17 Things We Can’t Say Anymore According to Gen Z

Ever gotten side-eye from a Gen Z’er for using terms that are now considered offensive? In this article, we’ll highlight 17 things you should no longer be saying in 2023.

“That’s so gay.”

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Let’s get this straight: using “gay” as a synonym for “bad” or “lame” is outdated and offensive. Gen Z is all about celebrating diversity and inclusivity, and this phrase is a major no-no in their books.

“You guys.”

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In the world of inclusive language, addressing a mixed group as “you guys” is quickly becoming passé. Gen Z prefers “y’all,” “everyone,” or “folks” to ensure inclusivity.

“I’m so OCD.”

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For many, OCD is a real and challenging medical condition. Using it lightly to describe personal quirks or habits minimizes the struggles faced by those who truly experience it.

“Man up!”

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Expressing emotions is a human experience, not limited by gender. Telling someone to “man up” can perpetuate harmful stereotypes. Gen Z urges recognizing the value of emotional expression for all.

“Spirit animal.”

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Respect for cultural values and traditions is paramount. Using “spirit animal” casually, without understanding its Indigenous roots, isn’t in line with the ethos of appreciation and understanding.

“That’s lame.”

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Language evolves, and what was once common can now be seen in a different light. Using “lame” to describe something unfavorable is not in tune with today’s more empathetic vernacular.

“It’s just a phase.”

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Invalidating someone’s experiences or feelings is a no-go. Whether it’s about sexuality, personal choices, or hobbies, the sentiment today is to approach topics with empathy and respect.

“Blind to color.”

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While well-intentioned, claiming not to “see color” can overlook individual experiences and backgrounds. Gen Z champions understanding and valuing differences rather than glossing over them.

“Exotic.”

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Labeling someone or something as “exotic” based on unfamiliarity can be othering. Gen Z leans towards celebrating diversity without positioning it as out of the ordinary.

“Play the gender card.”

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Implying someone’s achievements or challenges are purely based on gender is reductive. Everyone’s experiences and skills are valid irrespective of their gender.

“You’re too sensitive.”

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Emotions are valid, and everyone’s threshold for what affects them is different. Dismissing someone’s feelings isn’t in line with today’s understanding and empathetic approach.

“That’s so first world.”

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Using this phrase can trivialize the real problems faced by people everywhere. It’s essential to approach topics with a global perspective, respecting all experiences.

“You don’t look [a certain age/like you’re from a certain place].”

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Unintentional as it might be, such statements can perpetuate stereotypes. It’s always better to avoid making assumptions based on appearance.

“Real men/women do…”

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Perpetuating gender norms? Not in this era. Every individual’s experience is valid, and defining roles based on gender is outmoded.

“That’s not normal.”

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What’s “normal” is subjective. Using this phrase can alienate or invalidate someone’s experience or choices.

“Don’t take it personally.”

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Sometimes things are personal. Dismissing emotions or reactions doesn’t foster understanding. It’s always better to approach situations with empathy.

“This is so easy, even my grandma could do it.”

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Implying age affects one’s ability to perform certain tasks can perpetuate ageism. Recognizing skills and abilities outside of age constraints is the way forward. 

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