DAMSELING – Pity Pumping

Pity pumping is a tactic that increases victim cred. To use it you first have to have victim cred to increase. If you don’t, if for instance you belong to a group that is designated as non-victims or non-victimizable, it will backfire. You won’t increase your victim cred you don’t have to begin with, you’ll just get labeled pathetic and some way to blame you for your plight will be found or invented. But if you are in a recognized victim group it often works very smoothly. In fact it’s nearly effortless.

Let’s look at some forms of pity pumping.

Portray an extreme example as a modal example – For while about ten years ago it was fashionable to brandish the statistic that murder was a major cause, or even the leading cause, of death in pregnant women. It accounted for more deaths among pregnant women than any medical problem with the pregnancy. Of course no actual numbers of these deaths versus others were ever mentioned because then it would have been obvious how few pregnant women die from any cause, medical or otherwise. Patriarchal medicine has seen to that. And publishing actual numbers of murders of pregnant women would allow the reader to compare these numbers to the statistics on male murder victims, and that would have defeated the whole purpose of the exercise.

But leaving in the realm of percentages and expressions of outrage allowed the moral entrepreneurs waving this red shirt to play on people’s normal instinctual protectiveness toward pregnant women. It fed the domestic violence narrative they were pushing.

Sly inversion – In this form of pity pumping you portray a harm to your victim group as greater than much worse harm to a non-victim group. An example of this is claiming that rape is worse than murder, that the victims suffer more. Another is the standard claim that the fact that war is institutionalized violence against men is really misogyny in disguise because it reflects a sexist consensus that women are not fit go off to die, because being considered unfit to die is like so much worse than actually dying. Another example of this was the way the Women’s Liberation movement portrayed the being a housewife as some form of oppression. Betty Friedan actually compared the lot of the housewife to that of a death camp inmate, saying they were both progressively dehumanized. She was speaking of American housewives in the 1950s living in what to the vast majority of humanity would consider a rather privileged position, certainly compared to that of their Man in The Grey Flannel Suit husbands who have all died off by now, years before these oppressed darlings.

See what Friedan did there? She exaggerated and misrepresented a life of relative privilege and thereby implicitly distorted and erased these women’s men’s lives of relative disprivilege – work that shortened their lives, denied them parenting time, required mindless conformity, based on an ethic of male disposability.

Slogans – Rebecca West’s formulation “Feminism is the radical notion that women are people.” is an example of pity pumping. “[Daddy!] look! They don’t even think I’m a person!!!!” Sob, sob, sob…….

Motherhood – The prime target for pity pumping, the dark heart of Mother McCree sentimentality about women, is motherhood and the way men, mostly idolize motherhood. And it can be exploited to very good effect. Yes, it’s ultimately misogynist and a part of patriarchal oppression and feminists have denounced it since the 70s – and still are, thank you, Mary Elizabeth Williams, than you very much for shredding this particular piece of sexist bullshit – but that hasn’t stopped feminists from insisting on the trope and exploiting it since before the 70s and right up to the present day. You see this in discussions of abortion and parental surrender, you see it in discussions of who gets primary child custody – “But, but, she CARRIED that child in her own body!!!” –  although this seems to be waning – good – and you see it in discussions of the “wage gap” and why women work fewer hours than men. They answer is not more but better feminism.

So that’s pity pumping. And I am avidly collecting more examples.

 

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  • SYABM

    Portray an extreme example as a modal example

    Such as, just pulling an entirely hypothetical example out of nowhere, treating “masculinity” as inherently connected with and condoning of “rapist” and “abuser”, while ignoring society’s overall stigmatization of such acts.

    Also, Louis CK once said that the leading cause of death for men is women. It’s heart disease, just like men, yet shedloads of feminists believed him. In fact, I’m pretty sure he was repeating a radfem statistic. Sorry, “statistic”.

    Another is the standard claim that the fact that war is institutionalized violence against men is really misogyny in disguise because it reflects a sexist consensus that women are not fit go off to die, because being considered unfit to die is like so much worse than actually dying.

    Or Hilary Clinton’s claim that women are the real victims of war, because they’re inconvenienced and hurt when their male loved ones die.

    She was speaking of American housewives in the 1950s living in what to the vast majority of humanity would consider a rather privileged position, certainly compared to that of their Man in The Grey Flannel Suit husbands who have all died off by now, years before these oppressed darlings.

