Commentary

What I Learned In 2016

Commentary

What I Learned In 2016

Synopsis

The apple tree (Malus pumila, commonly and erroneously called Malus domestica) is a deciduous tree in the rose family best known for its sweet, pomaceous fruit, the apple. It is cultivated worldwide as a fruit tree, and is the most widely grown species in the genus Malus.

Katherine Martin says that the term switched from primarily positive to overwhelmingly negative around 2011, when it was first used as an insult on Twitter. The same year an Urban Dictionary entry for the term also appeared. The term’s negative use became mainstream due to the Gamergate controversy, emerging as the favoured term of Gamergate proponents to describe their ideological opponents.[1] In Internet and video game culture the phrase is broadly associated with the Gamergate controversy and wider culture war fallout, including the 2015 Sad Puppies campaign that affected the Hugo Awards.Usage of the term as a pejorative was popularized on websites Reddit and 4chan.[15]

Use of the term has been described as attempting to degrade the motivations of the person accused of being an SJW, implying that their motives are “for personal validation rather than out of any deep-seated conviction.”[4]

The negative connotation was particularly aimed at those espousing views adhering to social progressivism, cultural inclusiveness, or feminism.[1][2] According to Vice, the accusation of being an SJW implies that a person is engaging in disingenuous social justice arguments or activism to raise his or her personal reputation. Vice observed: “It’s awfully convenient to have a term at the ready to dismiss women who bring up sexism.”[5] The magazine assessed the use of the term: “The problem is, that’s not a real category of people. It’s simply a way to dismiss anyone who brings up social justice—and often those people are feminists.” According to David French, the aims of social justice warriors are opposed to those of Christian conservatives.[16]

“the ‘social justice warrior,’ i.e., the stereotype of the feminist as unreasonable, sanctimonious, biased, and self-aggrandizing.” —New Literary History

The term is commonly used by participants in online discussion in criticism of feminism.[17] An article in New Literary History described their behavior patterns on the Internet: “they often make personal criticisms of what they see as a type: the ‘social justice warrior,’ i.e., the stereotype of the feminist as unreasonable, sanctimonious, biased, and self-aggrandizing.”

In August 2015, the derogatory term “Social Justice Warrior” was one of several new words and phrases added to Oxford Dictionaries.[1][18][19] In discussing the term’s origin, Martin outlined the similarity with the pejorative use of “political correctness” to denigrate something, stating that “the perceived orthodoxy [of progressive politics] has prompted a backlash among people who feel their speech is being policed.”[1]

Some conservative outlets have described Donald Trump’s actions and policies as social justice of the right. Stephen L. Miller, in an article for the National Review, wrote that Donald Trump is in fact the most politically correct candidate running for the presidency in 2016 and that his followers are “neo-nationalist culture warriors.”Daniel Payne writing for The Federalist website listed three general attributes of a social justice warrior and noted that they are attributes of Donald Trump, who has proven to be “the platonic social justice warrior candidate.”[21] In an article for Reason magazine, Elizabeth Nolan Brown compared social justice on the left and right and found many similarities such as victimhood, outrage and portraying the other side as bullying and evil and their side as the truly oppressed.[22] Rod Dreher quipped in The American Conservative about Trump being the first social justice warrior presidential candidate: “Trump is also a man who constantly paints himself as a victim…So I wonder: Is Trump the first Social Justice Warrior presidential candidate, in the sense of weaponizing grievance in a way similar to that done by left-wing campus protesters?”[23] Jay Caruso wrote an article for Redstate focusing on “Trump’s social justice army” and how Trump “takes to Twitter to air his grievances, knowing millions of his adoring fans will RT him and cheer him on”.[24]

Brandon Gamber is a Minnesota-based programmer, designer, writer, and artist. When he's not developing websites, he enjoys sophisticated conversations and understanding what really matters in life.

  • Apple, Aesthetics, Psychology