FEMALE PRIVILEGE – Hypoagency – Queen For a Day

When I was a little kid there was a show on daytime television called Queen For a Day. Yes, this was a very long time ago. The premise was that several contestants, housewives and mothers, would compete for sympathy by telling their tales of woe to the audience – crippled or sick children, disabled husbands, whatever else they could garnish it with – and then after they had all finished their pitches, the audience would applaud each one and an applause meter would register which one had gotten the most sympathy, and could carry off the washing machine and new car and all the other goodies that had been droolingly detailed at the beginning of the show. It was the Miss America pageant of victimhood.

Our culture, and not just ours, fetishizes victimhood. Victimhood is the ultimate moral weapon, and weaponized victimhood has been the weapon of choice in a lot of really necessary and good social reform movements. But like nukes, it should not fall into the wrong hands. The whole of modern feminism has for the past 20 years at least been predicated on a framework of victimology and all its tropes – patriarchy theory, rape culture, gendered pay gap, the war on women, the form rhetoric around women’s reproductive rights takes – all rest on victimology rather than a simple insistence on equal rights and empowerment. It is a very sad, very retrograde development, because it is nothing but a reversion to traditionalist gender assumptions.

An Amazon of ink has been lavished on victimhood in feminism, and then on feminism’s addiction to victimhood even in defiance of solid fact. Now Icyx on the MensRights subreddit has contributed this bit to the conversation, quotations for Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick detailing feminism’s embrace of and dependence on victimhood as its identity:

“At least for relatively privileged feminists of my generation, it has been an article of faith, and a deeply educative one, that to conceive of oneself as a woman at all must mean trying to conceive oneself, over and over, as if incarnated in ever more palpably vulnerable situations and embodiments.”

She continues with an acknowledgement of the risks of this approach:

“The costs of this pressure toward mystification — the constant reconflation, as one monolithic act, of identification with/as — are, I believe, high for feminism, though it’s rewards have also been considerable.

(Its political efficacy in actually broadening the bases of feminism is still, it seems to me, very much a matter of debate.) Identification with/as has a distinctive resonance for women in the oppressively tidy dovetailing between old ideologies of women’s traditional ‘selflessness’ and a new one of feminist commitment that seems to begin with a self but is legitimated only by willfully obscuring most of its boundaries.”

The misogyny inherent as casting women as eternal victims might impose a cost, take a toll? Whoever would have guessed that something so diminishing and derogatory and insulting would come at a cost?

Here’s a cost I bet she didn’t anticipate – the backlash from black women tired of having their oppression hijacked for white feminists’ rhetorical purposes, their self-serving insistence that misogyny was the fundamental oppression and resulting subordination of racial oppression to that, and now the gathering backlash of gay men finally seeing through all the claims of solidarity in opposition to oppression blah, blah, blah to the rotten core of man-hatred at the core of this ideology.

The bills are coming due and not a decade too soon.

So are there signs of maturation in the culture, hope for the future, some end to this childish, spoiled, pampered, special pleading tide of bullshit that saturates the gender discussion from the feminist side?

“The format is currently owned by television executive Michael Worstman, who shopped the format around for a revival in 2011, but without success.[8]”

We live in hope. Apparently women out in society are getting tired of it.

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  • Cicero

    I read a good article by a swedish professor about how we have become a victim culture. I have tried to find it again without success. My guess would be that some academics must have written some good stuff on the general victim culture as it is something I hear more and more people complain about.

  • Ginkgo

    Cicero, it’s the whole tension between a stoic responsibility culture versus a passive victim culture. You see this tension in Christianity a lot, both formally and in Christian cultures, some more than others. There may be a norhtern/northwestern vs. Mediterranean split involved. I thiink a Swedish writer would have interesting things to say about it.

  • Cicero

    Interesting. I haven`t thought much about the broader cultural and religious connections. Scandinavia is very much victim focused. There is almost no responsibility language left. Even the conservative right wing parties have lost most of their language in that regard and adopted more of a victim focused or just efficiency and freedom focused language.

    The US has a very explicit and hard self responsibility ethic. Yet the most extreme victim culture appears to come from the US as well. A counter reaction perhaps?

