Having a hard time managing your Instagram account? Generation Z has mastered the skills of managing not one, but multiple accounts. Take Olivia, an 18-year-old from New Jersey who has three accounts. There’s a rinsta, meaning a “real Instagram" account, she uses to showcase her work. Her finsta—“fake Instagram" account—is a private, personal account meant to be shared with friends. Additionally, she has a secret finsta account for her best friends (also called binsta). “Through Instagram, I have effectively divided and compartmentalized the contents of my life, myself.
Olivia, who has spent nine years on Instagram and claims to use the social media platform’s polls widget to make life decisions, is one of the many young voices that make up Fluidity, the second edition of The Irregular Report released in December. A biannual publication, the report is a collaboration between Chime for Change, an organization founded by luxury fashion brand Gucci to advocate gender equality, and Irregular Labs, a Gen Z-run think tank and studio.
The Irregular Report is an academic publication that focuses on key issues for Gen Zs, unfiltered by the intervention of older generations. Gen Zs—aged approximately between 14-24—are often conflated with an older generation of millennials (estimated to have been born approximately between 1981-97). As multiple studies and research have shown, however, the demographic is distinctly different in its perceptions and attitudes, having grown up in a highly digitized and globally connected ecosystem. Using a mix of quantitative data and qualitative accounts from Gen Zs compiled from across 30 countries, the report assesses the concept of fluidity and its impact on the Gen Z. It includes the works of young influencers like founder and editor of gal-dem magazine Liv Little, and Indian illustrator Priyanka Paul, among others. Interviews of influential figures such as UK-based singer GIRLI and astrophysicist Priya Natarajan and theorist Homi K. Bhabha, conducted by Gen Z writers, also feature in the report.
According to the report’s editors, fluidity, the theme of the report, extends to the Gen Z way of life. “Gen Z is fluid because, besides the restriction of gender, labels are constantly progressing to allow a more fluid world, we are also fluid in every aspect because we no longer ascribe ourselves and judge each other strictly," the report’s co-editor-in-chief Nicolaia Rips stated during the release. “Generation Z...emphasizes that we are still creating ourselves and we are allowing our generation to be limitless."
The findings of the report echo Rips’ opinion—for instance, 56% Gen Zs interviewed hold that they expect to have many different kinds of jobs in their 20s.Interviewees frequently refer to themselves in non-binary terms like extroverted introvert and whasian (of white and mixed Asian descent). Like Olivia, identity for Gen Zs is fragmented into three selves—online, public and private—and perennially in a flux.
Nowhere does fluidity manifest more clearly than in Gen Z perceptions of gender identity, a key part of the report. According to The Irregular Report, nearly 25% of interviewees expects their gender identification to change throughout their lives and 20% holds that pronouns should be gender-neutral.
Less than one-third Gen Zs believe that anatomy defines an individual as male or female. The report states that 82% Gen Zs interviewed agree that if an organization is dedicated to fighting for girls and women, it must also support other genders and marginalized groups. Among the personal accounts, New York-based illustrator and writer Pia Mileaf-Patel suggests repositioning cultural institutions such as the prom, a rite of passage for American high-schoolers, as an inclusive space for gender non-conformists, while Cape Town resident Al-Leigh, 20, critiques the tendency to misuse queerness as a trend.
The Irregular Report, which includes insights on the evolution of masculinity in hip hop, weaponizing emotion, Artificial Intelligence, protest movement building, is an insurrection as much as a report. Through words and art, a new generation challenges the traditional strongholds of adulthood and, according to Gucci, we should all sit up and take notice.
Fluidity is available for purchase on Irregularlabs.com for $1,850 (around ₹ 1 lakh).