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What is the Snowflake Generation?

The 2016 Collins English Dictionary describes the derogatory slang term of "Snowflake Generation" as:
The young adults of the 2010s, viewed as being less resilient and more prone to taking offence than previous generations.


Wikipedia describes the term "Snowflake" as:

2010s derogatory slang term for a person, implying that they have an inflated sense of uniqueness, an unwarranted sense of entitlement, or are overly-emotional, easily offended, and unable to deal with opposing opinions.(2)

So, where did the term ‘snowflake generation‘ come from?
The earliest reference to a snowflake that I could find, is from Missouri in the 1860s, where it was made about people who were opposed to the abolition of slavery.

Since 1888 an America's dictionary by Miriam-Webster has said that the term snowflake had been an insult for about 150 years and that throughout the 1970s, a snowflake was a slang term for cocaine and a belittling term for a black man who was acting like a white man.

Another reference to "Generation Snowflake" is the 2016 book, I Find That Offensive,  by Claire Fox, a free speech advocate and the founder and director of the think-tank Academy of Ideas.

Whats the meaning today?
The term snowflake generation today, refers to the children that reached adulthood in the decade of 2010. The older generation use this term in a derogatory way, to attack their emotional instability, sensitivity and their unique perspective to political correctness.

The media considers them to be over sensitive, especially to the everyday things that older generations accept. They are considered to be emotionally vulnerable and insecure to the slightest criticism of their modern lifestyle, after being brought up by overprotective parents and the early introduction of new technology in childhood.


Chuck Palahniuk, (shown above) has often been credited with coining the metaphorical use of snowflake in his 1996 novel Fight Club, which contains the quote:  "you are not special, you are not a beautiful and unique snowflake".

See the world through the eyes of a Snowflake

See the world through the eyes of the older generation

(1) Collins English Dictionary. Open, CC BY-SA 4.0 license
(2) Wikimedia  Open, CC BY-SA 4.0 license

Steve Howarth 07/08/2019
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