The term ‘Snowflake Generation’ is increasingly used to define young adults who are easy to offend, delicate and meltdown in difficult situations (1). They are said to be raised by helicopter parents who hovered over their children, getting involved in every detail of their lives and doing nothing but praising their failures (2). But is this really a new phenomenon?
This ‘thin-skinned’ generation are mostly defined by their easily defended nature, but their protests do have some substance behind them. Research found almost half would boycott a brand if they went against their social beliefs (3) and H&M felt the snowflakes’ wrath, as they boycotted the store after the infamous monkey sweater scandal at the beginning of the year (4). They don’t always get it right though, as the Student Union at East Anglia University learned the hard way. Having realized that a Mexican restaurant was handing out Sombreros the Union deemed “discriminatory or stereotypical”, they confiscated the Sombreros from students and warned the restaurant to cease handing them out. However, the Union themselves were accused of hypocrisy after it transpired that they hosted a ‘Pimp my Barrow” event which encouraged students to appropriate African American cultural traditions (5). It has also been argued that Millennials and Gen Z are fast becoming the generations people love to hate, due to what older generations perceive as their inability to deal with difficult situations.
Despite older generations’ perception that the Snowflakes don’t have the ability to handle difficult situations, they have proved themselves to be more willing to openly discuss and tackle mental health issues, a big issue that previous generations have been too stoic to discuss (6). It also turns out that they have good reason to complain, leaving university in debt with house prices sky rocketing ,the job market shrinking and lower earns than their parents (7).
But let’s face it, this isn’t the first generation to be disparaged, stereotyped or generalized by older generations and they certainly won’t be the last. It’s well documented that older generations have always regarded those younger than themselves to be selfish, lazy or overly confident (8). So to all the Snowflakes out there; carry on petitioning, protesting, and generally standing up for what you believe in. As John Lydon once said, “if there’s not a rebellious youth culture, there’s no culture at all”!