The social justice movement, long ridiculous, has now disappeared so far up its own backside that it is quite simply beyond parody. These warped, self-righteous posers will weaponise anything and infantilise anyone to burnish their own right-on credentials
When faced with the latest example of SJW posturing and weaponised victimhood, one wonders just how much further these baby-faced tyrants can possibly go in policing our language and behaviour to make us conform with their ever-shifting conception of what is good and what is deplorable.
But in truth, they will never be satisfied. In SJW-land, the power and social standing of a Social Justice Warrior activist is derived entirely from “points” that they accrue defending their new orthodoxy and persecuting heretics simply trying to exercise their free speech. A diligent SJW can pick up points for riding to battle against something “offensive” written by a perfect stranger on social media, but they accrue even more kudos within their cult by accusing a fellow member(s) of heresy. We may be the usual targets, but the SJW cultists themselves must always look over their shoulders for fear of attack by an overzealous rival. The social justice / identity politics revolution loves to devour its own.
This manifests itself in all kinds of ways – witness the case of student union official Fran Cowling, who declared in a blaze of self-publicity that she would not share a stage with Peter Tatchell because he dared to take the side of free speech over SJW “no platform” policies designed to shut dissenting viewpoints out of university campuses. Never mind that Tatchell has done more for minority rights in a typical weekend than Cowling will likely manage her entire wretched life – Cowling cynically attempted to position herself as a better and purer cultist, and so leapfrog the many levels separating her own unscrutinised place in history and Tatchell’s far more tangible contribution.
But what if one enterprising SJW found a way to imply that nearly every other social justice cultist in the world is being inadvertently oppressive all the time, while they alone were enlightened enough to recognise the error of their ways? That SJW would then be able to claim the mantle of Most Compassionate Person, and accrue incredible kudos within that ridiculous community.
Well, it turns out that one such SJW – Denarii Monroe, writing at Everyday Feminism, the motherlode of idiotic social justice, victimhood culture nonsense – is attempting that very feat.
For years, through to today, we have named these oppressions as homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, or queerphobia. Other movements use phrases such as xenophobia, fatphobia, and Islamophobia.
It’s important to put a name to the systemic structures that marginalize us and have effects on our day-to-day living. This language is essential in the fight for liberation for all marginalized groups. I remember how empowering it was to have a name for the specific experiences and needs of the bi+ (plus) community.
Naming, well, just about anything in life – a spoon, a tree, a breed of dog – allows us to identify it. And in the case of oppression, being able to identify it allows us to tackle it head-on.
Unfortunately, in our quest to do so, we have chosen language that isn’t just problematic, but downright oppressive.
And I get it. Most of us were born into this language. Whether we belong to the communities who use this language or we’re just allies, it has informed much of our experiences – how we began to understand inequality, how we talk about the discrimination we experience, and how we relate to others with similar oppression.
But Islamophobia, transphobia, and other constructions that use “-phobia” as a suffix erase the fact that “phobias” are a real thing that happen to real people. Those of us who use these terms know all too well the damage that erasure can do in the fight to achieve liberation and social equity.
Regardless of good intentions, at the end of the day, it’s not okay to build our righteous movements on the backs of other marginalized people. Further, in choosing inaccurate, inadequate language, we harm ourselves as well.
Original emphasis in bold.
In other words, using the suffix “-phobia” when describing real or imagined acts of prejudice – as in Islamophobia, transphobia, homophobia – is itself “oppressive” because apparently it appropriates the language used to describe recognised phobias like claustrophobia, thus somehow erasing or denying the lived experience of claustrophobes, agoraphobes and assorted other phobics.
So according to the new draconian standard set by the Social Justice Warriors, this anti-Donald Trump meme (expressing a sentiment which they would otherwise doubtless support) is itself ableist and oppressive to those who suffer from traditional phobias:
A year ago, this might have been regarded as an entirely legitimate form of anti-Trump protest. But so far have things moved in the space of twelve months that the cutting edge SJWs of Everyday Feminism would now regard references to “homophobia” as an unconscionable assault on the daily suffering and lived experience of people with medically recognised phobias.
