What Does “SJW” Really Mean? (The Bad Attitude)

by Ava

 

Ever since I started following discussions in the anti-SJW community, I’ve seen the term “SJW” being thrown around like crazy. Sometimes, it’s even me tossing out the word. As I’m sure most people know, once you say a word too many times in succession, it begins to lose all meaning. So I’ve decided to compile a description of what I mean when I say “SJW”. Hopefully, this will clarify some of my viewpoints for readers, while also helping me to make sure that I’m not throwing out the word “SJW” when it is not applicable.

 

“SJW” was invented to be used as an insult. It is often used synonymously with what people call the regressive left. (For example, people who support racial segregation in the name of being “progressive”.) SJW is just a less formal way of saying it. However, some people have begun to identify as SJWs, which I find absolutely bizarre, especially considering that it is an insult. Social justice is great provided it’s done properly, but the “warrior” part implies an aggressive attitude towards these issues.

 

In my opinion, that’s what defines a social justice warrior: their bad attitude. Often, they cannot stand to associate themselves with someone whose opinions differ from theirs, even slightly. They attack and demonize views that do not line up with their own. They are known for throwing out words like “racist” and “sexist” as if they have no meaning. On Tumblr, home of the SJWs, there is a big problem with people telling each other to kill themselves over behaviours that one person deems “problematic”. (Incidentally, these are usually tiny disagreements between people who share a community.)

 

Another aspect of an SJW is their victim complex. Oftentimes, it seems that they were the nerdy kids growing up, and might have been the victim of bullies. This could cement into their brain that they are, by default, a victim; and they’ll always feel like such. Until they take a big step forward in maturity, these people always feel that anyone who disagrees with them is a bully, even when the SJW in question is spouting insults at someone who is being polite and rational. This leads into their self-righteousness; they are unable to have a rational discussion or debate. Quite often, they’ll even say that others do not deserve to debate with them, having committed the “sin” of having different opinions.

 

And finally, the last quality that I have noticed about SJWs is that they value feelings over facts. Of course feelings are important in certain circumstances, but when discussing a topic that has roots in science or statistics, it is best to come to the discussion with a variety of researched sources. “I think” and “I feel” really isn’t going to cut it.

 

In conclusion, I think we all need to be more aware of how our attitudes reflect upon ourselves. We all have room for improvement when it comes to being kind to other people. I like laughing at the extreme ideas that come from certain people, but at the end of the day I try to understand their viewpoints in an attempt to be kind and accepting of those with whom I disagree. Yet I know that I still have room to improve, and I am constantly trying to do so in every aspect of my life. I like to think that I’m growing, and I want to encourage everyone to grow and improve as a person as well.

 

Remember that your views are more likely to be accepted if the attitude behind them is positive and reasonable. Don’t forget to be kind and rational, and I’ll see you next time!

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Gender and Neurology

by Ava

 

Recently, I’ve noticed a surge in the amount of people who say that gender is a social construct. I’ve been hearing this everywhere: not just in the depths of tumblr.hell, but also on nicer parts of the internet and even from people I know in real life. This got me thinking, and after a bit of research I concluded that I do not agree with this statement.

In this article, I’m going to use scientific articles (all sources listed at the bottom of the page) to back up my opinion on this issue. However, although I think that gender is biological, I will also be arguing the point that transgender people are perfectly valid. This will become clear later on in the article.

In order to see how gender is developed, we have to look at the very first life stage of a human being. You may have heard before that every fetus starts off as a female, and although that is simplifying the matter a little bit, it is essentially true. A fetus will, by default, develop female sex organs if a masculinizing hormone does not activate to change this. This hormone is activated by the Sry gene found on the Y chromosome. This gene, however, does not only make changes to the body, but also to the brain.

Scientists have begun to study the brain’s connection to gender in order to better understand certain mental illnesses. For example, females are more likely to be diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD), while males are more likely to be diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). What they’ve discovered is that the Sry gene, when activated in utero, sets off a hormone called androgen. This hormone is considered responsible for the feminization or masculinization of the brain, a process which happens during fetal development.

This is especially evident in people with intersex conditions involving androgen. One of these conditions, CAIS (complete androgen insensitivity syndrome), occurs in people with XY chromosomes. For some reason, as the name suggests, androgen does not affect them as it would most males. They still develop male gonads, but externally they appear female, and consistently identify as women. The same goes for people with CAH (congenital andrenal hyperplasia), who have XX chromosomes, but whose bodies make far more androgen than the typical female. These people, in the same way, undergo some degree of masculinization of the brain.

When it comes to brain shape and size, there are clearly quantifiable differences between male and female brains. Women have larger frontal cortexes as well as limbic cortexes. Men, on the other hand, have larger amygdala and parietal lobes. These cause many subtle differences in behaviour. This is why, on average, men and women are thought to act in certain ways.

