An, SJW, or social justice warrior, is a pejorative aimed at someone dedicated to a social cause in a self-aggrandizing or overzealously incompetent way. Someone who prioritizes personal style, social networks, virtue signaling, combativeness, or unrelated issues over their primary stated goals. This often leads the SJW to advance the cause of whatever they are, “fighting against”.
SJWs often consider racists and misogynists their ideological enemies.
Intention of the insult
For some who used the term, the, “warrior”, part is the only epithet intended. For others (particularly hardcore libertarians) who used the term, the, “social justice”, part is also part of the epithet intended.
Most SJW spaces seem to borrow terms, language, ideas, and attitudes from psychological and psychiatric spaces. Our character from Whatever predicted SJWs as such:
- […] A woman fallen into the hands of the psychoanalysts becomes absolutely unfit for use, as I’ve discovered time and again. This phenomenon should not be taken as a secondary effect of psychoanalysis, but rather as its principal goal. Under the pretext of reconstructing the ego psychoanalysts proceed, in reality, to a scandalous destruction of the human being. Innocence, generosity, purity … all such things are rapidly crushed by their uncouth hands. Handsomely remunerated, pretentious and stupid, psychoanalysts reduce to absolute zero any aptitude in their so-called patients for love, be it mental or physical; in fact they behave as true enemies of mankind. A ruthless school of egoism, psychoanalysis cynically lays into decent, slightly fucked-up young women and transforms them into vile scumbags of such delirious egocentrism as to warrant nothing but well-earned contempt. On no account must any confidence be placed in a woman who’s passed through the hands of the psychoanalysts. Pettiness, egoism, arrogant stupidity, complete lack of moral sense, a chronic inability to love: there you have an exhaustive portrait of the “analysed” woman.
Other definitions of SJW exist and are sometimes used and the term is often applied haphazardly. Other uses of the term mean:
- any identity politics
- any LGBTQ politics
- any feminist politics
- anyone who is a collectivist, or who believes groups of people can be collectively responsible for things
- anyone pushing for social change
- anyone associated with people pushing for social change
They can also be contrasted with bleeding-heart liberals. Bleeding-heart liberals are genuinely against meanness, negativity, bullying and bigotry, regardless of direction. Many shows that have enjoyed a success with SJWs such as Steven Universe and Avatar: the Legend of Aang have bleeding-heart liberal main characters who do not reflect the values and attitudes of their SJW audience.
A queer or non-binary SJW is known as a bluehair. This should not be seen as a synonym for all queer and non-binary people, though, as a lot of them are extremely meek and soft and often avoid conflict (either because they are feeble-minded or genuinely kind), known as uwus (use of creepy kawaii aesthetics that makes one feel in some bizarre Alice in Wonderland world) or tenderqueers (easily offended and hurt by everything, but not displaying anger while doing so).
SJWs should also be distinguished from old-school communists, who often decry their tantrums and anti-majority politics.
Wokescold is somewhat of a wider term that can include SJWs, edgy liberals, bleeding-heart liberals, uwus and tenderqueers, but what distinguishes a wokescold from a SJW is that a wokescold is not necessarily hypocritical or aggressive, they just have excessively high standards and zeal for the advancement of their group in a way that feels condescending, utopian and ivory tower. The old-school communist term for a wokescold that has politics perceived not to be compatible with communist goals is radlib, short for radical liberal.
- Michel Houellebecq, Whatever, 1994, translation by Paul Hammond, 1998, Part Two, chapter 8: Back to the Cows.