  • Ginkgo

    That’s an interesting development in Sweden, since it amounts ot a complete inversion. The stereotype here is the gentel, silent, stoic Swedish grandmother who doesn’t have much time for snivelling.

    “The US has a very explicit and hard self responsibility ethic. Yet the most extreme victim culture appears to come from the US as well. A counter reaction perhaps?”

    That and also you have to remember the huge cultural spectrum. There is a saying “The Jews blame God but the Irish blame themselves.”

  • Cicero

    “That’s an interesting development in Sweden, since it amounts ot a complete inversion. The stereotype here is the gentel, silent, stoic Swedish grandmother who doesn’t have much time for sniveling”

    Well, I am Norwegian so I can`t comment fully on Sweden but it was/is one of the most hardcore social democracies. With that comes a huge emphasis on helping people no matter the cause. Even if you brought things entirely on yourself you are still seen as worthy of help. Norway is the same but a bit further to the right. Over time that mentality has largely won out for the entire population. So the Norwegian conservative party is more like the middle or left wing of the US democratic party. THe whole pull yourself up by the bootstraps ethic is entirely foreign. Now at least. I am not sure how this was 50 years ago. There has been a shift but I am not quite sure how it was before.

    My sense is that Sweden is generally the same. Denmark is harder, more to the right and has more talk about self responsibility etc. Sweden is extremely politically correct across the board. And for some reason the feminists there are nuts. Norwegian feminists are rather moderate. Swedish feminists are all about the SCUM manifesto, patriarchy and they are vicious. They really, really HATE. Norwegian feminism is much more technocratic, based on stuff that is easily counted and measured like part time work, work life balance, quotas etc. and it lacks the hard hate of Sweden. Its more like mild contempt for men and a soft “innocent” and a bit under the hood glorification of women and feminine values. There is also a fair bit of room to talk about fathers lack of access to their kids, female maternal gatekeeping and some male issues. Crisis centers where opened to men a few years ago and government reports, though still very biased, do address male issues to a larger degree than I think is the case elsewhere. No one talks about the patriarchy and it is easier to claim women are responsible for SOME of the stuff that is happening today and have vested interests in some of the roles of today. You won’t as easily get the but that is also part of patriarchy of HeatherN and Lindy West. No one talks about that stuff.

    For some reason feminism in Norway became state feminism and the technocrats have been largely responsible for driving the issues forward. I think that can possibly explain a lot. In Sweden the academic feminists seems to have won out with all their women’s studies speak. The Hjernevask (brainwash on youtube) show helped discredit them before they really got their ideas across anyway.

    I think there is some sort of larger cultural patterns here. Norwegians generally focus on technocratic and easily counted stuff and are generally moderate and pragmatic and we don`t have a tradition for hard culture wars. We just have mild moderate culture wars. Except for the radical marxists in the 70s. That was hardcore and they had huge influence for a while. I am not sure what is up with Sweden. They are more conformists, which might explain some of the PC correct stuff. And they are more to the left. Still something is lacking to explain it because their feminists are truly bats hit crazy and radical feminists have really won out and taken over the center of the debate.

    A historian called Rune Langeland wrote a book called the Vaginal State (probably not available in English, if even available in Norwegian anymore) some years ago and argued that the state has become like an incestuous mother taking care of all your needs and always knowing what is best for you better than yourself and the state has become women’s substitute husband making betas unnecessary etc. I think there is a lot of truth to that image. The state here is very much maternal rather than paternal. Soft dominance.

  • Cicero

    Swedish feminism:

  • Ginkgo

    Cicero,
    “Well, I am Norwegian so I can`t comment fully on Sweden but it was/is one of the most hardcore social democracies. With that comes a huge emphasis on helping people no matter the cause. Even if you brought things entirely on yourself you are still seen as worthy of help.”

    This seems tot be a constant in cultures adapted to really hard environments. It still requires a lot of responsibility, it’s just that everyone is responsible for everyone. And that works at a small enough scale – single ethnicity states, small enough ethnicities. The Swedish term says it all – Folkhemmet. Nobody uses the term anymore probably, and it does sound very tribalistic and even racist after the way the Nazis tainted the term “Volk”.

