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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."
- – /d/
"People love to pretend they're offended."
- – Matt Groening
Skub's final form.
SJW stands for Social Justice Warrior, a particular kind of individual known for attempts to police the internet and by proxy the culture of society as a whole. The term originated in the late '90s to mid-2000's, where it was originally more neutral and meant to refer to ardent or outspoken advocates of social change, usually for furthering civil rights. This generally meant someone who demanded that all races, classes, genders, sexuality, and other groups (with members who can't leave voluntarily) be represented in media and treated with equal respect.
Nowadays it has taken on a less-than-savory connotation, especially to people within 4chan, and especially within /v/ (and obviously, later /pol/). The modern usage of SJW refers largely to people who demand that media and society be inclusive and inoffensive (in practice, usually only to groups with a reputation for being disadvantaged and those whose beliefs align with the SJW in question) before all else, including actual quality.
SJWs also tend to chuck that aforementioned respect out the airlock as they prioritize looking and feeling "good" over actually doing good, like most zealots. They frequently employ simplistic and/or ahistorical analysis that could make /tg/'s inner history buff weep and rage simultaneously, while opening them up to easy debunking - especially by opportunists, /pol/acks looking for an easy triggering (which may be similarly poorly researched - most political discussions set the bar amazingly low) or even other people who actually know their shit. Bonus points if they would've been on their side otherwise.
Expect Social Justice Warriors to show up or at least be mentioned 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 less politically correct than people want them to; and
- D) someone is being far less 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, which is becoming more and more frequent on /tg/ lately as hobbies like MTG and Warhammer 40k are being subjected to more "progressive" changes that generate unholy waves of sub, often in the forms of users being accused of bigotry for not checking off enough "oppressed minority" checkboxes in character creation. The sources are generally either the usual crowd of trolls mind shit stirrers, or else actual morons who want to show off their 'good guy' badges.
This can and does often lead to rifts in communities, creators (most often independent ones) facing harassment and death threats, and any legitimate criticisms immediately getting lost in the mix of mob mentality - just 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 crux of the problem is that SJWs tend to emulate previous "moral guardians" to popular culture. Moral Panics such as the hysteria surrounding hip-hop, rock music and (most relevantly) Dungeons & Dragons ever since their creation were driven by people who claimed to be protecting their children from the "evils" within certain media works.
To use pen-and-paper RPGs as an example, the mostly-Christian right-wingers of the late 70s believed them to be a gateway to devil worship, and thus eternal damnation because of a misunderstanding: game developers lifting elements from real-life occultism and black magic practices for themes and stories. The response to this huge outcry mostly consisted of renaming or remodeling a bunch of shit (e.g. demons and devils were now Tanar'ri and Baatezu). More concerning, a few murders and suicides by known players nearly damned the games by association. This sounds ridiculous in hindsight, but the massive uproar back then was a real threat to the survival of the fledgling RPG genre, Dungeons & Dragons foremost among the accused. For more details on that sad, stupid time, see Satanic Panic.
Moral panics in America are often attributed and traced back to a small group of elderly outspoken conservative Christians whipping up a majority of the country into a morality scare. With SJWs, it's different - they are generally younger, left-leaning, more likely to be non-or-anti-religious (let alone non-Christian), and come from that lefty-hippie background of acceptance and inclusiveness. Many have turned from simply promoting acceptance of varied interests, lifestyles, and hobbies to policing them for proper behavior and raising hell when they find something they don't like. Maybe it's too objectifying, maybe it's not inclusive enough, maybe it doesn't have enough diversity; either way it is promoting bigotry and bad behavior and must be changed accordingly.
For the modern SJW, replace the religious issues with socio-political ones, pick a random issue somewhere in the (usually, but not always Far) Left using an advocacy dart board, and you can find someone who is ready and willing to start petitions, run boycotts, and send death threats to the creators of Your Favorite ThingTM.
In short, they've joined the ranks of still-existing moral guardians before them, through a combination of sheer overzealousness and the usual hijacking by third parties willing to pay or lead easily riled people of any persuasion for a name and some fame.
Further 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.
This hasn't stopped them from trying, however, to the point where numerous people in high-level positions in the development of not only Dungeons & Dragons, but Pathfinder are part of the same ideological mindset, and believing that the problems with D&D, is, of course, the fanbase itself. More astute fa/tg/uys and ca/tg/irls might have already noticed the logical fallacy with this, which is that traditional gaming is fundamentally an insular hobby populated predominantly by its fans, and that trying to force the hobby to fit a completely different audience who has no real interest in it won't successfully appeal to anyone - plus logic dictates no fan base can remain truly insular for but so long.
