In response to a viral video on TikTok suggesting Generation Z should get a tattoo to unify them and spark rebellion, many individuals rushed out to get the tattoo — but clearly didn’t take the time to research the symbol or its Nazi history.
Originally created as a representation of wolf traps in Germany, the Wolfsangel symbol was eventually appropriated by Nazi Germany and used by various infantry divisions. Although public exhibition is now banned in Germany, neo-Nazi groups and white supremacist Aryan Nations have long continued the use of this symbol according to the Anti-Defamation League.
Although the intentions of this trend were not to pay homage to the symbol’s original purpose, the aftermath is a mix of regretful teens and angry posts begging unsuspecting Generation Z members not to get the tattoo without doing research first.
While the original video has since been taken down, some people are claiming that it is OK to get the tattoo because it is not identical to that of the original white supremacy symbol. This does not, however, change the perspective of a bystander if they were to see the tattoo from a distance, as it still resembles the symbol.
The trend certainly paints the generation in a bad light, as they not only look ignorant, but also gullible.
Generation Z has grown up in an age of constant technological advancements. As a result, they’re widely regarded as the most technologically dependent generation, and now, the most historically incompetent.
The irony of this trend is the complete misalignment between intention and reality. The video claimed the tattoo would unify their generation and represent equality, but the symbol itself has always represented supremacy and inequality.
The Wolfsangel symbol can be described as the letter “z” turned sideways with a line through it. The Generation Z symbol is similar – the letter “z” with an equal sign through it.
While many well-read Generation Z members and members of other generations have been trying to redesign the tattoo and make videos about the symbol’s meaning, the damage has already been done. Several TikTokers have now posted videos of tattoo cover ups and public apologies.
For a generation that grew up with technology, we expect better. All of this could have been easily avoided with a simple Google search. A tattoo is a body alteration that should be well-considered and researched. Stop focusing on trends and come back to reality. If your intentions are positive, make sure your actions reflect them.