When we’re worried, anxious, sleepless or depressed we’re made to feel that something’s wrong with us. If we call out oppression, show our emotions, and refuse to toe the line, we’re labelled “snowflakes”.
In the face of injustice and inequality we’re told to toughen up, accept it, deal with it and be more resilient.
What if it’s not us that’s the problem? What if we started to address the root causes?
When snowflakes join together, we become a snowstorm
In the face of runaway climate change, stark global injustices, diminishing incomes, employment and housing-insecurity, young people are often told to be more resilient.
Generation Snowstorm takes as its premise that young people today have every right to feel anxious, depressed or otherwise distressed at the world they face. When we accept these emotions and feelings as legitimate responses to systemic crises the question becomes not what’s wrong with the person, but how might we address the causes of distress.
Yet addressing the causes through traditional forms of social activism is no magic bullet. While participating in social change can be empowering, connecting and life-affirming, it can also produce burnout and disillusionment. Activist practices can mirror the output rhythms, exclusiveness and emotional-hardening that characterise the world they rise against. In response to this, some propose activism be injected with more ‘self-care’ – like baths, yoga and me-time. But this just adds another thing to the activist to-do list, and risks a distancing from the ways in which activism – taking action with others for a better world – can itself be nourishing.
Against a world that tells us to toughen up and dominant forms of activism that oftne do the same, we draw attention to the causes of collective distress and cultivate strategies to address these causes as a form of radical self care.