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Gen Z Doesn’t Want To Be Associated With TikTok Stereotypes

by : Emma Rosemurgey on : 17 Mar 2021 18:07

Gen Z Doesn't Want To Be Associated With TikTok Stereotypescassiesmith607/sarahhesterross/TikTok

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Several years ago, if you asked someone what they thought a stereotypical millennial was, they’d probably utter something about avocado on toast or posting food pictures on Instagram.

It was a largely inoffensive stereotype that many of us – myself included – lived up to.

There were also some slightly more savage accusations thrown our way, like the claim that none of us could afford house deposits because we spent too much money on takeout coffee. Or, how we were branded ‘generation snowflake’.

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But, as the youngest bout of my generation is now fully fledged in adulthood, society appears to have a new target in the form of Gen Z.

For those who don’t know, Gen Z refers to anyone born between 1997 and 2012, but even if you haven’t heard of them, the chances are you’ll be aware of the stereotypes.

A lot of them are fairly similar to the accusations thrown at my own age category, such as laziness, having a short attention span and spending too much time on phones and social media, which, if we’re being honest, are symptoms of our modern society that are not exclusive to a particular age range.

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But, there are several stories which have taken over social media in recent months – particularly on TikTok – which painted Gen Z in a particularly unflattering light.

Just last month, Gen Z’s reputation took a pretty big beating when a history teacher took to TikTok, to share a clip of his students getting extremely confused about a number of very different historical figures and events.

The clip revealed that one student had gotten mixed up between activist Helen Keller and Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. And, to make matters worse, the student thought Pearl Harbor was a bridge and D-Day was a rapper. I mean, it was bad. However, what happened next was an entire generation of people were accused of having little to no history knowledge, simply because one student made a mistake.

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If that wasn’t bad enough, it wasn’t long before Gen Z started turning on itself, with many teens vowing they want nothing to do with their own generation.

‘I am 18, so I’m a member of Gen Z, please listen to what I have to say. I am astounded with how stupid my generation is, because this isn’t even the first time I’ve seen something like this,’ one TikTok user ranted, in response to the Helen Keller clip.

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‘Just last week I saw a video of a girl picking Hitler over Trump, yes, the man who tried to exterminate an entire race off the face of this planet. Now, I’m not here to push a political agenda, because I’m not a Trump supporter, but anyone with common sense should know how wrong that is. It is very worrisome that a large percentage of Gen Z does not know basic history.’

Another simply said: ‘I am never going to argue with another millennial or boomer about whether or not Gen Z is full of a bunch of idiots, because, holy crap. How do you confuse Helen Keller with Adolf Hitler? How do you confuse a blind, deaf woman, with a man who was responsible for the death and ostracisation and systematic murder of almost 11 million people?’

@officialpoa#stitch with @samuelsleeves this is just sad♬ Spongebob – Dante9k

But, not every Gen Z-er agrees. 20-year-old model and activist Somriddho Dasgupta says that the stereotypes that belong to his generation simply aren’t true, and an entire generation of people should not be judged for the shortcomings of just a few.

‘I really don’t think it’s true. Just because one person accidentally mixes some people in history does not mean that the entire generation is stupid. Yes of course, Helen Keller and Hitler are definitely not the same and it is a terrible mix up,’ he told UNILAD.

‘I think it is also important to point out that when the older generations, like millennials, were our age, they experienced similar kind of hate because people considered them stupid as they were young. Stereotyping has been happening for a long time now and it really needs to stop.’

Another Gen Z story that grabbed all the headlines just a few weeks ago was the fact that Gen Z was trying to cancel Eminem over his offensive and problematic lyrics. The story derived from several TikTokers – of Gen Z age – posting videos of his Love the Way You Lie track with Rihanna, with captions such as ‘cancel him.’

But, it wasn’t long before people on social media tried to imply that an entire generation of people were offended by his lyrics, when in all honesty, most people couldn’t care less.

Gen Z-er Izzy Rose told UNILAD that while she does find his music offensive, it doesn’t mean that she – and anyone who shares her view – is trying to ‘cancel’ him simply because they don’t agree with his music.

‘I personally think that his work is very offensive and completely outgrown now in 2021 but I also believe that we can’t judge someone for the past action, especially because a lot of other people acted the same and we aren’t going to cancel them. I feel like people should [definitely] be responsible for their actions and what they say, especially when they have influence! But it’s a hard subject as lots of people have various opinions,’ she said.

I think it’s fair to say that when you group an entire generation of people together, there are going to be a lot of different opinions and personalities, so the stereotypes are basically meaningless. Hang in there Gen Z, it’ll soon be Gen Alpha in the firing line.

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

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Emma Rosemurgey

Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing on to UNILAD in 2019.

Topics: Featured, Eminem, Gen Z, millennials, Now, TikTok