew up in or are growing up in.
We’re told we don’t care or that we don’t talk about the “real issues” in the world, that all we care about are our likes, retweets and shares. What our critics fail to realise is that most of us care way too much. We’re the ones campaigning for equality at home, school and otherwise. We’re the ones who call out homophobia and racism when we see it. We’re the ones who have started battling gender roles and toxic masculinity at such young ages. We’re the generation with the most teen activists.
But when we do these things, we’re told that we’re too young to have strong opinions on them. Or that we’re “too soft” and we shouldn’t get offended so easily.
We’re not “too soft.” Gen Z is just increasingly intolerant towards all the discriminative, ignorant bullshit you throw at them, and you’re irritated.
Most of Generation Z is battling some sort of mental illness or trauma – be it depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, dysmorphia or others. Dangerous things, that lead to substance abuse, self-harm, eating disorders, even suicide. And instead of helping us out, you’re going to sit there on your high millennial horse and make us feel stupid for caring so much, or not caring enough?
Worse still, our elders believe that these things weren’t an issue before us. But that’s the thing: they didn’t know these issues existed because they never spoke about them. Now, I’m not denying millennials their due credit in beginning the forum of discussion, but it’s irrefutable that Gen-Z has played a very significant role in bringing awareness to mental health.
In the words of an anonymous Tumblr user @raygunbradbury – “The millennials might be depressed but Gen-Z is straight up nihilistic.” And it shows in our humour too:
Even other than these things, we have so much to deal with – gun control laws destroying our schools, the prospect of our LGBT+ friends being abused for being themselves, not having a future because we’re so fiercely pitted against each other and we just want to be good enough for our dreams, not to mention the fact that we might not even have a world to live in tomorrow, thanks to consumerism.
When my parents were my age, they didn’t know rape and pedophilia existed. They didn’t know about nuclear war and refugees. They didn’t worry about school shootings. They weren’t the kids who don’t even realize it’s not normal for an entire generation to want to die; to hear people regularly say “I wish I didn’t exist” and a dozen others reply, “same.” But right now, these are things that are constant topics of discussions in even conversations between kids in elementary school.
I know people who lock themselves into their rooms, cover their mouths and cry quietly on a daily basis as their parents watch TV outside, clueless as to what is going on behind that door. I know people who don’t sleep at night because they’re up studying, doing their best to make their parents proud and are still told “you don’t even try!” I know teenagers who give up eating because media has told them that the idea of gaining weight is horrific.
So Dear Gen Z,
You’re doing great. You deserve more praise for what your generation has done and will do for society. The one that the others messed up.
And millennials, your age is showing ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
One puffy-eyed teen to another 🙂
[I found a Tumblr post that sums this up perfectly so here’s a link to it.]