Arsehat alert: misuse of the word “victimisation”

Reactionary arsehats arguing against sexual harassment policies are accusing pro-feminist men of victimising/victimizing women. How, you might ask?

It appears that the arsehats understand the word ‘victimisation’ not to mean what the word is usually understood to mean i.e. a perpetrator actually harming someone. No, to these arsehats the ‘victimisation of women’ means talking about women’s history of being victims of harmful acts. So the allegation is that pro-feminist men are making women see themselves as victims.

Here’s an example of the word salad involved:

What I said was more along the lines that both genders have their privilages in their own ways. Women seem to be the **victims** here largely because of some overgrown sexually deprieved men trying their best to avail every single oppurtunity to victimize women, and in so doing, trying to project an image of the greatest champions of the feminist movement known to man. Do you disagree with this? Is victimizing women same as empowering them?

Why golly gee whiz! We wimminz would never have thought about talking about how we want harmful and annoying sexist behaviour to stop happening if it wasn’t for male champions telling us that we should, amiright?

Also, see again the standard authoritarian mindset that “victim” is an overarching, permanently debilitating status (and thus a self-identification that ought to be vigorously rejected/overcome) rather than simply an acknowledgement of one’s experience of a particular event in one’s life.

Categories: culture wars, gender & feminism, language

Tags: , , ,

12 replies

  1. So the men supporting [and participating alongside] women’s efforts to discuss and address endemic issues are victmising the women?
    Let me guess: If no men were known to be involved in the pushback against harassment, women would just simply be accused of “playing the victim” or told to build a bridge and get over it!
    [Note: my continued eyerolling at the notion that one can eliminate a problem without ever acknowledging a problem even exists is implied]

  2. They are creative, have to give them that.

  3. Word salad is too kind a description. I couldn’t actually understand what that mishmash was trying to say. Talk about lousy sentence construction (on top of everything else) …

  4. That was a favourite of the old culture warriors like Saluzinsky and MacGuinness back in the day, the sort of old guy who used to be a Trot or Maoist back in the day. “Oh you wimminz are just in a CULTURE OF VICTIMHOOD[tm]…” Glad all this is making a comeback. Retro is so big these days. [/sarcasm]
    The great thing about this trope is that anyone who complains is automatically suspect… Perfect!!

  5. The reason this makes sense to these people is that they confuse words with reality.
    If you don’t let yourself be victimized then you’re not a victim.
    Feminists supposedly go around looking for trouble and of course they find it.
    There’s a whole load of can-do claptrap that only people of privilege can swallow whole, the idea that we are our own worst enemy, and if we just don’t listen to those little negative voices, we will succeed! Look at Oprah! Stop feeling sorry for yourself!
    And then the capper is that they then feel sorry for THEMSELVES that they have to deal with us and our unfair characterizations (wah) and our ridiculous demands for “special rights” (gasp) that they don’t understand because they already have those rights.

  6. Yes, Jupitaur, there’s a new-agey trope going around that people can only hurt you if you let yourself be hurt (or insulted, etc). It virtually gives permission to hurt and bully people and puts the onus completely on the person receiving the bad behaviour. It’s a very unhelpful and toxic meme and I think it’s had such currency because it favours people who are already privileged.

    • I suspect that it’s at least partly attributable to the Just World Fallacy – people want to feel in control of what happens to them, and it’s tempting to accept the idea that Positive Thinking will save one from harm.

      • P.S. links to Just World Hypothesis/Just World Fallacy stuff – it’s one of the most common cognitive biases, and plays into victim-blaming generally (not just in rape culture) – the idea that people get what they deserve, so if one simply does The Right Thing at all times, then nothing bad will happen to one. Catch-22 being that if something bad does happen to one, then one obviously failed somehow to do The Right Thing and QED it was nobody else’s fault but one’s own.

  7. Strong post from Greta Christina thanking all those who fought for LGBT rights and pointing out the myth at the heart of my post:

    There’s a common myth about discrimination. The myth goes that if you’re in a marginalized group, all you have to do to be treated equally is to stand up for yourself and personally demand your rights. And the corollary to this myth is that speaking out about the reality of group-based discrimination — discrimination against queers, against women, against people of color, against trans people, against working class people, against atheists, against immigrants, against any marginalized group — somehow makes you part of the “culture of victimization.”
    This is bullshit.

  8. Positive thinking probably wouldn’t have prevented 9/11

  9. Greta Christina has written yet another relevant post!

    “Playing the Victim”: Oppression and a Catch-22
    People fighting oppression get put in a Catch-22: If we speak out against oppression and point to examples of it, we’re accused of “playing the victim card,” and the oppression becomes invisible. And if we don’t speak out against oppression and point to examples of it… then the oppression once again becomes invisible.

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