Yes, Gen Z Is Even Embarrassed by the Way Millennials do a Heart Pose in Photos

To which we say, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Millennial vs Gen Z Hand Heart Pose Hero: a photo of Jin, Jungkook and RM of BTS
The Chosunilbo JNS/Imazins via Getty Images

The human heart may come in different shapes and sizes, but if you’re a millennial, there’s only one heart gesture you're enlisting for photos, and that’s the hand heart (Swifties know the one). But there are, in fact, many more ways to show your love online, including Gen Z's preferred claw heart. If reading this makes you feel old and confused, allow me, a photography enthusiast and fellow millennial, to take you through the latest heart gestures to sweep social media. This way you have some options to pull from the next time someone whips out their phone for a group photo.

Millennial vs Gen Z Hand Heart Pose Taylor Swift: a photo of Taylor Swift
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

The Millennial Hand Heart

You know the gesture where you curve each hand into a C-shape and touch your thumbs together to create a heart a la Taylor Swift (who used the symbol so much she could be a spokesperson for it)? It was the go-to hand heart for many until it was deemed cringey by some Gen Z'ers on TikTok, who have their own iteration...

The Gen Z Claw Heart

Note: “Claw heart” is my own made-up name for this gesture because of the way it makes my hands feel when I try to do it. I’ve seen it referred to as simply the ‘Gen Z heart’ elsewhere. Anyway, I appreciate the creativity of our younger cohort (and the crisp, graphic lines of this heart), but I’ve got to say, it’s not as user friendly as the hand heart before it.

Millennial vs Gen Z Hand Heart Pose The Finger Heart: a photo of BTS on the red carpet
The Fact/Getty Images

The Korean Finger Heart

IMO if we’re optimizing for user friendliness here, you can’t beat the finger heart. To make one, you simply overlap your pointer finger and thumb to create a dainty little heart (which you can then, pretend to pull out of your pocket or bag to share with a loved one).

Finger hearts have been popular in Korea for at least a decade now, with many K-Pop idols and actors using it to express affection to their fans. However, it’s since become globally recognizable to the point that it even has its own emoji now! 🫰

Millennial vs Gen Z Hand Heart Pose The Cheek Heart: a photo of actress Shin Hyun Bin and actor Song Joong Ki on the red carpet

The Cheek Heart

Though finger hearts certainly aren’t going away, my sources in Korea (aka my cousins) tell me that the hotter, newer heart on the block is the cheek heart, which…lol.

As you can see here, the cheek heart is where you curve one hand in and place it against the apple of your cheek to create the other half of the heart shape.

Millennial vs Gen Z Hand Heart Pose The Cheek Heart 2: a photo of Timothée Chalamet, Denis Villeneuve and Zendaya Coleman
The Chosunilbo JNS/Imazins via Getty Images

So Which Heart Is the Best?

If the millennial hand heart is considered cringe or cheugy to Gen Z, and millennials find the Gen Z heart to be overly complicated and hostile towards those of us with impending carpal tunnel, I propose we all unite under the cheek heart (or perhaps Jennifer Garner's "itsy bitsy spider heart," which takes things up a notch by being animated!) And regardless the heart pose you choose, let's not forget that the gesture is meant to be a symbol of love.

Jenny Jin Headshot Vertical 2023

Beauty Director

Jenny Jin is PureWow’s Beauty Director and is currently based in Los Angeles. Since beginning her journalism career at Real Simple magazine, she has become a human encyclopedia of...