In Defense of the Social Justice Warriors and Third Wave Feminists

A few friends of mine and I get together and have, what we call, drunken debates. However, no matter the topic, it generally boils down to the nitty-gritty of defining terms and then damning the Social Justice Warriors (SJW). Then it inevitably somehow ends up with feminism, as well as the parallels drawn with BlackLivesMatter vs. AllLivesMatter, as well as how it all ties in to all Muslims being damned because of ISIS.

I’ve always made my arguments, stating that you can’t condemn the rest of the group for the extremists who have a heated, hated skew on the philosophy of said group. The most common argument I have is how Third Wave Feminism makes a mockery of feminism as a whole. In all honesty, I don’t really know the difference between the Waves, only that feminism is about the equality of voice and rights between all genders. However, during the last debate, I actually went to look up what Third Wave Feminism is. The argument I was hearing was that it was making all the social injustices about feminism–racism, immigration issues, LGBTQ–and so on. I asked Siri for the definition of Third Wave Feminism, and sure enough, she told me that it (according to Wikipedia), “…refers to several diverse strains of feminist activity and study, whose exact boundaries in the history of feminism are a subject of debate, but are generally marked as beginning in the early 1990s and continuing to the present.”

This backs up what he was saying. However, I think that what my friend was stating was only surface level. It does sound like Third Wave Feminists, also viewed as the SJWs, are simply picking up the tab on all the other injustices and making it their own, which could be seen as inappropriate…

Except for the fact that all these social injustices are their own. Feminism is a blanket for all women, and when I personally picture it, I think of women from first half of the 1900’s, fighting for the right to vote, which were those who were educated enough to have convincing rhetoric–more than likely white. I picture all those photographs from the ’60’s and ’70’s of women burning their bra’s–also white. While feminism is about all women, there’s still the minority groups whose women are struggling as well. LGBTQ women are struggling; women of color are struggling; women of various faiths are struggling. And they’re struggling more so than white, straight women, because they’re still part of the minority.

I once had a conversation with a gay, male, friend of mine who said we can’t have a woman president. He, nor the rest of the world, would take her seriously. This is an individual who belongs to a group that right now is the center of media attention–whether it’s about the concern for their safety or which bathroom they’re going to use–and experiencing intense ridicule simply for being. And yet, he had no problem making note that he didn’t believe a woman could be taken seriously in the White House. I suppose, now that I write it out, it’s not as applicable as I thought it was when I began to write (for the sake of full disclosure of my thought-process), since he wasn’t referring to a woman of color, nor a woman in any other minority category. However, it does accent a point that this individual, facing his own struggles in society, still has an upper hand over women.

Of course I don’t meant that my friend represents all men, or all of society. It was simply something interesting to note.

So when people say that feminism are just becoming the new Social Justice Warriors, who not only want to “make a big deal” out of everything, or make everyone’s struggles about them, I implore them to consider that all the individual groups that are trying to have their voices heard, their lives matter equally, and their rights as important as the hegemonic individuals, the women of each of those groups still have a lower hand than then men in those groups. That is what Third Wave Feminism is about, and that’s what Social Justice Warriors fight.

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