There are a lot of reasons why you shouldn't believe everything you see on the internet — and there are even more reasons why you shouldn't tattoo something on your body that's part of a trend. In what was meant to be an innocent attempt at unifying Gen Z, some people accidentally got a symbol associated with the Nazi party tattooed on them.
It wasn't long before others on TikTok pointed out the real meaning behind the tattoo, but some had already gotten the tattoo done.
One TikTok user mistakenly suggested Gen Zers tattoo a Nazi symbol as a "symbol of unity."
In a since-deleted video, one TikTok user suggested to her followers that the members of her generation should get a tattoo to represent the unity of Gen Z.
"What if, now hear me out... We all got a matching tattoo," the user wrote in the video. "As not only a symbol of unity in our generation but also as a sign of rebellion."
She shared an idea of what she thought the tattoo could look like. The photo she shared was of the letter "z" with beveled edges and a line going through the middle.
While the intention was innocent enough, it didn't take long for other users to call her out, explaining that the symbol was often associated with the Nazi party and other white supremacist groups, as it looked like the wolfsangel symbol.
The user later apologized for the TikTok, clarifying that she had no idea the history behind the symbol and had no intention to suggest people tattoo a Nazi symbol on themselves.
"I have been writing my zs like that since elementary school," she said in a TikTok addressing the backlash. "So when I put that on there, I did not think anything of it. I did not think it looked like a Swastika, I did not know about the Wolfsangel thing. My entire point of this was to bring my generation together. It was about love and unity, OK?"
She then requested that people stop sending her hate for her mistake, and in another video, offered other design ideas that were clearly not associated with the Nazi party that she sourced from other creators.
The meaning behind the Wolfsangel symbol:
The symbol that was originally shared bore a striking resemblance to the Wolfsangel symbol, which was adopted by the Nazi party in World War II and used in much of Germany's infantries until the Nazi party was abolished. After the war, the symbol was banned publicly in Germany if it had any obvious connection to the Nazi party.
Now, the symbol has been co-opted by many white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups, as well as the Church of Satan.
In each of these instances, the symbol was altered slightly, either by adjusting the slant to the symbol or by turning it on its side. The U.S. extremist group the Aryan Nations uses the symbol by replacing the line in the center with a sword.