    And, in fact, the Party regularly tries to co-opt or equate the issues of women with the issues of other groups. The current target is Men’s Rights, but they seem to be struggling with integrating a group whose issues feminism has downplayed or ignored its entire existence into the Patriarchy narrative. It’s hard to blame (white, cis, het) men for everything when they’re the ones complaining. In fact, many feminists who insist that the MRM or any non-feminist gender advocacy is unneeded are pretty clearly only doing it to try and look avuncular.

    Slogans – Rebecca West’s formulation “Feminism is the radical notion that women are people.” is an example of pity pumping. “[Daddy!] look! They don’t even think I’m a person!!!!” Sob, sob, sob…….

    So what, I like to ask, does that make the men who are expected to give their lives for women? How often, in systems of oppression, are humans expected to give their lives for sub-humans, are the privileged expected to give their lives for the oppressed? How is saving women’s lives an indication that they aren’t valued? What does that leave, kids and old people?

  • SYABM

    Correction:

    but they seem to be struggling with integrating a group whose issues feminism has downplayed or ignored its entire existence into the Patriarchy narrative.

    but they seem to be struggling with integrating the issues of men, which feminism has downplayed or ignored its entire existence, into the Patriarchy narrative. Because it is simply not set up to include male victimization. The best they seem to be able to do is duct tape men’s issues onto the outside while ignoring the core issues, and an unsightly thing it looks.

    That’s better. I need sleep.

  • Tamen

    I am sorry to say this SYABM, but you forgot to correct the Louis CK quote :)

    Sleep tight.

  • Robert Crayle

    Another important, yet somewhat difficult part to nail down about pity pulling is the making of bizarre and near impossible demands of everyone else, as if “everyone else” is one co-ordinated hierarchy at their command. The demand to “live in a world without rape” is somewhat rich coming from a group that a) doesn’t know or care about any of the causes and b) has no problem with condoning or even endorsing some rapists, and defending the actions of countless others.

    People are suckers for drama. They see a group demanding to “just be acknowledged” and miss that these people are (and have been since before anyone still on this planet was born) just standing over everyone making insensible and frankly insane demands so no-one can get a word in edgeways.

  • Ginkgo

    “Another important, yet somewhat difficult part to nail down about pity pulling is the making of bizarre and near impossible demands of everyone else, as if “everyone else” is one co-ordinated hierarchy at their command.”

    that comes out of a childish worldview that assumes there is some great, a;;-embracing power up there running everything and its malevolence is aimed at you, that’s the explanation for all the bad things in your life, and you demand that it all stop and it’s everyone’s else’s job to make that happen.

    This is at its most hilarious when you see in it people who swear they are atheist.

    And people do love drama. They think their lives are boring and they love the novelty and engagement drama offers them.

  • http://siryouarebeingmocked.tumblr.com/ SYABM

    @Robert Crayle

    a) doesn’t know or care about any of the causes

    The causes are Patriarchy and Male Entitlement. And that’s all you need to know about it.

    /sarcasm

    b) has no problem with condoning or even endorsing some rapists, and defending the actions of countless others.

    Whoa thar. Feminism doesn’t so much ignore those Inconvenient Rapists, so much as studiously look the other way. When pushed to the wall, they tend to struggle to try and fit non M>F rape into their rhetoric.

    They see a group demanding to “just be acknowledged” and miss that these people are (and have been since before anyone still on this planet was born) just standing over everyone making insensible and frankly insane demands so no-one can get a word in edgeways.

    There’s also the irony of members of a group wielding major institutional, political, and societal power acting like people negatively criticizing the movement is oppressing them.

    Or maybe it’s because the younger feminists expect to be able to change people’s minds for the asking, and are totally unsuited to actual disagreement, much less resistance, when they venture out of their hugboxes.

  • http://www.avoiceformen.com The Real Peterman

    Almost 2 out of every 100,000 pregnant women are murdered! Clearly there’s a war on women!!!!

    http://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/violence/

  • dungone

    Sly Inversion & Motherhood – a feminist saying that family law denying justice to and turning men into indentured servants is a symptom of “stereotypes about women as mothers that push women into certain roles.”

    Sly Inversion –

    1) “Women are the primary victims of war.”

    2) FGM by primitive religious extremists in far-off poverty stricken lands vs MGM that they carry out themselves in modern Western societies.

