I am part of generation snowflake.
For a long time we were known as children, at some point we became millennials and then at some point we begrudgingly accepted that it was easier just to roll over and take it; we started responding to ‘you avocado eating wet wipes’, for the most part distracted enough by the immense effort that was going to be required to free ourselves from the quicksand bogs of hell left for us by the baby-boomers.
Thankfully, for us at least, the next lot through, the gen zed-ers, qualified from children to ~insert derogatory term here~ and the heat was off us for a moment. We may be a bit wet, but we’re not total morons like those losers; slaves to Snapchat and with no idea what life was like pre-iPhone X.
That rest-bite though, was fairly short lived. For the most part people feel sorry for the kids of today, I think, and so we were once more in trouble.
We kicked off about Brexit and the old people that’d voted for it. Started talking honestly about our mental health and the therapists we saw. We stopped eating gluten (because the pesticides added to it by generations gone by had made it all toxic, but we hardly even mention that).
We used our phones with almost as much vigour as those that came next, only we used ours for actually important shit… like moaning and stuff.
So we became known as the snowflake generation. We are snowflakes.
If you’re being naive, (often the best thing to be), you can argue that we were awarded this thanks to our beautiful uniqueness; our ability to exist as a perfect little miracle of strange beauty in what, from a distance, looks like nothing more than a bleak picture of austerity and cold.
If you’re being real, you’ll know that we got that nickname because it is derogatory. We’re perceived to be weak and small and ready to thaw at any second. We are insignificant on our own, but together are the generation most likely to cause train delays… or something… I’ve never been too sure.
According to Wikipedia: the Snowflake Generation, is a neologistic term used to characterise the young adults of the 2010s as being more prone to taking offence and having less psychological resistance than previous generations, or as being too emotionally vulnerable to cope with views that challenge their own.
To use it in context:
It’s the name most likely to be given by Piers Morgan to someone he’s arguing with over the need for ‘gender fluid’ bathrooms in a restaurant.
It’s the word the Daily Mail are most likely to use when sensationalising a crisis; crediting drought in the third world to avocado consumption.
It’s who Twitter decided to blame for Greggs’ announcement of a vegan sausage roll.
Much like what snow does to commuter times; the term ‘snowflake’ was designed, I suspect, to slow down progress.
Old white men, and other people stupid enough to believe that everything that comes out the mouths of old white men should be held in higher regard than anything said by anyone else, use this term as they roll their eyes. They give their buddies a metaphorical *nudge nudge* when they say something that’s ‘bound to set the feminists off!’. They fly into apocalyptic rages when some stupid young person appears on the telly harping on about their mental health or their lactose intolerance or how they don’t want to be called Dave anymore, they want to be called Dianna.
They’re quick to take the piss too; well if you can identify as a woman then I’m going to identify as a teapot, they say! Haha, very funny Sheila, like we haven’t heard that one before.
They say that we know nothing of hardship, that we’ve been pandered, that we’ve been spoilt, that we’re hyper-sensitive.
And, they’re right.
We don’t know the kind of hardship they describe (of course, they don’t really either, but that’s by the by). We didn’t live through the second world war. We weren’t around for the rationing. We had no idea how terrifying it was to go to bed every night wondering if the Russians were going to blow the earth up whilst we slept (I mean, we as good as shit ourselves every time we see an unattended bag on the tube, but I’m sure it’s not the same).
I, we have all, also been pandered. And whilst I don’t mean to be ungrateful, might I tentatively point out that that was not at my request, nor was it my idea. I accepted it, happily, but in the same way one accepts oxygen; unaware that there was someone to be thanking for it.
We weren’t cained at school, but, as I’ve tried to tell them for years, that was not for a lack of trying on my part. Please!! I’d cry, beat me!! And they never would.
Kids these days, eh?
But what of this hyper-sensitivity? A thing even I can’t deny.
This entire blog post was inspired by my hypersensitivity. At a gym class the other day, Psycle by the way (read my review of it here), the instructor started yelling, as the lights in the studio went red, “we’re in the red light district tonight guys, it’s going to get dirty, let’s let it get filthhhyyyyy!!”
It was meant as motivation (you probably had to be there, sounds weird out of context but it works), but before I’d had a chance to catch myself I caught my mind setting off down a winding path of god, should she be saying that? Do we joke about hookers?? Can we call them that even??? Oh bless them what a horrid industry, I can’t believe we allow this to happen…. and on and on.
A total boner killer, I’m sure you’ll agree.
Are we too sensitive even to have fun anymore? I consider this, and ultimately conclude that that’s a conversation for another day.
