By María Paula Alvarado Mora – International Relations Student
Generation Z has been characterized for their strong voice and their willingness to speak out on issues that have been ignored by older generations. This generation has been shaped by different worlds and perspectives which has resulted in developing a different sense and interest towards topics like diversity, inclusion, justice and equality. There are more young people that are speaking up about subjects that have been considered taboos and that have been subjects of shame. Breaking out of the mold imposed by society has also been a characteristic of this generation.
Art is considered as a form of expression and, throughout the years, the world has seen an increase in communication platforms where people of all ages have been able to express concerns and raise their voices on many relevant issues. Art has been used as a way of attracting public attention and has played a very important role in helping Gen Z to find their defining voice. The Black Lives Matter Movement (BLM) and the Feminist Movement are some examples of how art has helped raise awareness, and make it easier for people to keep the subject in mind if there’s a logo or an activist campaign showing everywhere. As well as these two mentioned movements, every activist group has its own logo and illustrations, either to inform or to remind people what the movement seeks and what are their objectives.
The new generations enter a society completely different as the society from the Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) that was more reserved, traditional and close-minded. This older generations were more involved in a religious environment and religion was the center of their society. On the contrary, Gen Z has been more drawn to a free and open-minded, inclusive and a changing society. Also, many have found interest in getting to know more about different religions and lifestyles to implement them in their life as a way of opening their mind. This is why there is a very marked generational difference between both generations. “And their views on gender and identity are unprecedented and untraditional: Gen Z refuses to turn ethnicity and race into checkboxes on a survey form.” (Gomez, Mawhinney & Betts, n.d.).
Years ago, more leading voices were lacking to inform and guide topics like climate change, feminism, inclusion, and equality regardless ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation. Now with Gen Z and upcoming generations there are more leading voices that speak up and give their lives for the activism and for a more inclusive and acceptance society. “In some ways, Generation Z already have an innate advantage over other generations, just through growing up fully integrated with technology – they are much more discerning of online sources than Millennial children ever were.” (Duffy & Shrimpton, n.d.). Technology has also played a very crucial role in helping Generation Z find a voice. Social networks have become a strong news channel, where injustices against many communities and minorities are published every day. Most of the things that happen today have been happening for years but due to the lack of exposure and importance to the subject people did not notice them.
The responsibility many people give Generation Z as the “generation of change” is huge, but accurate. Going from such traditional and conservative generations to one that imposes more changes within society and opens up the topic of different lifestyles and choices is not always easy for people to accept. Having leading voices that can help the population to be informed and to understand all these relevant subjects is one of the most important things. Young activists and leaders like Greta Thunberg or Malala Yousafzai are some examples of how youth has become increasingly interested in these topics. They also set an example of using their voice as a way of giving all the visibility and importance to these issues like climate change, gender equality and inclusion.
MOXIE es el Canal de ULACIT (www.ulacit.ac.cr), producido por y para los estudiantes universitarios, en alianza con el medio periodístico independiente Delfino.cr, con el propósito de brindarles un espacio para generar y difundir sus ideas. Se llama Moxie - que en inglés urbano significa tener la capacidad de enfrentar las dificultades con inteligencia, audacia y valentía - en honor a nuestros alumnos, cuyo “moxie” los caracteriza.
Duffy, B & Shrimpton, H. (n.d.). Beyond Binary: The lives and choices of Generation Z. Ipsos MORI. https://www.ipsos.com/sites/default/files/ct/publication/documents/2018-07/ipsos-thinks-beyond-binary-lives-loves-generation-z.pdf
Gomez, K., Mawhinney, T. & Betts, K. (n.d.). Welcome to Generation Z. Deloitte. https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/us/Documents/consumer-business/welcome-to-gen-z.pdf