You don’t know social justice until you’ve been on tumblr. Although Facebook has the odd viral post railing against racial injustice, and #destroythejoint was trending on Twitter for quite some time, the real, radical, crusading Social Justice Warriors reside in the depths of blogging site tumblr.com.
This is where I stumbled upon blogger forfuturereferenceonly. Her bio reads ‘Tammi/Androgyne/Proud Environmental Vegan/Born with two X chromosomes’. She became notorious on tumblr for her endorsement of controversial concepts like ‘otherkin’ (google it) and the phrase ‘die cis scum’ (google it), among others. She was also known for pouncing on posts by other tumblr users, accusing them of being offensive and not ‘checking their privilege’.
Sometimes this was pretty fair, calling out people who shared memes or gifs that promoted racism or sexism. At other times, it was a whole new batshit level of political correctness.
One unsuspecting tumblr user posted the following: “If you don’t come home and immediately either take off your pants or change into pyjamas then I’m sorry but you’re living life wrong.” Tammi reblogged the post, adding “A friendly reminder that not everyone has the privilege of owning a home, pants or pyjamas. Enjoy living in luxury.”
Another person who had posted a photo of milk was warned that they were being offensive to lactose intolerant people and to vegans. Tammi’s character is perhaps summed up best by the tumblr user who posted “On a scale of one to forfuturereferenceonly, how offended are you?”
Then, a few weeks ago, came a surprising— to some— revelation. Tammi wrote a post titled “It has been wonderful experimenting with Tumblr’s userbase again.” Oh? “This entire blog was a social experiment/satirical take on the vegan and social justice blogging clique of tumblr. As some of you have already guessed, Tammi’s not a real person. This blog was operated as a social experiment on how tumblr’s userbase would react to an ‘extremist, inconsistent, rude, hypocritical, social justice blogger’.”
The main finding of the so-called social experiment was that “most people reacted negatively”. No duh. The discernible trolling spanned a five month period and ran for over 156 tumblr pages. That’s a lot of time devoted to cultivating the wholly unlikeable Tammi.
Her ‘outing’ shocked some, gladdened others, and made many resort to caps lock. User imaldris had seen it coming: “I don’t believe it… I FUCKING TOLD YOU THAT THIS WASN’T REAL AND SHOWED YOU EXAMPLES OF MINOR BREAKS IN CHARACTER. AND NONE OF YOU BELIEVED ME.” User soundsofambition was less than impressed: “I CREATED A WHOLE OTHER BLOG BASED ON POINTING OUT HOW FUCKING STUPID SHE WAS. I ONLY THOUGHT ONCE THAT IT WAS SATIRICAL. I FEEL SO FUCKING STUPID.”
A couple of posts after the big reveal, the blogger behind Tammi admitted that their main motivation was just a love of roleplaying: “It was fun playing her character. I am nothing like Tammi. I actually hate social justice bloggers and vegans… I am a roleplay blogger at heart and it’s a hobby of mine IRL [in real life].”
The reverse meaning of this acknowledgment— that the den of the Social Justice Warriors is not ‘real life’— is perhaps the most telling part of all.