SJW Wars: The Nerdist Awakens
I guess some people may refer to me as an SJW, or “Social Justice Warrior”.
Apart from that chugging contest I won in high school, no one has ever labeled me as a warrior of any variety. But some think that this is an apt title for me now because I actively believe in the “fair go” and diversity in all industries, especially the entertainment sector that I love so dearly. I want to see the widest variety of people producing the widest variety of content; music, TV, comedy, games, you name it.
Let’s just take a quick detour and dissect this modern day slur.
noun: social justice
justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society.
So far so good.
(especially in former times) a brave or experienced soldier or fighter.
Well… sure, I’ll take the title if you want to give it to me. I understand that this phrase is tongue in cheek. For the record, please feel free to also refer to me as a “Beautiful Viking” or an “Intelligent Warlord”.
To give you an idea of what I’m about, on a scale of one to ten, I’m probably a level seven SJW. I’ve been known to engage in twitter arguments, passionately (or as my girlfriend describes, obnoxiously) defending and supporting feminism. I’m also proud to say I helped out with this year’s GX Australia, which focuses on minority representation in games. So yeah, probably a seven.
Here’s what a ten looks like…
This Nerdist vid features Wil Wheaton viciously slamming people that attacked the latest Star Wars flicks for featuring two female leads in a row, Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Jyn in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. He brings the heat to people for attacking something that he loves, good on him. Naturally, the reaction has not been kind. YouTube comments are generally a cesspool where mankind goes to die but this small piece of the internet is particularly rich.
Now against all better judgement, I’m going to wade through the top comments because, obviously, I don’t respect myself.
“Why all the SJW bs in this channel lately anyway? Like, it just feels so forced.”
“Wow, this video is really FORCED! That’s a Star Wars pun, but really it’s forced. Not funny. Stop it.”
“I’m gonna go drink bleach now”.
“You’re fucking retarded if you think that’s what the majority of men think.”
“Did a raging feminist cut off Wil Wheaton’s face and wear it like a mask to make this video because im honestly baffled, this shit is ignorant”.
“Mansplain? Really? Look you can talk feminism, humanism and equality all you want, that’s great, but using words like “mansplain” is sexist as fuck. So it’s kinda hypocrite to try to say “hey it’s cool we’re all equals chilll braaah….but fuck you cause you’re a man so you’re dumb. it’s ok to say that cause women suffer more sexism, so you kinda deserved it by being born a male’”.
Now before I mansplain this mansplenation, first thing’s first. Honourable mentions in this shit-storm go out to all of the people that commented before watching the whole video, people that referred to Nerdist as “the new Buzzfeed”, and people just attacking Wheaton for being Wheaton. Let’s be real, the most offensive feature of this whole fiasco is the repeated force puns. The horse is dead, please stop whipping it.
Some of the people claim to be upset on the basis that an opinion was being expressed at all, which seems to be a common trend nowadays.
“Why are you pushing your agenda here?”
Well because, sweet human, Nerdist industries is an entertainment institution, founded on a podcast by comedians and entertainers. Of-fucking-course they can, will, do, and always have shared their thoughts on hot topics.
The bulk of people are mad about the actual content. This video is about condemning sexism and a significant vocal portion of the group are outwardly against it, which baffles me. No one is actually saying that they straight up hate women, because that’s blatantly insane. But really, if you vaguely attack someone who is (aggressively, sure) supporting women’s representation, it looks super sexist.
After spending probably too much time digging, I think I’ve found the most common coherent criticism of the casting decisions made for The Force Awakens and Rogue One.
People are concerned that the current creators of the Star Wars franchise are compromising it’s potential by attempting to meet an arbitrary diversity criteria.
This might surprise you but I’m no fancy film critic, director, or producer. Hell, I’m not even in the film industry and even I can see the outrageous leaps made in this ridiculous notion. The number one error is the assumption that making a film is somehow more difficult if the star isn’t a white male. That mentality just plays into the fucked up assumption that white men are “default” film stars, which is the problem here.
Sad to say, but it’s probably a lot cheaper to have a female lead. (I used the word ‘probably’ here because I’m trying to reference the pay gap without starting a flame war.)
I was going to launch into a big rant about how absurd it would have been for Jar Jar Abrams and Disney to actively and knowingly sacrifice the quality of their movie to push a social agenda. But, the idea is too ridiculous and, most of all, completely unfounded. Ultimately, I really hope they are. I hope they are pandering to the SJWs that love interesting, diverse content rather than catering to the crusty old audience that want another male lead.
I want to make statements with my games and I trust these film veterans want to make statements with their movies.
Don’t be concerned when you see something new or different. We live in a world where you have so much choice in what entertainment you consume, there will always be something for you. In fact, I think variety is the lovechild of diversity.
There will be another male lead in a Star Wars film some day and I can assure you that we aren’t heading to an amazonian dystopian future.
Let’s not talk about this any more.