Oldfags can only chuckle to themselves; the neckbeards of old saw people try to demonize or similarly alter their hobbies for Gary Gygax's entire lifetime, and know that ultimately, this crap is destined to fail just as hard as previous attempts to kill their favorite hobbies off.
Beyond that, and 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, thankfully so.
The perceived threat to the hobby that defines the board and (more often) the annoyance caused by forcing unrelated political discussions on a board of people who don't care much one way or another, at least on /tg/ itself, is the only reason this article exists at all - the average fa/tg/uy is less apolitical/neutral than they are just trying to play some damn games, and otherwise mind their business.
Y'know, like most of the internet.
SJWs and WH40k
Now, 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. Here is a handy quick-list of refutations, to make everyone's lives a little easier:
- 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 as a reaction to Margaret Thatcher's policies of moral regulation and strong executive power (as well as all the other shit that happened in then-living memory during the 20th Century). Warhammer 40k took the piss out of the conservative UK government in the same way 2000AD did, as satire and cautionary tale - a context that has been lost over time with the growing popularity of the game, as well as the growth of the company itself.
- Anyone who actually reads the fluff (i.e. nobody who actually complains about this shit) knows that the Imperium as a body doesn't care about sex or race, because the encroaching forces of grimdark make any form of discrimination impractical. Females regularly participate in every level of Imperial society. The lack of female models is a semi-regular issue that ends up at the feet of GW, who already get enough shit from pearl-clutching moral guardians about Sisters Repentia and Daemonettes to generally want to avoid gender controversy and making "redundant" models. The discrimination that does happen in the Imperium has some credible backing, in that the Imperium is an empire of semi-justified zealots: mutation is a common symptom of exposure to Chaos or other very bad things, so they figure it's best to not take chances. Female Space Marines also have a well-defined fluff reason for not existing, and the section of the actual playerbase that clamors for female Marines generally does so with impure intent.
- Until recently, GW was also terrible at sculpting female characters in most cases; the Sisters of Battle were a rare exception for years, and that's likely because they're just power-armored humans with boobplate.
- GW so rarely listened to their own customers that complaining wouldn't change shit no matter how obvious the problem was. Nowadays there is a better chance for more fan-interaction, but anyone looking for change should be taking it up with GW, not Warhammer fans.
- When it comes to racial representation, it's highly doubtful GW would purposely draw only white male characters out of spite; in fact, they've previously said that their idea was for humanity in 40k to be as ethnically and physically diverse as they are across Earth in real-life. GW said the reason for having majority white people in the art was because the early art teams were small and made art of what they knew (the UK at the time being mostly home to white people) and this pattern just became an unthinking habit. This is typical of a lot of fantasy work, and is at worst 'unconscious bigotry' or whatever as opposed to GW being actively malicious.
- Every Warhammer Fantasy and 40k player knows that GW is simply bad at making writing decisions. Asking for well-written anyone from GW is like praying for a miracle. Furthermore, some of the most interesting characters in Fantasy were female, and got written out of canon as the years went on, so the fans are bitching just as much as any SJW would be.
It should be noted that GW has been somewhat 'addressing' things, in Age of Sigmar anyway; several human models have non-white skin tones in their official paint jobs, 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. Meanwhile, GW has promised on social media to "improve female representation" in 40k, specifically referring to reducing "boob-plate" in the miniature line and artwork. This could be leading into practically anything, from more female Guard heads to transgender Battle Sisters and canon Female Space Marines; with all the swings and roundabouts GW's been going through, it's impossible to tell, but whatever happens next you can be sure the skub will be fierce.
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 wingnuts 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, like most tabletop games, 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/ - /pol/ is the largest face of the "alt-right", the yang to the SJW's yin. They pretty much run on the same fuel, shot-for-shot, but pol uses skewed far-right principles instead. Exudes a very similar autism to their perceived enemies, but it has a chance of ranging from hilarious, to the pot calling the kettle black, to "Hitler did nothing wrong".
- Communism - What some SJWs directly or indirectly draw from (at least for methodology if not targets or goals).
- Nazism - SJWs believe a large majority of their detractors to be Nazis/Nazi-sympathizers (or fascists, or white supremacists), all the while ignoring their own authoritarian tendencies and not bothering to check whether that shoe fits.
This is why No Girls on the Internet exists.