Social Justice Warrior: A Phrase Misused by Blake Boys

By Savita Champlin

“Social Justice Warrior.” A term that at first glance seems like a compliment. But, people now use this term to mock someone with firm socially progressive views or someone who is only a progressive activist for the public eye. While I agree that yes, people who are activists only for the attention and popularity are an issue, that is a very slim majority of activists and tends to be people such as celebrities. A social justice warrior is not a good thing, almost everyone agrees that these people are too close minded, using performative activism, and are spreading misinformation. So why do people call me and others a social justice warrior for using social media to share my voice?

For some context, in light of current social justice movements such as the Me Too movement, Black Lives Matter, justice for murdered and missing indigenous women, and so many more, people have been using social media (specifically Instagram stories) to voice their opinion, raise awareness, and provide support. The majority of people who partake in Instagram activism know that sharing posts to their story isn’t a perfect solution. However, when there are such big current events that it feels like there’s nothing you can do, raising awareness and spreading information can be the best option and one of the few things you can do on an individual level. I know personally, I have learned so much from these stories. From things such as racist microaggressions you don’t know you do, to statistics about sexual violence, to fundraisers to help those in need, to information on racist people, institutions, or events, Instagram stories have many benefits.

A boy in the Blake class of 2022 posted a private story on Snapchat less than a year ago saying, “To all you social justice girls on social media posting your stories, congrats. You’ve influenced and taught us so much. Way to make a difference”. There is a lot to unpack in this quote. First off, you’re lying if you’re saying you’ve never been influenced or taught by a story. With the amount of facts and statistics in stories, it is impossible not to learn. Next, he is shaming these people for not making a difference, but I’m wondering exactly what all he’s done? At least these people care about important issues and are trying to do what they can. Also, why the use of the word “girls”? We don’t even get to be called a warrior, just minimized to a girl on social media. Although from what I’ve seen it is majoritively girls who post social justice infographics on their stories, I know there are some boys who do too. His singling out of women shows that his real problem is with women voicing their opinions. It doesn’t affect him at all for people to post this content, so I’m not sure why it bothers him so much unless he is that offended by women speaking their minds. Needless to say, he received lots of backlash on this Snapchat picture. It was being screenshotted and posted on people’s stories. Everyone was sharing how degrading this comment felt and showed his character in that he doesn’t support the topics talked about on social media and belittles the people who speak up. 

You may be asking, “Okay, but why are you bringing this up now?” With all this being said, about a week ago, another classmate of mine called me a social justice warrior to my face. I made a remark about him not wearing his face mask correctly, to which he retaliated with the words he knew already offended people. I was shocked he said this after seeing all the backlash the first boy got. I was confused as to why my concerns with the pandemic equated me to a social justice warrior. I’m not sure why these two people (and the majority of their friend group which is a large part of my grade) think people who speak up about Covid, homophobia, sexism, racism, Islamophobia, and so on are social justice warriors. Is it so radically leftist to be against all the things I just listed?  

Although these people are hating on “social justice warriors” for not making “real” change, they are friends with sexual assaulters, people who attack people of color in front of the school, white people who say the n-word, and people who use physical violence against their significant other. They are all parts of the problems that are talked about on Instagram, which to me is worse than potentially being a performative activist. I’d rather attempt to make a difference and risk being seen as a social justice warrior than sit back and watch the world turn to chaos like they’re doing.

One thought on “Social Justice Warrior: A Phrase Misused by Blake Boys

  1. “We don’t even get to be called a warrior, just minimized to a girl on social media… His singling out of women shows that his real problem is with women voicing their opinions.”
    These are very impactful lines. Great article!

    Liked by 1 person

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