There’s a word for it. Words don’t mean a thing. There’s a name for it. Names make all the difference in the world.
– Give Me Back My Name, Talking Heads, Little Creatures
Last night, I went tumbling down the Tumblr rabbit hole and I feel much the worse for it. A couple months ago, a Tumblr user had made an inflammatory post that had had an indirect effect on me. Wanting to understand why something like this would happen, I did a bunch of research. I was unprepared for what I would see and read. I learned that there is an entirely different vocabulary and mentality in the Tumblr subculture, which I feel has some real negative consequence.
To begin, the post that started this all is part of the SJW culture. SJW means “social justice warrior”, aka, morality police. This in itself is troubling because morality is a cultural norm, which is why sometimes we are offended by foreign cultures while they find their behavior perfectly acceptable. An SJW’s mission is to attack things they find offensive.
While researching the profiles of the people involved in the attack, I came across so many acronyms and terms that I had never heard of and that made absolutely no sense. I had to resort to Urban Dictionary for many of them. Sometimes they were terms that were repurposed, which ironically, is something that is offensive to this subculture. They derisively call it “appropriation”. So when they come up with a term to try and legitimatize their problems, they’re empowered, then that term is used by people who seemingly don’t deserve to use it and they’re victimized again.
That’s my first issue. The next problem is the creation or promotion of terms to eliminate the concept of “normal”. For example, if you are male and you dress like a male and act like a male, you are “cisgendered”. If that seems confusing, just realize this term is the opposite of “transgendered”. The term “cisgendered” has never needed to be used before (outside of psychology), because that was considered “normal”. But in this subculture, you are expected to explain yourself as such because… well, because I guess it’s not enough to not say it at all and make that assumption.
Finally, a couple of words that are setting off my bullshit detector. These are words that you will see used excessively in this subculture and not used anywhere else: Privilege and Identify. In short, Identify (or “identify as”) means how you see yourself, which may be different from how you appear to be. You may look like a man but see yourself as a woman. This is different from being gay or being transsexual. This simply means that when you say, “I identify as a woman,” you are demanding of the people that interact with you to completely disregard your appearance and behave as if you are a woman. Then, Privilege is a term that is assigned to people who are unaware that they have it better than other people. Typically, it is an insult and the intention is to make someone feel guilty or ashamed that their life is better.
I think I can summarize my anger at all of this together. For as long as there have been cultures, there has been a discrimination against those that are “different”. This new subculture is attempting to reverse that and stigmatize being “normal” (whatever “normal” is in their viewpoint). This is such an ass-backwards way of trying to invoke change. They should be trying to advance the acceptance of “different”. And personally, I thought we were well on our way to that until I started this research.
As an addendum, I need to point out that this whole concept of “normal” and “different” is relative and is being perverted by those who want to treat it as an absolute. No one can escape being different since every human is different in some way. However, everyone has the power to determine how being different affects their relationships with others. Demanding that others accept you how you want to be accepted is not acceptable; that’s being an asshole.