This Snowflake Won’t Melt
It’s fair to say that Tomi Lahren and I disagree on almost everything. She is a conservative political commentator who uses her show, Tomi, to criticize the Affordable Care Act, gun control legislation, the Black Lives Matter movement, President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and anyone else who happens to catch her attention for acting too much like a “snowflake” (more on that in a moment). I’m a liberal Jewish feminist who passionately defends health care, Roe v. Wade, and the freedom to protest, and has called President Obama “dad” on more than one occasion. In short, our politics and morals could not possibly be more diametrically opposed, and more often than not, I find myself yelling at my computer screen by the end of her popular “Final Thoughts” segment.
However, it’s because of our similarities rather than our differences, that Lahren has caught my attention more than any other conservative commentator. There are certain basic parts of my identity that we share; we are both young white women, we both come from a background of relative privilege, and we both have strong opinions that we are constantly attempting to share. Compared to many of her counterparts, I believe that Lahren is truly intelligent, and it is impossible to miss her passion. So while I disagree with a great deal of what she says, I do have a certain level of respect for her. I do my best not to view her as my enemy, even when she uses language that mocks and minimizes my values.
Lahren loves the term “special snowflake.” In fact, she loves it so much that one of her recent “Final Thoughts” segments was called: “What Does it Mean to Be a Snowflake?” In my opinion, this phrase represents a point of view that is deeply harmful because it minimizes the emotions of an entire group of people, many of whom face very different challenges in their everyday lives than Lahren. In essence, it’s used to undermine respect and understanding in political discussion, and to infantilize everyone who fights for social equality.
According to Lahren, “If you spend more time occupying Wall Street than you do occupying a shower or a job, you might be a snowflake. If Trump 2016 sidewalk talk caused you emotional distress before or after the election, you might be a snowflake.” Not only is this kind of language unnecessarily rude and divisive, it also panders to an audience that would rather make assumptions about others based on their political beliefs than accept a different viewpoint.
On her show, especially in her short and widely circulated “Final Thoughts” segments, Lahren has the opportunity to express her opinions in a way that can lead to productive discussion, but instead she insults and alienates those who disagree with her, and tells her audience exactly what they want to hear. She tells them that anyone protesting an unjust financial system must be homeless. She tells them that being upset over the results of a presidential election makes a person fragile or irrational. Every single time she uses the term “special snowflake,” she reinforces to her audience that it’s okay to dismiss anyone whose opinion differs from your own.
There’s no doubt that Lahren’s rhetoric is effective; all people, no matter where they lie on the political spectrum, want to be told that what they believe is unquestionably correct. Unfortunately, the world is not as black and white as one might think. In order to have a respectful democracy, we need to be able to understand those we disagree with, and perhaps the first step towards that goal is to stop painting with such broad brushstrokes.
Although it’s not always easy, I attempt to judge Tomi Lahren as an individual, and base my opinion of her on her specific statements and actions, rather than on my innate assumptions about conservative political commentators. If we were ever to meet, I hope that she would be able to do the same, instead of dismissing me as just another “liberal snowflake.”
This piece was written as part of JWA’s Rising Voices Fellowship.
How to cite this page
Pifko, Molly. "This Snowflake Won’t Melt." 15 February 2017. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on May 21, 2019) <https://jwa.org/blog/risingvoices/this-snowflake-won-t-melt>.