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Modern Life: What is Generation Snowflake?

Features | By Annabel Sampson | May 2017


‘Millennials’, ‘Generation Y’ (or ‘Generation Y-ny [whiny]’) and the 'Snowflake Generation'. What have this maligned demographic done to deserve such labels?

‘Generation Snowflake’ is a derogatory term for hyper-emotional, thin-skinned young adults – or the ‘me-me-me generation’. Like snowflakes, they are delicate to the core; a slight increase in temperature and they’ll melt into tears. Related names for the age group include ‘Millennials’, ‘Generation Y’ (or ‘Generation Y-ny [whiny]’). ‘Snowflake’ was one of the Collins Dictionary’s 2016 words of the year, along with ‘Brexit’, ‘hygge’ and ‘Trumpism’. In Japan, the fleeting attention span of the young is attacked in a linked nickname: nagara-zoku, ‘The people who are always doing two things at once’. One of the earliest uses of the term was in David Fincher’s 1999 cult film, Fight Club, based on the 1996 novel by Chuck Palahniuk. The film starred Brad Pitt as the protagonist of an underground recreational fight club, who says to his young followers: ‘You are not special. You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You...

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