Generation snowflake.

Snowflakes are delicate and beautiful; the result of a marriage between water vapour and minuscule dust particles. Snowflakes invoke a sense of awe—there’s nothing like being surrounded by snowflakes falling gently from the sky. Lines of lyrical prose dancing in the air, a poem waiting to be written. Like many firsts in life (buying a car, getting high, losing your virginity, etc.), your first snowflake sighting is forever etched in your memory. It’s a wonder of nature and a gift from the heavens.

So, how the hell did the gentle snowflake get roped into demeaning and belittling an entire generation? Millennials have long been trashed for having a huge-arse sense of entitlement and not taking things (and themselves) too seriously. But now, they’re delicate snowflakes; they crumble and dissolve at the first sign of pressure.

The term was first coined in 2015 and has gained traction this year with articles upon articles bashing young adults. It’s hard to take these news (and I use the word ‘news’ very lightly) articles seriously as they all seem to be written by angry 50-somethings who may or may not have created these ‘snowflakes’ in the first place. ‘Hmm, wrapping little Joey in cotton wool and giving him a participation prize is sure to help his self-esteem and enable him to grow into a tough, confident young adult,’ said no fucking sane person ever.

While journalists, psychologists and so-called social experts frequently lambast these weak-as-shit ‘snowflakes’, the powers that be continue to bend over backwards with ludicrous policies to help them survive in our dog-eat-dog world. Examples include a five-year game plan by a school in the UK to reduce homework because it has little bearing in 21st century learning; setting up ‘safe spaces’ to shield students from the stress of university life; and issuing trigger warnings on campuses so students know when potentially offensive and conflicting topics will be discussed.

The result of all this swaddling is a bunch of young adults who make the PC brigade look positively tame. Banning something for fear of causing offence or being labelled racist, sexist or whatever ’ist you can come up with is fucking ridiculous. Since when does wearing sombrero hats have racist connotations? In my time (and yes, I run the risk of sounding like an old geezer), that was called fucking brilliant marketing: free hat ftw and hey, unpaid, walking advertisements. Now? Non-Mexicans aren’t allowed to wear sombreros ’cause it’s not part of their culture and it’d be an insult to Mexicans everywhere.

Pardon the language, but what the fuck is going on here? I don’t think we’re giving the ‘snowflake’ generation enough credit. They’re resourceful, creative and passionate about the causes they believe in, and limiting their right to think and explore the world is causing more damage than anything else. We’ve created children who want the world but don’t have the skills to get to the top. Through our obsessive babysitting, we’ve turned these brilliant vessels into empty husks who fear the shadows.

 Every generation has its cross to bear. And while baby boomers lament their truisms of hard work and loyalty are dying, millennials have their own crap to sort out. They must sift through a world where Donald Trump is the President-elect of the USA. They read campaigns and rallies hashtagged and captioned out of their daylights[EJ1] . They listen as world leaders spout hate and fear (and yet, remain elected and in power). And they’re forced to read news articles on how damned they are. No wonder they have a skewed perception of the world.

 As Doctor Victor Frankenstein recoiled in horror at the monster he’d unwittingly created, the golden generation look at their ‘snowflakes’ and shake their heads in despair. Millennials live in a vastly different time from when their parents were young. It’s so easy to bring out the ol’ ‘back in my day’ argument and say children nowadays are entitled little shits; but, they’re the product of their environment and upbringing. If anything, these millennials have proven to be adept at survival. As horrible as they’re perceived to be, and as much as they will hate to, they’ll need to ‘adult’ at some point in their lives. And as we’ve seen from history, we know that the kids will be alright.

 

Yen Li Wong