With everything that has happened so far in GamerGate and other social controversies, the field of sociology has been getting more credit for creating social justice warriors and their fanaticism. But what exactly in the sociology field has created this kind of mindset? How can we better understand how and why they are what they are? The following is a quick and dirty primer that will attempt to explain the nuances of how social justice warriors are created and why they are so fanatical.
Simply put, sociology is the study of society, and how it works and interacts with everything around it. There are a lot of different lens people try to see their work through but there are two main ones that will be talked about here today. The first is “positivist sociology, the study of society based on systematic observation of social behavior.” (Macionis 31) The sociologists who follow this brand generally take a hands-off, observational and mathematical approach. They observe the situation and ask questions of participants only for understanding. They do not try to influence the situation in any way, only try to understand it and report it. Think of them like the play-by-play commentary crew at a sports game on TV.
The above doesn’t sound very radical or out of the ordinary compared to other sciences, natural and social, which do the same thing. The radical elements come from the social-conflict theory branch of sociology called critical sociology, which is “the study of society that focuses on the need for social change”. (Macionis 36)
SCT, for short, believes that societies are created through social conflicts between the haves and have nots, and is based off of Marxist teachings. The winner of Group A vs. Group B creates Society X. To the victor go the spoils. SCT has also been called activist sociology because it actively attempts to change society towards whatever the researcher deems is better, or worse, based on their political and social belief structure, and ignores objectivity and being unbiased. (Macionis 37)
Again, this is the quick and dirty version of something that someone would study minimally for four years at a university to get a degree in. Still, with this basic amount of information we can understand the social justice warrior mindset, and the term warrior is apt considering this approach. They see, for whatever their reason, a culture as being monopolized by a group in power. To make that culture ‘better’, they seek out to take from the rich and give to the poor by overthrowing the dominant power structure and install a new one that is supposedly more equal and fair to all through their political and/or social beliefs.
But Robin Hood they are not, as some of these targeted cultures are not as inherently bad as SCT needs to believe them to be. SCT is like a snake that eats its own tail. It cannot tell friend from foe, and simply attacks. It can never truly win because the theory itself believes there will always be inequality in society. To accept it has won would mean it would have to cease to exist. This is a reason why no one can win against social justice ideologues on social media, and why we see all the imgur images of their hypocrisy.
A World of Negativity
SCT is always looking at the world in a negative lens. Even when there are obvious positives, in video games for example, those positives are never good enough. Bayonetta is a great example of this. You have a sexy, fictional character that is proud of her own sexuality, not to mention the star of her own popular series. SJWs, through the SCT lens, only see her as a straight male fantasy. It does not see her as a symbol of female empowerment, female sexuality, or even a lesbian/bi-sexual female fantasy. To do so would mean the status quo is not as negative as they need it to be for their ideological changes.
If you go on to explain the character is made by a woman, providing a logical argument as to why it is not a simple straight male fantasy, you’ve given the excuse of “internalized misogyny.” I call it an excuse because ‘internalized misogyny’ can be used as an answer to any evidence involving a female against their narrative, without ever explaining what internalized misogyny means.
Try to bridge the gap and discuss body image as a universal problem by explaining how He-Man is as harmful to a male’s self-image as Bayonetta is to a female’s self-image, and you’re given the answer that men are the dominant gender and thus are somehow shielded from any negative effects in the world.
Even with logic and reason the battle cannot be won because, again, for a SJW to admit victory they must admit that the fight is over. There is always an excuse to not be happy and win. Without a fight, they are nothing. Their entire core being is invested in being an SJW. What life is there left to live, especially if they are proven wrong?
The end game of SCT is to overthrow the current system, and thus replace it with a supposedly better regime. This is a reason why you see a lot of narcissism in the anti-gamergate side from their ‘leaders’, and how they try to spin the narratives to be mainly about them. It is a rush of power and, as mentioned, to the victor goes the spoils. If they win they get to dictate terms in the new society created. They are getting the fame and prestige if they win, which is why they have to keep going even if they look foolish and illogical. To be fair, the anti-gamergate side can be also guilty of this narcissism.
At the end of the day, a social justice warrior is just a fanatical ideologue, but instead of religion it is a sociological theory they subscribe and submit to. If you want to defend your culture from SJWs, the key is to not focus on them. They are fanatics and cannot be reasoned with. Focus your efforts on winning over the unaligned in the societal power structure instead.
Don’t give up on your beliefs when faced with a SJW. It might not be an axe coming down to cleave you in two, but is there a difference when that axe is made of words and speeches designed to shame you into changing who you are or what you like, or more importantly to shame you from listening to all sides of a story.
(Reference: Sociology 13th edition by John J. Macionis. Pearson Education Inc. 2010)