THIS WEEK IN HOT GEN Z TRENDS: (THIS IS A PARODY) 🗯 

On October 30, Luiz Inácio Lula de Silva, or Lula, won against Jair Bolsonaro in the Brazilian presidential elections. Lula’s ascension to his third non-consecutive term has much to do with young people at the polls. Though voting is mandatory in Brazil for those over 18 (those who don’t may get a fine), children ages 16 and 17 can choose to register as well. This option has not been taken by many in recent years, with a decline from 2.5 million in 2012 to 630,000 in 2021. The rise in youth voter initiatives responding to this metric pushed Gen Z, a majority of whom preferred Lula, to the polls in October. Brazilian celebrities like Anitta and Lázaro Ramos helped bring the number up to 2012 numbers by May 2022 in a nationwide art and culture campaign under #RolêDasEleiçōes (Role in Elections). At Lollapalooza Brazil, singers used Lula towels, displayed anti-Bolsonaro messages, and urged attendees to vote. To celebrate Lula’s win, young left-wingers on Twitter spread an image of him in 1979 leading the Steelworkers Union Assembly. Many even begged for Oscar Isaac to play Lula in the future. Yet again, Gen Z is showing its electoral power at the ballot box. 

Greta Thunberg said “imma head out” about COP27! The 19-year-old climate activist is choosing not to attend the conference this November in light of the greenwashing she’s seen in past events. At the London release event for her new book, “The Climate Book,” Thunberg explained that “leaders and people in power [use it] to get attention” rather than “chang[ing] the whole system.” She went viral last year for calling COP26 “business as usual and blah blah blah.” As United Nations legislation is not legally binding, the most countries can do to others who defy the agreements is to shame them. Over four years after Thunberg and others began striking for climate justice, many in the movement have seen little change. Young people have also called out Egypt for its political prisoners and human rights abuses, which contrast with the message of peace COP27 is meant to promote. Nobel prize laureates, lawmakers, and environmental activists have all called on Egypt to release the over 60,000 political prisoners held there before COP27 begins. #FreeAlaa is a movement trying to release British-Egyptian author and human rights advocate Alaa Abdel Fattah from Egyptian prison, where he has been since his work during the Arab Spring. Fattah has been water and food striking ahead of COP27 as a way to call for action in freeing himself and other jailed activists. Thunberg joined other #FreeAlaa protesters last week. With the importance of upcoming discussions, an international eye is on Egypt ahead of COP27. 

Later tonight, the US election results will be revealed, deciding the makeup of the national bodies of Congress and the local offices around the nation. Many states will also decide on crucial ballot measures, such as Nevada’s Equal Rights Amendment and five different states’ abortion legislation. Where young people are lacking right now: early voting. In purple North Carolina, under-30 voters are 5.4% of the ballots cast (currently all early or absentee), compared to 16.5% in 2020. Youth are notorious for their low midterm participation, a dangerous sign in such a contentious electoral year. Luckily, Harvard found that 40 percent of 18-29 voters were “definitely” going to show up at the polls; now, it’s about seeing that number and more cast their ballots. Organizations like Gen Z for Change and Voters of Tomorrow have heightened their efforts ahead of the midterms; the latter posted, “If you’re wondering how the kids are doing, the kids and their volunteers texted 800,000 young voters [with VOT] today. The kids are alright.” NextGen America videoed University of Texas Austin students in line to vote, refuting those who lament low youth turnout. As young people tend to vote in person on election day, we won’t know the full reward of Gen Z’s efforts until all ballots are counted. Until we get a seat at the table (echoing a previous edition, we don’t have a *single* Gen Z Congressperson!), we’ll continue to vote like everything depends on it. 

Last week, Israel experienced its fifth election in four years, ultimately resulting in the return of Benjamin Netanyahu. Contrary to Lula’s win, however, this victory was due to a rising right-wing youth in the country. First-time voters made up 209,000 votes (or around 4% of the total ballots). Additionally, 46 percent of those 18-25 who cast a ballot identify as “right,” with 16 percent as “center-right.” The children of post-Soviet Union immigrants have also trended towards conservative parties. These factors brought Netanyahu and his allies into 64 of the 120 seats in the Israeli parliament, or Knesset. A priority for the new majority coalition is to quiet controversy over Netanyahu’s various corruption and fraud charges (awkward!). Youth have also found a role in the governmental side of electoral politics. Hadar Muchtar is the 21-year-old chairperson of the Youth on Fire party. Their motivation: “no one will take care of the young people better than the young people themselves.” Muchtar found online fame by hosting public stunts to call out the cost of living crisis. Though Youth on Fire did not garner the vote minimum to hold seats in the Knesset, the party is looking to join other groups’ coalition-building for future elections. Around the world, Gen Z activists are ready for the big leagues. 

With hours until the US midterm elections are decided, politicians have spent the past weeks using social media to reach Gen Z. Three examples are Beto O’Rourke of Texas, John Fetterman of Pennsylvania, and President Joe Biden. O’Rourke, running for governor, has received a slate of endorsements that he advertises on social media. Two popular posts with young people were from Billie Eilish and Hayley Williams of Paramore. Both celebrities are extremely popular with Gen Z, making the endorsements a motivating factor for them to visit the polls. Nessa Diosdado, a member of Gen Z for Change, posted a popular video to Souja Boy’s “Pretty Boy Swag” with O’Rourke. Though many comments were ~thirsty~ to say the least, many others were full of excitement to vote. For John Fetterman, the opponent of Dr. Oz for the US Senate, his niche has always been young people. To grow his base, his team creates hilarious posts on TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram. One example, captioned, “Oz has never met an oil company he didn’t swipe right for🫶,” shows Oz on Tinder liking companies like ExxonMobil. He’s also joked about Sheetz, Oz-themed Halloween costumes, and the Phillies, attracting the attention of Gen Z around the country. Lastly, Biden went viral for voting with his granddaughter, Natalie Biden. As the younger Biden has just turned 18, it was her first time voting — making it a call to action to first-timers. The conclusion from all of these? Social media is more powerful than many older candidates think. 

✨ IYKYK ✨

✨ Do you even phonk? A TikTok sound assigning models to different songs in the “phonk” genre has gone viral for letting users show off their model walks. As a brand, you can strut through a store, model walk to get a product, or show off an item while doing your *thing.*  

✨ There’s no such thing as a silly question … unless? For any question that causes a silent shaking of the head, use this meme format to show your disapproval. And, of course, if you say no to Taylor Swift in the car, you’re walking home. 

✨What up, my lovely females?! Even if you didn’t throw an infamous house party, this TikTok audio is still perfect to use to introduce a sale, show off a transition, and more! Check out Vista High’s video for an example. 

Screenshot of the Week 

With Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, things have been … a little crazy on the app, to say the least. Musk Tweeted about his love for free speech in not banning @ElonJet, an account tracking his plane. He subsequently banned comedian Kathy Griffin and required all parody accounts to explicitly state their parody status (later banning the account captured in this screenshot). All we can say is, it’s better than Tumblr?? 

Harmonie Ramsden