Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Social Justice Warrior

So the other day, whilst engaged in that most cerebral of pursuits (playing a mobile game on my iPad) I was drawn into an online discussion in the game’s “chat” room.  One of the members had noted that “Its nice to sea so many femail characters in the game.” [sic] That comment was followed by several more, all impeccably worded and clearly well thought out, suggesting that there was no place in comics for women, that no women read comics or played video games, and that certain comic companies’ decisions to “feminize” characters was just part of the larger feminist agenda.

I carefully considered this viewpoint and pondered the possibility that “a girls only place in comics was cosplaying to show her ####!!!” [sic] as one poster noted.  I inferred from the context of post that the chat filter had replaced “mind” for some odd reason, and decided, in a fit of madness, to join the conversation in support of this point.

“While it is refreshing that the comic and gaming studios are including more female characters, there is still a long way to go until we see gender equality in video games and comics in general.”  I wrote.  Then followed it up with “It is especially odd that they (the entertainment companies) haven’t caught on to the fact that a rising percentage (maybe as high as 50%) of gamers and geeks in general are women, with money to spend.”

A commenter, with a charming moniker suggesting a practice uncomfortable at the best of times and unlawful in twenty eight countries, replied “Great.  Just what we needed - a ####### SJW.”

I tried to sort through the words the chat filter could have had an issue with.  I ruled out “awesome” and “amazing” based on the poster’s grammar.  “Wonderful” was too long and both “dashing” and “sensual” implied a level of familiarity I didn’t think they had with me.  I gave up trying to determine what the adjective could have been and decided to just focus on their overall message, that they were happy to have a Social Justice Warrior present.  So I answered in the only way that Thumper’s father would approve of.  I said “Thanks!”

All kidding aside, I will never understand why detractors seem to feel that labelling someone as a SJW is in any way negative.  No one has ever called me a warrior before, outside of a D&D game anyway.  The idea that I could be a warrior, a champion or a gladiator for anything, let alone something as commendable as equality and fairness for all, fills me with pride.  I see myself standing on a grassy hilltop, surrounded by adoring citizens of all races/colours/genders/sexualities/species/beliefs/etc., waving a rainbow flag in one hand and holding balanced scales of justice in the other, the sun setting behind me over a field of flowers.  I want to get that as a poster for my office wall.  Maybe with my face on Matthew McConaughey’s body.  Because, you know, reasons.

I know that as a cis-gendered, white male I will never truly understand my level of privilege.  I also understand that, based on my decade and a half working in the field of Human Rights, I will never know what it is truly like to be in the shoes of ‘the minority.’  Neither of those however preclude me, or anyone else, from supporting those who need my support.  Nor will they ever.