Social Justice Warriors and Narcissism—What Is the Connection?
Are honorable missions being clouded by gaslighting in the ranks?
When I first heard the term "Social Justice Warrior" (SJW), I thought it was a pretty cool name for an activist, until I realized there was a difference between an SJW and a social activist. I then learned that in this day and age, the terminologies for social change have expanded. We now have more labels than we know what to do with.
I spend a lot of time on and off the internet discussing social change and justice. I don't like seeing and feeling all the hurt around me without at least trying to help somehow. I may not be able to work miracles but I can certainly do my part. I learned early on in life that paying attention to what's going on in the world outside me helps me get out of my own head. No matter what may happen to me, good or bad, there are always people less fortunate than I have been.
I am not afraid to debate with people or express differing views. However, I have had to learn the hard way that solutions are more progressive than arguments. This said, I have had to walk away from quite a few debates along the way. Most of them were with people who couldn't find a logical argument to what I was saying, so they began hurling insults and personal attacks. These people, who can easily devolve to the mentality of a fourth-grade bully in minutes, are commonly labeled "social justice warriors."
What are social justice warriors, though? What is their real mission? Is there another side to this story? Recently, I went on Quora and asked this question of various social justice warriors and other profiles there.
I got a variety of answers. Some said that SJWs are, to paraphrase, an agenda-based cult whose motive is to play to emotion, not logic or reason. They went on to say it doesn't matter what facts are missing in the tirades of SJWs; they demand to be honored merely for speaking out at all. There was only one actual SJW who answered, and she denied any and all stereotypes, stating that she found it amusing when people called her an SJW as if it were an insult.
Slurring the name of a certain group, race, gender, or political party creates more problems than solutions. I'm still on the fence about this, but I'm willing to consider that the Social Justice Warrior movement had great intentions at first. Perhaps along the way, one or two SJWs got so emotionally involved in a debate, the whole focus was lost. Regardless, it appears that the movement is flailing around trying to reclaim its identity. We need to step out of the spectrum of the name, or the group, and look at everything objectively for awhile.
Emotions will always run high when tackling tough subjects, but logic is needed to make oneself clear while speaking out. Many people, as we know, don't really want to do anything on earth but make noise. They're the kind that hurl copious insults at everyone who "offends" or "triggers" them by disagreeing with something they've said. Even if the "offending" parties have facts to back up their opposing views, these noisemakers only get nastier the more they are contradicted.
Narcissists always have an agenda of their own no matter what they're doing. They might say they have empathy for others and even turn on the tears when the moment serves them. However, their motive is to make things as disorganized and chaotic as possible so that they can get pleasure watching things fall apart. Once it does, they are all too quick to assume control, while continuing to drain everyone of their ability to think critically. Narcissists are practiced at the art of crazymaking.
Have these narcissists given SJWs a bad name...whatever is in a name these days?
The term Social Justice Warrior, one would think, means exactly what it says. Warriors for social justice. The bad reputation SJW's have seems loosely based on those who use a platform to spew. Perhaps, however, it is not fair to say that all SJW's express themselves in the same way.
Again, regarding logic and emotion, the two must work hand in hand when trying to find the solution. We can't afford to simply hurl four-letter-words at people who argue with us. We know, logically, that what we put out there in writing, or speech in outdoor situations, will be remembered. It's our imprint on the world around us. If we, in a whirlwind of emotion, lash out in a long tirade with no end or solution? It's pretty safe to say that any hope of bringing about what we're trying to bring about will not be taken seriously.
We're human. Sometimes we get too personally involved. Who among us hasn't lashed out in anger and, in turn, made things worse instead of better? I've done that more times than I can count. Sometimes things get me so angry, I just see red. However, there's a difference between lashing out in the moment and a pre-calculated motive to simply mess with others' heads.
An unfortunate example is that one piece of the Me Too organization that claims we should "believe women" when they accuse men of violent crimes against them. I am not saying the entire Me Too movement or even all who support the #believewomen hashtag are narcissists. Many just want to give a spotlight to the millions of women who never felt safe speaking up before. It's something that needed, and still needs, to be talked about. However, there are some narcissistic abusers involved in "believe women," and this needs to be addressed for what it is.
It is not right to automatically assume women lie about abuse, but the fervor around the #believewomen mentality took the cause to a dangerous level. One opinion piece in the New York Times detailed the cons of simply "believing all women," even quoting a frightening post by one who said she was "not at all concerned" if innocent men were hurt by false allegations by a woman. Another article in Elle Magazine challenged Bari Weiss's NY Times article by claiming no one is suggesting facts be ignored. However, let me give you an example of facts being ignored for the sake of "believing women."
