Three Cheers for Generation Z

Can a video make you want to cry and cheer at the same time? Well, that was my reaction to this amazing video created by sixteen-year-old Autumn in reaction to a foolish and, dare I say, downright evil, article that ran in Teen Vogue magazine trivializing abortion. 

In her video, Autumn discusses the idea of female empowerment, dismissing the claim that ridding yourself of the bone of your bone and flesh of your flesh is empowering. Even if, to some degree or other, you accept abortion, each one is a tragedy not a triumph.

You won’t be shocked to hear that I do not read Teen Vogue. Nevertheless, Autumn’s video led me to take a look at its webpage. Here is their tag line: “The rebellious, outspoken, empowering magazine that you need right now.” A quick look at the titles suggested that their definition of rebellious is  walking in lock-step with academia, entertainment and most of the media. Outspoken, I grant them. Nevertheless, my biggest question had to do with the word empowering. 

What I saw on their website was a fair dose of social and political indoctrination. I saw articles that will sow confusion in teen lives that have enough inherent confusion due to hormonal and psychological changes. I saw the expected amount of consumerism. I looked for empowerment and realized that I have no idea what that word means.

Is empowerment perhaps a substitute for self-esteem? The self-esteem movement has withered. Studies showed that criminals ranked higher in self-esteem than law-abiding citizens. So did American schoolchildren, who thought of themselves as proficient in math and English despite doing less well on tests in those subjects than schoolchildren from other countries.  Those foreign students who did not consider themselves outstanding easily outscored the Americans. Self-esteem produced a cadre of people who spoke well of themselves rather than behaving in ways that would produce self-respect as well as generate respect from others. 

Has the self-esteem movement morphed into the empowerment movement?  Does empowerment mean being the best you can be or making sure that others cannot succeed? Is it defined as being able to do whatever you want no matter the cost to anyone else? Does it mean a hundred different things to a hundred different people or something completely different at a hundred different times? 

Looking at Teen Vogue, like looking at so many other parts of our culture, can be depressing. Listening to voices like Autumn reminds me that there are many teens and young adults who are rebelling far more than a left-leaning, jump onto the latest bandwagon magazine is. They are actually willing to stand against the tide to fight the hedonistic, secular culture. They  are articulate and outspoken messengers for empowerment in the best sense of the word.

If you know a teen whose life perspective comes from magazines like Teen Vogue, comedy apps and left-leaning teachers, make sure you provide a counterpart. Here’s one suggestion that will spark non-conformist thinking as well as opening up a valuable conversation.

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16 thoughts on “Three Cheers for Generation Z”

  1. It sure seems as though the word “empowerment” now means “doing whatever you want regardless of the consequences to yourself or others” instead of “receiving information that allows you to make a rational, data based decision, taking appropriate action and then accepting the consequences of your actions.” This is an all too typical example of the co-opting of the language by the left. Heather really is the new incarnation of a rebellious teen. And it’s a revolution I appreciate.

  2. Greater is He that is within us than he that is within the world. The evil of this world wants all those of us who stand for what is right and good to think that we are weak, few in number and already defeated. So why fight? Why stand against the flow? But we saw in this last election that the silent majority is no longer silent and refuse to be defeated. There were times in the Bible, that when people lost hope, God opened their eyes to see the armies of God that was ready to fight with them and instances recorded throughout history of times when the enemies eyes were opened and they saw what they were fighting against and knew they were defeated and ran away. The most powerful weapon we have can not be silenced and that is the “united prayers” of God’s people. We must stand in united prayer against all the wickedness in this world that is coming against God and His children. And I praise God for this young lady who is not afraid to stand up and for a President who isn’t afraid either. Thank You God!

    1. Rebecca, you are so right that when we think there is no point in fighting because we think we are few and weak, then we consign ourselves to failure.

