The Misunderstood Generation

Investigating concerns about how media portrays Generation Z.

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The Misunderstood Generation

Lazy, unfocused, and spoiled. This is what other generations continue to think of Gen Z kids.

However, we’re not tech slaves, we’re not brats, and, most importantly, we’re not Millenials! Movies and shows are taking advantage of Gen Z’s young age in order to portray them poorly.

For example, look to movies such as Grown Ups. This movie is all about getting in touch with your childhood. Yet, a significant message of the movie is that the kids in this movie are brats in the beginning but become good, fun, adventurous kids in the end. Not because they are spoiled, but because of their reliance on technology. It’s full of stereotypes of our generation, and in the movie, it’s the kids who really have the weakest character arks.

This leads to the crux of the problem. The “tech slave” stereotype so perpetrated by Hollywood. It seems the world hates progress because there is nothing but criticism for Generation Z. Statements like “they’re unfocused” or “they get everything handed to them” are examples. It’s fine to have opinions, but the fact that Hollywood uses this stereotype so much in movies, we have no representation.

The good news is that as we progress forward and Gen Z gets older, more people are getting it right. Or at least closer. Mostly these are done by more liberal producers, like Netflix. A great example is “Love, Simon”.

Tech isn’t a big message in this movie. It portrays Teen life as a Gen Z, including more liberal culture. However, it doesn’t overdo it. In the movie, Simon is our protagonist who is gay, not a gay protagonist. The movie is about overcoming pressure and is focused on the teen story, not the “it’s okay to be gay” message. This makes it extremely relatable and able to represent a generation because liberalism is just a quality, not a definition.

However, even these young producers aren’t always able to get it right. Movies like “F the prom” Portray gen z culture as full of gossip and cynically snide, and social media is a really big part of it. Social media doesn’t define us. Too many movies make Messages about tech and not enough messages about us.

The sad part is that right now, we can’t really defend ourselves. The oldest Gen Z is 20 – 21, so we don’t have too much say over how we are portrayed in movies. It’s claimed that we are the most disrespectful generation, but the matter of fact is once you show us a shred of respect, we’ll return the favor.