Many “Millennials” have been called out by their junior “Gen Z” or “Zoomers” in the workplace for being passive-aggressive to others. While millennials are dumbfounded as to which actions created this perception – it was later found out to be something as simple as the Thumbs Up emoji we all use.

But how? And why is a simple emoji like this used by millions to be a sign of passive aggression in the workplace? Read this post to find out!

Demographic Cohorts In A Nutshell

You have heard of terms like Gen Z, Millennials, Generation X, Baby Boomers, etc, in social media, right?

If you haven’t, well, no worries. Social media is an addictive and worthless marketing and digital content drug anyway. 

Basically, every person born from the 1880s till the present day can be placed under several demographic cohorts, Based on their birth years. While this concept of categorization started in the US and is most followed in the Western world, other nations from other parts of the world are also conforming to them.

Here is a list of various generations that popped up in the last century:

GenerationsBirth Years
Lost Generation1883 – 1900
Greatest Generation1901 – 1927
Silent Generation1928 – 1945
Baby Boomers1946 – 1964
Generation X1965 – 1980
Millennials1981 – 1996
Generation Z1997 – 2012
Generation Alpha2013 – present 

As you can see from the table above, there have been eight generations so far (and more to come).

Who Are Gen Z?

Who Are Gen Z

The generation that I will be talking about most in this post (just look at the title of this post) is Gen Z. Generation Z, also referred to as Zoomers, constitutes most of the youth today. Anyone born between 1997 and 2012 is referred to as Zoomer.

But why are they referred to as such? Just because of their birth dates?

While their birth dates are an essential undermining factor, it’s not the only one. Three are several other factors at play here.

Here are some generational “cultural factors” that define Zoomers:

1. Early Access To The Internet

Early Access To The Internet

Most Gen Z people right now have grown with digital technology and easy access to the Internet. From an early age, they have been exposed to the internet and have grown up being more digitally literate compared to other generations.

For example, social media plays an integral role in the life of Zoomers, dictating what is acceptable in society and what is “cool” and “hip.” However, their “cancel culture” (more on this later) has made Facebook Chat Support and Snapchat Support more important than before.

2. Focus On Academics

Focus On Academics

It has been observed that Gen Z is more academically inclined compared to the previous generations. This is because of the lack of education that their parents received (younger baby boomers and Generation X).

Since their parents now know the importance of education, they make sure that their children are academically better than them so that they can get good jobs.

3. Money-Mindedness


Most Gen Z have confessed that money is their biggest driving factor. This has stemmed from the teachings of Baby Boomers and Generation X – generations that realized that accumulating wealth is one of the most important necessities of life. 

Along with more focus on education, Gen Z are money-minded individuals who work hard to get good jobs and earn more.

4. Mental Health

Mental Health

Doctors have noticed a significant decline in the quality of mental health of Gen Z people. Due to the use of technology, the screen time of the average Zoomer ends late after midnight. Therefore, Gen Z sleeps less than the standard 7 to 8 hours a day, leading to sleep deprivation.

Plus, with the advent of social media, the image of a person is an essential factor now. If you don’t look great – don’t have a pretty face and well-toned body – along with lots of money and materialistic requirements that are luxurious – you will be deemed inferior in society. 

This has been attributed to social media influencers warping the perception of what is good or bad in society. People who fail to meet these beauty standards commonly suffer from depression. This is what Answer the Public will help you understand.

What Is The Thumbs Up Emoji?

What Is The Thumbs Up Emoji

If you use special media or even a messaging app like WhatsApp, you know what the Thumbs Up smiley is. The emoji thumbs up is simple thumbs up emoji that you use as a statement of confirmation or approval of something.

For example, if someone asks you, “Is everything all right?” Instead of saying “Good” or “Fine,” you can simply show the Thumbs Up emoji, which means the same.

Why Has Gen Z Canceled The Thumbs Up Emoji?

Everyone knows that Gen Z rules social media. Every new fashion trend, digital content, trending music and movies, etc – are all made and popularized by Gen Z.

However, a new viral outbreak has started digitally. A new trend where Gen Z is “canceling” the thumbs up emoji. When I say cancel, it means labeling something as “socially and culturally offensive that must not be done or used.” 

Since Gen Z are more conscious about shaping the minds of their friends around them, they have started the “cancel culture” – a predicament in which someone or something that was prevalent or popular before will now be deemed inappropriate. 

And it seems that the harmless thumbs up emoji is the latest victim of the Gen Z cancel culture

Gen Z, especially the ones doing corporate jobs, have deemed the emoji with thumbs up to be inappropriate in the workplace. This is because they consider the thumbs up emoji to be a sign of passive aggression.

Therefore, if you use the thumbs up emoji to agree to something, it means that you are “faking” about agreeing to something. But in reality, you are not. This is most notable in workplaces. If you really accept something, you will reply with a “Yes” and not be lazy enough to reply with a simple thumbs up emoji

For example, if your boss asks you to do something outside of your work hours – which you shouldn’t but are forced to do, you can reply with a thumbs up emoji as a sign of reluctant acceptance. 

How Did Millenials React?

Since most modern workplaces are shared by millennials and older Gen Z, Millennials seem to not care about the entire cancel culture. Most millennials believe that Gen Z youth are “intellectually brain dead” and “overly reliant on standards set by social media.”

Therefore, any such thing that Gen Z “set” or “cancel” should not be heeded. Even though I fall under the Gen Z bracket, I, too, believe the same since most Gen Z cultures are just silly.

What Other Emojis Are Being Canceled By Gen Z?

What Other Emojis Are Being Canceled By Gen Z

Apart from the thumbs up emoji, other emojis are being canceled as well for varying degrees of stupid reasons, like:

  • Red Heart
  • Checkmark
  • Crying face
  • OK
  • Poop
  • Clapping hands
  • Monkey covering eyes
  • Frown face
  • Kiss symbol with lipstick

Conclusion: Thumbs Up, Get Canceled!

Since the new youth entering workplaces are canceling the Gen Z Thumbs Up emoji, you one with extreme caution. Who knows where you will be called out in front of everyone for being “passive aggressive” in the workplace!

But on a serious note, I would recommend you not heed Gen Z standards. They always come up with the silliest and stupidest reasons to do what they do. Let me know in the comments as to what you think about the thumbs up emoji.

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Debamalya Mukherjee

Debamalya is a professional content writer from Kolkata, India. Constantly improving himself in this industry for more than four years, he has amassed immense knowledge regarding his niches of writing tech and gaming articles. He loves spending time with his cats, along with playing every new PC action game as soon as possible.

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One response to “Here’s The Real Reason Why Zoomers Canceled The Thumbs Up Emoji”

  1. Fantastic site. Lots of helpful information here. I am sending it to some friends ans additionally sharing in delicious. And of course, thanks for your effort!

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