The anti-SJW mentality

Fred Clark discusses the insulting intent of “SJW”. It’s very good, in particular in shooting down the defense that the people using it intend it sarcastically.

To describe this use of “SJW” as sarcasm would entail mockery directed at the insufficiency of the “social justice warriors’” battle for social justice. It would require an affirmation of an agreed-upon framework that regards “social justice” as a good and noble, desirable thing, and truly being a “warrior” advocating for it as an honorable, praiseworthy trait. If it were sarcasm, the scorn would be directed at the “SJWs” for being only so-called “SJWs” — for posing as SJWs while actually failing to be the true, genuine article, the steadfast advocates for social justice that we all agree we all ought to strive to be.

But there is no such shared framework. And that is not the target toward which the scorn here is directed. What is being scorned, rather, is the very idea and standards of that framework — the idea that “social justice” is, in fact, a Good Thing. Their attempted mockery of “SJWs” is an attempt to mock the very idea of social justice itself.

Isn’t it obvious when so many of the people who sneer at “SJWs” are anti-feminists and racists that it can’t be because they’re mocking keyboard warriors who aren’t very good at supporting equality? They’re against egalitarianism.

Next up, Clark should discuss the popularity of the word “cuck” among these same people. There’s something psychologically strange going on there, too.


  1. strangerinastrangeland says

    When people call me a SJW I thank them for the compliment and tell them that I do my best. For some reason that normally seems to disappoint them. :-)

  2. Saad says

    I really get a kick out of their use of “triggered.”

    Then they go on to be upset about something in a video game or a movie.

  3. sayke says

    I’ve heard proud SJWs talk negatively about “Tumblr SJWs” as if they’re not doing it right or something about Tumblr as a platform attracts bad examples of social justice that can be mocked. OR SOMETHING. I don’t really get it. I love social justice, and I love when people want to propagate it. I know it can be done wrong. But instead of creating a further out group and giving it a disparaging label, like the people who call us SJWs are trying to do, why not just address the bad attempt in hope of minimizing instances of it in the future? Or is it somehow fundamentally human to need someone to look down on and laugh at?

  4. =8)-DX says

    I think, what with all the alt-right-fuckery going on, the recent appropriate “sarcastic” usage is “SJew”. As in “That’s racist. Oh no I called someone a racist now that makes me an evil SJew11!1!1!11” or “We’re not facsists or racists, we just want to deport and shoot all those SJews!”

    Also SJeW, SKW, etc. Also seconding Saad on the “triggered!” thing. Makes it especially stupid when they’re responding to blasé posts like “That’s rather sexist you know.”

  5. says

    “SJW” is effective the same way that “beta” or “cuck” is effective, which is to say not at all, except in the mind of the insulter. At least it’s a good tribal indicator for being a dumbass though.

  6. geisthander says

    “Cuck” is just such a fascinating attempt at an insult as it presupposes that the recipient of the insult is in some kind of long-standing committed romantic relationship. There’s other levels about how it’s a “fake” relationship or the guy is a fool because he doesn’t know what’s going on or whatever, but it’s still a really interesting and likely revealing place for a bunch of guys who hate the idea of being in a relationship of any kind with a woman SO MUCH to start from.

    And if we take it further: what if this guy and his committed romantic partner enjoy this whole “cuckold” thing? The insult becomes “You have a fulfilling romantic and sexual relationship!”

    Sick burn, guys. Scorchin’.

  7. raven says

    I’ve been insulted by being called a SJW.
    It doesn’t work. I’ve been one all my life and will be until I die.

    It’s far better than being against social justice.
    It’s dismaying that some people want to spend their life making the world a worse place!!!

  8. qwints says

    There’s something psychologically strange going on there, too.

    Can we finally stop using mental illness an insult?

  9. Igneous Rick says

    The first time I was called an SJW, I had no idea what it meant, so I Googled. I contemplated long and hard, and came to the conclusion that no, I was not an SJW. But I aspired to be. I was a pretty good person to start with, but after some contemplation and admitting some hard truths, I think I’m an even better person now. And I still have areas that I can improve upon. It is a process that will never be finished.

    I wish I remembered who it was that “insulted” me. I would like to thank them.

  10. themadtapper says

    Next up, Clark should discuss the popularity of the word “cuck” among these same people. There’s something psychologically strange going on there, too.

    There’s nothing particularly strange about it. It’s just the latest in a long line of insults focused around masculinity, or more specifically a lack of it. Plenty of others have had their turn, from “faggot” to “pussy” to “virgin”. The idea is to suggest that the man in question has failed to be a True Man™. Though this particular iteration combines that toxic masculinity with some toxic racism. Among the alt-right, “cuck” has gone beyond “cuckold” to refer to someone who willing lets his wife/girlfriend have sex with someone else, and more specifically with someone black. It also gets in on the anti-semite action because much of the alt-right believe that race-mixing is a Jewish plot to weaken the white race. So there’s nothing psychologically strange going on, beyond the all to common psychological strangeness that is misogyny and racism.

