I’ve been involved with activism for a few years now. I’ve worked for nonprofits, I was president of the feminist club at my high school and vice president of the Gay Straight Alliance, I’ve taken part in protests, rallies, and marches for various causes, and I’m never afraid to call someone out on their problematic behavior. All of this has been very personally rewarding, but of course I have had my fair share of “feminazi” and “social justice warrior” comments. Most people can understand why “feminazi” is problematic, comparing a human rights movement to genocide is not only completely ridiculous but extremely offensive. But people seem to have a problem understanding the issue with calling someone a “social justice warrior”.
The term “social justice warrior” is usually used in a negative light and used to refer to people who feel very passionately about social justice.
A lot of the time these people hold beliefs that are not seen as conventional. A huge example of this are feminists who are attacked for refusing to make their feminism male friendly. If you are not part of the marginalized group, no one has any obligation to change their activism to allow you to feel more included. A prime example of this is Matt McGorry, a well known actor and self identifying feminist, whose brand of feminism revolves around spewing regurgitated feminist theory, arguing and blocking women who claim things are more complex than how he paints them, and constantly looking for a way to make feminism about men.
It seems that everyone who disagrees with this brand of male-friendly feminism is suddenly a “social justice warrior”.
This term also usually implies being a “tumblr feminist” which of course is perceived as something negative. For those of you who do not know what Tumblr is, it’s a blogging website that is well known for its users (predominantly young girls) being engaged in social justice. The reason why being associated with Tumblr is often seen as something derogatory is because “Tumblr feminists” are associated with being angry, aggressive, and a negative stereotype of what a feminist is.
Tumblr is a great platform for young people wanting to learn more about social justice, and while it does have its problems like every other social media platform, it allows youth to get involved with things they otherwise wouldn’t know about. I personally began my social justice journey through Tumblr, and yes it is flawed and some of the information I obtained wasn’t completely accurate but it gave me the drive to do my own research and become the passionate person I am today.
The idea that people have to be calm and composed for their ideas to be valid is completely ridiculous in the first place. You have the right to be angry. You should be angry, there is so much injustice in the world. So go ahead: be angry, change the world, and ignore anyone who has a problem with your passion.