Before I get into the technicalities of why it is such a stupid insult, can we first take a moment to ponder what kind of Orwellian nightmare we have made for ourselves where fighting for social justice is considered a bad thing? Since when was the justice made a curse word?
Just sit on that a moment.
Really think about it.
There are real people out in the world actively, loudly, proudly declaring themselves in opposition to social justice.
THERE ARE REAL LIVE PEOPLE WHO OPENLY ADMIT TO WORKING AGAINST JUSTICE.
It's like the worst possible comic book villain. You know, the one who is evil for evil's sake? The one who openly admits to be working for the side of evil (and isn't bat shit insane the way The Joker is)? The one we all find eye-rollingly unbelievable?
They actually exist.
Think about that.
Are you depressed yet? Lost faith in the species?
Okay. Now many arguments I've heard for using SJW as a pejorative is that they are talking specifically about the "Twitter Activists" or people like them who do nothing but sign online petitions and spam Facebook and Twitter with articles and memes and goodness knows what else. They claim that people using SWJs as an insult are talking about the fools who don't actually lift a finger to help their cause except to hit that "retweet" button.
Except here's the thing, even doing something so apparently flippant as retweeting a link is helping.
Sunlight. It is throwing light onto an issue that people may not be aware of; an issue that would create outrage in any person who isn't psychotic and completely lacking in empathy. The sharing of information is vital to getting the situation to change. How can a problem be fixed if no one knows there's a problem?
There is also considerable scepticism about the effectiveness of online petitions. That kind of scepticism is healthy, actually, and I encourage that kind of critical thinking. It might just find a better way to get things done. Except most the people shooting down online petitions aren't contributing to finding a better way. They're just shooting the platform down for the sake of shooting it down.
And there is considerable proof that petitions do work: Granted, they're for relatively small things like freeing suffering circus animals rather than huge institutional changes. But even the small things matter, and in the grand scheme of things, a lot of small changes all rolled in together makes for massive changes over all.
Also, even if petitions didn't work, they do the same thing as that retweet button - they shed light on issues that people would otherwise be unaware of. Sunlight is a disinfectant.
But wait! Other people use SJWs to mean a different group of people. people who annoyingly inject their politics into everything they say and do. You can't have a normal conversation with them without them bringing up how that rape joke was super inappropriate. So annoying.
No, no, SWJs actually mean the people who claim they're for social justice, but are actually out to only get a one-up for their particular group/subculture/posse and they tear down everyone else.
No, SWJs are people who are extremists for the cause.
No, they're extremists for the cause, but only online.
No, no, they're... they're... they're what exactly?
It seems everyone has a definition for what a SJW is, and no one really knows what it means or how to use it. In fact, it's one of those terms that people will throw at someone for pretty much any reason whatsoever.
From what I've seen, when someone calls someone else a SJW in an attempt to insult them, they're almost literally saying, "Hey, you're infringing on my ability to be a complete arsehole, and I don't like it."
Now lets look at the insult itself. The words.
According to my Google-fu, Social is:
just behavior or treatment.
"a concern for justice, peace, and genuine respect for people"
synonyms:fairness, justness, fair play, fair-mindedness, equity,evenhandedness, impartiality, objectivity, neutrality,disinterestedness, honesty, righteousness, morals, morality"I appealed to his sense of justice"
Okay, okay. I'm being a bit facetious. Social Justice is:
- justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society.
"individuality gives way to the struggle for social justice"
Moving swiftly on.
Where, exactly, is the insult in any of these words? Clue: there isn't any.
The ironic use might hold some weight, if anyone could decide what, exactly, is actually meant by the ironic use. It's a million different things to a million different people.
It's not an insult. Not in the slightest.
In fact, it's a label to be proud of.
So fight the good fight, SJWs. I'll be right there with you, wondering how on earth equality, peace, freedom, and opportunity could ever be considered wrong, and never understanding why people fighting to make it happen could be considered bad.
I shake my head at you, humanity.