    The differnece in the US I think is the historical memory of people coming out of parts of the UK that were treated pretty harshly in the process of coming under Englsih domination. The memory of local cultures and religious movements being suppressed in the intersts of economic exploitation is no longer clear or detailed but it runs very deep. It resulted in a bone-deep distrust of external authority in those people who left to come here, and that includes the larger community of neighbors or society that authority represents.

  • http://www.marvelousmanboobs.com David H. Fucktrelle, Male Feminist Extraordinaire ™

    there’s no such thing as female privilege, but you misogynist’s wouldn’t know that…

    you can’t have empathy for womyn until you pee like them…

  • Tamen

    Gingko:

    It resulted in a bone-deep distrust of external authority in those people who left to come here, and that includes the larger community of neighbors or society that authority represents.

    Isn’t that somewhat at odds with the fact that about half of the US population is OK with extensive surveillance by the government (ref: the PRISM program recently leaked).?

  • JE

    Is it just me or are norwegians a bit overrepresented here.

    At least there’s me, you and Tamen.

  • Cicero

    Is it just me or are norwegians a bit overrepresented here.

    At least there’s me, you and Tamen.

    I have noticed the same. And I have seen one or two others previously I think.

  • Ginkgo

    Isn’t that somewhat at odds with the fact that about half of the US population is OK with extensive surveillance by the government (ref: the PRISM program recently leaked).?

    Tamen, that looks odd, doesn’t it? It’s not, it’s still the same principle – distrusting your neighbors. In places like france and Itlay ther eis a clear sense of the “people” and the “government” and this inherent gulf between them. That depends on a sense of solidarity within the people, and that in turn requires some kind of tribal sense. Europe went through a century-long process of aligning politicla entities with ethnicities, and then squabbling where the defining boundaries of ethnicities were, called nationlaism. Regardless of what all the flag-waving may look like, American nationalism has nothing to do with that. There is no sense of one big tribe here, even among the various English groups, who have basically always hated each other along religious/ideologial lines. Think of the threat narrative that animates the right-wing anti-government movement.

    Dfuck,
    “you can’t have empathy for womyn until you pee like them…”

    I saw that too. That one just won’t die, will it?

  • Ginkgo

    Cicero,
    “Is it just me or are norwegians a bit overrepresented here.”

    It’s just you. Norwegians are not overrepresented because there is no such thing as having too many Norwegians. You raise the tone of the conversation here. Invite more in.

  • Cicero

    “there is no such thing as having too many Norwegians.”

    Haha. You certainly know how to charm Ginko:)

    I`m wondering if anyone can help me with links showing feminist definitions of rape. I`m in a debate right now about rape and questionable definitions of rape and standards of rape. I have previously come across claims more or less along the lines of if the woman later regrets the experience she was raped or if she felt unable to consent but the man was in no way or shape or form threatening she was raped or if she changes her mind but says nothing it was rape or if she had just one drink it was rape etc. Unfortunately I haven`t saved links to those discussions and it is hard to google search them because I get a billion hits about black out drunk sex discussions or articles saying a woman is not to blame for being raped for being drunk etc. Anyone have any links to such? Or to all sorts of questionable expansions of the term rape?

    I also read an article, at avoiceformen I think, about new laws or proposed laws about rape at universities that made it punishable to persuade a woman into sex under certain circumstances. For example persuading a woman that did not believe in sex outside of a committed relationship would be punishable. Even if she logically agreed, changed her opinion, had sex voluntarily and enjoyed it. I`ve tried some different searches without finding it.

    I`ve started storing links and quotes to all sorts of stuff now to avoid not finding things again.

  • Ginkgo

    Cicero, Tamen might have those ready to hand and then too you might make that same request for sources and defintions in a self-reddit over at the mensRgihts subreddit
    http://www.reddit.com/r/MensRights/

    I’m glad a statement of fact is charming, but things have quieted down here and the discussions have gotten a good bit more productive and now someone points out that some Norwegians are here. Correlation is not causation but I’ll go with it.

