So I was once again perusing The Mary Sue when I came across a couple of contradictory-seeming headlines.
Kindly Refrain from Criticizing Daisy Ridley’s Body. Daisy Ridley is the actress who plays Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It seems somebody made a problematic meme, and thus feminist internet drama ensued. The problematic meme, from Instagram, apparently now deleted, courtesy of thenerdybird:
Admittedly my first takeaway from this exchange between Ridley, her critics, and her fans was just “gawd, social media can be a trash fire.” However, conversations about inclusivity and body positivity are vital, even when those conversations take place on forums that aren’t necessarily conducive to nuance, so let’s take a sec to break this interaction down.
What follows is several paragraphs discussing all the ways that real women may or may not be curvy, which is newspeak for ‘overweight’, and who are you to skinny-shame poor Rey, who apparently chops off boy parts in the Star Wars movie. Or something. I don’t know, I haven’t seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens yet. I’m waiting until parts II and III come out: Star Wars Has Lunch and Star Wars: Bedtime for the Force.
Naturally, The Mary Sue is going to cover the “women’s bodies” issue as comprehensively and discordantly as possible. Thus we get headlines like We Asked Women in Their Twenties How They Feel When They Look at Runway Models. This article, if you follow the links, skinny-shames runway models and criticizes glitter. Apparently runway model glitter is a problem, too. A few companies are adding plus-size models to their lineups, and what a great thing that is for women everywhere, except it still isn’t good enough because of all the skinny models.
For example, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue featured three covers with models of different shapes, sizes and colors a few months ago. They didn’t do it right, apparently.
Clearly, women who may or may not be too skinny or too large should refrain from having bodies. If they must have a body, might I suggest also wearing a large cardboard box with appropriate cutouts for appendages, so that nobody can possibly shame you.
Women’s body issues are merely the setup. Finally we can come to the main point, which has nothing to do with hypocrisy, double-standards, or body-shaming.
Blurry SJW Rules
This is yet another example of how blurry the SJW rules get, and how new rules seem to be constantly popping up. The ‘curvy’ woman meme has only come into vogue in the past few months on The Mary Sue. Before that it was shirtless pictures of Chris Pratt.
At first blush, you can resolve the hypocrisy on the part of The Mary Sue by believing they don’t want people to notice or mention anything about a woman’s body. This is difficult to do, since women show up in every form of media attempting to sell us stuff. They are constantly featured in articles on body shaming, which invites all manner of comments on sites like The Mary Sue. Most of those comments are problematic, and a great source of amusement if you enjoy schadenfreude.
As a bonus for those of you collecting cognitive dissonance issues, every other article features Deadpool wearing a skin-tight bodysuit. It leaves little to the imagination, but that’s okay: the character is pansexual. Did I mention the rules were fuzzy?
Even an innocuous compliment like ‘nice manicure’ can be misconstrued as a fireable offense, because the interpretation is up to the recipient. The intent of the giver doesn’t matter. What gets your microaggression overlooked is out-ranking the person you’re complimenting in the SJW hierarchy. Higher rank, for our purposes, means “larger virtue-signaller”.
The rules are made to punish opponents of the Cultural Authoritarians, but they are also made to keep their own soldiers in check. After all, anyone can run afoul of the ever-changing, vague, and inconsistently-enforced rules. It keeps everyone on their toes and on the important task of oppressing those who think wrongly, in order to protect those who are oppressed. These self-appointed Justiciars can gain power, followers, prestige, wealth, or just feel better about themselves.
Even their own leaders are subject to this pressure.
The absolute safest way to stay in the good graces of the movement is to participate in online activism, attend protests, and point and shriek at the next person so the deadly whimsy of the mob will overlook your sins. Think of SJWs as a cannibalistic pack of feral racoons, and the larger the prey they help bring down, the more forgiveness they earn. University presidents, business executives, and Donald Trump are good examples of high-value prey.
When this prey is not available, they will turn on each other. See Joss Whedon, Wil Wheaton, and George RR Martin for examples.
Remember: the vague rules exist not only to punish their enemies, but to keep Social Justice Warriors on high alert. Any one at any time for any offense, real or imagined, can suddenly become their target. SJW mobs come together like reporters scenting Republican malfeasance, ready to rip apart livelihoods and reputations. Bankrupting the victim while they attempt to mount a legal defense is just a bonus.
What a lousy way to live. For all of us.
The Spork Speaks – Tempest in a Teardrop – Quizzer