  11. drbuzzsaw says

    “the popularity of the word “cuck” among these same people. There’s something psychologically strange going on there…”

    PZ… you’re setting a new high water mark for “the most mind-fuckingly understated understatement” here!

    As a polyamory sympathizer I’ve watched this whole “cuck” phenomenon with wry amusement.

  12. Jake Harban says

    Fred Clark discusses the insulting intent of “SJW”. It’s very good, in particular in shooting down the defense that the people using it intend it sarcastically.

    tl;dr warning: The next four paragraphs are incredibly verbose but all they actually say is a linguistic nitpick that most use of “SJW” as an insult may meet a technical definition of “sarcasm.”

    Put yourself in the head of the whitest, malest, cishet-est person imaginable, who has all the privilege and absolutely no self-awareness. This person certainly cares about “social justice” as an abstract concept, but due to the aforementioned privilege and lack of self-awareness, they don’t really understand any of the specifics— they understand that slavery is a bad thing, that Jim Crow is a bad thing, that banning women from voting is a bad thing, but in the absence of a law or explicitly written policy that discriminates based on race or sex, they are simply too white, too male, and too willfully ignorant to understand that discrimination exists.

    In the mind of this person, people who advocate against racism or sexism are stupidly trying to fight a battle that was already won long ago— all laws explicitly enforcing discrimination are gone, publicly stating that you are a racist or sexist in those exact words is taboo, and all the remaining bigotry is by its nature invisible to people who are privileged and willfully oblivious.

    So when they use the term “SJW” as an insult, they are, in fact, being sarcastic. Doubtless, they can name something somewhere in the world that they view as a social injustice (even if it isn’t really), and they think real SJWs should be fighting that rather than battles long ago “won.”

    It’s true that they reject the idea that social justice (the real kind; not the hypothetical idea of “social justice”) is a good thing, but technically their usage of the term does count as sarcastic.

    I’ve heard proud SJWs talk negatively about “Tumblr SJWs” as if they’re not doing it right or something about Tumblr as a platform attracts bad examples of social justice that can be mocked. OR SOMETHING.

    I’ve never actually heard the term “Tumblr SJWs” before, but after an irritating experience with a neurotypical teenager attempting autism activism on Tumblr I ended up coining the term for my own usage. I suspect my definition differs from the common one though— to me, a “Tumblr SJW” is a teenager or very young adult who has just become interested in social justice but hasn’t quite learned the ropes yet, resulting in a brief period of earnest but ill-thought-out and often offensive “advocacy” before they get the details sorted out.

    I think a lot of people go through the “Tumblr SJW” phase, but mine was mercifully before the invention of Tumblr so there’s no written record of it and I don’t talk about it now.

  13. says

    #8: You should avoid using terms you don’t understand.

    I did not say “mentally ill”. I said “psychologically strange”. I’d also say that that optical illusion I posted the other day says something about weird phenomena in the brain. That does not mean that optical illusions indicate that you’re crazy.

  14. unclefrogy says

    Nah! it is just a less racist less hateful sounding iteration of an older rougher kind term like “Ni***r lover” so those using it wont sound so ignorant and bigoted. It is only bad if you harbor hate and prejudice and do not want to appear that you don’t.
    uncle frogy

  15. anbheal says

    Yep, you nailed it. If there’s anything to poke a bit of fun at, it’s the W. Unlike Caine up there at the Standing Rock Reservation, a lot of self-characterized SJWs are simply keyboard jockeys. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But to describe yourself as a “warrior” might strike some as a trifle pretentious. “Advocate” might be a more modest epithet,

    But that’s not what the critics of SJWs are attacking. It’s the SJ. I’m reminded of when I once published an op-ed in the Tokyo version of the Herald-Trib, discussing human rights for Koreans. In the next edition, there were several angry letters from WWII vets, hissing that Human Rights was a toxic Western import, aimed at castrating the Samurai culture.

    Um…okay. If you think Human Rights and Social Justice are bad things, please do the honorable thing: put your cock down between your legs and fuck yourself.

  16. qwints says

    @PZ, the term “weird phenomenon in the brain” seems value neutral to me in a way that suggesting people you’re criticizing have “something psychologically strange going on” does not. I read the latter as intended to be an insult.

  17. anchor says

    ‘Cuck’ is basically a debilitating homophonic resonance produced by neurons conditioned to fire in response to obsessive exposure to ‘fuck’ and ‘cock’. The ensuing feedback rapidly spreads to the rest of the brain. It’s a hideous condition. The poor things can’t help it.

  18. rietpluim says

    From what I’ve heard, a cuck is a man whose wife is engaged in sexual relationships with other men. I don’t see how that is an insult. In case they are in a polygamous relation, it’s not a problem at all. And in case their relationship is monogamous, she is cheating on him and he deserves our sympathy.

