One of the most popular articles I wrote last year is titled On Being a Normie Satanist, in which I pushed back on some Satanic stereotypes that exclude normal-seeming people like myself. I think these stereotypes (mostly from non-Satanists) are rooted in the notion that Satanism is less a religion and more a trend. But because Satanism is a religion, it will attract all different types of people – some who are more “stereotypically Satanic” and others who are less so.
However, despite the positive response, there was also some pushback, and I’d like to take a moment to explore three primary categories of pushback in Normie Satanism Discourse.
Normie isn’t normative
The primary negative response to the article seemed to be an uneasiness and feeling of invalidation. Some Satanists who are outsiders in ways that I am not seemed to feel the threat of invalidation and an attempt to “normalize” Satanism.
This makes sense, as our culture has done so much to enforce hegemonic normalcy. It makes sense to me that those more outside the cultural norm than I am would feel potentially threatened by my words.
So let me dig a bit deeper into what I meant: Satanism is a religion, and as such it will draw a wide variety of people. Some of those people will be more stereotypically Satanic, and others less so, but neither are more valid or more “Satanic” than the other. Put another way, normie isn’t normative, nor should it be.
Satanism will never stop being a deviant religion
Just because I’m a “normie,” though, doesn’t mean that the deepest core of Satanism is altered. Satanism will always be a deviant, transgressive, outsider religion.
Rather, my core point is that appearances, demeanor, and even personality type can be deceiving. People who look and seem conventional, or who are mainline in every conceivable way, might have some wild, hidden Satanic streak that draws them to a religion that centers the Ultimate Outsider. I think that this is true because Satanism is a religion, and all religions draw a vast variety of individuals. I’ve known metal heads who became Buddhists, and gay sex workers to became Christians. Religion is a story, and many, many different types of people might be unexpectedly drawn to that story.
I’m uncomfortable using the term “outsider” for myself
Really, the article came from my own discomfort with using the term “outsider” for myself. I can venerate the Ultimate Outsider while also acknowledging that I’m simply not an outsider in any meaningful way. I have often been excluded, ostracized, and I am gay, but I don’t think of myself as an outsider in the deep socio-political ways that divide our society. When I think of Outsiders, I think of sex workers, LGBT homeless youth, immigrants, and the unhoused. These are the true outsiders, and I want my Satanism to center them, not me.
In contrast, I have a nice house, my partner and I are financially secure; I’m white, male, cis, have a regular day job. I’m generally monogamous, vanilla, and traditional, even though my sexual ethics are incredibly libertine and permissive. I enjoy a level of privilege and comfort that would simply seem offensive to the class outsiders among us.
I don’t understand how I qualify in a deep sense as an outsider. I have some significant outsider experience as a gay person, but I don’t want my Satanism to be focused on me. I want it to center and empower the most marginalized in our society. I think that we have a problem in Satanism, and American progressivism at large, of people centering themselves as the ultimate victim, or martyr, or misunderstood. I think the history of Satanism and modern progressivism is full of incredibly powerful people fetishizing outsider status while ignoring the true social outsiders among us, and I want to resist that impulse in my own life. My life is amazing. I want to reserve true outsider status for those who are systemically abused and othered.
“Normie” isn’t a meaningful term, so don’t get too hung up on it
Finally, “normie” isn’t a meaningful term. It’s internet slang. In all honesty, I took on the term “Normie Satanist” as a bit of a joke – an easy way to articulate something true about me. But when I started seeing others in the community using the term, I realized that it might not be all that clear or useful. So let me discard the term and say this instead:
As Satanists, we can just be ourselves. If you are a latte soccer mom Satanist, an Army captain Satanist, a metal head Satanist, a corporate worker Satanist, or a trans sex worker Satanist, you are still a Satanist.
But that’s just me. What do you think? Please leave a comment below and share your thoughts. I love hearing back from my audience.
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