My boyfriend calls me ‘Egg’. It’s a pet name that stemmed from the overwhelming roundness of my circular head. My best friend often tags me in old photos to laugh at how ugly I once was, and when I was 13 years old my parents applauded and laughed at me when I slammed my door in teenage angst. I join in at laughing at myself, and can take it at work when my presentations are criticised or if I have done something wrong.
I also stand up for what I believe in, will wince if I hear racist language on the street, and often see others eyes roll back into their heads when I begin on one of my ‘feminist’ rants. I know what’s right and I am beginning to learn what’s wrong, and I surround myself with women and men who feel this same why.
So, why does this make me delicate?
Another day, another label branded onto the twenty something generations. As well as being self entitled Millenials, brain dead digital natives and my personal favourite Generation Y Not Me, we are now given the more magical label of Generation Snowflake, which unfortunately does not have anything to do with Queen Elsa from Frozen. Damn.
A recent study has stereotyped this group to be ‘hysterical young women who cannot bare to be criticised’ and aim to ‘ban anything that is slightly offensive’. We have been labelled as ‘cry babies’ and ‘less resilient’ than the previous generations before us, and basically a big pile of sensitive snowflakes crying into our smartphones as we eat our quinoa and lament our wasted degree in costume design.
I will now allow you five minutes to shake your head in disgust.
As a young woman living in this generation of stereotypes, every day I am forced to validate my job in social media to those who do not understand, or explain why I cannot afford a mortgage. I am faced with changes such as Brexit, Donald Trump as PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (can we even deal?!), and the fact that Busted’s comeback was not as successful as I had hoped it would be. My name is a pile on top of a thousand other creative and ambitious graduates, itching to have a job in an industry they are shaping but have no say in. I wince at my overdraft daily as I still battle with last year’s unpaid internships. And still, I read these assumptions about our generation as being entitled and lazy.
We are not sensitive. We are not delicate. We are dealing with an unfair hand of raised education fees, white men in power discussing our rights to abortion, and a government in absolute turmoil. Every day we turn on the news and see black people shot and killed by establishments for no reason. We turn on the TV and hear women called ‘bitches, sluts’ repetitively on prime time shows, and depicted as the ‘wife, girlfriend, ugly girl with a makeover’. Yes. We are certainly saddened by the world, and offended that we have to even say that these things are wrong. But if we don’t stand up, who will?
I am proud of my generation. Of men who are not ashamed to cry, and are standing up and talking about rape and mental illness. Of women who do not conform to every adverts ideals, and to the women who stand up and own their sexuality and femininity in a way that feels right to them, be it posing nude in a magazine or not shaving their armpits. I feel we are living in a world of complete permission, to be who and what you want without discussion, just acceptance. Of course there are those that seek to tear this down, but overwhelmingly I feel we are a generation of change and resilience that will one day be known to have shaped the way we all live our lives.
We may cry at the news. We may shout back at the builders in their vans who heckle us as we walk. And yes, we do pick and choose our friendships based on our politics and views. But we also know how to have a laugh. We created memes, gifs, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat…we have become pioneers of the 10 second laugh. As much as the world may bring us down, we all bring each other up with laughter and satire that gives us hope that hey, not everybody is like that.
Our delicacy is our strength, to stand up against what is wrong and what we won’t tolerate as we shape our minds and start raising our own families. Our outrage is our power, forcing us to use social media to say what the media won’t, and what needs to be said. So call us snowflakes, label us fools, and continue to make a mockery of us.
Because after all, so many snowflakes can start one hell of a storm.