What Gen-Z wants

2024 looks like being Gen Z’s growth era

So I went looking for fresh insights into the heads of Gen Z through Meta’s Instagram Trend Talk 2024. Of course, I could have saved myself the read and looked into the heads of my own children, but they are not talking to me. I forgot why exactly; my memory is no longer what it used to be. I think it had something to do with how they hadn’t asked to be born, and how I chew my food too loudly. Anyway, I started reading through the trends, and found out that Gen Z’s number one irritant is chewing with one’s mouth open! Wow. Clearly, Gen Z expects us to swallow our food whole, or choke to death trying, or switch entirely to smoothies, like they have, full of vegan or ayurvedic ingredients, and plant-based meats and adaptogens, or whatever.

They are also majorly into #GRWM (get-ready-with-me), which is not really new news, because, hello, my children have been get-readying-with-me my whole entire life—popping in to borrow safety pins, mascara, tweezers or wanting to have their sari tied or their naadaas put back into their pyjamas just as I am frantically trying to get dressed as well.

Illustration: Bhaskaran Illustration: Bhaskaran

Following in the footsteps of our revered ruling party, they have also got into name-changing bigtime. Just like Allahabad is now Prayagraj and Rajpath is now Kartavya Path, uttaran is now ‘pre-loved’, and raddi is now ‘thrifting’. Which means that the brats who claimed to be ‘scarred’ because we told them to re-use an older sibling’s school textbooks, or wear a perfectly good sweater a cousin has outgrown, are now applauding each other for doing precisely that. And, Alia Bhatt is their hero just because she re-wore her wedding sari to the Rashtrapati Bhavan—#Sustainability #Queen #Planetsavior!

While some might say that this is setting the bar for queen and saviour really low, I am just happy that they finally seem to be ready to own their middle-class values.

The next thing I found interesting was that in 2024, Gen Z is gonna be all about ‘strengthening my current relationship’. While 63 per cent of them remain single, overall, their stated goal is not playing the field, but working on what they have got. So no more one-night stands—the quest seems to be about lying down together for many nights. Such good news for all our anxious mothers’ hearts.

As far as lifestyles go, 2024 looks like being Gen Z’s growth era—they want to spend it staying healthy, travelling and exploring a career path, preferably one where they get to be self-employed. Huh, is this one of those help-my-mother-has-highjacked-my-socials sort of situation? Because what are all these nice, balanced, detoxicating kind of goals and schemes? Oh, and the things that they value the most in their friends is not that they are popular or connected but the fact that, ‘I can tell them anything’ and they ‘get me better than anybody else’.

The only thing I found disquieting was the fact that nine out of 10 Indian Gen Z kids on Insta said they aligned to a specific fandom—be it music or sports or gaming. Which seems crazy-high frankly, even a little cultish, but may be this is how they meet non-cringe people with a high quality meme-game. (Having a bad taste in memes is the biggest turn-off apparently.)

Overall, they seem like really sorted—and honestly—the world would be a better place if we all chewed softly, and with our mouths closed. In fact, following in the footsteps of our revered ruling party, I toh am ready to rename them Zen Ji. Because really, as a gen, they seem so zen. Respect.