So, over at Patheos there was something going on about Wiccan Privilege. I was pretty much set to ignore it, because, well…Patheos tends to have a certain type of Pagan on there and decided to let it alone. After all, the Wild Hunt, supposed CNN of the Pagan world…couldn’t cut it over there, and it was one of the more “progressive liberal” rags I’d run into.
But apparently this whole deal of Wiccan Privilege is hitting more than just Patheos. Metal Gaia (an awesome blog, btw) threw her two cents in and that got me to finally sit down and bang my head…I mean keyboard.
I suppose the first place most people would start is talking about how Wicca is “Privileged” in comparison to other Pagan religions. (I can’t even remember what started this whole discussion, some sort of default to Wiccan rituals or something and someone got butthurt, maybe).
But I’m not going to start there. No, I’m going to start with looking at this whole Idea of Privilege and where it comes from. Mostly because I feel kinda crappy, tired, and annoyed at all this bs.
First off, we have to realize that the idea of privilege doesn’t even really have to do much with reality at this point. See, it all hails from the idea of Social Justice. For those of you not in the know, Social Justice has less to do with actual justice and more to do with taking down people you think have it better than you. Or punishing yourself because you think you have it better than someone else because you’re privileged.
Of course, the major problem with Social Justice and adhering to social justice as a cause is that you have to be Just and on the side of Justice, which means that you have to be fighting against Privilege all the time. Because unless everyone is equal, there is no social justice…so if someone has something that someone else doesn’t, that’s privilege and must be fought against.
If you can’t see how stupid this gets…well, it’s possible you’re fighting for Social Justice.
To jump a bit off topic, and to clarify how Social Justice actual differs from actual Justice. In actual justice an innocent man should be fairly judged and released. According to social justice, its okay for an innocent man to go to prison for twenty years on a false allegation of say rape, just so that a woman shouldn’t feel like she might not be taken seriously if she comes to the cops to say she was raped. Why? Because men are privileged and women are disadvantaged and so we have to help women and men can suck it. Apparently.
And there’s a whole lot of criteria in social justice about who is privileged and who isn’t. For example a “white male Asatruar” has more privilege than a “black female Christian” despite the fact that the former is in a smaller group than the latter.
So now that we’ve got that bs out of the way….Wiccan Privilege!
So apparently a lot of Pagans…or some Pagans who have made Social Justice a tenant of their religion (one of the reasons I ended up leaving The Wild Hunt’s comments section) got mad about something involving Wiccans and their having privilege by being more well known and people assuming all Pagans are Wiccan.
Now, in a rational world we would be happy for Wiccans that they are so recognized and that they’ve managed to get Paganism out into the mainstream. Nope, the fact that more Wiccans have written books, that Wicca is remarkably easy to understand and practice, and that it’s been the go-to Pagan religion for media isn’t a reason to celebrate or for them to be well known. It’s clearly evidence that Wiccan are Privileged and this needs to be dealt with harshly because they aren’t My Pagan Religion!
Now look, Asatru is about as far from Wicca as Satanism is from Christianity, at least philosophically. Wicca tends to hold that there’s a Goddess and a God and they’re kind of what I would call Omni-beings that gave us the different gods and goddesses as Aspects of themselves, where as Asatru we typically hold that each God and Goddess is their own unique being. Wiccans hold that you can do whatever you please so long as it doesn’t hurt anyone. Asatru tends to believe that you can’t do whatever the heck you please, you have to act with honor…but it doesn’t matter if someone gets hurt in the process. Well, okay, it matters, but honor is put above pain and suffering of both yourself and others.
But just because there’s more out there about Wiccan and Wiccanish Paganism than Asatru and Heathenism doesn’t mean that they’re more privileged than me. It just means that Wicca came out in the 50’s rather than the (I think) 70’s for Asatru, that Wicca is a lot…kinder…than Heathenism, which in a world dominated by Christians means that Friendly Happy Pagans gets more attention than say…
Let’s face it. Vikings are awesome. We are not the kinda people however who make you feel easy around us. We fuck at the dinnertable, we slaughter our foes, we drink like fish, fight like men (even our women), and appear only to burn everything to the ground. And when you think of Wicca you get:
Let’s face it. People these days like things simple and easy to understand. Wicca give us this. Two Deities, Four elements, Goddess is more important than God, the rest is commentary,go and study. This means that for a lot of us Wicca is a bit light on the things that matter (I ended up not liking it partially because instead of being equal, in a lot of Wicca the God is either a second class deity or forgotten all together) but for the masses it makes it incredibly easy to pick up. Especially since for every one book about another tradition, there is at least fifteen books about Wicca. Heathenism, Druidism, Hedgewitchery, etc, can’t be stripped down like that. Heathenism has 40+ Gods, of which in order to really practice you have to know close to 20 of them and is filled with a number of terms that are hard to say. Druidism…have you even tried to say the names of Celtic Deities. Have you tried spelling them? 70% of them don’t even have vowels!!!!
You’d spend more time trying to explain what the heck you’re worshiping and explaining what it all means than you’d have to tell the story. I mean Hela, in my Getting Started section I’ve got 12 posts already just explaining the basic stuff and I’ve still probably got about a good 30 posts if I get back to it (which I’d like because I intend to make it a book someday). The History Channel show Vikings does a pretty decent job half the time, but even then it follows the story telling rule of show don’t tell, which is good…but it leaves you often wondering what’s going on if you aren’t already schooled in Norse Religion and Culture. I know this because I’ve had to explain stuff to people who aren’t Heathens…and sometimes even people who are Heathens. Which means the show is brilliantly written, but you don’t learn a lot about the religion or the Gods, because they’ve mentioned maybe 6 of them, give or take.
Wicca…five minutes, maybe an episode, and you’re good. You don’t have to explain the difference between Freya, Freyr, and Frigga.
That doesn’t mean Wicca is privileged though. That’s like saying Fruit Loops is privileged over Raisin Bran because more people eat Fruit Loops. No, Fruit Loops has more sugar and tastes sweater than Raisin Bran so people like it better. Or are addicted to it, idk.
And even if Wicca is privileged, who cares? They’ve worked long and hard as a religion to drag themselves out of the dark and become a quickly growing religion that hopefully within a decade or so will be a mainstream religion. They aren’t hurting anyone, and they’ve led nearly all of us to our present other Pagan religions because we like the idea, but not the execution, so we went for something else.
Privilege isn’t a bad thing. It means you worked hard, got lucky, and had something that someone else wanted. And just because someone is above you in the social consciousness doesn’t mean you have the right to go and tear them down just because they stand higher than you do. Nor should you. I mean, the whole idea that we should take away the things that someone else has simply because we don’t have them as a form of Justice spits in the face of what Justice actually is.
So let the Wiccans alone people. They’re a tiny fraction of the population and we grow as they grow. Just sit back and enjoy the ride, and if you don’t like it, find a way to package your religion in a quick and easy package and shill that shit to the masses.