Is Social Justice A Social Construct?

I don’t know about you, reader, but often feel so contrived, sitting here and blogging about feminism or social justice. If it isn’t another complaint about today’s sexist trending Twitter tag, it’s another long whine about those pro-life Republican men of privilege out for my womb and its potential contents. Sure, I find it relaxing, if a bit self-indulgent, to have somewhere to sit at the end of the day and release my complaints about the world I am living in. The construction workers who think it is their right to cat-call to a woman walking down the sidewalk; the frustration of walking to classes at my private college each day in shoes that fit me well and with money in my wallet and having to apologize to the homeless men and women I meet along the way; even the cringe each time I hear the words lile “slut,” “fag,” or “gay” used inappropriately.

Even the word “social justice” is beginning to wear on me. Funnily enough, back in 10th grade when I decided my academic interest was in Anthropology (yeah, I’m one of the weird ones who actually knew in 10th grade), I thought that it would parallel my extracurricular interests in human rights so well. It turns out that marrying these two disciplines is far more problematic than I could’ve ever imagined.

Cultural relativism was the first big word to punch me in my happy social justice activist face. Is FGM a cultural equivalent to circumcision? Can a single system of morality be imposed upon a world of differening cultural structrues? Suddenly, my inspiration Eleanor Roosevelt’s Declaration of Human Rights didn’t seem so easy to apply on a global scale. Is there even a point to activism outside of the structure of your own society? Is there even a point to activism within your own society?

And now as I enter the realms of Medical Anthropology, I find myself becoming the bitter old maid who espouses medical nihilism and refutes everything ever told to her by a family of nurses. “Germs are a social construct. Science is a social construct. NOTHING EVEN EXISTS.”

It’s enough to drive a sane non-theist to want to explore religion. Now that’s something to be scared about.

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1 Comment

Filed under cultural anthropology, ennui, human rights, social justice

One response to “Is Social Justice A Social Construct?

  1. Barbwire Sugarbeet

    well…yes and no…the idea that social constructs exist is just a social construct (sorry to go all po’-mo’ on yo’ assho’) but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist…they’re just a way of explaining the information of whatever “body” (yes i know it’s a bad use of the word) you’re examining…whatever helps you understand what you are looking at…

    but as the idea of social justice goes…it’s just the information…a process of understanding in some lights…but there is real meat there…you should read some katherine hayles…she really helped me get over an existential crisis that i was having with the same shiz…she answers the question of “where does the body end and the information begin?” by saying something like “there’s definitely a body but we’ve sorta theorized it out of the picture” (at least that’s how i understood it).

    I think an important thing for mental well-being is that social constructs exist in physical form. I mean we classified germs as germs because we seen something we didn’t understand and (contentiously) we categorised it/them. For me, social constructions are only really a bad thing when we aren’t allowed to criticize them. It’s like activism and activists…they’re only as progressive as they are receptive to criticism. Maybe someday we won’t need the concepts we have because we’ll have evolved into a more clear abstract form of thinking and processing thoughts…

    Anyways, I’m just kinda blabbing and I just noticed this is from like, 6 months ago or so…but I hope I hepled. Just stay away from thinking you’re in the matrix…because if things are that bad…any thought of reform or change or revolution, etc. whatever it is the cool kids call it these days is completely futile. Sometimes Pragmatism is comforting but you gotta put a lot of juice into it (conceptually and actually).

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