The unthinkable has happened: Gen Z has become nostalgic for quarantine. Since school began in September, young people on social media have shown their sentimentality for a time characterized by hours-long TikTok usage, iced coffees, and peppy dance trends. However, this goes deeper than typical daydreaming. The reason why this (objectively horrid) era is so popular right now is because of its drastic difference from the stress students and young professionals are experiencing as in-person experiences become the norm. Psychiatrist Dr. Harold Hong explained to Her Campus that the pandemic “was a much-needed break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. We were able to take the time to appreciate the simple things in life, … read, cook, and exercise.” It’s easy to forget about the extreme loss, economic issues, and lack of socialization COVID-19 imposed upon us when the happiness of calm is on one’s mind. One user asked, “Does anyone else miss the 2020 covid lockdown tik tok phase where everything was so innocent and everyone just wanted to dance and have fun?” We’ve all coped with post-pandemic emotional shockwaves differently, and this is a step in truly finding ourselves, sans COVID-19.
Cornell is back on their “problematic Greek life” sh*t! This suspension is a reaction to reports of four “roofied” students and one sexual assault in recent weeks. With over one-third of the student population participating in Greek life and Cornell holding the title of the third-largest Greek system, the school has a reputation for worrisome fraternity action. One student Tweeted, “Cornell frats being in the news … is turning into a semesterly tradition.” Outside of Cornell, many students have critiqued the Greek system in recent years. Since 1970, there has been at least one hazing-related death on a college campus every single year. TikTok creator @guidogainz faced intense backlash for posting about girls “senselessly discriminat[ing] against all of Greek life” because others have had “a bad experience.” In reality, these “bad experiences” are often incredibly morally reprehensible acts, as many users pointed out. JUV’s Receipt network found that 44% of the Gen Z base had a negative or very negative outlook on fraternities and sororities, a statistic we’ve listed in a previous Screenshot newsletter. Simply put, much of the generation is beyond Greek life — due to its misogyny, classism, and racism, and the multitude of less controversial activities available. Sorry, but mid parties don’t excuse your problems.
There are a LOT of things we can disagree about. But, one thing everyone can agree on? Hating Daylight Savings Time ending. After the Sunshine Protection Act of 2021 passed in the US Senate unanimously, Gen Z took it as the green light to roast the heck out of early sunsets. High school students lamented the lack of daylight available once school ends and the early sunrise. @byron.seto on TikTok complained, “I HATE DAYLIGHT SAVINGS [ENDING] I CANT EVEN HAVE MY PEAC[E]FUL MORNING BUS RIDES ANYMORE.” For college students who rise late and sleep late, the time change really hit different. @psubarstool captured leaving a 5 pm class for a pitch black outside, captioning it, “Cue the seasonal depression.” Young people worldwide all relate to the wish for permanent Daylight Savings Time, a practice that began over 100 years ago to conserve fuel, encourage people to shop after work, and let daylight take up more waking hours. Seasonal depression is bad enough; let Gen Z enjoy our sunlight too!
The US midterm elections represented an upset of the current political system. But, this was an unconventional change — a resounding beginning of (strongly Democratic) Gen Z electoral participation. The 18-29 population collectively stood at about +28 Democratic, compared to Gen X’s -2 Republican. One in eight voters was younger than 30, according to exit polls by Edison Research and AP VoteCast. Though older generations were quick to critique Gen Z’s early voting habits, they took a quick 180 once election day results dropped. Actor Pedro Pascal heartwarmingly Tweeted, “Gen Z saving us from the world we’ve given them 💔💜💚.” However, others did not react as well. Author Brigitte Gabriel called for the voting age to be raised to 21 years old, rapidly spreading the sentiment among (mostly conservative) politicians who didn’t perform well among youth. Others even called for voting to begin at 25 or 30 years old. One user responded to her demand by ironically quoting, “Let’s force 10 year olds to have babies, but raise the voting age to 21.” Despite the backlash, this election is proof of the sheer power of Gen Z, even as we are still dipping our toes into the political waters. I know the average age of Congress won’t be 61 for long!
Selena Gomez is Gen Z’s older sister, and she just gave us a new angle on her life. “My Mind & Me,” Gomez’s new documentary on Apple TV+, explores the singer and actor’s experience with lupus, fame, and bipolar disorder. Director Alek Keshishian — who rose to fame from “Madonna: Truth or Dare” — began filming in 2015, making it a true timeline of Gomez’s rise to stardom. The trailer was released on World Mental Health Day of 2022 and, since then, “My Mind & Me” has seen overwhelmingly positive support from Gen Z. A movie about “learning to hurt in the healthiest way” hit close to home for young people, who share Gomez’s struggles despite not holding her success. Social media users related to her on-and-off relationship with Justin Bieber, her struggles with mental health and substance abuse, and her reflection on a childhood controlled by others. Following documentaries of stardom by Taylor Swift and Billie Eilish, fans pointed out its deep authenticity and story of female sisterhood. The final line — “I’m enough. I’m Selena.” — struck a deep chord with “My Mind & Me”’s audience. When it comes to Gen Z, Selena, we’ll always come “Back to You!”
✨ IYKYK ✨
✨ You may not be Genovia’s royalty, but you can still use this transition sound! Hold two starting pictures in front of the final product, then reveal the transformation. This is perfect for any Queen Bee or Prince Charming.
✨ To whoever’s writing my story, find me a S/O, fast. Ask the author of your life for a change through this Twitter, Instagram, or TikTok phrase: “To whoever’s writing my story…” See examples by Alejandra and Kale.
✨ Is your camera roll 95% outfit inspiration, or is that just me? Use this TikTok audio to show what a hacker would find in your camera roll. If Santa Claus did it, you’re basically required to as well.
Screenshot of the Week
Maxwell Frost, the first Gen Z Congressperson, celebrated his victory in true generational fashion. Frost attended a concert from The 1975 (peak ~online in 2013~ energy), where lead singer Matty Healy shouted him out and dedicated “Love It If We Made It” to him. In Healy’s words, “it’s about … time we that have some 1975 fandom representation in the White House!” In the picture above, Frost documents his “morning after” post-election mood with a classic Gen Z .5 lens. What do I need to do to go to a The 1975 concert with Maxwell Frost?!