Generation Z Says ‘No Thanks’ to Gender Norms

Generation Z loves whoever.

Millennials: You can now breath a collective sigh of relief because everyone is starting to get tired of your boring, aging selves. Generation Z… It’s your turn. And the thing that the media and researchers are zeroing in on is, not surprisingly, your sexuality.

Gen Z and Gender

Generation Z is totally over gender and sexuality norms, a survey from J. Walter Thompson Innovation Group reports. The trend forecasting agency has discovered that unlike previous generations, people who are aged 13-20-years-old are more likely to be gender fluid. In fact, only 48 percent of Generation Z views themselves as exclusively heterosexual.

The report was done to further study research conducted in May 2015. That preliminary research showed that 81 percent of Gen Z said “gender doesn’t define a person as much as it used to,” Shepherd Laughlin, director of trendspotting at J. Walter Thompson, said.

That may not seem like a huge percentage, but when compared to the percentage of Millennials (age 21-34) asked the same question, 65 percent said they identified as purely heterosexual.

The study discovered the above information by asking Gen Z study participants to rate their sexuality on a scale from zero-“completely straight”-to six-“completely homosexual.”

“More than a third of the young demographic chose a number between one and five, indicating that they were bisexual to some degree,” Vice reports. “Only 24 percent of their older counterparts identified this way.”

Changing the Gender Norm on Every Level

The study also delved into how the younger generation views gender as a whole:

  • The survey found that 56 percent of Gen Z “said they knew someone who went by gender neutral pronouns, such as they, them, or ze.” This was compared to 43 percent of Millennials.
  • The findings also revealed that more than a third of Gen Z “strongly agreed that gender did not define a person as much as it used to.”
  • And Generation Z also tends to reject the gender binary. “Only 44 percent said they always bought clothes designed for their own gender, versus 54 percent of Millennials,” Vice reports. “They also felt strongly that public spaces should provide access to gender neutral bathrooms, with 70 percent of Gen Zs coming out in support of the move compared to 57 percent of 21–34-year-olds.”

One Notable Flaw

Although this survey is quite interesting, it has one major flaw: it polled less than 1,000 respondents.

When asked about this issue, Laughlin said that “he has 90 percent confidence that the results are accurate and can be generalized for the whole country”-much of that confidence comes from “clear patterns across the different questions that show that Gen Z has a more complex and less binary approach to gender than Millennials.”

Related on EcoSalon

Women are Still Seeking Equality in America [Video]

3 Hate Groups Still Thriving in Modern America

The Oscars Finally Get Something Right: #NowWhat

Image of young couple via Shutterstock

Abbie Stutzer

Writer, editor, and owner of Ginchy!, a freelance writing and editing company, and home funeral hub. Adores smart sex ed, sustainable ag, spooky history, women's health, feminism, horror, wine, and sci-fi.