Classic Nugget of Awesome: Harriet Jay on Stereotypes, Abused Populations and Survival Tactics

This 2009 quote from Harriet Jay’s remarkable blog Fugitivus came up in a ManBoobz thread (content note: discussion of intimate partner violence, victim-blaming social excuses for IPV, and the idiosyncratic rationalisations of Theodore Beale). I wanted to highlight it firstly because it’s marvellously illuminating, and secondly to link back to the original post to make it easier for others to cite this quote.

Q4: Have you perhaps considered that stereotypes are there for a reason?
A: Stereotypes exist pretty clearly to benefit the current social order, and when somebody enacts the stereotype perfectly, it becomes evidence for the stereotype, and when somebody acts in the complete opposite of the stereotype, they are exceptions and also fall into other very convenient stereotypes (dyke, fag, liberal). And most stereotypes, if you examine them closely, are full of the kind of survival habits that a person would develop were they being abused terribly, so perhaps it is not a surprise that abused populations behave in these ways, and perhaps it is not a surprise that the people who abuse them take these habits and use them as an excuse for further abuse, and that is why I am a feminist.
A Few Things To Stop Doing When You Find a Feminist Blog | Fugitivus

Harriet’s whole post from which this is extracted is brimful of awesome, so why not reaquaint yourself with it, or go discover it if you’ve never been there before (the blog’s been mothballed since 2010 except for a few updates earlier this year, but the archive will reward your explorations).

Categories: gender & feminism, language, social justice, violence

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