    Extreme as Modal Example –

    1) Pink Ribbon / breast cancer awareness that portrays the disease as a leading cause of death for women when in fact nearly every known disease kills more men than women.

    2) Murder is the leading cause of death for women in the workplace.

    3) Women *attempt* to commit suicide at a greater rate

    4) The number homeless women is on the rise.

  • Ginkgo

    SYABM,
    “Whoa thar. Feminism doesn’t so much ignore those Inconvenient Rapists, so much as studiously look the other way”

    Whoa thar. Fiorst feminists denied on categorical grounds that makles could even be raped. Then they found ways to cast male rape victims as rapists. Then found ways to magick the definitions to erase male victims (Mary Koss). The latest tactic is to magick the description of the rapae into “engaging in sex” ie. to portray the male victim as initiating or assenting to his own rape – “He really wanted it!” (Adele Mercier).

    This is rather more effort than just studiously looking away. Studiously looking away and keeping their man-hating, bigoted mouths shut would be an improvement.

    dungone, thanks – that’s what i was looking for. And by the way, would you ever be interested or have time to put together a post now and then for us here?

  • http://siryouarebeingmocked.tumblr.com/ SYABM

    @dungone

    2) FGM by primitive religious extremists in far-off poverty stricken lands vs MGM that they carry out themselves in modern Western societies.

    And is orders of magnitude (about two, to be exact) more popular worldwide, to boot.

    And just to double up, when comparisons are made, they promptly compare circ to the most extreme form of FGM they know of. I know of one who described the latter in lurid terms, and the former, IIRC, was just “removing skin”.

    @ginkgo

    This is rather more effort than just studiously looking away. Studiously looking away and keeping their man-hating, bigoted mouths shut would be an improvement.

    I’m using “studiously looking away” as synonymous with “ignoring”, just to be clear. Even on tumblr, the amount of feminists who will actively say things like “rape is less traumatic for men!” or “stop trying to make this all about the men, like everything else!” (extreme example as modal, and I’d really like to see the shedloads of advocacy for male rape victims they seem to think exist) seems, in my experience, to be rather small. It’s becoming increasingly common for them to respond with claims that the movement helps male victims too, producing gales of laughter from anyone with real knowledge of the matter.

    And then we get to things like feminists preventing India from making its sexual assault laws gender-neutral, at which point it does become active and knowing erasure. Both that and passive ignorance carry the clear message “men, as rape victims, don’t really matter”. And there’s plenty of either, much less both, to damn the movement.

  • Robert Crayle

    Another pity-pull that comes to mind is a pity-pull disguised as condescension. It sounds like this: ” If you understood feminism, you’d get it!” or “go educate yourself, arsehole mysoginist!”. What sounds like sarcastic dismissal has always sounded to me like damselling of the intellectual variety: having to soldier on bravely while being accosted by the permanently stupid unwashed masses, always ruining their fabulous intellectual utopia throughout the ages.

    It may just be me, but I F#CKING HATE THESE SWINE! Socrates they ain’t, and people like him, Gallileo, and William of Ockham have their memories stained by these vermin trying to claim to be in the same boat. Vermin indeed….

  • Ginkgo

    I’m using “studiously looking away” as synonymous with “ignoring”, just to be “clear. ”

    I have been on reddit too much. That looked like what you were saying, but I forgot for a moment that it was you.

  • http://siryouarebeingmocked.tumblr.com/ SYABM

    Ah, yes, Robert, the “you’re oppressing me by expecting me to support my point” argument. You know who else uses logic like that? Conspiracy theorists.

    Of course, it can be easily countered simply by pointing out that they have nothing. Repeatedly. And providing evidence of your own, of course.

    You also reminded me of the pity pull that’s maybe reverse concern trolling. “We’d love to help with men’s rights, as long as those mean, nasty MRAs weren’t making it seem misogynist to talk about them!” I see. And what was preventing feminism from working on men’s rights before MRAs? How does a movement a fraction of feminism’s size and power so dominate the topic? Isn’t is mostly feminists who demonize most discussions of men’s issues as inherently misogynist, whether or not they’re from MRAs? If people see feminism helping women and men, on what basis will they assume misogyny? Isn’t feminism generally considered sexist against men, already? Why has feminism spent more effort trying to drown out people talking about men’s issues than doing it itself? Und so weiter.

