At Middlebury College, a new crisis is brewing. The group Social Justice Warriors Against Oppression Always Everywhere Yesterday (SJWAOAEY) recently unveiled a vocal new campaign against the sun.
“If you think about it and aren’t an oppressor,” said I. M. Triggered, the leader of SJWAOAEY, “the sun is the paragon of oppressive, toxic masculinity.”
Members of the group point out that the sun has traditionally been viewed as masculine throughout Western history. “This has allowed for the socially constructed masculine sun to dominate the traditionally feminine moon in many problematic ways,” continued I. M. Triggered.
For example, members of SJWAOAEY point out that people usually prefer daytime to nighttime, representing the preference given to men over women. They also argue that the sun, as a hot, masculine, expanding ball of gas, feels entitled to subsume whatever it wants. “One day, the sun is going to destroy Mother Earth because of its expansion rooted in a paradigm of patriarchal, neo-liberal entitlement.”
SJWAOAEY is demanding that the Astronomy Department adopt a Heliocentric Oppressive Model when covering topics related to the sun. At first, the Astronomy Department was hesitant. “One peer-reviewed journal article with a few buzzwords shrouded in righteous moral imperatives should not cause us to discard critical thinking and rationality,” stated one astronomy professor.
In response, SJWAOAEY disrupted the professor’s classes. When the professor taught a unit on solar flares, a few radical members of SJWAOAEY tarred and feathered the problematic professor for not adopting the proper language. After the incident, the school changed the curriculum. “The heliocentric model was discovered, created, and advanced by a straight, Cis white male,” explained one member of the mob. “It makes sense that Copernicus wanted to enshrine his privilege in a scientific theory.”
The reaction on campus has been mixed. One student told The Hill News, “I mean, I’m against sexism, so I have to support everything SJWAOAEY does.” Another student responded, “You can’t be nuanced about an issue when you’re shouting. And if you’re not shouting, you’re not outraged. And if you’re not outraged, you’re sexist.”
Other students privately disagreed. One student, who wished to remain anonymous out of fear of also being tarred and feathered, said, “I am for combatting sexism, but I feel that all means aren’t justified simply because the ends are justifiable. Sexism exists almost all over the place, but it is not literally present everywhere.”
Some students took a more hardline response. The Middlebury Traditional Family Values Club (MTFVC) offered a statement condemning all attempts at gender equality: “See, feminism is wrong. Clearly Brock Turner is the victim, because men have been the victim of vacuous allegations. We almost had a woman president once; ergo, sexism is not real!” They plan on inviting Richard Spencer to campus next semester.
The future of the SJWAOAEY is uncertain. After successfully changing the Astronomy Department’s curriculum, the group suffered a schism. Some members of the group felt that the sun wasn’t sexist but instead ableist. “If you look, the sun favors taller plants, whereas shorter plants are marginalized,” said one member. “SJWAOAEY’s failure to acknowledge the lived experience of short plants is appalling.”
After not letting the other side speak for two hours, each faction accused the other of being complicit in oppression. Those who subscribed to the ableist interpretation of the Heliocentric Oppressive Model broke away from SJWAOAEY and formed the Socially More Just Warriors Against Ableism Two Days Ago (SMJWAATDA). SMJWAATDA has since declared SJWAOAEY of being complicit in ableism: “I.M. Triggered is no better than Richard Spencer.”
Amidst all this squabbling, a few students at Middlebury, who were on the fence about certain cultural issues—perhaps because of their upbringing—signed up for MTFVC. “I’ve never heard of Richard Spencer before, but I don’t think the sun is oppressive,” explained one student when asked why he joined the conservative club.