SJW

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The SJW mindset in a nutshell.

"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

"Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster."

– Friedrich Nietzsche


Skub's final form.

SJW stands for Social Justice Warrior, a term for ardently outspoken advocates of social change. The term has seen a lot of use. One use is a snarl word against anyone perceived to be further left on the political spectrum than the speaker (or /pol/, if the current user belongs there). The other common use is a catch-all term for left-leaning ideologues (from the merely center-left to every variety of Marxist), edgy contrarians, malcontents, radical feminists and other colorful characters who rant on men, Christians, conservatives, Westerners, Japanese people, capitalists, past status quos and every sexuality depending on the time of day. Apart from that, SJWs can also be invoked when something comes up when something is seen to either be A: Pandering to them or B: something that some people object to and discussion degenerates into a massive clusterfuck.

History

The term that originated in the late '1990s to mid-2000's. Originally, it was more neutral and defined only ardent or outspoken advocates of social change, usually regarding all races, genders, sexuality... any group where members can't choose to leave be represented in media.

Nowadays, it has unsavory connotations to most people who browse the internet, but especially to people within 4chan - most of all those on /pol/ and /v/ as a partial by-product of Gamergate and particularly mid to late 2010's politics.

Description

More or less like this (though we'd say Hobbits are more like fantasy Irish)

The modern usage of SJW refers largely to the (usually but not always) left wing-group of people who demand that media and society be inclusive and inoffensive before all else - in practice, mostly just to groups said SJW is part of and whose beliefs align with them. The extreme ones even attempt to police all media to influence the course of the rest of society, and both variants risk becoming - or getting weaponized by - bigoted subversives or malcontents attacking majority groups.

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, ahistorical, or even revisionist analyses that could wring both tears and rage from any fa/tg/uy's inner history buff (and not just the ones with military vehicle fetishes, either). Such piping hot takes also open them up to "easy debunking", often by a mix of opportunists looking for an easy 'gotcha', /pol/acks looking for an easy triggering or (perhaps most rarely) people who actually studied their shit - bonus points if said people are left-wing and/or themselves part of groups on whose behalf the SJWs pull this shit even as they speak over them.

Of course, the debunking may be poorly researched - most political discussions set the bar amazingly low, if you hadn't guessed. Some very vocal SJWs also practice the double standard of selective outrage (attacking a particular person or group over their words or actions, but glossing over similar from other groups - especially if the latter group is one the "rager" is part of and/or claiming to defend).

In short, it's associated with iconoclastic activists that advocate a view of progressive societal change that non-progressives and sometimes even progressive groups, like feminists and minority activists, perceive to be ostracizing, harmful or unnecessary. This being mostly subjective is why the definition is so contentious to begin with.

Expect Social Justice Warriors to show up or at least be mentioned anytime some combination of the following occurs:

  • A) a popular figure 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;
  • D) someone is being far less politically correct than the situation warrants; or
  • E) there isn't enough presentation in a work for ethno-social groups that are already infinitesimal to begin with.

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 beforehand.

This is not to say that criticality of media to try to identify problematic elements or to work out ways that things can be improved upon going forward is in of itself bad. Books, movies and TV shows from the 1950s were much more prone to casual racism and sexism than media made in recent years and that process is still ongoing. Though there are complexities and stumbling blocks, in general positive representation of marginalized groups is a good thing.

Expect the affected thread and any other nearby discussion to be derailed in short order; this is becoming more and more frequent on /tg/ lately as hobbies like MTG, Dungeons and Dragons and Warhammer 40k are being subjected to changes that are viewed as "progressive" and generate unholy waves of skub. This often appears in the forms of users being accused of bigotry for either not checking off enough "oppressed minority" checkboxes in character creation, or else portraying certain groups too positively. The sources are generally the usual crowd of trolls, malcontents or people who miss the point of their ideals by virtue signaling - trying to look good in front of others by endorsing an idea or attacking anything that seems contrary to it. Naturally, most people who hold similar views prefer to voice them only when appropriate to do so, and outside of the radical fringe, they differ from the average fa/tg/uy only by the presence of a few things they think tabletop games could be better at doing.

This can and does often lead to rifts in communities, fanbases and franchises, with creators (most often independent ones) facing harassment and death threats. Despite this, even the largest companies and fandoms aren't immune (as all sides of the Star Wars fandom can attest). Any legitimate criticisms are almost immediately lost in the mix of mob mentality - just like most of the internet - and identity politics.

tl;dr: They're similar to the Christians who started the Satanic Panic except with more supporters and targets, are rooted in pushing socio-political agendas instead of religious ones, often disproportionately supported by media organizations seeking easy PR and drown out those concerned with real social justice issues, such as a country's oppressed minority needing real alleviation to oppression rather than being given its own superhero/racially changed film role/media presentation.

See Also

  • /pol/ - /pol/ is the largest visible face of the "alt-right", the yang to the SJW's left-leaning yin... if the analogy works when one side has a worse track record and without the excuse of at least having a good cause to hide behind. Exudes a very similar rage to their perceived enemies, but it has a chance of ranging from hilarious (google Internet Historian He will not divide us or the Tumblr-4chan wars, or the CNN meme wars), to the pot calling the kettle black, to "Hitler did nothing wrong", to actual Neo-Nazis and mass shooters.
  • Nazi - Their ultimate boogeyman. A tyrannical political party that ruled Germany decades ago and instigated World War 2. As a result, the word is also used on Nazi sympathizers or as a snarl word against people further right on the political spectrum than the speaker.