    Heck, I got called misogynist, recently, because someone thought I was saying men have as much issues as women. Remember, denying women their monopoly on suffering is sexist now. Who knew?

  • Ginkgo

    Robeert,
    “Another pity-pull that comes to mind is a pity-pull disguised as condescension. It sounds like this: ” If you understood feminism, you’d get it!” or “go educate yourself, arsehole mysoginist!”. What sounds like sarcastic dismissal has always sounded to me like damselling of the intellectual variety: having to soldier on bravely while being accosted by the permanently stupid unwashed masses, always ruining their fabulous intellectual utopia throughout the ages.”

    YES. It even comes with a signature intonational pattern – a sighing kind of voice that tries to sound nonconfrontational and humble even as it portrays fatigued patience. Condescending as shit.

  • http://siryouarebeingmocked.tumblr.com/ SYABM

    @Ginkgo:

    YES. It even comes with a signature intonational pattern – a sighing kind of voice that tries to sound nonconfrontational and humble even as it portrays fatigued patience. Condescending as shit.

    There was a guy who tried that recently on me. Thing is, he forgot the “humble” parts, and only remembered the “I’ve heard it all before” and “condescension” part. So he came off looking like a jerk who was avoiding my arguments and making sardonic strawmen of me, and then hand-waving my arguments away when I called him on it (while still making straw men). In fact, I even pointed out that for all his mockery of MRAs on a certain topic, he refused to address an actual example I provided of MRAs discussing the same subject, and just ignored its existence entirely in his earlier response.

    Of course, both are an attempt to discredit, not disprove, your opposition. The guy I was referring to seems to have studied at the Reddit/Futrolle school of trying to make it look like your opponent is too ridiculous/sexist to be addressed without sneering contempt. Also allows you to disguise half-truths and outright lies as “lol jokes”.

    Folks like that, ironically, tend to be pretty thin-skinned about being mocked in the exact same fashion themselves. Or being mocked at all, really. They want to be laughed with, not at.

  • Ginkgo

    “Of course, both are an attempt to discredit, not disprove, your opposition. ”

    This alone proves that his position is “hegemonic.” That is the approach you take whe you think you already control the high ground (and I do not mean the moral high ground; the term has a completley different reference.)

    “Folks like that, ironically, tend to be pretty thin-skinned about being mocked in the exact same fashion themselves. Or being mocked at all, really. They want to be laughed with, not at.”

    Fo years I have been arguing that the real gender discussion is three-sided, with the audience being the most impotant participant when it comes to actual social and cultural change. And when one of these hothouse orchids falls apart or resorts to smug bitchery, that audience sees the emperor standing there butt naked.

  • Robert Crayle

    “For years I have been arguing that the real gender discussion is three-sided, with the audience being the most important participant when it comes to actual social and cultural change. And when one of these hothouse orchids falls apart or resorts to smug bitchery, that audience sees the emperor standing there butt naked.”

    Children are absolutely magnificent treasures for asking the most inconvenient questions and making brilliant observations for puncturing ideologues. And if you treat an audience like children, you’re going to keep being told to put some damn pants on, ’cause everyone’s a bit embarrassed at this point.

  • Ginkgo

    And being kids, we’re likely to start giggling and pointing.

  • http://siryouarebeingmocked.tumblr.com/ SYABM

    That is the approach you take whe you think you already control the high ground (and I do not mean the moral high ground; the term has a completley different reference.)

    And, of course, you don’t want to jeopardize your position by arguing with people you Know are wrong in an honest manner.

    I’ve long noted that feminism, in general, does a lot of talking about MRAs and people who talk about men’s rights, but not very much talking to them. And many seem determined to keep anyone else from listening to them either, hence the mockery and silencing.* There’s a reason these “let us help you (after you do what we want)” posts aren’t on non-feminist men’s rights sites. The closest they get is GMP.

    And when one of these hothouse orchids falls apart or resorts to smug bitchery, that audience sees the emperor standing there butt naked.

    I maintain that feminist efforts to discredit MRAs ironically has done more to publicize the MRM than actual efforts of MRAs. In fact, in that argument I mentioned, someone talked about how Made To Penetrate is erased as rape, and he went on a rant about MRAs and the CDC thing. He didn’t even admit he was wrong after the first guy said that they had no idea what MRAs are. He later said that anyone talking about that study is either an MRA or uncritically repeating MRA nonsense, thereby managing to insult the first guy. It was hilarious to watch him keep shooting himself in the foot.

