To be called a Social Justice Warrior is intended as an insult. It’s thrown at people like myself, who get angry on behalf of the discriminated against. People, like myself, who will argue and fight passionately for women’s rights and feminism, for LGBT rights and equality, and for (the most part) left wing ideals.
To be accused of “outrage” is also intended as an insult. To be outraged is said with the implication of emotion and a lack of self control, unnecessary levels of anger about issues that are simply not worth getting angry about, either because nothing can be done to change it or because it’s not a big deal anyway.
But do you know what I think? I think to be called a Warrior for Social Justice is a huge compliment, massive. What better thing is there to be a warrior for? What more important things are there to fight for? If you are fighting for people to be treated fairly, not to be oppressed, for individual rights to be recognised by law regardless of race, religion, sexuality or gender, then you’re doing something good. Whether you’re out there campaigning and speaking directly to politicians, or simply sharing Memes on Facebook that raise awareness, you’re doing something and you’re doing something for people. For real people, those around you who deserve voices in their corner.
Do you know what else? I think a damn sight more of us should be feeling outrage. Since when did outrage against oppression and abuse become a bad thing? Feel outraged! There is so much more in this world we should be feeling outraged against than what we already do. Get angry. Get so angry you shout about it. Feel it as an emotional subject and don’t feel shame, because you know what, it is damn emotional.
Look at the world and see the girls being trafficked, having their teeth bashed out as children so they can orally pleasure their paying rapists without the risk of biting. Look at the children being put into wars they can’t understand and forced to murder on behalf of a religion they know nothing about. Look at the women day in day out told they’re not good enough because of how they look and rejected by society until they starve themselves thin. Look at the girls having their clitoris removed by a dirty knife to avoid them enjoying sex. Look at the boys raped repeatedly by their priests, or beloved TV presenters. Look at the world we live in. Be outraged. Feel it as an emotional subject because it sure is one!
One accusation against Social Justice Warriors and those of us who feel a sense of outrage is that we misplace it. It should be placed further afield towards the people in countries that suffer “real” abuse. Cases as mentioned above that are truly shocking, female genital mutilation and sex trafficking for example, instead of cases which are (apparently) “not real” abuse such as the women abused for their looks.
I disagree. I am outraged by it all. I see one person’s suffering as no less valid of a voice than any others. Yes the things happening across the world are absolutely horrifying and reading cases of this abuse and cruelty makes me cry for the state of humanity. But it’s also terrifying that myself and so many others like me have been abused at home, and yet are told our pain and our suffering is immaterial. It isn’t and it deserves a voice.
Gay people here can be married now, therefore they have no rights to complain about discrimination when gay people in other countries are legally murdered just for their sexuality. No. They damn well do have a right to complain! You have a right to complain if you’re discriminated against for your sexuality and voicing that is essential. People voicing their views, being outraged, fighting for social justice, is how we got to this point that gay people are able to have relationships legally recognized by law rather than punishable by it.
Women here can work and vote and live freely where women in other countries are sold to their husbands as children and forced into a life of sexual and domestic slavery by their new husband, therefore we are being petty for fighting for our own equality. No! Fight long and fight hard! Fight for the liberation of women everywhere, of course, but don’t see your own abuse as less worthy of recognition just because others have it worse. I know damn well others have it worse than I do, but I also know the abuse I have suffered is legitimate and worthy of outrage.
So social justice warriors, keep fighting. Keep fighting because the more of us who fight the more social justice can be achieved. The more social justice is achieved the less we will have to fight for. We will fight until the world is fixed and if that day never comes we will never stop fighting.
We will fight for those who are too afraid, fight for those who are too weakened by their suffering, and we will fight for those who don’t even know we’re fighting for them. And we will fight for ourselves. Because we all live in this society and we are all aware of those who take advantage of it, those who abuse those around them and then criticize them for being outraged by it as a way of silencing them as it maintains the power of their oppressors.
Feel outrage. So much is wrong with the world to be outraged about. Sitting back and judging those who feel it achieves nothing, fighting might not achieve anything in the short term but in the long run with enough voices of anger behind you, you’ll achieve anything. Be on the right side of history. Be a Warrior. Be an outraged Warrior and do it with pride.