The size and shape, however, are not the defining factor of a brain – neuron activity takes that title. A Penn Medicine study on brain connectivity discovered a major difference between male and female brains. It was found that females have greater connectivity between the two hemispheres of the brain, whereas males have greater connectivity within each hemisphere. In short, women’s neurons “communicate” back and forth between the left and right hemispheres, whereas men’s stay in their own hemispheres. The only exception was in the part of the brain responsible for motor control, where the opposite was observed.

This shows that women are more likely to connect the parts of the brain that are responsible for analyzation and intuition. On the other hand, men are more likely to connect those parts responsible for perception and coordinated action. This explains the results of several studies done in the past, where men and women were given the same tests. On certain tests, men consistently outperformed women, while on other tests it was the opposite.

This is enough evidence to suggest that gender is an ingrained part of our neurology. However, I would like to add that neurology is a complicated field. Every human’s brain is different, and there is nothing wrong with being a feminine man or a masculine woman; you are no less of a man or woman, if you are comfortable living as such.

This brings us to the topic of transgender people. Less than 1% of the population identifies as transgender, making it difficult to study, but some scientists have gathered enough transgender individuals to do substantial research. Brain scans have showed that white matter, the substance that connects the different part of the brain as discussed above, consistently correlates with the person’s gender identity and not their biological sex – even before they have medically transitioned in any way.

Transgender people are born with a mental illness known as gender dysphoria. Dysphoria is basically an extreme discomfort with one’s primary and secondary sex characteristics. It is usually treated by transitioning physically, which usually includes changing the secondary sex characteristics, and sometimes primary ones as well (although this involves an invasive surgery, so some people choose to opt out). If gender were a social construct, then no one would suffer from gender dysphoria. This is another point leading to gender being neurological.

Gender does not have to do with the clothes you wear, or the interests that you have. I could walk around in men’s clothing and fix cars all day, but that would not make me a man, because my neurology dictates otherwise. I think that most people who believe that gender is a social construct are thinking of gender roles, such as the clothing and interests that men and women are expected to have. But in my opinion, the real definition of gender is rooted in neurology.

As one final point, no discussion of gender is complete without one person asking about the validity of non-binary genders. I’m not going to go in-depth here, but I will say that I am open to the idea. I can understand how someone might feel non-binary; however, how would this translate to their neurology? Unfortunately, there are very few (if any at all) neurological studies on this topic, and none that I have been able to find. In the brain scans that I referenced earlier, certain people had brains with both masculine and feminine features. These people, however, all identified as male or female anyway. This is likely because, as some neurologists hypothesize, gender is primarily decided by neuron activity in the white matter. The size of other parts of the brain play a smaller part in gender. So, as it stands, I’ve never seen any proof of non-binary genders, nor have I seen any particularly persuasive arguments. However, I like to keep an open mind, and hopefully we will see some studies to prove or disprove the concept of non-binary. (And, before that happens, I will likely write an article going into more depth on my opinions!)

That’s all from me today, but I’d like everyone to remember: despite our neurological differences, everyone’s brain is based on the same structure. Translated from science-geek to English, that means that despite our differences, we are all human. Treat each other with kindness and respect. See you next time!

 

Sources

Hormones, Sexual Dimorphism, and the Brain

Sex Differences in the Brain – The Scientist Magazine

Brain Connectivity Study – Penn Medicine

Transgender Differences on Brain Scan – New Scientist

Why I’m Anti-SJW

by Ava

 

When I was fourteen years old, I accidentally stepped into the world of SJW-ism. Actually, it might be more accurate to say that I fell into it facefirst.

It was an easy trap to fall into. I had been identifying as a feminist all of my life, due to my mom working for a non-profit organization. She had been to countries where girls are not allowed to go to school, where they can be married off to older men without any say in the matter, where she herself could not go outside without a male colleague.

Naturally, when I learned about these horrible things, I wanted to be part of something that would improve them, so I began to call myself a feminist. So at fourteen, when I first joined Instagram, I followed a few feminist accounts. Less than a month later, most of my following would be feminist accounts, and that was what filled my home page every day.

These accounts introduced to me something called “intersectional feminism”. It was a wonderful idea: a sect of feminism devoted to providing equality between all people. It promised to be especially inclusive of racial minorities, LGBT, disabled people, and so on. To my younger self, this sounded like everything I’d always believed in: respect, equality, and treating everyone with kindness.

I still maintain that intersectional feminism is a great idea. Unfortunately, like many other great ideas, its execution can be ineffective and flawed. So was the case with the feminist accounts that I followed. They started off moderate but began to change, and my ideas went with them.

I have always considered myself to be an individualistic person. It is scary to look back on how screenshotted Tumblr posts pulled me into that collective mindset. The SJWs have very effective ways of convincing people, especially young people, to join them. “If you don’t think xyz, then you are a bad feminist” is the one that got me.

