I was born into the weird generational twilight zone at the tail end of millennials and the very beginning of Generation Z. And I have to admit that since I was old enough to be conscious of generational differences, I have railed against being identified with Generation Z. In my mind Generation Z was vain, self-obsessed and had no memory of a time before the internet. I might have been totally computer-literate before I hit adolescence and yet I refused to identify as Gen Z. However, their latest online claim to fame may just have won me over.
TikTok user Maya posted a video over the weekend joking that she was “tired of Boomers bunching Gen Z and Millennials together”. Her objection was that she didn’t want to be associated with people who think Harry Potter movies are a personality trait.
As a Ravenclaw, I was a little offended. But I have to admit, she has a point. With author of the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling coming under fire in the last week for her anti-trans views, it might be time for us to follow Gen Z’s lead and move on from our childhood obsessions with the wizarding world.
Maya’s TikTok was just the tip of the iceberg though. Comments on the video had fellow members of Gen Z dragging millennials for all the other sad things they do. Things like saying the words, “doggo” or “adulting”. And excuse me Gen Z but what on earth am I supposed to call it when I’m proud of paying my bills on time?
But it doesn’t matter what word I use because Gen Z also has no problem dragging my adulting skills either. One TikTok user commented, “they’re worried about their harry potter house but they live in a 1 bedroom apartment...y’all worried about the wrong houses”. At the risk of sounding less like a millennial and more like a boomer, you Gen Z-er’s just wait until you’re old enough to realise what rent prices are like!
The trend even made it to Twitter with Gen Z trending in Australia today. And you know what, I found my kindred spirit there because while Gen Z rules TikTok, they haven’t quite taken over Twitter yet. One Twitter user captured the begrudging admiration for Gen Z perfectly, tweeting, “I love gen z and lowkey want them to like me but not out loud because they’d only mock me for it and they’d be right to do it.”
Another tweeted my thoughts exactly saying, “proud to be on the borderline of millennial and gen z so I can jump into whatever group isn’t being embarrassing at the moment”.
One Gen Z-er made a fair point that the ‘just you wait’ sentiment of millennial comebacks won’t work on them. She said, “I like that the most popular millennial comeback I’ve see [sic] directed at gen z today is ‘you won’t be laughing when you realise ur destined to be broke’ when gen z humour is 90% ‘haha the world is on fire and we’re just part of a capitalist machine we will probably die young’.”
So it turns out Gen Z has absolutely no chill when it comes to dragging their millennial elders. And I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I will spend the rest of my life grappling with my divided loyalties and trying to simultaneously impress the millennials who think I’m a baby and the Gen Z’s who think I’m a dinosaur. But if this online generational battle has convinced me of anything, it’s that the kids really are alright.
Zoë Victoria is a freelance writer. You can follow her on Twitter @Zoe__V