The Sun reports of a top British thinker who claims young women are in the grip of a “hysteria” which has made them unable to cope with being offended. Claire Fox, head of a thinktank called the Institute of Ideas, has penned a coruscating critique of “Generation Snowflake”, the name given to a growing group of youngsters who “believe it’s their right to be protected from anything they might find unpalatable”. She said British and American universities are dominated by cabals of young women who are dead set on banning anything they find remotely offensive. “It makes me sad that these teens and 20-somethings have become so fearful that they believe a dissenting opinion can pose such a serious threat,” Fox wrote in an article for Mail Online. This hyper-sensitivity has prompted the University of East Anglia to outlaw sombreros in a Mexican restaurant and caused the National Union of Student to ban clapping as “as it might trigger trauma”, asking youngsters to use “jazz hands” instead. Books containing troublesome material are now slapped with “trigger warnings”, whilst universities and student unions are declared “safe spaces” where young people should not have to encounter anything they disagree with.
Fox described astonishing scenes at an event set up to discuss whether the public outcry against footballer Ched Evans was “social justice or mob rule”. The academic said her mostly female audience broke down in tears after she “dared suggest (as eminent feminists have before me) that rape wasn’t necessarily the worst thing a woman could experience”. Fox added: “I expected robust discussion – not for them all to dissolve into outraged gasps of, ‘You can’t say that!’ “Their reaction shocked me. I take no pleasure in making teenagers cry, but it also brought home the contrast to previous generations of young people, who would have relished the chance to argue back. “It illustrated this generation’s almost belligerent sense of entitlement. They assume their emotional suffering takes precedence. Express a view they disagree with and you must immediately recant and apologise.” Generation Snowflake has also created a social minefield for young boys and men, who risk being labelled “sex pests” for twanging a girl’s bra at school, Fox continued. She said women were opting to stay at home and socialise on the internet due to overblown fears about predatory men. “There is a strand of self-absorption and fragility running through this generation; all too ready to cry ‘victim’ at the first hint of a situation they don’t like,” Fox concluded. “We need a younger generation that’s prepared to grow a backbone, go out into the world, take risks and make difficult decisions. Otherwise the future doesn’t bode well for any of us.” Claire Fox has penned a book about Generation Snowflake which is called I Find That Offensive and was published by Biteback in May.