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For such a cold and chilly word, the term “snowflake” can really set some people aflame. Even talking about the word in a cozy ol’ quiz website is a little like traversing a minefield filled with lava.
Be mindful that we aren’t using the term here to mean anyone in particular, as is due respect for all visitors of our site. There are people out there that warrant being called “snowflakes”; however, we will only refer to hypothetical and ideal “snowflakes” in this article.
Just like that fine, fluffy blanket of ice crystals that drifts lazily from the sky on a late December afternoon, the “snowflake” label can fall on anyone, but it is most accurately used to describe a person with specifically overbearing traits.
Thin-skinned. Egotistical. Highly confrontational. These are the most common ingredients in a recipe for a snowflake. Oftentimes, you can throw in other qualities to the mix, such as the tendency to believe that they are intellectually superior or possess the moral high ground.
Such beliefs don’t exactly make them appealing to others, so a snowflake typically forms cliques with other like-minded individuals in which only their ideologies are tolerated. Due to the lack of other perspectives, these cliques and their opinions can become increasingly out of touch from reality over time. In such a state, such cliques are known as “echo chambers.”
Snowflakes are wont to find an offensive meaning in the most mundane of things – the ingredients in a burger, a religious greeting, or any criticism of unhealthy body fat.
Instead of ignoring or rationally responding to the things they dislike, they take everything personally, and attempt to coerce other people to adjust to their sensibilities by demanding things such as trigger warnings or safe spaces.
Many snowflakes also consider online activism as the most significant tool they can use for social change – which might come in the form of an angry Tweet or the uploading of a black square as a profile picture.
People who have incurred the ire of a large group of snowflakes may encounter threats of being “cancelled” or “deplatformed” from social media.
The Snowflake Test is a fairly recent innovation. In 2017, Kyle Reyes - the CEO of the Connecticut-based marketing agency, Silent Partner Marketing – attracted publicity after unveiling the Snowflake Test as a trick he employs for weeding out “whiny, entitled millennials” from their pool of applicants.
The original Snowflake Test contains questions for gauging how much a potential employee values political correctness, which the company considers detrimental in excess. It’s also designed to sniff out traits that can upset the company’s morale and productivity, such as an applicant’s hatred of their country, their tendency to cry, and their work ethic.
The test has proven effective at thinning out the number of applicants by 60 percent, Reyes reports.
The term “Snowflake” is a label most commonly placed on members of the younger generations, namely Generation Z and the Millennials (or Generation Y). As such, people who dislike the use of the word may criticize it as being an unfair insult against the youth.
To a certain extent, they hold a fair point. Some older people are liable themselves to use the word for any youngster that they consider spoiled or whiny. The word does seem like a form of hip lingo that old people can use to vibe with today’s kids.
It can be futile to argue over the definition of a single word with the elderly. Other members of Generation Z have pointed out that being called a “snowflake” can be taken as genuine criticism for one’s egotistical or grumbling attitude.
Merriam-Webster is quick to point out that “snowflake,” as an insult, actually came from 19th century Missouri as a derisive word for people who were against abolishing slavery.
However, the book Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk and its film adaptation have largely popularized this alternative meaning of the word. In both media, a member of Project Mayhem explains to the others that nobody was beautiful, unique or special. Instead, they explain, everybody was “the same decaying organic matter” that makes up everything else.
As recently as the 1970s, “snowflake” was a generalized and positive word for a beautiful and unique individual, although some people have ridiculed it for praising mediocrity.
In 2016, journalist Claire Fox wrote the book I Find That Offensive, which brought the phrase “Snowflake Generation” to the mainstream. As Collins English Dictionary describes it, the Snowflake Generation is comprised of people who became adults in the 2010s. This corresponds to adults born from 1980 to 1994 – the same period as with Generation Y.