The Zoomers are dragging millennial culture – Harry Potter, avocado toast, killing houseplants – but here’s what the older generation thinks of the younger
In the latest inter-generational spat, millennials are on the losing end, again. Zoomers (AKA Gen Z) have been taking to their platform of choice – TikTok mostly – to declare war on millennials (those who were born between 1981 and 1996) who they’re constantly lumped in with, and things got personal.
According to Gen Z, millennials only care about Harry Potter, Buzzfeed quizzes, and avocado on toast. We’re obsessed with posting selfies on Instagram and (vomit-inducing) phrases like #adulting and #coffeebreak. Not to mention our heel-dragging aversion to adult life, which is arguably a symptom of soaring house prices and near-constant recession (not that Zoomers care). Oh, we’re also synonymous with shitty rainbow-hued pictures, plaid t-shirts, and moustache finger tatts. Ouch.
So we’ve decided to turn the table: what do millennials think of Gen Z? Is Harry Potter still a personality trait for the ’me me me’ generation? Are we going to keep killing houseplants or have we grown? We’ve asked a few.
“I’m hopeful that Gen Z is radicalising faster than we did. For them, it’s always been cool to care about the environment and human rights. They’re not lumbered with the myth that if you work hard enough, you’ll succeed. Instead, they go straight to anti-capitalism: do not pass GO, do not collect £200. Still, I think they have the tendency that all young people do to think they’re the first to ever have these thoughts.
And they’re lucky. They never had to go through that awkward age where you have to wear catalogue clothes and have no idea how to blend your makeup. The information about sexuality and gender is right there at their fingertips and they have much better TV shows. Oh, and I really like that thing they do where they only have like seven Instagram pictures at a time.”
I REFUSE to be compared to a Boomer. That’s the worst insult ever lmaooo
But then again, Gen Z were the ones eating Tide Pods and drinking Bleach.
But we’re not going to argue
— Brenda Richie Knew Kung-Fu (@InesViolet) June 14, 2020
“I am, however, seriously worried about what will happen to their faces when they get to 50 and it’s all been stretched-out by fillers and plumpers. I guess they’ll all need lip tucks for their saggy mouths, and therapy for becoming influencers before they could legally drink.
As for what Gen Z think about millennials, I think a lot of these millennial stereotypes are just white, middle-class marketing bros making massive generalisations about a very wide group of people. The oldest millennials are 40 now. I’m 28, so there’s only a few years between me and the oldest Gen Z-er and we probably have more in common.
That being said, I have a Harry Potter tattoo and when I posted it on Instagram I captioned it with: ‘We are the granddaughters of the witches you didn’t burn’ and my girlfriend is trying to grow some beetroot. Roast me Gen Z!”
“I wouldn’t know exactly how to define Gen Z. As I don’t have any siblings, it’s not something I encounter a lot. But if I had to say something, it’d be the trope of them being raised in the age of social media. Also perhaps a general perception they are more ‘woke’ and socially engaged. Like that recent stuff about TikTokers and K pop stans buying all those seats at the Trump rally. I wonder if social media being highly available makes it easier for Gen Z to be involved in activism.
The stereotypes don’t bother me, I find them funny. Personally, I find anyone defining themselves as characterised by the generation they are, or believing themselves to be a certain way because of it, is a bit cringe. So I’ve never really done that myself. In terms of whether I identify, I have definitely eaten avocado toast. There was a lot of Harry Potter roasting. I am firmly team #harrypotterisoverparty. Trans rights!”
“I quite like Gen Z, they might even be our saviour. I think since millennials saw both before and after the internet takeover our lives, we’re quite a compound and perceptive bunch. We’re much smarter than boomers were at this age, and Gen Z seems even more ahead.
I think the stereotypes Gen Z have of us is hilarious, LOL. I think anyone would find most things on this list quite cringe. Buzzfeed articles and finger mustaches? Sweetheart, that’s not millennial culture, it’s basic culture. Anyone born past 1990 with a bit of taste should be able to separate vapid pop-culture from smart, informed youth habits.”
“The stereotypes I have of Gen Z is that they spend their days flipping clothes on Depop, bulk buying some old Jane Norman tops and silk scarfs, and taking thotty pictures of them, while trying to pass it off as Y2K. They don’t drink but they have a problem with benzos. They think TikTok is activism and haven’t actually read any Audre Lorde, bell hooks, or Judith Butler. They love to do elaborate make-up routines to make themselves look like a dewy little forest nymphs by dousing themselves in Glossier futuredew and painting on freckles. They have an extensive collection of strappy square toe mules that look good but will cause permanent damage flapping against their heels. Everything is a side hustle.”
“I like Gen Z. I was born in 1995, so I feel on the cusp of Gen Z and millenials. My millenial side loved Harry Potter and cried like a baby when I went to watch the final film in the cinema. But my cynical Gen Z side has no problem ‘cancelling’ J.K. Rowling for being a TERF. I also can’t get into TikTok, I’d rather look at a static image on Instagram than 30 second dance clips.
When I think of Gen Z, I think of activists who care urgently about climate change and social justice. They don’t care about fitting into rigid societal structures because their sense of self is formed by online communities. But I also see teens with a fragmented sense of self who have a phantom identity online. I also think younger generations are idealistic, which mellows with age. When I became an adult, I realised that humans can be lazy and they just choose the easy option.”
“Gen Z seem very switched on and engaged with a whole range of issues, like the environment, instersectionality. They seem pretty sceptical about the particular brand of white feminism that’s trickled down into the millennial generation.
I think the stereotypes they have on us make me laugh a lot, because it’s as if the marginalised opinions of a lot of people from the millennial group, and the boomer group to an extent, have been taken on more broadly by the Gen Z-ers. It’s a testament to how radical ideas are becoming more politically mainstream, which is quite hopeful!”
“When I think of Gen Z, I think of TikTok. Always political, super woke, leaning on a kind of anarchist ideology, like “older generations fucked everything up so we have to tear it down”. Whereas millennials are like, “that’s not very practical, is it now?” It’s natural that young people are idealistic but when you get older, you think about how you can fit yourself into the preexisting system.
I think the cultural stereotypes are really mixed, especially some of them are very spot on, especially the avocados, we are generation avocado. But stuff like the moustache, that’s not really any millennial I know. I feel like the moustache thing was a trend for two months, ten years ago, but I’m not sure why that’s been put into the whirlpool with everything else.
But the stereotype that really hits the nail on the head is this sense of arrested development, like everyone not wanting to be a grown up. If anything defines our generation, it’s a reluctance to commit to anything, maybe that’s why #adulting is a thing. I don’t know actually, I’ve never heard that term. There is the idea of millennials not taking responsibility for the world, which hits queasily close to home. I’ll be interested to see when Gen Z is older, are they still as radical as they are now once they realise how much of an enormous job it is to change anything in this world.”