Many of us can think back to a time when we were called an affectionate name by our parents. Perhaps some of us may have even been called ‘snowflake’ because we were unique and beautiful in their eyes. Would it surprise you that calling someone a snowflake today might just hurt their mental health?
According to a study by Avia, an insurance firm, 72% of youngsters between the ages of 16 and 24 feel that “snowflake” is a term that is given to millennials and they don’t agree. 74% of those who responded even went further by saying that carrying this label could hurt their mental health.
It was the term, “snowflake generation” that spurned the study. At one time, it was used to describe someone who was unique, beautiful or special. In 1996, however, the novel ‘Fight Club’ and the movie in 1999 made the term mean something different. It used the line, “you are not special, you are not a beautiful and unique snowflake.” From that point forward, the term began to be used to describe someone who is too sensitive, such as college students who get worked up over controversy.
The author of the Fight Club is happy with the new definition, saying: “Every generation gets offended by different things but my friends who teach in high school tell me that their students are very easily offended.” He also referred to it as the new kind of Victorianism.
According to Dr. Doug Wright, the younger generation is more likely to have problems with their mental health than the older generation. Many of those who are older could never imagine being harmed mentally because they were labeled as a snowflake. According to Dr Wright, however: “Our findings suggest that young adults are more likely to be experiencing mental health problems, so using a phrase which criticizes this age group could add to this issue.”. He also added the following: “Any term used disparagingly to a segment of the population is inherently negative.”
“While young adults in particular appear to take offense to the ‘snowflake’ label, the majority of adults agree that the term is unfair and unhelpful, so it’s important that people consider how such labels are used, and the cumulative effect they could have on their recipients,” he finished.
In the end, it is really about the perception of the word and not always the real reason why it is being used. If a young child is called a snowflake by his or her parents because they look at them as being precious and beautiful, they will likely grow up loving the term.
On the other hand, the changes in the way this particular term is used is having an impact on others, and not in a good way. Like all other trends, this one is likely to fade into the background at some point but for now, we have to deal with it in the best way we can.
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