    The funny thing is that he admitted that lots of studies use sexist definitions of rape, but he never quite managed to talk about how MRAs criticized the CDC’s sexist categorization of MTP, because that would mean admitting they were right about something. And, of course, in none of the posts I saw did he admit feminists were wrong about anything. At all.

    I also find it ironic when David Futrelle is touted as an expert on MRAs. You know, the people he constantly mocks in a puerile and dishonest manner. And when he’s considered an authoritative feminist source on MRAs, it makes the entire movement look silly, just from the name of his site, even before you get to the countless examples of his intellectual dishonesty.

    And then there are the folks, like Futrelle, who ignore female MRAs to paint MRAs as men. This may lead to the hilarious spectacle of watching people who accuse others of misogyny declaring female MRA leaders like GWW and Typhonblue mere tokens, after they were the ones who ignored them. And when they get together and do things like Honey Badger Radio, what, are they tokenizing themselves? Doubly hilarious when you think about how feminism often treats malefems.

    *See also Nice Guys™, where in certain areas anyone who says anything vaguely like one is yelled at.

  • David Palmer a/k/a Political Cynic

    Sometimes I just adore you Gingko. Pity-pumping-a brilliant summation. Bravo!

  • Ginkgo

    You too, sweetie! My invitation to send us an article to post is open to you too. I already steal so much of SYABM’s stuff that it’s a little late to actually ask.

  • Robert Crayle

    It seems so simple, but would crying and other child-forms of upset be at least an augment to pity-pulling? It’s especially nauseating to see this in what seemed to be serious people (academia, SJW entrepreneurs, even politicians) that should get scorn and instead gets supplication.

  • Ginkgo

    Robert, that stuff goes back to toxic femininity. It reinforces female dependence on males. It certainly is a form of pity pumping.

    Here’s a post that discussed an exmaple of this commercialized into a daytime TV program.
    http://www.genderratic.com/p/3035/female-privilege-hypoagency-queen-for-a-day/

  • gwallan

    I’ve often used the expression “pity party” in reference to media and judicial treatment of women charged with violent or sexually abusive acts.

    To use one example from my region a few years ago…

    US mum admits to sex with Bendigo boy

    Online sex tryst

    Sex tryst mum free

    US judge jails American mum for Bendigo sex tryst

    Just who WAS the victim?

    During the time this case was in progress the CEO of the local rape crisis service was praising the local media for the way it was treating sexual assault cases and for taking on board the appropriate messages.

    This wasn’t the first time a US woman had traveled to Australia for this purpose. A previous example from California had traveled to Western Australia to have it off with a sixteen year old she’d chatted up since he was fourteen. It was covered by New Idea magazine under headings such as “Schoolboy Lover”. Under US law – which binds US citizens to the age of consent in their home jurisdiction – the age of consent for her was eighteen. It is also eighteen for the internet communication involved.

    New Idea were clearly paying her for the story. In essence they sponsored her trip to Australia. I spoke to the editor at the time pointing out the several laws that woman had broken. The editor’s response was a vicious “f… you” followed by a loud hang up. Other media, including supposedly responsible publications such as The Age, covered the story in similar terms. It was merely a cute internet romance.

  • Ginkgo

    That’s very, very interesting, gwallan. I wonder what Adele Mercier would have to say about it….well, we already know that, don’t we? Mercier was not just speculating or philosophizing, she was talking about a real phenomenon, and trying to construct a cover for it.

  • Dungone

    Gingko, I sent you an email regarding your invitation. Right now I’m working on a few ideas.

  • Ginkgo

    Good. I’ll look for it.

  • http://siryouarebeingmocked.tumblr.com/ SYABM

    The 1 is 2 many webpage gives token acknowledgment to male victims, but apparently didn’t see them as worth mentioning in their videos. I did have someone argue that Del Toro was actually saying “If he can’t consent”, no matter how little grammatical sense that made, and therefore the video wasn’t sexist.

  • http://siryouarebeingmocked.tumblr.com/ SYABM

    PS:
    Hide the menz: Ignoring the presence of male feminists to paint the movement as innocent, virtuous women being cruelly oppressed by misogynist patriarchal men. By criticizing them. Of course, they have to pretend female critics don’t exist, which is sexism even by their standards.