  • Tamen

    Cicero: My main concern has been that the definition of rape is equally applied to male and female victims and male and female perpetrators. You probably already know how Mary P Koss, the CDC, FBI (according to most interpretation of their definition of rape), UK law, several US state laws does not include PIV/PIM/PIA intercourse without consent as rape if the man penetrating was the one not consenting.

    Several years ago I recall there were some discussion on blogs like IBTP, Feministe and Feministing over a suggestion (from Twisty Faster of IBTP I think) to make non-consent the default assumption thus removing the presumption of innocence and if a woman accused a man of rape he would have to prove himself not guilty – if he couldn’t then he would be guilty.

    There was a lot of talk abut this when the Yes Means Yes book by Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti came out (in 2008 I think). Now my impression is that although feminists still think enthusiastic consent is a valid ethical/moral concept which serves well as a personal guideline fewer and fewer consider it fit as a legal standard. One cited reason is how it applies for sex workers (a consideration for the sex-positive feminists, for the anti-sex work feminists not so much), but the cynic in me thinks that now when it’s becoming harder and harder to consider rape a gendered crime only affecting female victims, a lot of feminists won’t support enthusiastic consent as a legal standard because that could make them rapists. Example being the response from many feminists on the Feministing post about how a woman nagged her partner into having sex which he eventually grudgingly gave up saying no and later told her that he felt violated.

    The term rape are used in more than one context. Legal is just one of them. For instance I’d say that something could be rape even though I don’t believe the perpetrator could nor should be prosecuted (a victim-centered definition of rape). If one is to discuss the definition of rape used by feminists it would strengthen the quality of the dicussion if one explicitly cclarified in which context the particular definitions are.

  • gwallan

    @Tamen…

    I will continue to position coercion as the primary basis for rape. Consent can be forced. There are manifold ways of coercing others to do your bidding.

  • Clarence

    Gingko:
    You might want to check this article out. It’s about some research that shows the ‘dark side’ of empathy and one of the problems listed is basically what you call “empathy apartheid”.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324688404578545523824389986.html

  • Political Cynic

    “I will continue to position coercion as the primary basis for rape. Consent can be forced. There are manifold ways of coercing others to do your bidding.”

    The interesting thing is if you take a long, hard look at what is being said about oral sex-starting from the post here and moving out-what you discover is that, in reality, many of the feminists who “presume guilt” for men are the ones who also support coercing men into consenting to oral sex-which in my book arguably makes them supporters of a form of “rape culture” in which raping men becomes acceptable behavior that is encouraged. .

    And of course don’t forget India. Fascinating new law on rape there.. (Pardon my rage face-male rape victims are a hot button issue for me….).

    “You can’t have empathy for womyn until you pee like them…”

    So logically wouldn’t this mean that “feminist womyn” are incapable of feeling empathy for men? So how, exactly, would that make feminism “good for men”?

  • Cicero

    Thanks for the tips guys.

    “An 11-year-old New Zealand boy was reported Saturday to have fathered a child with the 36-year-old mother of a school friend, raising questions on why women cannot be charged with rape in the country.

    Counsellors working in the area of child sexual abuse said the case highlighted a lack of attention to women as potential offenders, according to the New Zealand Herald, which reported the story.

    The case has also prompted an examination of the law, under which the crime of rape applies only to men.”

    http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/313002/news/world/11-year-old-new-zealand-boy-fathers-child-with-36-year-old-woman

  • Ginkgo

    Tamen, that’s a good summation of the evolution of the feminist discussion around rape, and PCV, that’s a good expansion on it.

    Tamen, good work over at that thread on Ally’s blog about rape accusations.

  • Tamen

    @gwallan:

    You are right that coercion and the many ways it can manifest is a primary basis for rape and that consent isn’t really consent if it’s coerced.

  • Ginkgo

    Coercion as a form of rape – James Landrith was raped by means of coercion, threats of proxy violence. His rapist threatened him with outing him as gay duiring a period of a homophobic witchhunt in the Marines and also threatened to accuse him of rape as a way to force him to submit.

    Coercion definitely is a manes of rapae.

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