Kids these days
Mustard-colored outfits, oversized shirts and high-waisted jeans, highlight-streaked cheeks, the newest iPhone in hand, Twitter as the most-used application, Netflix marathons—just a few things to characterize the stereotypical Generation Z person.
Generation Z, or Gen Z (no, we are not talking about
Beyoncé’s husband), refers to those who were born from the year 2001 until the present.
This is the generation after the millennials, those who were born from 1981 until 2000 and who went through the emo-grunge phase, had highlights on paper and not on their faces, talked through a telephone, passed the time with comics or the family computer, listened to the radio for the newest songs, and watched whatever was on television.
Gen Z and millennials have their similarities, such as their being young (or young at heart), and the belief that the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell. But the sudden technological boom in the early 2000s caused such a disparity between the two generations, changing how each of them went about their daily lives.
But, beyond the mustard outfits, constant phone scrolling, or inability to be without a phone for more than a few days, this generation has a lot of good going for them.
We’ve seen the trends move from dainty, pastel-wearing girls with thigh gaps that resemble the parting of the Red Sea, to track pants and mom jeans and having a positive body image.
Luckily, most of those in Gen Z have grown up on empowerment messages on the internet and on TV that fight for self-love and for women, the LGBTQ+, the disabled, the environment, and the falsely accused, among many other marginalized sectors.
These are the kids who are teaching adults how to make a Facebook account or how to restart the internet router. These are the kids who learned the power of social media platforms in sharing advocacies and radical ideas and influencing change.
One tweet can reach thousands, and one idea can spark even more. These are the kids who started the “woke” culture — woke meaning awake, or aware of social issues and injustices.
But, of course, not everyone shares the same radical thinking as most of those in Gen Z. These kids are also labeled as “easily offended,” as they seem to have something to say for every political or social problem.
Indeed, not all fights need to be fought, but there’s value in not being desensitized to the things that happen to us or to the people around us.
The ideas of historical revisionism and cultural appropriation have been making the rounds online, exposing practices that used to be acceptable but, in truth, should not be.
Kids nowadays may gradually learn that, contrary to popular belief, heroes don’t steal $200 million from the people they must serve, and the mitochondrion is the powerhouse of the cell, not the mitochondria.
These kids have been raised in a much more open, freewheeling environment that amplifies ideas that used to be hidden well, and where they have to learn to chew information first before deciding whether to swallow it or not.
Being characterized as easily offended and phone-dependent is not always a great thing, but it does have its perks. With technology in their midst and the woke spirit in their lives, the power and possibility of change is unparalleled among the Gen Z.
They have a lot of work cut out for them, but these mustard-wearing kids seem to be having a good start.
* * *
Beatrice Marie Chan, 18, is a Grade 12 STEM student at Ateneo de Manila University.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.