Why Are Gen Z Girls Suffering So Much? - Freya India

Why Are Gen Z Girls Suffering So Much? - Freya India

Is Gen-Z in a Mental Health Crisis? (00:00:00)

  • Gen Z, especially girls, have experienced a significant decline in mental health since the early 2010s.
  • Statistics show a sharp increase in anxiety, depression, eating disorders, self-harm, and suicide rates among girls aged 12 to 14.
  • Social media is considered a significant contributing factor, with its impact on girls being particularly pronounced.
  • The timeline of mental health decline coincides with the rise of social media platforms like the iPhone, Instagram, and editing apps.
  • Girls spend more time on social media compared to boys, making them more vulnerable to its negative effects.
  • Excessive use of social media, particularly for social comparison and targeted advertising, exacerbates mental health issues.
  • Companies exploit girls' vulnerabilities and insecurities for profit.
  • Normal adolescent anxieties and body image concerns are amplified by the presence of Instagram influencers, filters, and editing apps.
  • The therapy industry, pharmaceutical companies, and dating apps further contribute to the pressure and anxiety experienced by girls.
  • The combination of social media's influence, targeted advertising, and the exploitation of girls' vulnerabilities by various industries creates an overwhelming environment that negatively impacts their mental health.

The Dangers of Unnecessary Therapy (00:05:13)

  • Unlimited messaging therapy allows constant access to therapists, hindering the development of resilience in dealing with issues.
  • Therapy culture promoted by these companies creates pressure to achieve perfect mental health, labeling any negative emotion as diagnosable and solvable through their services.
  • This emphasis on medicalizing normal distress can ironically make individuals feel mentally ill.
  • "Hot girl pills" is a term used by Gen Z girls on TikTok to refer to antidepressants.
  • There is a trend of glamorizing mental health diagnoses and medications, with merchandise like Prozac pillows and antidepressant phone cases.
  • Phrases like "hot girls take Lexapro" and "sexy girls take Caline" contribute to the normalization and glamorization of mental health conditions.

Gaps Between Social Media & Reality (00:09:20)

  • Gen Z girls spend an average of 10.6 hours per day on social media, primarily on platforms like TikTok, where 57% of users are female.
  • Constant exposure to online content shapes their perceptions of themselves and the world, blurring the line between social media and real life.
  • Social media significantly influences beauty standards and other trends, often distorting them from real-life interactions.
  • Some individuals, particularly those in the manosphere, use online content as a refuge from real-world interactions, leading to a skewed view of reality.
  • Social media algorithms push users toward extreme content that aligns with their interests or insecurities, creating an echo chamber that distorts their perception of reality.
  • This "algorithmic conveyor belt" can lead to extreme views on mental health, sexuality, politics, and other topics, as users are constantly exposed to the most outrageous and attention-grabbing content.
  • Parents may be unaware of the extreme content their children consume, as each child's experience is tailored to their individual interests and vulnerabilities.

How Public Should You Be on Social Media? (00:16:50)

  • The speaker criticizes the current trend of normalizing mental health issues, particularly among Gen Z girls, and argues that it has become a trend rather than a genuine concern.
  • The speaker warns against oversharing personal information, especially mental health struggles, on social media due to its potential long-term consequences.
  • Influencers who encourage their young followers to share their mental health problems and medication on social media are criticized for their irresponsible and exploitative behavior.
  • The speaker cautions against the pressure to be an activist and fight for a cause on the internet, as it can lead to the creation of unnecessary problems for attention and validation.
  • The number of teenagers prescribed antidepressants in the UK is 1 in 3, and antidepressant prescriptions for children aged 4 to 12 increased by over 40% in the US between 2015 and 2021.
  • Young people are openly discussing their mental health diagnoses on social media platforms and dating profiles, indicating a decrease in stigma.
  • The current narrative surrounding mental health is oversimplified, with a demand for answers exceeding the ability to provide them.

Capturing Memories Instead of Being Present (00:23:24)

  • People, especially young individuals, are increasingly documenting intimate moments for social media instead of fully experiencing them.
  • This trend cheapens meaningful moments and takes away from the experience, especially when there is already professional footage available.
  • The excessive use of social media and technology, particularly documenting and sharing experiences on platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, is contributing to the suffering of Gen Z girls.
  • Constantly documenting moments can lead to a loss of genuine engagement and presence in the moment, making it harder to fully experience and remember events without the need to document them.
  • It's important to distinguish between creating memories for personal enjoyment and posting solely for social media validation, and certain personal moments should be kept private.