But if I were to summarise snowflake mentality and the hyper-sensitivity people are so quick to snub us for, I’d conclude it by saying this:
For years, growing up in Britain meant living with a stiff upper lip. Baby-boomers, raised by a generation that lived through the war, they were tough, taught not to grumble, to crack on.
And for the most part it worked.
They grew up, pretty much without incident. They listened to some great music, tried some great drugs, shacked up and reproduced.
They were fine and all was good.
Until the cracks begin to show.
And show they did. By the time we were old enough to begin processing our feelings, they were on top of us. They were suffocating us.
The world we were growing up in was unrecognisable to the one our parents remembered so fondly.
The one, by the way, that they looked back on with rose-tinted glasses on. They remembered the fun and the playing outside and the showing up to school when they fancied it and the smoking on airplanes.
They had a nostalgia that their parents didn’t have: my grandma never really made the ‘so we were sitting in our little bunker as the planes went over’ stories sound like anything you’d want to do twice.
I’m sure there’s a significance to that. Our parents had a real hankering for things to be like the good old days, all the while feeding off all the fruits that the nineties had brought with them and I, for one, was always left feeling wanting.
Jealous of the stories my parents told and wondering what was so bad about what we were lumped with anyway.
We were spoiled and loved and sent out into the world but before we’d had a chance to find our feet we were given phones and access to a whole new world. A world that was really ours for the taking, but a world that there was no-one there to help us navigate.
We’ve all read Lord of the Flies. We know what happens when you leave a whole load of kids in charge.
And all the problems that our parents had faced, the being teased and feeling fat and whatever were magnified like crazy. We existed in two worlds. We were under more pressure than anyone before us. We were coddled and abandoned all at the same time.
And I’ll put to you what I put to everyone who begins the snowflake-conversation with me, (it happens more than you might think): if everything was so good, and so great, and so okay before we started speaking out and asking for more, then why were we all so unhappy?
Because these suffocating feelings? They really took their toll on us. It’s not a blame game, we were just victims of our generation, but recognition of the issues that blighted us cannot be ignored.
If our lives were so good, if we were just so lucky that we never had to endure hardship, why were depression rates at an all time high? Why did more people have eating disorders than ever before? Why was suicide the biggest killer of men under 40?
To put it another way, I’ll put this to you: where my mum is from, in the Isle of Man, homosexuality was only made LIGEAL, in her lifetime.
You can also still shoot a Scotsman if they’re on a beach, by the way.
Just because it’s the way it’s always been done, it doesn’t mean it’s right.
And so, if you’re a person reading this that does not fall into the snowflake category, I would ask this of you: stop fighting the change. In the same way that films were put into colour the minute someone worked out they didn’t need to be in black and white anymore, embrace this next chapter, whatever it entails. It’s probably good. Or at the very least, it’ll be colourful and interesting to watch.
Let go a bit. Stop giving us such a hard time. You’re either responsible for why we’re like this (parents) or at least able to offer up a bit of empathy for a generation so unanimously hated (kids of the 70s).
It doesn’t have to be a war and if you could stop trying to fight us on every little thing, we might find that we end up with, quite literally, the best of two worlds.
We’re not asking for too much.
And even if we were? Let’s face it, it wouldn’t be yours to give.
So actually, scrap that. We ain’t asking. We’re taking.
And as for my fellow snowflakes?
Stop feeling bad for speaking up. Accept that yes, we’re sensitive, but we have every right to ask for what we want. We’re grownups too… we’re actually probably more qualified in areas of not-being-such-a-twat than most of our other earth dwellers too (hrhumm, Brexit). We’re also better with technology and therefore probably more able to befriend the robots, should it ever come to that.
It’s not too much to ask that we get dads changing nappies. Avocados are delicious, we’re allowed to declare them as such. What other people decide to identify as doesn’t alter your life in anyway, so let’s keep going to create a world that allows anyone to identify as whatever they want to be.
Even if that means a few old bags like Sheila end up with ‘teapot’ on their passports.
Ultimately, we’d get the last laugh anyway.
I don’t think being a snowflake is anything to be ashamed of. I know it’s meant to be, but it isn’t.
Be naive with me.
I was out running this morning in the snow, yes yes, I’m hard as fucking nails mate, and little snowflakes were floating down and landing on my jacket and because I’m a Londoner I revelled in it, because we don’t see much snow, and I stopped to stare at them.
Fucking beautiful to be honest with you.
Unique and amazing.
Being a snowflake isn’t anything to be ashamed of. On the contrary, I think we should all be rather proud.