real life

'What is it to yeet? Am I rizz?' A millennial unpacks typical Gen Z traits.

Like every generation before them, Gen Z tends to cop a lot of heat in the media. They're portrayed as lazy, entitled snowflakes who want a CEO-style starting salary and 4-day work weeks

But what about the good their generation has brought into the 21st century?

Gen Y, aka millennials, know this all too well. The original ‘hip new’ generation born between 1980 and 1996 were the first to grow up in the age of the internet, the first to go through high school with mobile phones, and the last to see the Spice Girls movie in theatres (it was a vibe).

While back then we were seen as the new kids on the block, it's the new generation (those born from 1996-2013) who have us polarised. But while there are some things in this generation I just flat-out do not understand (What is it to yeet? Am I rizz?), here's a generalisation of what they're doing great... and, okay, a few things I still need to warm to.

5 great and 5 not-so-great Gen Z traits.

1. Great: They've made caring about the environment cool.

Back when I was at school, attending a working bee was a social sin. The '90s were full of leather, fireworks, pet stores and plastic toys that may have seemed cool but were slowly destroying our planet.

With Gen Z, however, caring about the environment isn't just cool, it's a movement ingrained in them from early learning. From kitchen-garden classes in primary school to proudly wearing second-hand clothing and spruiking sustainable products online, it's suddenly easy to be green.

Not so great: They keep trying to make low-waist jeans happen. 

Psst. Gen Z! Over here! We did this already, and it didn't work – promise! All Gen Y and Xers have the same shuddering thought when they think of the pelvic-bone-crushing low-waist flares we endured through the early noughties, and we aren't prepared to do it again. As well as being uncomfortable, now that we are in our comfy pants era, they're just not it. Cease and desist. Immediately.


2. Great: They’re better to women.

While the #metoo movement was obviously not just Gen Z, the way they are ready to call out sexism, body shaming and toxic behaviours has been revolutionary around the home and workspace.

As well as demands for pay parity and removing the barriers of 'gender norms', this generation is really great at the women-supporting-women thing, from cheering on selfies online to backing up women in the media.

Not so great: They're on their phones... like, a LOT.

And our parents thought we were bad. We get it, we’re all addicted to our phones. But for the age group that grew up when the internet was already invented and have been on screens since birth, their phones are like a literal body part. 

From TikTokking for hours a day to everyone being a content creator by trade, prying a Gen Z's phone from their fingies is harder than telling Matthew McConaughey to keep his shirt on in a rom-com. 

It's fine... just maybe stop texting at dinner for like 10 minutes.

Watch: The real face of the millennial. Millennials fight back against their own awful reputation. Post continues below.

3. Great: They've broken stereotypes and taboos.

Gen Z aren't interested in your gendered clothing, what sizes people 'should' wear, haircuts for certain age groups or what is and is not okay to talk about. They've made it acceptable to experiment with our wardrobes, to look into hobbies deemed 'girly' or 'manly', they're open to talking about sex and periods, they may not get married or have kids, and they see acknowledging mental health issues as strong and empowered. 


For this generation, if it's not hurting anyone, they're open. How could we not love that?

3. Not so great: They... can be snarky about the generations before them.

Now, all teenagers do this to a degree. Who didn't fight with their parents about how they just don't 'get it'? But with Gen Z, it seems making fun of other generations is a go-to gag, from teasing the over-60s with 'okay, Boomer' if they don't understand something, to cringing at the trends and interests of Gens X and Y gone by. You too will be old someday, Gen Z... You've been warned! 

Listen: The six signs you’re officially ‘old’, according to Gen Z. Post continues below.

4. Great: They've introduced work-life balance to the mainstream.

Once seen as a perk, hybrid working is essentially a job requirement for Gen Z, as much as having a laptop and a desk is. They've also made it okay to admit when you may need a mental health day, are struggling, or are looking for more support and camaraderie in the office. I dig it.

4. Not so great: They overuse a lot of words.

Boomers had 'groovy', Gen X had 'cool,' and Gen Y had 'High five! Down low, too slow!' (Look, it was a simpler time.) And while it's great that Gen Z have access to a wider vocabulary thanks to the internet age, a lot of mental health terms get bandied about in everyday conversation, taking away their true meaning and diminishing the power they possess. Are you triggered or are you annoyed and hurt? Do you have anxiety.... or are you experiencing stress? Is it your 'OCD', or do you just like to have a tidy desk? Just expand the vocab a bit more, yeah?


5. Great: They're more mindful.

With rising globalisation providing access to more information than any generation before, Gen Z can learn and experience other countries, people and cultures faster and more accurately than any previous generation. 

Overall, this has made them a more mindful group, aware of their privilege compared to others who may be less fortunate. They can ignite real change with the press of a button and are more culturally aware of the sensitivities around certain names, pronouns, genders, sexuality types and native practices.

5. Not so great: They're really good at tech. Like, too good.

Okay, I admit this is a personal one. This generation learn digital literacy skills at a rapid pace, and they show no signs of slowing down. From coding being taught in primary school to teenagers being able to make feature-length movies on their smartphones, Gen Z came along at a prime time to enhance their skills in tech wizardry.

They're the upcoming CEOs of the world, so while this affinity for tech is great for them, I think it's time for me to enrol in a landscaping or hairdressing course – something that has nothing to do with tech – stat, because I'll never be able to catch up!

Jessica Taylor Yates is a Melbourne-based writer. Follow more of her quirky musings at @largealmondlattemedia

Feature Image: Getty.

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