Social Justice Warrior is a term used generally to insult people who are seen as caring too much about cultural and political issues, especially if the accused SJW also employs the use of callout culture. It seems to have started, along with white knight, as a way to brand the "fanatics" of left-leaning activism. SJWs "dogpile" and "try to get points" as a form of activism... though this is often an accusation made by people who are not open to any form of critique.
What's critique and what's bullying can feel very different, depending on which side of the megaphone you're on.
Then, like the term "politically correct", some decided the term made some sense for their work, and didn't see anything wrong with trying not to offend others, or fighting oppression. A period of embracing it came about, with some (including me) enjoying teasing those who act like being a social justice warrior is some awful thing.
I asked on Twitter how people felt about the term "social justice warrior". Some really dug it, some were concerned about abusive people who used the identity as an excuse to be abusive, some didn't care one way or the other. Me, I think bullies will use any tactic, and it's possible to be a SJW without that meaning you resort to lashing out. It's vital when doing this kind of activism to be constantly open to hearing critique, and to let go of defensiveness... but that's hard to do.
Now it seems we're back to shunning the phrase, as enough folks who call themselves "social justice warriors" have shown themselves to be bullies. We here at Consent Culture are firm believers in Tough Love and saying the shit that needs to be said... but we also try to hold a lot of compassion and loving kindness. "Warrior" may not really be the class for us. According to some who believe we're making major $$$ and getting famous through being feminist killjoys, maybe "social justice rock star" is appropriate (and fuck, if only we were more popular for talking about this shit instead of socially shunned, what a world we'd be in!)
That's where these buttons come in- depicting alternatives to the "warrior" class, they make space for that tongue-in-cheekiness while also not centering violence. I've been told I'd make a good social justice bard. Make of that what you will.
I interviewed Sarah “Chip” Nixon, @chiperoo, about the idea to create these cute 8bit social justice badges. They're being sold for the first time at GeekGirlCon, though they will probably be snapped up fast!
CC-What made you decide to make these clever and cute Social Justice Dungeons and Dragons Class buttons? Are you a DnD nerd? (I am, I usually play a Ranger)
I'm DEFINITELY a DnD nerd. I tend to like playing a range of different characters! The last campaign I participated in was in 4th edition (I started playing while 3.5 was in full swing) and I played was Gnome Druid called Badger. He fulfilled my favorite thing about DnD - being able to tell different kinds of stories and being able to embody and explore different sorts of characters who aren't like me.
CC-The term "social justice warrior" is one often used to dismiss people who critique culture, especially around things like racism, sexism, and transmisogyny. It's being reclaimed in defiance by some who think that fighting for social justice is a good thing, not a shameful one. Have you been called a "social justice warrior", and if so, for what?
CC-How do you think social justice conversations are going within geek spaces? It sounds like you do a lot of conventions, so curious what your insight is!
So, when I decided I wanted to make and distribute these buttons, I knew this could be an opportunity to do something cool with it. After a lot of pondering, I decided the best candidates would be Planned Parenthood, the Trevor Project, or Amnesty International. I even discussed this publicly on twitter.
CC-Finally... which class do you identify with and why?
I... choose Wizard! Mostly because I'm a Hufflepuff.
We'll let you know when these rad buttons are available online, so watch this space!