Guest Blog: Beth Kennedy
The biggest insult at the moment? Snowflake.
But why has a fragment of ice that falls from the sky on a chilly day become one of the most popular put-downs for our time
People are starting to realise that it’s OK to have feelings, it’s OK to actually care about other people in the world, it’s OK to challenge archaic views...it’s OK to fight for equality.
But other people seem to view this as a weakness.
During the Parkland high school shooting in Florida, InfoWars journalist Alex Jones tweeted a photo of an ‘Anti Snowflake’ gun. One of the student survivors, David Hogg, spoke out against gun violence and was branded a snowflake on social media.
A snowflake....because he wanted the government to take serious measures about gun control after seeing his fellow students die. This articulate and compassionate young man calmly spoke out against guns and is a credit to us snowflakes. If he is a snowflake then I think that’s a compliment to the rest of us who are called snowflakes online or in person.
Wikipedia defines ‘snowflakes’ as “prone to taking offence and [being] less resilient than previous generations, or as being too emotionally vulnerable. The term is considered derogatory.’
Let’s break that down a bit….
Prone to taking offence
I started off with a big one here! For the last three or four years it’s become apparent that people think other people (*cough* Millennials) are easily offended...they’re even dubbed as Generation Snowflake.
But, I realised something very interesting indeed...put a baby boy in a lovely dress or put a little girl in a smart suit and who are the people that are the most offended? What if a gay couple hold hands in the street? How about if a transgender person finally gets access to the hormone therapy they wanted?
I’ll let you work that one out for yourself.
Every generation has been easily offended at one point or another. I can make some very sweeping generalisations that stereotype past and previous generations:
Here’s a quick, overly dramatic example:
Baby boomers in 1975: “Gay people….it’s just not natural!”
Baby boomers in 2015: “Gay marriage?! A marriage is between a MAN and a WOMAN.”
I can hear the baby boomers saying “This isn’t what I think, how dare you!”
No one likes to be tarred with the same brush.
After all, these generalisations are kind of moot. A lot of positive social change happened in the 60s and 70s...which the baby boomers were responsible for.
And so are the ‘snowflakes’ right now, which brings me to my next point...when ‘snowflakes’ take offence to something, they bloody well do something about it…
Too emotionally vulnerable
When will people realise that vulnerability is a strength? To experience your emotions, express them healthily and learn from them is one of the biggest strengths I can think of for any person.
Vulnerability is essentially being open about yourself and not afraid to live without defence and grow as a human.
Those who call others ‘snowflakes’ generally see vulnerability as a weakness - but imagine being scared of your own feelings! That, to me, is the ultimate weakness and won’t get you far in life.
The Women’s March, Black Lives Matters, #MeToo campaign...the present generation is involved in a hell of a lot of activism...and with activism comes the ability to be emotionally vulnerable, transparent and open.
The ‘snowflakes’ are working very hard to make positive social change happen and those who are frightened of change try to bite back with “Snowflakes! They’re so offended about everything.”
I think we all know who’s really the offended party here…
Maybe the word isn’t ‘offended’ as such but more ‘stop giving me crap for no constructive reason other than you’re petrified of change.’
So why call all Millennials self-entitled, crybaby snowflakes? Just because they have a natural tendency to activate change and people who don’t agree with these changes are scared so they have to resort to weather-related insults? OK, if that’s the best comeback they’ve got to our hard-working progression then that’s quite amusing!
Less resilient than previous generations
Resilience, or to bounce back from hard times, is what so-called snowflakes stand for. Those who are frequently referred to as snowflakes tend to be left wing, or even middle...or even just people with a damn conscience. More to the point, ‘snowflakes’ seem to come from minorities linked to race, sexuality, gender, disabilities, mental illnesses and more...and we all know minorities face hard times on a daily basis.
Sure, previous generations had their fair share of hard times - but in this digital age we unfortunately have access to even more haters...because narrow-minded people have social media too.
Wear your snowflake badge proudly, because it’s more than likely that you’re an extremely resilient person - constantly springing back from homophobia, racism, sexism or just about any other prejudice people might throw at you
So the next time someone calls you a snowflake, I want you to remember it stands for resilience, compassion, transparency and intelligence. If there are enough snowflakes we can create a powerful glacier...