Wednesday, September 17, 2014

36 Things I Hope My Daughters Don't Learn from Social Justice Warriorism

I have daughters. Watching the ongoing dyspeptic outpouring from social justice activists warriors (these being social justice activists who seem to have run amok) makes me dread their upcoming decade. Here are 36 things I truly hope my daughters do not learn from social justice activism warriorism.
  1. That feminism actually means the odious mischaracterization of itself perpetrated upon it by ill-contented social justice activists warriors claiming to work in its name.
  2. That liberalism means any part of the same.
  3. That social-issues activism means any part of the same.
  4. That a sincerely holding a feeling or belief, even considering it of the utmost importance, somehow can be construed to count as a credential by which people are expected to take them seriously.
  5. That rumor-mongering is an acceptable way to present oneself as a professional or for them to gain recognition and importance in any field.
  6. That the misuse of someone's words to mischaracterize them and to slander their character is a way to get ahead, especially for them as young women.
  7. That hyperbolic and malicious misrepresentations of someone's words or deeds is an acceptable form of discourse, particularly when in service to a cherished cause.
  8. That anything like productive conversations can hope to follow from smashing flat the meaning of various words (like rape, abuse, sexism, misogyny, and so on), as though there does not exist an obvious and meaningful spectrum of severity to various phenomena.
  9. That if they're mad enough or offended enough, they are acting responsibly by saying whatever they want about whoever they want as unfairly as they want, including occasional libelous accusations, and then badmouth anyone who so much as raises an eyebrow to them.
  10. That facts only matter if those facts support their narratives.
  11. That opinions are only valid if those opinions support their narratives.
  12. That the experiences of others are only valid insofar as they line up with the experiences of those who share their narratives.
  13. That the proper way to interpret a scientific study is in the way that justifies or amplifies their beliefs or sense of perceived injustice in the world. 
  14. That shouting down discourse with unfair pejorative labels is a legitimate means to make their points.
  15. That smearing or tarnishing a reputation over perceived slights, injustices, or offense, including to people other than themselves, is a legitimate reason to ignore the thoughtful commentary and work of respected scholars and other people with whom they have taken issue.
  16. That being angry women who can't be bothered to get their facts straight is a good image for the promotion of feminism and anything it hopes to accomplish.
  17. That a remotely good way to overcome the stereotypes that legitimately sometimes hold women back is to present themselves as emotional and prone to gossip when fighting for their cause.
  18. That legitimate women's issues can be ignored in favor of narrow, sometimes petty, sometimes wildly exaggerated, sometimes disturbingly misrepresented ones that happen to make them mad and still be considered feminism.
  19. That attacking the character of high-profile soft targets, often by distortion, who are in every legitimate sense allies can be considered brave, noble, or worthwhile.
  20. That someone's words taken out of context are true representations of their characters.
  21. That giving Internet trolls more attention is an effective way to deal with them.
  22. That all men are de facto potential rapists, likely to be sexists, and possibly misogynists.
  23. That they live in a culture that intentionally promotes rape.
  24. That rape is so simple, particularly on the basis that mixed-signals misinterpreted are never in any way their fault, that they're free from any responsibility in how they act, particularly while drinking in mixed company.
  25. That there are two teams: "with us" and "against us."
  26. That an unpleasant comment related to gender is instantly indicative of actual sexism or outright misogyny, or "gender-treason," as the case may be.
  27. That having a loyal following of fans that supports their point of view means they are right.
  28. That they, themselves, are gender traitors for daring to think for themselves if it leads to disagreement with the arguments or tactics of social justice activists warriors.
  29. That being intolerant of dissent from their views is a road to progress, to productive discourse, to intellectual honesty, to moral superiority, or to finding truth.
  30. That nerfing the experience of everyone who has ever suffered oppression or violence and may suffer it again, often by casting taboos over certain kinds of speech, words, or ideas, legitimately helps those people.
  31. That it is acceptable to profit, even socially, from any victimhood they are unfortunate enough to experience.
  32. That anyone who disagrees with them most likely does so because of bigotry or a desire to shame them.
  33. That assuming the worst possible motivations in someone who disagrees with them or says something that they find offensive is a means to being heard.
  34. That using loaded language that implicitly or explicitly accuses someone of bad motivations or downright being a bad person is a productive form of communicating with them.
  35. That behaving in these ways actually challenges the status quo.
  36. That they should come to reject, to disparage, or even to hate feminism and feminists because of its unfortunate association with social justice activism warriors.
It's very unlikely that this list is anything like exhaustive. If you have daughters or can imagine having daughters, please feel encouraged to add any more that you can think of in the comments.

Edit: As can be seen below, a commenter suggested that I shouldn't conflate social justice activism and social justice "warriorism," that being what I am actually targeting in this post. My thanks for the correction, which I have made throughout. Let me add that I was not unaware of this distinction but made the word choice based upon the automatic pejorative association with "social justice warrior," which I was trying to avoid. In doing so, I went too far and, regretfully, tarred legitimate social justice activism in exactly the way I was hoping wouldn't be its fate. To make this matter more clear, instead of replacing the term "activism," I have left it in strikethrough and put "warriorism" immediately following. I consider this a message to social justice warriors that they are not engaging in legitimate social justice activism, however they see themselves.

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