(Understanding Generation Z through a Gen Z : The feature photo has been taken from Internet, source: https://www.4dhumanbeing.com/how-gen-z-is-transforming-the-workplace/)
There are several things that define today’s generation of teenagers to young adults, but how are the youth of this country figuring out their life as they go through a significant historical event and its major transitions?
The pandemic has become a big part of the lives of everyone around the world, especially for Generation Z. When talking about this generation, it is hard to ignore the impact of the pandemic. In 2019, the youth would find themselves in cafes where the smell of coffee would waft through conversations. If they were not in aesthetically pleasing restaurants, each other’s houses would serve as a place to escape to and have fun. But now, hang-outs take place in discord servers and messenger calls. While these outlets allow them to do activities such as watch movies and play games together, they still long to be able to laugh in each other’s company. The pandemic has caused a generation that used to be quite energetic and lively to now being labelled as lazy and unmotivated. While some individuals are highly driven to change the world in one way or another, others prefer to be in the passenger seat and enjoy the scenery as they cruise through life. Both mind-sets are understandable as the youth are sometimes faced with hopelessness, given the state of the world today. Their increasing awareness of socio-political issues often leave them staring at the ceiling as they ponder the meaning of life.
A common misconception about Generation Z in Bangladesh is that they are all the same. “Today’s generation is hopeless” is frequently heard, but the Bengali youth are a very diverse group of people with a wide range of talents and interests. Their knowledge ranges from their academic studies to other areas such as film, gaming and fashion to name only a few. This is reminiscent of older generations who were trying to figure out themselves and their interests through confusing adolescent years. The difference is that current generations have more access to resources and information to figure out where their interests truly lie. They are able to soak in information more specific to their interests.
Even though the youth is constantly berated for being on their phones, they have used their resources on social media to start small businesses during the pandemic. These businesses are mostly in the form of Instagram pages. Some of these pages were able to solidify the trend of online thrifting, where they sell pieces from decades past. Scrolling through social media and coming across alluring pages of vintage shirts and blouses gives refreshing new fashion inspirations. Another notable fashion trend that the Bengali youth has adapted is handmade beaded jewellery. To create something and see someone buy it and appreciate it is an amazing accomplishment these young individuals are able to achieve. The unique designs they create really help Generation Z make this trend their own.
Photo credit: @thriftmyclos.et on Instagram
On the contrary, Bengali artists have struggled to find inspiration in this pandemic era. However, they still continue to whip out their canvases and paint brushes for when they just want to feel the soothing movements of their brush strokes. Whether the final product comes out good or bad, the painters find the best way to destress is to sit down with their tools, light fairy lights and scented candles and paint inspired by the ambience of their surroundings. Moreover, paint is not the only form of media artists can use to express themselves. Make-up artists have been showcasing immense talent on social media, whether they create simple looks or elaborate face art. Make-up has become an inclusive art form for Generation Z. Although they are unable to go outside, it is more than enough to put on their favourite album and apply their make-up to take lovely pictures.
Photo credit: Reyna Ahmad on Instagram
A hobby that young Bengalis have picked up from older generations in their household and made it their own is cooking. Along with traditional dishes, households will be filled with the aroma of whatever new concoction they come up with. Young home cooks have learned to experiment with their cooking by following the taste and smell of their dish as they add each ingredient. It also serves as a bonding experience with family members, as their parents or grandparents walk them through every step of cooking dishes they have mastered. Similarly, Generation Z have also taken up baking. The whisking of flour, eggs and milk can be quite therapeutic. This is followed by sweet smells enveloping the kitchen as the cake bakes in the
oven, and then decorating with colourful frosting and small cream flowers. A truly calming activity that is rewarded by a delicious piece of cake in the end.
Generation Z was supposed to make the most out of their youthful years outside, but the pandemic has left most of them trapped inside the four walls of their room, drained and burnt out. As another year has passed, the Generation Z individuals battle through academic pressures while also trying to keep themselves sane. Even so, they continue to have an incredible sense of empathy and be more accepting of others. Grand ambitions are few among this generation but when asked the simple question of what they want to do in life, most will answer with being happy and keeping others around them happy.
Author: Tasnia Naureen