The Advice Young People Aren’t Receiving (00:30:46)

  • Modern mental health advice often focuses on buying products, services, or taking medication, neglecting the importance of personal growth and self-improvement.
  • Young people, especially Gen Z, are bombarded with mental health advice that lacks practical guidance on improving their lives.
  • Instead of relying solely on therapy or medication, individuals should consider factors such as building real human connections, maintaining a solid community, eating right, and exercising regularly.
  • Mental health advice should emphasize personal responsibility and agency, encouraging individuals to examine their own lives and behaviors.
  • There is a lack of female role models who openly discuss the importance of personal growth, discipline, and self-improvement for young women.
  • Mainstream feminism, therapy culture, and influential celebrities often promote the idea that everything a woman does is empowering and good for her mental health, without providing a balanced perspective.
  • Young women crave guidance on how to be good people and make positive choices for their well-being and the well-being of others.

Who Are Gen-Z Girls Looking Up to? (00:34:41)

  • Gen-Z girls look up to pop culture figures such as singers, celebrities, and actresses.
  • These figures often avoid pushing strong moral values for fear of offending or lecturing.
  • This lack of guidance and clear milestones for coming of age negatively impacts young women.
  • The speaker predicts that the female mental health crisis will become the main story in the next 10 years.
  • This shift is due to the increasing pressure on women to conform to unrealistic beauty standards and societal expectations.
  • In contrast, the male body image crisis is gaining attention, with male body dysmorphia expected to overtake female body dysmorphia in the coming decades.
  • The ideal male body has changed significantly, with action figures and media representations portraying men with unrealistic muscular physiques.
  • This shift in male body ideals has not been accompanied by a similar reckoning for women, leading to a flip-flop in societal concerns.
  • Current mental health advice tends to focus on encouraging women to talk more about their problems and view them in a "female way."
  • This approach has gone too far and is now harming women by encouraging excessive self-disclosure.
  • Men, on the other hand, are encouraged to open up more about their problems, while women are rarely advised to limit their self-disclosure.

Is Society Coddling Women Too Much? (00:38:08)

  • Steve Stewart Williams argues that society spends more time discouraging male aggression than female aggression because males are more aggressive.
  • The speaker believes that society has become too terrified to tell women anything, focusing on what makes them happy and their desires.
  • This coddling culture may be contributing to girls becoming more depressed and behaving worse.
  • Social media platforms are designed in a way that encourages girls to engage in indirect forms of aggression, such as reputation destruction, passive aggression, and gossip.
  • Companies exploit girls' insecurities and vices by creating apps and features that facilitate these behaviors.
  • Examples of such apps include Snapchat's Snapmap, group chats, anonymous messaging apps like NGL and Yik Yak, and Ask FM.

Bring Back Selfie Editing Shame (00:42:39)

  • Gen Z girls are facing challenges with self-image and body positivity despite the prevalence of self-love and body positivity messages.
  • Cosmetic surgeries, such as lip fillers, liposuction, and boob jobs, are increasingly popular among Gen Z, with clients getting younger.
  • Gen Z women are experiencing high rates of body dysmorphia, eating disorders, and facial dysmorphia.
  • Social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram contribute to selfie dysmorphia as Gen Z women constantly see distorted versions of themselves through filters and camera angles.
  • The misrepresentation of appearance online creates a discrepancy between how people perceive themselves on their phones and how they look in real life.

More & More Women Getting Cosmetic Surgery (00:49:04)

  • Hannah, a former contestant on Love Island, underwent significant cosmetic surgery, including Bratz doll surgery, a BBL, and a boob job.
  • The gradual nature of these procedures can lead to individuals becoming blind to how extreme their appearance has become.
  • Social media algorithms contribute to this issue by constantly suggesting new procedures and treatments.
  • Influencers who have undergone cosmetic surgery are now coming out and expressing regret, stating that they no longer recognize themselves.

Should Gym Girls Be Posting Their Stretch Marks? (00:52:48)

  • Gen Z girls are sharing unflattering photos of themselves on social media, but these photos are often still flattering and inauthentic.
  • Gen Z girls and guys have diverging worldviews and values, with girls becoming more progressive and guys staying the same or becoming more conservative.
  • Factors contributing to this divide include education, social media, and natural empathy and conformism in young women.
  • Gen Z girls are spending excessive time on social media, which reinforces their left-leaning views and creates an echo chamber.
  • Gen Z boys are more likely to study STEM subjects in university, which are less left-leaning, leading to different experiences and worldviews.
  • Researcher Daniel Cox will be interviewed to gain a deeper understanding of the mechanisms behind these trends.