Yes. To speak about Islamophobia or transphobia is now ableist – that is, oppressive towards those with disabilities – because it supposedly makes light of the “disability” of having a phobia. Denarii Monroe has essentially declared that nearly every other Social Justice Warrior, by virtue of still using the suffix “-phobia” as part of their daily activism, are in fact part of the oppressive, neo-colonialist masses. They are all part of the problem. She alone is part of the solution.
This is the social justice equivalent of the launch of HMS Dreadnought back in 1906. With the launch of the steam turbine-powered warship Dreadnought, every other battleship in every navy around the world was instantly rendered obsolete, giving the Royal Navy an immense strategic advantage and setting off a new arms race. And now, in a dismal pastiche of history over a century later, Denarii Monroe is essentially declaring that the language of every other Social Justice Warrior – people who spend their whole day festering in this fetid swamp of identity politics and weaponised victimhood – was oppressive all along, unbeknownst to them.
But why should we go to the effort of completely overturning the language that nearly all of us – not only SJWs – use to talk about prejudice and discrimination?
Phobias aren’t really something you hear much about, except as an exploitative tabloid episode on shows hosted by the likes of Maury Povich and Jerry Springer.
Like all marginalized groups, disabled folks have little representation in the media and in real-life institutions. This is reflected in how we are portrayed, talked about, and treated. Mental disabilities – from schizophrenia and obsessive compulsive disorder to bipolar disorder and generalized anxiety disorder – are particularly notorious for being misconstrued and inaccurately and harmfully portrayed, usually just for ratings (read: money).
[..] Phobias are virtually invisible in society outside of the aforementioned daytime talk show segments. But the fact of the matter is that we are real.
We exist. We navigate this world, to the best of our abilities, every single day. We’re on disability. We work. We find love and sex, if we desire those things. We have dreams. We struggle.
And our lived experiences and truths deserve dignity and respect, not the further erasure and trivialization that phrases like “-phobia” actively perpetuate.
Good grief. Has any person suffering from a legitimate phobia ever been upset, outraged or “harmed” in any way by the fact that we also use the word for their condition to describe people who are prejudiced against certain groups? Of course not – just as if I were to say (as I believe) that the Cult of Social Justice and Identity Politics is a cancer on our society, people currently suffering from cancer will not suddenly wince in pain when I hit “publish”. It would be clear to any reasonable person (thus excluding the SJWs) that the cancer I speak of is metaphorical, and entirely different from the actual disease, just as it is clear to legitimate phobia sufferers that nobody is seeking to diminish their suffering when we speak of “xenophobia” or “homophobia”.
And mark this:
The use of “-phobia” as a suffix erodes the dictionary meaning of the word, but more importantly, it is one tool that helps society forget that phobias are real phenomena that affect real people every day, some of whom, like myself and my friends, are queer and trans.
It is as though the author is laying each one of her oppressed identities before us, to add weight to her specious argument.
Phobic (and thus disabled)? Check.
This is how you win an argument in Social Justice world. Not by appealing to facts, reason or evidence but rather by pointing to your identity in terms of race, gender and sexuality, and trying to claim the highest possible position on the Hierarchy of Oppression. Denarii Monroe knows that few people will be able to outdo the triumvirate of queer, trans, and phobic. And because the Cult of Social Justice and Identity Politics dictates that those lower on the hierarchy must defer to those who can claim greater victimhood, Monroe has carte blanche to change the terms of discussion and literally remove words from the permitted vocabulary of other SJWs.
Monroe does, however, eventually cut to the chase:
That is to say, while fear is behind much of the oppression we face, it’s not the whole story. It’s not even the primary story. The language we use should reflect that.
When we say what we’re actually talking about, it paints a more accurate picture for our movements and our allies of our needs. It makes our goal clearer, which makes it that much easier to accomplish.
Further, “-phobia” as a suffix ultimately centers the oppressor instead of the oppressed. The language becomes about their fear instead of our struggle.
And I don’t know about you, but I’m quite tired of privileged people being the center of attention.
