Gen Z Gained’t Let TikTok Cease Them From Speaking About Suicide
Gde Z cannot talk about death.
It’s the generation that doesn’t know a world without terrorist attacks and school shootings and the constant presence of everyone else’s perfect life on social media. It’s unclear if they talk about their real feelings about wanting to die in real life, but when they are on the internet they keep mentioning it: death, dying, suicide. But lately it wants to be “unaliv” or commit “unaliv” or “unaliv” itself.
TikTok generally removes videos that mention death, dying, or suicide. So zoomers found a loophole and are now using “unalive” to replace the harsher, more direct synonyms. The trend has spread to all social media sites.
“If I ever find out that my boyfriend’s celebrity crush is prettier than me, I’ll revive myself if I don’t play with myself,” read a tweet. Or “Side profile makes me commit unalive,” says another.
On TikTok, users use the word all the time. The hashtag “unalive” has almost 10 million views and “unaliveme” more than 1 million. The content of the videos ranges from stories about the mental hospital to uplifting advice to depressed people and humorous and overly dramatic videos about wanting to become “unalive” because of minor inconvenience.
It also found its way into products. On Etsy and Redbubble, vendors sell stickers and hoodies with phrases that include “unalive”, such as, “Sometimes I just want to make myself unalive.” The models wearing the hoodies smile happily.
Saying or writing “unalive” in a humorous video or sticking it on a hoodie is the perfect way to let people know that the topic itself might be serious, but the intended tone isn’t. Although TikTok tries to end the conversation, Gen Z found its loophole with “unalive”.
“It’s ironic that we found a way out because we’re like the most sensitive generation, but we’re also the bravest generation, so it’s weird,” says Neda Anvar, a 22-year-old college graduate. “We don’t like being censored either, so we’ll find a way to get around it all. We will find gaps for everything. “
Lex Pruijt, a 19 year old who lives in the Netherlands, posted a TikTok where another user’s sound joked about wanting to die. She says she noticed last summer that Zoomers were using “unalive” on TikTok, and after all, she and her friends said it in real life, too. She says it has become slang for her generation.
“It’s a term that not everyone understands. So it’s a little more comfortable when you sit in your room and make a joke, ‘Oh, I’m going to resuscitate myself’ instead of saying, ‘Oh, I’m going to commit suicide, “she says. “It’s a little less difficult and more of a joke.”
Pruijt believes that her generation keeps talking about death because, like her, they are struggling with depression.
“There is a lot of pressure on us from adults and the school system,” she says. “But we are also made to be that generation that has everything and is not allowed to fight. Every time we fight we are wiped out and not validated. That’s why we experience this much faster. “
Rory Philpott, an 18-year-old student in Toronto, posted a TikTok from her friend where she jokingly talked about jumping out of a window. The video’s subtitles are “s0ic1al” instead of “suicidal”, and the hashtags include “unalive”, “funny” and “humor”. The TikTok has more than 47,000 likes. The slang for suicide found its way into real life for her group of friends as well.
“When something bad but funny happens, we say, ‘Oh, I’m going to make a toaster bath,” she says.
“What is important for life saving dialogue is to say when you feel this, these are things to do.”
But then there is the darker, more serious version of “unalive” TikToks with no humor in sight. After all, it’s a real problem. It’s not funny for Shahem Mclaurin, a licensed therapist who regularly writes on TikTok, to joke about it. However, they say it is healthy to talk about.
“It is necessary to have these conversations,” says Mclaurin. “These conversations save lives – being open and honest about feelings of not wanting to be alive that are not abnormal or are not an abnormal response to the stressors of life in a capitalist society. It makes sense to have these feelings. What is important for life saving dialogue is to say when you feel this, these are things to do. Because it is so quiet and silent, it is more difficult for people to find resources. “
Joking around a serious subject and using “unalive” is Pruijt’s way of dealing with it, she says.
“For me, it’s a way to deal with it and turn it into a joke so I don’t take it too seriously,” says Pruijt. “But I definitely think it can be harmful to people in danger.”