How Gen-Z Girls Perceive Guys & Dating (00:59:14)

  • Gen Z women are experiencing a high level of risk aversion, especially in relationships and dating, due to negative dating advice on social media, the decline of traditional social norms, high rates of divorced parents, and a cultural emphasis on safety.
  • This fear of vulnerability and getting hurt leads Gen Z women to avoid relationships altogether or engage in risk-averse behaviors.
  • This risk aversion extends to other areas of life, such as the decision to have children, with many Gen Z women expressing concerns about the risks and discomforts associated with pregnancy and child-rearing.
  • Gen Z women prioritize immediate emotional comfort over long-term flourishing, avoiding risks and changes associated with responsibilities like having children or being in relationships.

Belief That Careers Provide More Meaning Than Family (01:06:39)

  • A recent Pew research study revealed that job satisfaction and friendship are prioritized over marriage and parenthood for a fulfilling life.
  • Women prioritize job and career enjoyment more than men, while men prioritize marriage and having children.
  • The lack of female role models who prioritize family and children in pop culture may contribute to Gen Z women's struggles.
  • Influencers on social media often promote casual sex and no-strings-attached relationships while secretly engaging in committed relationships.
  • There is a fear of being labeled regressive when promoting traditional lifestyles, such as enjoying marriage.
  • Gen Z girls are bombarded with messages that equate success and happiness with fame, money, and possessions, while the most fulfilling things in life, such as meaningful relationships and children, are not often promoted or celebrated in mainstream culture.
  • Many women who could serve as positive role models for Gen Z girls are not present in the same communication ecosystems as the girls who would benefit from their advice.
  • Male influencers are finding success with more raw and authentic content, while female influencers struggle to achieve the same level of authenticity without falling into the trap of performative vulnerability.

Do We Actually Live in a Hookup Culture? (01:15:54)

  • Gen Z girls are having less sex and more casual relationships compared to previous generations, leading to anxiety and relationship problems.
  • Young women face paradoxes in their lives, including narratives of sex positivity and risk aversion, self-love and body dysmorphia, and empowerment and mental health struggles.
  • Performative empathy and outsourcing sense-making to others on the internet contribute to these paradoxes.
  • The glamorization of divorce in popular culture, such as in the case of Adele, may be contributing to the mental health struggles of Gen Z girls.
  • Gen Z girls are facing significant mental health challenges, with factors such as the high divorce rate among their parents, the climate crisis, and housing issues being cited as potential causes.

Impact of Broken Families on Gen-Z (01:23:16)

  • Broken families and single-parent households contribute to Gen Z girls' mental health struggles, such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and self-harm. Social media and climate change can exacerbate these issues for girls without stable family support.
  • The "gentle parenting" style popular among progressives may be less effective in disciplining children and fostering healthy relationships compared to conservative parenting styles.
  • Fathers experience stress and challenges during childbirth and child-rearing, and their well-being should be acknowledged and supported.
  • Growing up in a fatherless household can negatively impact girls' socio-sexual development, affecting their pursuit of male validation.
  • The concept of stigma, particularly on the Progressive left, prevents honest conversations about societal issues, such as the negative effects of divorce on children. Stigma acts as a barrier to understanding the root causes of the mental health crisis.

Where Are the Mainstream Feminists Now? (01:31:26)

  • Mainstream feminism is perceived as materialistic and consumerist.
  • Corporations have co-opted feminism and are using it as a marketing strategy.
  • Feminism is now associated with values that benefit companies and industries.
  • The patriarchy has convinced women to be homemakers and breadwinners simultaneously.

What’s Next for Freya (01:33:07)

  • Freya has written an article about the need to stop overemphasizing the importance of opening up about mental health online.
  • She believes that the current approach to mental health culture and the industry surrounding it has gone too far in the wrong direction.
  • Freya recommends following SE traveler on Instagram for a tough love, anti-coddle culture, and anti-victimhood perspective.
  • Freya is part of the "based British women squad" along with Louise, Mary, Helen Lewis, and Nina Power.
  • They are struggling to find a suitable acronym for the group because "BBW" is already used for a type of porn.

Where to Find Freya (01:35:06)

  • Freya's articles can be found on her Substack at Freya india.co.uk/girls.
  • She is also active on Twitter at @FreyaIndia.
  • Freya does not have any other social media accounts.

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