So many older teen movies – like Clueless, Mean Girls, and Heathers – reflected and completely redefined their generations. But with the Gen Z generation possibly being the most over-defined and over-exposed generation in history, social media took over. It surpassed TV as being the most popular form of youth media and completely did away with lines between different media-consuming groups. Now the world can check in and see what we’re doing at any time whenever we choose to post on social media platforms.
But many of the trends of Gen Z are recycled from other cultures’ creations and replicated across the web. Corporations take note of this, follow along, and so begins the digitally-led circle of life.
The corporations that are being talked about are the ones involved in the entertainment business, of course. This year has seen many movies try to define this generation, like Bodies Bodies Bodies, Not Okay, the TV series Heartbreak High and the Netflix movie Do Revenge. All of these movies have one thing in common when it comes to winning over Gen Z: language. All of the people behind this media think that in order to win Gen Z over, you have to talk like Gen Z.
In order to further understand Gen Z culture, most people turn to social media platforms such as Tiktok, Twitter, and Tumblr. Bodies, Bodies, Bodies must have done this since its trailer is filled with phrases like: “You’re gaslighting me,” “You are so toxic,” and “You’re silencing me.”
All of these phrases are immensely popular on social media. This mental health terminology is often used in situations that have nothing to do with mental health at all, though. Misogyny and trigger warnings are often mentioned for an intense effect.
These movies are aware of the uselessness of these words, though. Bodies, Bodies, Bodies points this out as one character is accused of gaslighting and fires back at the accuser that they found the word on the internet and deployed it meaninglessly.
This is not the only movie that has used this “Gen Z language,” though. Do Revenge seems to be the most obvious movie to have done this recently. The film’s goal was to be a trend-setting snappy teen comedy that would have quotes that resonated with teens like Mean Girls and Clueless. This movie made countless references to these films and did more saying rather than doing. It relates itself to these movies too much instead of actually making itself one on its own, with the dialogue being mainly to blame for this.