SLY INVERSIONS – “Snatching oppression from the jaws of privilege”

There is a very common sly inversion that interprets every benefit society confers on women as some form or other of oppression. I think what drives it is a gender script that casts women as fragile victims so that people who subscribe to that meme think that failing to identify this victimhood defeminizes a woman somehow. I think it goes this deep for two reasons. One is the vehemence of the defense of this meme people who call “benevolent sexism” female privilege are attacked as woman-haters. Look at the resistance and twisting and turning we see when the subject of F>M rape comes up. It simply challenges this meme too hard.

The other reason is its ubiquity, as evidenced by the way it is so seldom challenged. look for this meme and watch to see how often it is called out as opposed to being challenged.

And chivalry! How could I forget chivalry?

This particular sly inversion is so common that it should have a name – “snatching oppression from the jaws of privilege.”

Some examples are:

The argument that the draft is actually misogynist because it presumes women are unfit to serve, (and that’s totes worse than actual death and injury in combat, and the life disruption even if you never are in combat).

Another is the analysis of the dating script as misogynist because it “forces” women to wait for men’s advances, because that is so much worse than being the one designated to brave rejection in every advance.

Another is the assertion, in the face of the fact that men are the overwhelming majority of victims of violence, both at the hands of men and very likely of women too, that women are “more afraid” to go out in the dark, in unfamiliar places, out of the street… and that constitutes a greater restriction on their movement than what men encounter.

Another is the recasting of prison officials’ reluctance to use female prisoners as pharmaceutical guinea pigs with the same frequency in the same scale as male prisoners as some kind of neglect on the part of the medical profession of research on women and how pharmaceuticals may affect them differently. (This is important research and it needs more attention, but one has to ask why those calling out this “neglect” are not clamoring for more clinical tests using these female prisoners. That’s the point here.)

Please nominate some more examples of this particular sly inversion!

And here’s the first one:

The Real Peterman on said:

95% of people who do the dirtiest, most dangerous (yet low-paying) jobs are men. But this isn’t men being told they must earn a living no matter what, it’s women being barred from entering these fields! Not that they ever fight to be allowed to enter them of course.

And:

Alex on said:

Women use kids as hostages to extract resources from men who have been alienated from their kids. The threat of prison rape hangs over men who fail to pay child support.

This is turned into women being left holding the baby!

And Commenter dungone contributes two more:

There’s the one where they explain that women initiating the vast majority of divorce is because neglectful husbands are too lazy to do it themselves (as opposed to women having far more power in family court)?

…and:

Or the one where they say that men paying for dates is misogynistic because the men later feel entitled to sex (as opposed to women being able to get men to perform favors for nothing in return)?

EDIT:

Chivalry! How could I forget chivalry? The claim is that the conventions of chivalry reinforce female dependency, that they form a Golden Cage. There is a superficial validity to this, except that women can opt out at any time nowadays yet still opt back in on a whim and whine when men fail to show the expected solicitude.

The sly inversion is in portraying gestures of deference as exercises of oppression. guess what – when a captain holds a door for a general, that captain is not oppressing that general. When that enters the room and the soldiers all jump to their feet, they are not oppressing him either or asserting some kind of privilege or any kind of dominance over him.

There are good reasons for women to argue against this form of chivalry, and they will if have any regard for men, but this whine about chivalry being a form of oppression against women is so ludicrous that the fact it is even countenanced at all is another example of chivalry.

 

Not only are these sly inversions a smokescreen in the discussion of gender issues, but they also reinforce hypoagentive cultural norms and are dismissive of women. It’s a form of misogyny to employ them and feminists should be ashamed of themselves.

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

    95% of people who do the dirtiest, most dangerous (yet low-paying) jobs are men. But this isn’t men being told they must earn a living no matter what, it’s women being barred from entering these fields! Not that they ever fight to be allowed to enter them of course.

  • http://thedamnedoldeman.com TDOM

    “Women and children first.” This attitude always require a sacrifice on the part of a man or men, yet it is seen as equating women with children and/or casts women in the role of the weaker sex in need of saving as though this was worse than a man drowning because he gave up his seat in a lifeboat.

  • http://thedamnedoldeman.com TDOM

    The concept of benevolent sexism is an interesting one. On one hand, acts that are generally seen to be beneficial to women can often be harmful to them in some ways. Unfortunately, those who discuss benevolent sexism generally are only interested the harm as it affects women. What they almost never see (or even discuss) is that benevolent sexism against women can often be classified as hostile sexism against men. You mentioned privilege. One of the things I like to point out is that privilege has its costs. It is seldom free. Often what is deemed as “male privilege” can also be viewed as benevolent sexism against men.

  • Eagle35

    Forgive me for diverting your path off this topic but I don’t know who to turn to anymore with the way I’m feeling.

    My “Speak To Me Rundown” on internet radio did fine…but not good either. Three hours worth of content and all for nothing.

    Mainly because one of my very important co-stars, aside from my co-host, just upped and forgot about it. This occurred just as I was getting ready to phone the person in through flash. Only to end up speaking to their offspring, telling me they were out elsewhere.

    I hung up and exploded; flew into a rage. It’s not as if I hadn’t reminded them. Hell I even went over one of the characters I’m sure they’d enjoy to portray earlier in the week.

    But now I was stuck with the usual motley crew and ended up having to portray the characters this co-star was groomed for. Yeah, I’ve done multiple roles but for FUCKS SAKE PEOPLE ALREADY HEARD ME DO IT COUNTLESS TIMES! FOR ONCE I WANTED SOMEONE ELSE TO DO IT AND HAD BEEN GROOMING THEM FOR THIS ONLY FOR IT TO GO TO WASTE!

