Gen Z Schools us on Gender

Highlights from ZSpeaks’ LIVE “GroupChat” on Gender

ZSpeak connected 4 incredible Gen Z thought-leaders (see Gen Z Spotlight below) with corporate and institutional leaders in a LIVE online “GroupChat” on July 29th. We discussed how their generation is re-defining gender, what that means for our culture, and how companies and institutions can represent gender in a way that is relevant and inclusive.

Incredibly informed and thoughtful, here are some highlights on questions posed that our Z panelists schooled us on:

Q: Why is it important to separate sex (assigned at birth) from gender identity?

“You’re born with your sex but your gender is something that’s placed upon you, almost without consent, based on sex. Whereas, we should have the freedom to decide how we want to approach the world and how the world should get to know us.”

Q: What does it mean to be “masculine” or “feminine” today?

“What is the inherent value of masculine & feminine traits? Could like a trillion years ago, someone have decided that to be feminine is to be aggressive and to be masculine is to be soft and empathetic? We are all made up of a mixture of both and acknowledging that & seeing depth to every person and not just ‘man’ vs. ‘women’ is super important in everyone’s personal development. ”

Q: How does your generation view gender differently than older generations?

“We don’t really have any pre-conceptions about what gender is and what it should be, and as a generation, we just want to treat people well, and if that means accepting who they really are, than that’s what that means. We don’t feel like there’s a right and a wrong, the way older generations might have been raised with those conceptions…we just haven’t, so we’re more accepting.”

Q: How should gender be expressed in the world?

“I don’t think there’s a specific way gender should look. If you’re happy, that’s all that matters. Us as a society dictating what you should look like shouldn’t be a reality we have to face.”

“Stop enforcing the binary. For example, if a shirt is being sold, don’t call it a ‘men’s’ shirt, because anyone can buy it and wear it.”

“If I’m a guy who wants to wear a skirt, I should, even if it’s in the ‘women’s section’, if I feel I would look beautiful in it.”

Q: What’s the deal with pronouns and why are they so important to Gen Z?

“For millennia we’ve been using he/she pronouns because we identified each other through biology, but not realizing there’s actually a spectrum.”

“If everyone is saying their pronouns, it makes it much more comfortable for someone whose pronouns may be different to just introduce themselves in the way they identify in the first place. If we don’t do that, it’s hard for them to have the opportunity & they won’t feel safe in that environment.”

Q: What will change in the future? What do we need to do differently?

“As our world becomes more mixed and neutralized in terms of race, gender neutrality is something a lot of people will go for even in naming their children, not a girl or guy’s name, but something that can just represent a person rather than a gender role from the start.”

“What will change is the way we see the world through a gender binary of male & female. I feel like there are still a lot of norms based on male & female, especially among older generations, and I feel Gen Z has really worked to revolutionize what gender means and to present it more as a spectrum. Moving forward, what gender is, is not binary, it’s not just male & female, it’s not just the sex you’re assigned at birth, it’s a lot more than that….and representing that at companies and industries as not just male & female.”

“Strive for neutrality. You don’t have to put a boy in a dress and let a girl be hairy to be progressive. It’s about letting their natural beauty and humanity shine through above all.”

To learn more, you can watch the full one-hour “GroupChat” on Gender at z-speak.com. To chat directly, shoot us an email at hello@z-speak.com.

AnneMarie Evans, Founder/President, ZSpeak & Global Mosaic

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store