    The only thing I can think of, is that “cuck” is meaning “a man not manly enough to keep his wife under control”. That may be an insult in anti-SJW’s circles, but to more reasonable people, it is just plain stupid.

  19. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    “Psychologically strange” is consistent with ideopathy and does not imply mental illness specifically.

  20. anchor says

    #18 – Yeah, its derived from ‘cuckold’, old story, and by now I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if most of those who so prodigiously employ it don’t know its etymology. Whatever the meaning, the high frequency of usage seems similar to that underlying obsessive-compulsive verbalization in those who employ vulgar language. Its like reacting with word-sounds rather than an attempt to communicate with them.

  21. drken says

    The link to Multiverse is coming back page not found.

    People don’t want to talk about racism and sexism, they want to talk about people more racist and sexist than them. They’ll talk all day about how awful the Saudi Royal Family is, but point out the poor treatment of women in their own organization and you’ve gone too far. Point out sexist tropes in popular culture and you might as well be calling for mass castration. For people who complain about safe spaces and trigger warnings, they sure have thin skins.

  22. rrhain says

    @22, drken

    Indeed…it’s the attitude that because somebody somewhere else has it worse than we do here, that means we shouldn’t be doing anything to improve our lot here. “But ISIS is throwing gay people off roof-tops! How can you be so upset over Kim Davis?!”

    Um…because as an American citizen, I have much more ability to engage in the power structures here in the US regarding Kim Davis than I do for a foreign country I’m not a citizen of and am nowhere near. That hardly means I don’t care about what’s going on elsewhere in the world, but I fight the battles I can. Besides, if they’re so upset about gay people being thrown off buildings, what are they doing about it? And if that truly upsets them, shouldn’t it also upset them that people like Kim Davis are able to make life more difficult for gay people?

    We all understand the problem: They’re being called out on their bigotry and they don’t like it.

    As you point out, and as I have commented numerous times, isn’t it interesting that the people who complain the loudest about “trigger warnings” are the ones with the biggest, most sensitive triggers?

  23. Brian E says

    I’ve been called SJW heaps of times. I fail to see how arguing and striving for fairness is an insult.
    I’m not very good at arguing and striving, but I do try.

  24. says

    I used to employ the term “SJW” before it was completely claimed and devalued by the slimy MRAs. It seemed like the perfect term for the type of people who desperately want to picture themselves as brave heroes of feminism/LGBT rights without ever having to DO anything – the left-wing equivalent of the right-wingers’ chickenhawks and armchair warriors.

    Every movement, whether progressive or regressive, has members who are ostensibly on their side, but everything they do just makes everyone else cringe, facepalm, and groan, “You’re. Not. Helping!” Those are the people I used to call “SJW”. The ones you would never find working at a planned parenthood clinic or organising a gay pride march or really doing ANYTHING other than write increasingly unhinged Tumblr screeds about how all cis-het scum need to die, because they refuse to edit the recording of Neil Armstrong’s moon landing words to say “womynkind” instead of “mankind”.

    Now that “SJW” is constantly being applied to anyone who has the slightest bit of social awareness or, you know, a conscience, we really need a term for this type of person again.

  25. call me mark says

    Sebastian @#27:

    [people who] write increasingly unhinged Tumblr screeds about how all cis-het scum need to die, because they refuse to edit the recording of Neil Armstrong’s moon landing words to say “womynkind” instead of “mankind”.

    I remain unconvinced that these people exist other than as straw-people.

  26. says

    @28, call me mark
    Then you have not yet experienced the joy of being called a rapist of little girls for the unimaginably vile act of watching “My Little Pony” while in possession of a Y chromosome.  I’m not even talking about the douchebags who always imply that all “bronies” must be pedophiles, since there cannot possibly be any other reason why an adult might enjoy a cartoon show — as wrong as that is, at least there is some kind of comprehensible reasoning there — No, I’m talking about certain people who baldfacedly declared that an adult male watching the wrong TV show alone in the privacy of his own home was LITERALLY raping little girls by doing so.  Yeah, that’s a real thing that happened, and it was exactly as stupid as it sounds.

    So, if your stance is based on the assumption that such people simply don’t exist and are only made-up straw men by MRAs, then I might envy you for never having had to deal with them, but I have to tell you that unfortunately you’re wrong.  If you meant the *specific* “Edit the Moon Landing” thing from my previous comment, then yes, that is indeed a joke example I made up on the spot (which I hoped was clear), but it’s directly based on a brand of silliness I’ve seen in a few too many tumblr blogs.

    Every movement has a lunatic fringe, including ours. Just because we’re right on the issues doesn’t mean that our group won’t have the statistical average of assholes, idiots and outright loonies.

  27. CHARLES says

    The few times I’ve been accused of being a Social Justice Warrior I always thank the troll person who complimented me.

    Technically they are actually correct because, in real life I have fought for social justice; literally standing in the front lines of protests, counter-protests and conflicts against racism and overbearing capitalism, facing the threat of physical harm. Equally I have helped face down misogynists and others of that ilk.