Expect huge amounts of derp and rage, punctuated by /tg/ extracting humor from it.
"The only way to win is to not read the crazy, and just fap and/or shlick to the pictures."
Skub's final form.
SJW stands for "Social Justice Warrior", a particular kind of individual known for attempts to police the internet and the culture of society as a whole by proxy. The term originated in the late '90s to mid-2000's, where they were originally more neutral and merely annoying advocates of social change. Expect the term to start showing up anytime some combination of the following occurs: A) a popular figures does or says something considered offensive, whether legitimately so or otherwise; B) some asshole's trying to shut up people they're being rude to; C) someone is harmlessly being a bit more politically correct than people want them to; and D) someone is being far more politically correct than the situation warrants. On that note, feel free to play a drinking game where you take a shot each time Godwin's Law is invoked, and be sure to bid your liver farewell before hand.
Basically, you can expect the thread and any other nearby discussion to be derailed in short order. This can and does often lead to rifts developing in several communities, creators (most often independent ones) facing harassment and death threats, and any legitimate criticisms are sure to get lost in the mix of mob mentality - like most of the internet. There are plenty of examples, but the average fa/tg/uy is unlikely to care about most of them outside of the few relevant ones discussed further below.
...So why is this a big deal again?
The major crux of the problem is that SJWs tend to emulate previous moral panics in popular culture, such as the hysteria surrounding hip-hop, rock music and (most relevantly) Dungeons & Dragons - the mostly-Christian right wing of those times believed them to be a gateway to devil worship, and thus eternal damnation. This resulted in changes to many aspects of the game real-life occultism and black magic practices, which mostly consisted of renaming a bunch of shit (e.g. demons and devils were now Tanar'ri and Baatezu). In addition, a few murders and suicides by well-known players nearly damned the game by association. For SJWs, just replace the religious issues with social ones, and you can figure out the rest.
Relevance to /tg/
While SJWs mostly focus on comics, movies and video games, they've found relatively little traction on tabletop games - it's widely considered more obscure in comparison to other forms of media, thus not warranting scrutiny OR continued interest to the SJW's inner hipster. Any debates and criticisms surrounding the medium are either nearly as old as the genre itself, or else commonplace enough (e.g. impractical costume design) that it's not even exclusive to the genre anymore. -4 STR is something of an exception in this regard, given that it originated with tabletop itself, and there has also been at least one tale of an encounter with someone who would very much fit the SJW bill.
Aside from the aforementioned moral panic surrounding D&D that peaked in the '80s and sporadic attempts at pandering by game developers trying to milk what they believe is a new demographic, any /tg/-related controversies that have occurred since then are hardly a blip on the radar.
SJWs and WH40k
Sometimes though, you may hear complaints about wargaming, and how it has too much imperialism, war crimes, genocide, religious extremism, xenophobia, abduction, child soldiers, injury and death of minors, suicide, rape, drug abuse, sexual exploitation, supernatural horror, etc. etc. While not mentioned by name, you can imagine they had one particular franchise in mind. Naturally, you can also imagine the lengths they went to in order to completely ignore the entire air of black vs. black morality within the setting itself (with shades of super-dark grey if you're feeling generous).
With that said, the three most common complaints about Warhammer 40,000 are the absence of Female Space Marines, the Sisters of Battle having boob plates and, tied for third, the lack of women and non-white humans in the Imperium going by models and art. Granted, these criticisms aren't necessarily exclusive to SJWs (plus "a broken clock is right twice a day"), but the problem with this view is:
- Warhammer 40,000 originated as an ironic parody of hard-right authoritarianism, born out of the explosion of progressive UK Sci-fi and fantasy that erupted during Thatcherite Britain. Along with comics like 2000AD, Warhammer 40K took the themes of authoritarian rule to a fantastic extreme, providing both an escape and a reflection/satire on the grim reality of conservative rule in the UK - a context that has been lost over time with the growing popularity of the game, the growth of the company itself, and political shifts going away from the hard-right and going towards the hard-left in the UK (with the clusterfuck THAT entails).
- GW hardly listens to their own customers anyway, so complaining won't change shit no matter how obvious the problem is.
- It's highly doubtful GW would purposely draw only white male characters out of spite; as we all know, fantasy in literature is a bastion for uncreative hacks.
- Besides, every Warhammer Fantasy and 40k player also knows that GW is simply bad at making writing and business decisions.
It should be noted that GW has been somewhat addressing these issues themselves, in Age of Sigmar anyway; several human models have non-white skin tones, the first unhelmed Sigmarine is black, there's a model for a Sigmarine woman, and the most promoted faction other than Sigmarines and Khorne is the mostly female Sylvaneth.
Long story short?
It's your hobby, and at day's end, any changes you make to doing what you love and loving what you do should be ultimately your decision. Don't care so much about what other people think, let alone some fanbrats and/or political winglets who probably don't even give a shit about it to begin with. Anyone who DOES care enough about diverse (and HOPEFULLY well-written) characters and settings will eventually take matters into their own hands and brew some up themselves, as they should. Half the fun of Warhammer is making your armies your own anyway, so why wait for GW to change?
The wrong response (and this is almost always true, by the way), is to insult the fans for liking something they don't like. But hey, whatchagonnado? Complaining about people liking something you don't like is almost as popular here as complaining about people not liking something you love. And as long as someone makes their dudes "wrong," someone will always be yelling.
Yet again, like most of the internet.
So weigh your options and pick your battles wisely, because God knows these chucklefucks won't.
- /pol/ for the exact same cancer on the right side of the body.