Yeah, I’m even going to use capital letters and shit because this is kind of a serious venting post for me, requiring me to temporarily abandon my flippant no-effort no-care face. (Not serious even to stop swearing though)
As I identified myself as an extremely tolerant and caring person, when I started a tumblr I was naturally drawn-in by the way the community seemed to be accepting of everything. This was fresh and new to me coming from twitter, where misogynistic and racist trending tropes still adorn the sidebar from when I left two years ago to this day. There was a large overwhelmingly leftist and socialist atmosphere that seemed to beckon me in with open arms, and I could talk to other gay women, and my transgendered friends could post without fear, and there would be no petulant contrarian arguments.
Ah—so I thought.
Then friends of mine started being attacked by other ‘social justice’ participants for using language and disagreeing with ideals the participants agreed with. And no, it was no mere mincing of words—my friends were called oppressors. The dirtiest, most foul term that you could call someone in this sort of atmosphere. And it wasn’t an isolated incident. It happened over, and over, and over again. People called oppressive for shipping different things in fandoms. People called oppressive for mocking internet groups. I was called bigoted for calling someone a half-wit, and if you’ll excuse my french, what the fuck? I couldn’t even be offended for the sheer absurdity for the situation, and not only because it was ridiculous. It’s because the word ‘bigot’ has lost meaning and weight to me.
You see, in this culture we have created there is a wide-spread need for people to be victims. And they don’t only need to be victims—they need to be the most victimized. A sort of literal Oppression Olympics. You will see people that are clearly white or at least white-reading (and so benefiting from white-reading privilege, which is the important part because race is a social construct and is all about what you read as) researching their family trees in depth to find that one great grandmother that was a Cherokee princess so they can claim first nations heritage, and so they’re not really white, no, promise! We have a group of people afraid to cop to any sort of privilege whatsoever, and so they try to claim that they are participants in oppressed groups.
It’s baffling to me, because privilege is not in itself a bad thing. In fact, privilege is a good thing! It’s awesome! Everyone should have privilege! That is the nature of social justice—elevating everyone to privileged status, so everyone can enjoy the same comforts in life!
But I see where it is coming from.
In this culture, instead of using the words ‘stupid,’ or ‘asshole,’ or ‘jerk,’ for people that we vehemently disagree with and wish to put down, we use ‘bigot.’ And ‘ableist.’ And ‘privileged.’ They have become slurs. They have lost meaning for now being generalized insults that people use to cut down others. You don’t like a particular internet group? It must be because you see them as mentally ill. Bigot. Ableist. Oppressor. You don’t agree that I, an asexual, suffer the same indignities as queer people do in daily life? You’re trying to silence me. Bigot. Oppressor. You called me stupid? Bigot. Check your privilege.
What I have witnessed is a circle of people that are waiting to feel self-righteous and attack other people, because getting mad feels good. And don’t you dare pretend to me that this isn’t it, because I have participated in it. Getting mad at someone for their bigoted bullshit feels awesome. It feels righteous. You feel like you’re helping your cause for cutting other people down to size on the internet, when in actuality all you’re doing is shouting at someone who is learning nothing. Or, in more common scenarios, already knows. And in your reblogs, your own followers that your target may not necessarily know join the circular beat-down to feel awesome and righteous about themselves. And it goes on. And on. And social justice advocates eat other social justice advocates alive forever, in a sick incestuous circle and it keeps happening. And it accomplishes nothing. You are not actually fighting oppression like this.
We have misappropriated the word oppression. We have misappropriated the word privileged. We have misappropriated the word trigger, which infuriates me so much I can’t even describe. Something that you don’t like looking at is not a trigger. Something that hurts your feelings is not a trigger. It’s a word that has a very specific meaning, and you have demolished it. People no longer understand when I profess to being triggered by rape and non-con. Shaking. Crying. Flashbacks. Involuntary vomiting. I unfollow people when they post about it. It’s not personal. I’m not trying to hurt anyone’s feelings. But they will get snitty and passive-aggressive about it because they do not understand what I am trying to communicate with the word trigger. Fucking stop misusing it. Fucking stop.
It’s a vicious and toxic environment and I am tired of participating in it and I’m tired of seeing it on my dash. I am tired of people that need to be victimized and am tired of people who point fingers at everyone as victimizing them. I’m tired of misappropriation of social justice terms.