A new survey claims that young people in the United Kingdom believe that being called a “snowflake” can be damaging to their own mental health.
Nearly three-quarters of those asked felt that the term, ‘snowflake,’ was unfairly given to millennials
Likely a play on the notion that “no two snowflakes are alike,” the slang expression, “special snowflake,” evolved into an insult for people who think of themselves as unique and special, often people who think they are above approach. In recent years, especially, the label appeared to become a popular insult for college students who opposed controversial ideas on campus.
The term may have originated with the 1996 book, Fight Club, with the line, “You are not special. You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake;” author Chuck Palahniuk took credit for the term in an interview, saying “My friends who teach in high school tell me that their students are very easily offended.”
In a study coming from the insurance firm Aviva, it was found that 72% of young people, which included people aged 16 to 24, felt that the term “snowflake” was unfairly applied to millennials. A slightly larger percentage, 74%, argued that they felt that the label could even have a negative effect on young people’s mental health.
Study claimed young people were ‘more likely to be experiencing mental health problems’
For comparison, around half of adults aged 16 and 24 claimed to have experienced stress or anxiety, with only around a third of adults in the United Kingdom.
Dr. Doug Wright, a medical expert for the firm, argued that young people were more likely to experience mental health issues than people of older generations, making them more sensitive to the “snowflake” label. As he further explained:
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…Any term used disparagingly to a segment of the population is inherently negative.
While young adults in particular appear to take offence 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.