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Anger, Gen Z, and the Path to Progress

COMING OF RAGE is a virtual summit for businesses & Gen Z, featuring some of the top corporate changemakers channeling their collective rage into action. Hosted by JUV Consulting and presented by BET, the event will be held on September 30th, 3-6pm EST. Register for FREE here!

Gen Z is angry, and it isn’t hard to see why. There are plenty of things fueling Gen Z’s anger—the environment, socioeconomic inequality, institutional racism—yet, despite all of that distraction, we have produced some of the strongest social activists and industry disruptors known today. Still, though, cooperation between Gen Z and older generations remains scarce, largely due to misunderstanding and miscommunication between the ages. 

Gen Z is coming of age during a time where it is really difficult to not be frustrated with the status quo. Growing up, we dealt with the looming threat of ecological collapse, the rise of mental health crises in young people, and more. 

We wanted to learn a little bit more about what makes Gen Z so angry, so we asked The Receipt, our in-house network of more than 6,500 Gen Zers, a few questions. 

Being underestimated makes Gen Z angry.

Gen Z is young — that much is true. But we’re not naive, despite what the managers from our first job at the grocery store might think. 

56% of Gen Z survey respondents feel underestimated at their jobs because Boomer, Gen X, and even Millennial employers do not realize how capable they are.

Gen Z is more than TikTok dances and calling everyone “bestie.” Ours is a generation that, in many ways, had to grow up very quickly and face life’s realities sooner than our parents did. This has made Gen Z a very resilient cohort, able to handle much more than older generations give us credit for. 

There are so many accomplished Gen Zers out there with creative ideas to make the world a better place: Malala Yousafzai, the Parkland survivors, Amika George, Greta Thunberg, Amandla Stenberg, Joshua Wong…the list could go on. Clearly, age is not a barrier to inspiring real positive change in society. Still, though, older generations frequently overlook our accomplishments. 

But Gen Z isn’t fueling the fire behind cancel culture.

For a generation that is often criticized for being “too sensitive,” Gen Zers are remarkably forgiving. 59% of survey respondents want to cancel “cancel culture” — the social media habit of deciding a person or group is “over” because of poor past decision making. 

Don’t confuse this for complacency, though. Gen Z does want to make sure people who do bad things are held accountable. 

Here’s the thing — we know that cancellation is not accountability. Unfollowing a celebrity after it has been revealed they sexually assaulted someone is not the same thing as holding them accountable in the eyes of the law and preventing them from committing those same unforgivable actions again. 

And if we’ve learned anything about so-called cancel culture, it’s that it doesn’t work. Numerous allegedly cancelled celebrities go on to continue to have successful careers after brief stints in the “cancel club”. 

Gen Z recognizes the power of intergenerational collaboration.

How, then, can we harness Gen Z’s rage to mold a more equitable world? 

We can start by working together with older generations, ensuring everyone’s voice is heard and valued equally. Gen Z has a valuable and unique perspective on the world as it was handed to us, but we still have plenty to learn. 

72% of survey respondents believe that older generations are standing in the way of Gen Z progress, hindering any opportunities to effectively work together. 

Without intergenerational collaboration, Gen Z will be left out of conversations until we are the only ones left to have them. We will be the most affected by long-term policies enacted today, so we deserve to be part of the conversation that crafts those policies. Gen Z is incredibly eager to do the work required in shaping policy and industry to better reflect our needs. 

But being angry isn’t all bad…

Our anger has helped us cultivate some positive attributes, too.

Gen Z isn’t afraid to openly discuss our feelings and think critically about how we as individuals fit into the dynamics that frustrate us. Rather than bottle all our thoughts and emotions to never be shared (*ahem* Boomers), we talk about what’s on our mind so we can better ourselves from it. If you never allow your opinions to be challenged, you will never learn anything. 

Plus, Gen Z appreciates the power of therapy and taking care of mental health. If we didn’t, we would have a lot more unresolved anger issues.

Existing in such stressful times has also given Gen Z a good sense of humor. To deal with all of the stressors affecting society right now, you need a sense of humor. Otherwise, things would feel a lot more hopeless. Being able to find something to laugh about during even the most difficult times helps Gen Z keep a positive outlook on our future.

Finally, our anger has given us resolve. We do not compromise on our morals, because we do not believe that morals are something that needs to be compromised. There exist enough resources and positivity in the world to ensure the planet and society are taken care of; these resources just need to be put into the right hands in order to ensure equity and success for everyone. Why should we leave any group behind in our quest for progress, when we know we have the strength to uplift everyone?

The only way for effective, positive change to happen is through collaboration and mutual respect between the generations. Gen Z is ready to put in the work needed to make the world a better place. To all the Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials in control…are you?


JUV Consulting is a Gen Z collective that works with companies to create purpose-driven and authentic marketing campaigns that engage young audiences. Contact us at info@juvconsulting.com if you would like to learn how to reach Gen Z, or sign up for our weekly newsletter, The Screenshot, to get Gen Z insights straight to your inbox.

Leah Butz is a Copywriter & Content Contributor living in Queens, New York. If you don’t catch her biking around on her 1977 Motobecane, then she’s probably at home baking a new bread recipe. Sometimes she posts on Instagram at @containsham.