Ah, there it is. All of this overwrought discussion of language and oppression, when in actual fact this whole article is borne of Monroe’s jealousy that using “-phobia” as a suffix puts the emphasis on the supposedly prejudiced person when in fact it should really be on her. Monroe doesn’t want “privileged people” to be the centre of attention because she doesn’t actually want us to focus on prejudice or do anything meaningful to tackle it – rather, she wants to revel in her own victimhood and be sure that we all acknowledge it so that she remains the centre of attention.
This is a sick, warped way of looking at the world. But it is also absolutely required behaviour among Social Justice Warriors and identity politics cultists the world over, who are intent on turning daily life into one great big collective group therapy session, in which those at the top of the Hierarchy of Oppression are free to unload on those further down, blaming them for their troubles all day, every day.
Denarii Monroe didn’t get so upset that she wrote an article in Everyday Feminism because she has legitimate, heartfelt concerns that saying words like “Islamophobia” or “transphobia” actually causes mental distress to people with real phobias. She wrote the article in triumph because she found yet another way to claim that other people – people on her own side! – were inadvertently transgressing one of the key tenets of social justice. Which, even though everybody was using this language a year ago without issue or complaint, is now a tremendous issue. And as a totally (ahem) unrelated bonus, it also just so happens to give Monroe heightened status and more power over her peers.
To slightly amend something I recently wrote on the same subject:
If all of this seems ludicrous and a million miles away from doing anything which might conceivably affect or help actual
blackdisabled people in America, you would be right. Because at its dark, festering core the Social Justice movement is not about delivering justice, equality or doing any other kind of social good. Social wrongs are merely the fuel which power the machine to perform its true purpose – controlling the language and the thinking of society in order to establish beady-eyed little zealots like Party IslandDenarii Monroe as the indispensable clerisy who tell everyone else what to say and do.
Social Justice is, above everything else, about the acquisition and exercising of power. Victimhood is actively sought and eagerly weaponised by members of this Social Justice clerisy in their scramble for status amongst their peers and contemporaries. The legitimate problems and grievances of minority communities become irritating background noise, a distraction from what really matters – this finickity, juvenile, university campus parlour game in which casting oneself as the most vulnerable, oppressed but simultaneously tolerant person imaginable confers tremendous power, while the slightest slip (such as accidentally using the wrong word) can lead to immediate excommunication from the group.
Monroe concludes by lecturing us that we should immediately replace the “-phobic” suffix with the much more clunky “-antagonistic”, as in “trans-antagonistic” or presumably “Islamo-antagonistic”:
From the queer and trans communities to Muslims and fat people, that is literally our experience. Our existence and identities cause the majority culture to be hostile toward us and, as a result, we struggle against them – for our humanity, our dignity, and our liberation.
But we can never be free until we’re all free – and this includes folks with disabilities. So it’s imperative that we begin to deliberately abandon “-phobia” once and for all.
The mind boggles. I would write that the social justice movement cannot possibly lose the plot any more than it presently has, but we all know that in a week’s time I will be back with another piece about some even more outrageous claim to victimhood or demand for censorship. The world record for Most Stupid Thing Said By An SJW is now being broken almost daily.
And this is because at its dark, sulphuric heart, the Cult of Social Justice and Identity Politics is an arms race, in which cultists have to continually invent new vulnerabilities and injuries just to maintain their position in the social hierarchy.
SJWs have perhaps marked what is happening in Britain, where the National Union of Students decreed that university LGBT societies should no longer allow “white cis gay men” to have their own representation on diversity committees because they are not sufficiently discriminated against. Being a gay man is apparently no longer enough to command even the lowliest of positions in the Hierarchy of Oppression. So all of those SJWs only slightly higher up on the hierarchy are desperately casting around for additional traumas and vulnerabilities that they can plausibly exaggerate just to keep themselves in the game.
Social Justice is about power, plain and simple. And while its cultists may preach rainbows and unicorns and solidarity, in practice it is a brutal club to suddenly find oneself excluded from. This is why the arms race has now decreed that saying “-phobic” is oppressive, and it is why next week we will be back here, marvelling that something even more vacuous and self-indulgent has occurred.
Support Semi-Partisan Politics with a one-time or recurring donation:
Agree with this article? Violently disagree? Scroll down to leave a comment.