To Understand Gen Z, Watch This

WATCH OF THE WEEK

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Eighth Grade

Upon first glance, Comedian Bo Burnham may not seem like he’d have a deep understanding of what it means to be a 13-year-old girl in 2018. Yet, Eighth Grade, the buzzy coming-of-age film he wrote and directed, perfectly captures the experience. Following Kayla, a shy eighth grader who is a week away from her middle school graduation, the film tackles issues surrounding social media, sex, and anxiety as they pertain to kids today. Kayla, a typical teen, is always on her phone, has an unrequited crush on the popular boy, and doesn’t share much about her life with her dad. Also a typical Gen Z, Kayla posts YouTube vlogs and is anxious about everything, from her upcoming high school matriculation to her own self-worth. Drawing on the all-too-familiar teenage angst while also exploring the unique challenges of teens today, Eighth Grade is excellent viewing for anyone looking to better understand the day-to-day life of Gen Zs.

Fox's Bob's Burgers X Shake Shack

Comic-Con 2018 kicks off in San Diego today and attendees are in for a tasty treat. In honor of Bob’s Burgers’ upcoming 9th season and landmark 150th episode, Fox is partnering with beloved burger chain Shake Shack to bring the titular restaurant to life. Over the course of the day on Friday, the network will bus 500 Comic-Con attendees to a nearby Shake Shack, where fans will have the chance to take a photo at a replica of the show’s iconic Bob’s Burger counter as well as try the specially created “Can I Have Your Slaw-tograph” burger, a nod to the show’s “Burger of the Day” running joke. Whether they’re fans of the Belchers or just burgers in general, this free activation is sure to hit the spot with the lucky few who get to attend.

Unporn

Given that visuals drive much of today’s media consumption, it can be difficult for content creators to publish articles on sex and other taboo topics without using photos that are NSFW. Coming to the rescue is Unporn, a new collection of safely suggestive stock imagery where naughtiness is merely implied. Developed by Unsplash, a free crowd-sourced photo library and community, the collection currently includes 77 photos that feature various foods and plants such as fruit, sausages, cacti, and lollipops. During the collection’s soft launch, the photos were downloaded over a whopping 64,000 times and have already been published by the likes of Elle, Playboy, Women’s Health, GQ, and Newsweek. In a world where medical diagrams and porn are often used to visually communicate sex, these suggestive yet ambiguous photos provide creatives of all kinds with a modernized approach to posting about sex.


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Casper's The Dremery

No matter how good or how frequent, we’re all obsessed with getting it—‘it’ of course, being sleep. As people are paying more attention to the importance of sleep in their wellness regimes, we’ve seen an uptick of specialized clothing, apps, and products with the sole purpose of optimizing shut-eye. Not one to sleep on a trend, online mattress retailer Casper opened The Dreamery, a branded nap parlor, located (ironically) in the city that never sleeps, New York. For a mere $25, patrons of The Dreamery are treated to 45 minutes in one of the beautifully designed, Casper mattress-equipped nap pods. They also are given everything needed for a restful snooze: Sleepy Jones pajamas to borrow, sleep masks, toothbrushes, socks, earplugs, and Sunday Riley beauty products. Not only is The Dreamery making tired New Yorker’s nap dreams come true, it’s a great way to bring awareness to the Casper brand by allowing people to try the famous mattress before they buy.

Kapwing

Kapwing is to Gen Zs like Adobe is to Millennials. Founded by two former Google employees who noticed editing software for social media was outdated, Kapwing (pronounced ka-pwing) is a creative suite serving up an assemblage of tools for every Gen Z need. From resizing a video for IGTV to a typing feature that makes for effortless meme creation to layering sound effects over a video for YouTube, the editing app is among the best at adapting to the ever-changing memescape and media formats Gen Zs love. Free to use initially but with a $20 monthly charge to remove its watermark from content, the price might just be worth it for influencers who are looking to make social media editing easy and effortless.

Jidaigumi Basara

From anime to Coco the Fashionista, Japan has proved time and time again they know how to make just about anything trendy. Enter Jidaigumi Basara, a group otherwise known as the “Picking Up Trash Performance Team” who has made trash cleanup a work of art. Walking around Tokyo and Hokkaido in a choreographed fashion, the group wears silk kimonos and utilizes fire tongs to pick up litter with flair. Every piece of trash is an opportunity to perform and draw attention to the amount of litter on the streets. Proving this trend has international appeal, we’ve also seen the rise of Swedish joggers “plogging,” or picking up trash while running their routes. Now successful in two of the most influential countries that the U.S. looks to for trends, we sure hope this environmentally-conscious activity begins picking up stateside.

Kristin Castillo