    The person had been groomed also on other episodes with different works, different roles.

    I invested so much in how these portrayals would end up…for NOTHING! Three hours of me doing the same fucking shit I had done since the show’s inception. Three hours of the leftover cast doing the same fucking shit they had done in previous shows! It’s a disaster! Ratings poison! Audience repelling!

    And the worst part is…NOBODY FUCKING GETS IT! NOBODY FUCKING UNDERSTANDS! How much I pump myself up! Endure the apprehension, anxiety, the butterflies that strike. That when it all comes crashing down, I go with it.

    I guess it’s also because the main story is about a male survivor of female and male sexual abuse that the investment crosses into personal territory.

    (Sigh)

    I don’t feel too good and have few places to vent like this without coming across like a crazed maniac. Thought maybe you could lend a shoulder to cry on?

    I’m crying as I type this. The suicidal thoughts are swimming again. I hope I’ll be all right.

    Wish me luck. If anyone even understands anymore.

  • Eagle35

    Maybe it would’ve been better if my aspirations were more grounded in reality, like when I wanted to be a computer programmer one time.

  • Alex

    Women use kids as hostages to extract resources from men who have been alienated from their kids. The threat of prison rape hangs over men who fail to pay child support.

    This is turned into women being left holding the baby!

  • Cylux

    That’s a good point actually, what is the difference between ‘benevolent sexism’ and ‘privilege’ anyway? Or is it a case that when benevolent sexism happens to a man it’s male privilege?

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

    Don’t kill yourself, Eagle. Give yourself time and you’ll feel better. This too shall pass. Maybe you should have a back-up person, like an understudy, for an important position like that.

  • http://dannyscorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com Danny

    Cylux:
    That’s a good point actually, what is the difference between ‘benevolent sexism’ and ‘privilege’ anyway? Or is it a case that when benevolent sexism happens to a man it’s male privilege?
    If it benefits men its privilege, if it benefits women its benevolent sexism.

    Seriously that’s the different. They won’t admit it bu that’s what it is.

  • Eagle35

    The Real Peterman: “Maybe you should have a back-up person, like an understudy, for an important position like that.”

    I only have three people that have been consistent so far. And one of them is in Italy so that whittles it down to two consistent people who have done these roles countless times already since I’ve been trying fucking hard to get this Speak To Me Rundown concluded while running into time hurdles.

    I wanted something FRESH for a change instead of settling for the same old, same old. And I settled for regurgitated garbage from myself.

  • dungone

    There’s the one where they explain that women initiating the vast majority of divorce is because neglectful husbands are too lazy to do it themselves (as opposed to women having far more power in family court)? Or the one where they say that men paying for dates is misogynistic because the men later feel entitled to sex (as opposed to women being able to get men to perform favors for nothing in return)?

  • Ginkgo

    dungone,
    Posted above!

  • http://siryouarebeingmocked.tumblr.com SYABM

    Eagle, I’m not sure what to say. I’ve been in some rather dark places myself, and all I can say is that I hope it gets better. It did for me.

    The argument that the draft is actually misogynist because it presumes women are unfit to serve, (and that’s totes worse than actual death and injury in combat, and the life disruption even if you never are in combat).

    Sure is weird how often feminist arguments involve completely failing to actually compare men’s and women’s issues.

    “Another is the analysis of the dating script as misogynist because it “forces” women to wait for men’s advances, because that is so much worse than being the one designated to brave rejection in every advance.

    Another is the assertion, in the face of the fact that men are the overwhelming majority of victims of violence, both at the hands of men and very likely of women too, that women are “more afraid” to go out in the dark, in unfamiliar places, out of the street… and that constitutes a greater restriction on their movement than what men encounter.”

    Funny. I just saw “Dr. Nerdlove” use those. In fact, he said that women don’t initiate because men don’t like aggressive women. (Strangely, he literally never mentioned that women slut-shame too.) He also claimed that women have to worry about their safety more. It’s ye olde feminist “conflating fear and risk” again. He goes through logical backflips to say it’s worse for women without directly saying it’s worse for women.

    The sly inversion is in portraying gestures of deference as exercises of oppression. guess what – when a captain holds a door for a general, that captain is not oppressing that general. When that enters the room and the soldiers all jump to their feet, they are not oppressing him either or asserting some kind of privilege or any kind of dominance over him.

    Protecting women is misogynist because women are seen too weak to protect themselves. Except that weak men aren’t protected, and how many other “more valuable” people are expected to protect “less valuable” folks with their lives? Does the Secret Service hate the President?

  • Ginkgo

    “It’s ye olde feminist “conflating fear and risk”

    SYABM, I am crawling my way through a paper called (De-)constructing Evidentiality that explains pretty clearly what is going on with this rhetorical trick.
    http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/002089
    (It’s quite jargony but you happen to be one of the few I know who could hack your way through it.)

    What this paper lays out is a cross-linguistic schema involving the common ground – objective reality – and various origo grounds, which are essentially the mental states of the speaker (first person) and listener (second person), and sometimes the third person the speaker is referring to. It distinguishes these grounds by tests of endorsement/challengeability and so on.

    So if you say “I’m scared of you” that’s information about an origo ground and isn’t challengeable but if you say “You are frightening, that is at least a statement about a third person origo ground (the general public) and actually a common ground statement about you.

    Conflating these is an attempt to extend the challengeability protection inherent in a 1P origo ground statement to a common ground statement.