I think this article by Areo Magazine sums it up well when it says, “Liberal feminism had shifted from the universality of equal human rights to identity politics. No longer were ideas valued on their merit but on the identity of the speaker and this was multifaceted, incorporating sex, gender identity, race, religion, sexuality and physical ability. The value of an identity in social justice terms is dependent on its degree of marginalization, and these stack up and vie for primacy.”

In other words, people lost sight of the important things. Feminism began to mean SJWs, and their never-ending game of Oppression Olympics. Those who were deemed “too privileged” were ignored when they tried to express an opinion. And I am ashamed to say that I probably contributed to that.

Having interacted with many SJWs, and of course having been one myself, I want to say that not all SJWs mean to be the Identity Police. Many of them, and maybe even the majority, really do think that they’re helping the communities that they see as “marginalized and oppressed”. They truly care about social justice issues. Unfortunately, good intentions really do pave the road to hell.

I remember exactly when and why I left my SJW days behind. I was scrolling through the feminist accounts that had become so toxic, when I noticed a new trend. People were censoring the words “stupid”, “dumb”, “idiot”, “moron”, “mad”, and even “bad” on the basis that they were ableist slurs and offensive to mentally ill people.

This was the first time (but definitely not the last) that I read a statement that I had expected to agree with, but as hard as I tried, I just couldn’t get behind it. I find it even more offensive to mollycoddle mentally ill people and protect them from “bad words” (words which children use freely) as if they’re too fragile to cope with this.

That was the day that I unfollowed all of those feminist accounts on Instagram. I looked around for feminist accounts or blogs that I could agree with, but found none. In fact, I found that my views were more likely to line up with those of egalitarians, or even moderate anti-feminists.

This brought up a lot of hard questions: Should I continue identifying as a feminist? Should I call myself egalitarian instead? Should I give up feminism as a lost cause, as so many other people out there are doing? Should I break free of labels entirely and not tie myself to any particular ideology?

Right now, I’ve reached something of a middle ground. I don’t label myself according to any ideology. Instead, I follow people from several different points on the political spectrum. Whenever an issue comes up, I read through all of their various opinions and then form my own through critical thinking. I’m much happier now than when I would succumb to confirmation bias and believe things just because that was the “feminist opinion”.

I suppose that, in conclusion, my advice to anyone reading is to never underestimate the value of critical thinking. It’s important to free yourself from that echo chamber and listen to a multitude of voices with many different perspectives. There are many sides to every story, and you are doing yourself a disservice if you are only open to one.

 

Welcome to Athena’s Olive Branches!

Welcome to Athena’s Olive Branches! Like the goddess Athena, we try to pursue knowledge and learning. On this blog, we will try to create a place of rationality and humour in an increasingly opinionated world. We will write our opinions about feminism, social justice, politics, and much much more!

Here we will be introducing our writers:

Hey hey hey, it’s Ava! I enjoy wasting my life on the internet and laughing at cringey things on tumblr.hell. On a more normal note, I like writing, logic puzzles, science, and dogs. I was once a social justice warrior/SJW, and as a result I now enjoy laughing at the ideas and attitudes that I once possessed. I now value critical thinking and analysis on every issue. I don’t label myself according to any political ideology, because that is how I fell prey to confirmation bias last time. My goal on this blog is to express my ideas in writing, and to bring a new perspective to the issues that interest me.

Hello, my name is Cullen. I love reading, writing, singing in the shower, and computer games. I have a strong passion for history (stuffy, I know). When I was younger, I had trouble understanding why feminism existed. I saw rampant hypocrisy, and little willingness to work towards real change. However, last year I met a wonderful group of friends, who helped show me that feminism doesn’t have to be about hating men like the crazies turn it into. Rather, intersectional feminism can be a positive agent of social change for improving the lives of women, men, and all the world’s people. On this blog, I will try to talk about history from a feminist perspective, and about feminist issues in the third world.

Hey, I’m Sage! I’m a nerd who loves the X-Files, Pokémon, and my two cats. I’m proud to be a feminist, and I always will be. However, like any other mainstream movement, there are definitely people who do misguided things under its name. I believe that it is important to respect everyone, no matter who they are. On this blog, I will be posting mostly about mental illness and the sometimes backwards role SJWs play in fandoms. If you’ve read this far, I hope you have a great day!

Greetings, and well met. I am Josiah, a feminist (true meaning of the term), Wiccan, and nerd/geek (not actual definitions, but rather the pop culture slang meanings). I enjoy politics, nature, history, literature, and music. I’ll be planning mainly on writing articles on previous world politics and comparing and contrasting it with what’s currently occurring in the world today, as well as possibly a few movie or television show reviews and recommendations. Till then, when we have actually written something, blessed be.

If our mission interests you, feel free to follow us! We are looking forward to posting here, and hope you are too. Have a nice day!

– Sage, Ava, Josiah, and Cullen