(First: I want to say that I might look at this in two days and think all of it is totally wrong.)
As someone who has always found "tumblr social justice" to be at least semi-useful 100% of the time, and funny when it's not very useful, I'm finding myself getting a bit worn out by the idea of privilege.
I actually don't mean this the way people mean it when they criticize the idea of privilege or say it is too widely applied. (Rest your chops and write me an email, please.)
I think what's kind of bothering me is this enshrining of privilege--what's bothering me is actually the idea of criticizing people because they consider something to be an oppressed group/privileged group dichotomy that you don't think is serious.
Yes, it can get very silly.
But it just bothers me when people start drawing a line in the sand about what silliness is. And I totally get if people read this and think I'm ridiculous. But I feel like if some person has felt really erased or somehow less-than, or like she has less of a future, because of some fact about herself, and then she's like, "Wow, this is how it works! This is why I felt like that--this was what was supposed to be the difference between me and other people!" that's, like, really cool. It's pretty cool to start seeing a system or pattern in something that previously just sucked.
Now, going to the doctor and having the doctor assume you are having sex, when in fact you're asexual--for example--is not like having someone follow you down the street and threaten you because they think you are having sex with someone of the same sex. It's not as important or urgent an issue.
But I also think it sucks and is a real problem and I'm happy for any person who is able to think and talk about why it's a problem, and I'm hopeful for the work that person will do--because I think the world will be better when different kinds of people are accepted as real, valuable, and natural.
One of the most frequently mocked aspects of "tumblr social justice," especially the teenage kind, is the way "oppressed identities" are treated like these buttons you can collect. I'm not saying I don't smile a little bit when I see some kid on their tumblr describing themselves as "Queer! Bisexual! Manic! Depressed! Bipolar! Crazy!"--apparently using as many synonyms as possible to make their list of identities longer--but I also feel excited about the buttonlike aspect, because I find it cool that instead of being like, "well my bipolar isn't that severe, and I've never been fired from a job because they knew about my diagnosis, and I'm not a psych survivor, and mental illness isn't a real disability...so I'll just crawl back under this rock," this person can just be like, "cool! I'm in!" and start looking at the world from that perspective for a while, and maybe start to understand some of the things that have happened to them as being part of a constellation of things that happen to mentally ill people.
The way people treat stigmatized identities and the people who carry them is pretty miserable. I think buttony tumblr culture makes this something that people can kind of start thinking about--maybe kind of lazily and shallowly, but shit, they should be thinking about it. And the majority of people have some kind of stigmatized identity that they can think about.
The idea that discussion of "oppression" has to be really hardcore, and that marginalization/abuse/stigma/fear has to be at a certain level before that group of people can be officially considered oppressed, just seems really...well, I get and agree with where it's coming from, but I ultimately feel it makes this stuff WAY less accessible. Because feeling like privilege is this heavy thing that you can't possibly understand doesn't make people interested or passionate.
But privilege is a really deep and consistent part of our world, and I think it's easy to start to understand it.