  3. I am so happy Susan’s Musings comes to my inbox by itself … Now I am assured to receive two emails full of wisdom and thought-provoking material on a regular basis; and can take time to absorb them each individually.
    Thank you both, Rabbi and Mrs. Lapin

    1. What a sweet comment. We separated our four regular mailings (Thought Tools, Ask the Rabbi, Susan’s Musings and podcast notifications) so that people could choose to get whichever ones they want in their inbox, but could skip the ones they don’t enjoy. I’m glad it’s working for you and appreciate your taking the time to be in touch.

      1. I would be proud to be the parent of this young woman, it is encouraging to know that there are some young people that still retain cognitive reasoning and revere biblically based moral codes to live by. I recently wrote the following article discussing the current attempts to destroy western civilization that clearly defines where all this is coming from; Secular Humanism is an attempt to function as a civilized society with the exclusion of God and His moral principles. During the last several decades, Humanists have been very successful in propagating their beliefs. Their primary approach is to target the youth through the public school system. “Education is thus a most powerful ally of humanism, and every school is a school of humanism” wrote Charles F. Potter in his 1930 book “Humanism: A New Religion.” Secular humanism posits that human beings are capable of being ethical and moral without religion or a god. It does not, assume that humans are either inherently evil or innately good, nor does it present humans as being superior to nature. Rather, the humanist life stance emphasizes the responsibility facing humanity and the ethical consequences of human decisions.

        This is not new, it comes out of the rebellious nature inherited in Eden and began eons earlier when Lucifer said, “I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will make myself like the Most High.” Isaiah 14

        1. I feel that we do have an opening to change the thrust of education in this country over the next few years and pray for wisdom and strength for Betsy deVos.

          1. If we must have a department of education then, I agree with your comment re deVos. However, the all-powerful state is a dream come true for the secular humanists. We should be devolving the state and getting it out of our lives. The more local the voice of government, the better. There is nothing good about having the feds involved in issues that should be left to the states and their communities. It concerns me when I hear comments from conservatives indicating the feds should do this or that. And, it’s easy to tell who is not a conservative. They are the ones who want the feds to enact more laws, to hold a gun to our heads and demand compliance. It doesn’t matter what anyone wants as long as they don’t use the power of government to force others to comply.

          2. Jim, you are right. I would prefer abolishing the Dep’t. of Education, but if there is one it can at least worry about education and not indoctrination.

  4. Good evening. I have all of books and DVD’s published by you and our Rabbi. I worked with chaplains in military for 20 years and have retired 4 times. I’ve worked with 4 different protesteant churches. Most often I have it found children in public show the training or lack of from home.

    1. You sound like someone who could write an interesting book about your experiences, Curtis. Yes, not always, but most of the time children reflect their homes.

  5. My Missus shared with me a posting from FaceBook which I never otherwise would have seen, not a scathing, acid rebuke but a reasoned plea for understanding of young women embittered by ‘woman-hating Trump’ and blah-blah-blah. The stepwise points of the posting were candid, to the effect that it is your decision to have sex, and if affirmative it is your responsibility to protect yourself. And it is not the responsibility of the Government to issue you contraceptives at taxpayer expense. Your decision is not the taxpayer’s business or liability. If you play the game, it is your expense and yours alone. Yet if conception takes place, there is no question of ‘empowerment,’ for it is no longer just about YOU, but about another fragile and precious human life. How rare it is to hear such commonsensical thinking! The lady was a genuine philosopher. I am not a woman and will never be one, but if I were, I could never agree to an abortion for the purposes of selfish ‘empowerment,’ whatever the spin-doctors purport that to mean, last week, this week or next week. Bear a child and it will change your life forever.

  6. Our very Catholic family certainly agrees with you! Abortion is murder, and is a terrible offense against God! We need to do everything in our power to protect these innocent infants!!!!!

    1. This is actually an issue where the tide is moving in the right direction. While there is a lot of noise out there, younger people have been becoming less supportive of abortion than the Hillary Clinton generation is.

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