The Johnny Depp and Amber Heard divorce case, however old, is still a scarred elephant in the room. Depp was never proven to have physically abused Heard in their four year relationship, 15 months of which they were married. Because Amber went public with powerful photos showing bruises and cuts she alleged were put there by Depp, many people in the public and media stood behind her. Equally strong was the support Depp got from people who read the official news reports from both sides, including court documents. The end result of this scandalous divorce was Depp and Heard settling out of court. Heard dropped the charges "with prejudice," meaning she can never refile them. Depp agreed to pay her seven million in spousal support, which Heard pledged to donate to two charities, one of which supports women who were abused. The finalization ended with an amicable-sounding joint statement between Depp and Heard, which ended by saying "there will be no further discussion on this matter."
However, not one of Amber's supporters on Twitter or other social mediums ever stopped shouting about this. No one in either celebrity's personal circle is saying anything, unless you count the various hints and nudges Heard herself has put out in public since January of last year. She was honored with the "Woman of the Year" award in Australia, largely because of what she's said about domestic abuse. She may not mention Johnny's name, but her interviewers still bring up the topic of abuse to her, and she is all too quick to respond in thinly veiled digs at Depp. Meanwhile, in every interview with Johnny Depp AFTER May of 2016, there is no mention of Amber's name, let alone the divorce.
Depp's supporters, particularly the Deppheads4Life organization, of which I am a part, have mostly tried to move forward and leave the past behind. It's hard not to be affected, however, when the media keeps glorifying Amber Heard as some kind of "unsung hero" in almost everything written in the press about Johnny Depp today. Say what one will about not feeding negativity and encouraging each other to just let them chase their tails...but lately, it's gotten even more out of hand.
Despite so many glaring reports from Depp's camp that virtually proved him an innocent man; despite Heard's decision to drop the charges with prejudice; none of that matters to her supporters. Many of these people are labeled SJW's, and some might even call themselves that. These people are up in arms because the very fact that Johnny Depp was accused in the first place is all they need, to brand him an "abuser."
Yes, Depp is still working, and he appears, for all the world to see, relatively unscathed by all this. However, he is still paying the price for Amber's accusations as many on the Me Too platform keep shaming Depp's employers and colleagues for supposedly "advocating abuse." JK Rowling, one of the most powerful and influential women in the world, is known for supporting women who survived abuse. To this day, she is condemned for the casting of Johnny Depp in the Fantastic Beasts franchise. Most recently, the Pottermore website went "down for reorganization." An article in Refinery29 clarifies the possible reasons behind that. The article quotes former writers on the Pottermore site expressing frustration at not being able to "write freely" about Johnny Depp's role in Fantastic Beasts because of Heard's allegations against him.
JK Rowling has certainly been through the wringer, it seems. Shortly before the news on the Pottermore website, scathing words accusing Rowling of "betraying women" forced her to publicly justify and explain her decision to endorse Depp. I wrote an article about this in my Free Madness blog, which has a link to Rowling's article and other information about the Depp/Heard divorce.
The Elle article, as you'll read, is full of sarcastic and contemptuous sneers on another woman (Weiss) who merely suggested that we trust, but verify the facts before "believing all women." That women who honestly wish to discern the truth before automatically believing another woman's allegation are treated with such derision, is insidious. It is not only hypocritical, it actually creates more platforms for abuse to thrive. Rowling and Weiss are only two women who were treated to this kind of abuse. The "believe women" idea is a breeding ground for narcissistic control tactics that do anything but bring about positive social change. In this mentality, men who are falsely accused are expendable when it comes to protecting, to coin a phrase by Rowling, the "greater good."
There is this cultish kind of, excuse the irony but "mind rape" of society by groups that demand we follow "codes" like this. It's not helpful to slam an entire gender as the perpetrators of abuse, while naming another gender as the only possible victims/survivors of abuse. Despite Sady Doyle's insistence that no one is "ignoring facts," she still stood on her podium and discredited Bari Weiss in a deriding, abusive manner. I give Doyle credit where it's due, for pointing out the lies that eventually threw the Roy Moore case out of court. However, she failed to mention Weiss's quote by Teen Vogue columnist Emily Lindin, regarding innocent men and false allegations. That, to me, is disturbing.
The slur on the name of social justice warriors may not be entirely fair regarding all who identify with that title. Perhaps it truly is a gaslighting attempt by narcissists in the ranks to make them look bad. All this needs to be acknowledged, discerned, and addressed appropriately. In order for SJWs to hold the honor of being TRUE warriors for social justice, logic must help emotion along, for this is the only way fact and fiction can be discerned. We need to walk away from rules such as, if you support B, you cannot do G, and you can't support D if you stand against A. That, at least, is a good place to start.
Justice comes from living and speaking truth. As for me, I'll fight injustice anywhere it rears its ugly head, regardless of gender, race, creed, whatnot. Once I know the truth, I do not waver. Whether online or out in the physical world, may all of us continue to support truth, at all costs.
Truth, justice, and freedom from narcissistic agendas that only perpetuate abuse is our right. Not one of us, regardless of where we live or who we are, doesn't deserve that. Let's keep fighting and making some REAL change happen!