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

"When in clown world, the only path to success is to out-clown the clowns"

– anon

Skub's final form.

SJW stands for Social Justice Warrior[1], 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, though at that point it's basically everyone). The other common use is a catch-all term for Marxists, far-lefties, edgy contrarians, anarchists, 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.

According to many leftists themselves (the group that's also the biggest source of SJWs, so maybe take this with a grain of salt), most "SJWs" are thin-skinned, bleeding-Heart Liberals trying to earn brownie points by being outraged at whatever perceived injustice will get more attention. 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 modern term itself 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. This began in the early 2010's and has become almost universally negative ever since. This went fully mainstream in 2014 as a by-product of Gamergate, as popularized on websites such as Reddit, Twitter and 4chan - most of all those on /pol/ and /v/.


Description

More or less like this (though we'd say Hobbits are more like fantasy Irish except for the Harfoots who were literal black people)

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 or control the production of all media to influence the course of the rest of society. Both variants risk becoming - or getting weaponized by - bigoted subversives or malcontents attacking majority groups.

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. Be especially cautious if someone brings the term up in matters beyond the discussion of video games or movies.

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 subsequent decades. Though there are complexities and stumbling blocks, in general positive representation of marginalized groups is a good thing. Problems arise over defining which group is marginalized or whether they still are, for while marginalized groups definitely exist, the label has been misused often enough to create a lot of cynicism around it (such as by those who claim "marginalized groups" in Western society is "everyone who's not a straight, white Christian boy or man").

What is important is that the newly about-to-be represented minorities need to be given their spots in a way that doesn't disrupt the context of said media/entertainment/story so that the fruit of progress looks still enjoyable. This is not helped by the fact that the SJW will invariably attempt to correct all of these issues in the most deliberately intrusive and obnoxious way possible in order to draw the maximum amount of attention towards themselves. Another problem is their tendency to rewrite history/retcon works by changing established characters to fit their worldview (such as MTG race-swapping Aragorn from white to black in their latest cardset despite Aragon being clearly stated in Tolkien's works to have light skin).

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 (see Erda for a particularly egregious example). 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. They'd rather spend billions to rewrite history or have black elves, hobbits and mermaids on TV instead of help struggling communities reach the same level of prosperity. Or just create new properties that are good enough for people to want to watch them on their own merits rather than destroying properties which already exist.

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.

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 at least the excuse of having a good cause to hide behind. SJW's regularly give ammunition to them by their needless antics and heinous threats, and /pol/ likewise gives ammunition to SJWs by their vitriol and heinous threats.
  • Nazi - SJW's ultimate boogeyman. Though gone for decades and despite everything, they still have a few sympathizers. As a result, it's often used by SJWs to describe people they don't like, regardless of those people's actual views or morality.
  • Communism - What the most vocal parts of this group are or endorse. Depending on the version or subgroup of leftist, this can vary wildly, as some Communist circles see SJWs as little more than liberals utilizing performative outrage as opposed to focusing on tangible issues affecting people's lives.
  • In addition, SJW was an acronym that used to appear in personal ads a long time ago. It meant "Single Jewish Woman."