Note: This article is also available in Romanian.
On December 10, the woman who brought us such thought-provoking gems as Why Should I Have to Pay for Tampons? and You Can’t Be a Feminist Because I Am has given us yet another taste of her very real and very traumatic oppression as a woman, in America, in 2014: wrapping Christmas presents. Posted within hours of articles detailing the intense emotional reaction Malala Yousafzai had to seeing her blood-soaked school uniform on display at Norway’s Nobel Peace Center, Jessica Valenti, founder of Feministing.com and fluff columnist for The Guardian, unironically details the “gendered expectations” supposedly placed on women during the holiday season. Placed side by side with a 15-year-old girl who was literally shot in the head for wanting to be able to go to school, Valenti has single-handedly redefined the popular term “First World Problems.”
I have been a fairly vocal critic of modern/radical feminism and, as a result, have seen some of the uglier sides of this “equality of the sexes” movement. A recurring topic, as highlighted so considerately by Valenti, is the need to find oneself oppressed, regardless of the situation. This is done in a variety of ways.
Undermining the Suffering of Others
It is a fairly common theme in society that people like to “root for the underdog.” You want the smaller, weaker guy/gal/team to win. Unfortunately, this mindset results in people intentionally placing themselves into the position of the underdog. This is not possible without an opponent, however. In order to maintain your stance as society’s David, you need a Goliath. In a recent article on FeministCurrent.com, founder Meghan Murphy bluntly asserted that male victims of rape are less victims than female victims of the same crime.
But to say that “believing male victims” is a “feminist imperative” isn’t actually true. As some feminist writers have pointed out, this kind of analysis fails to understand or acknowledge what feminism actually does. Feminism explicitly and necessarily is about understanding the fact that, and the way in which, men, as a class, oppress women, as a class. There is no equivalency in rape because men and women do not share similar experiences of gender oppression … because men do not, in fact, experience oppression because of their gender — women do.
She then goes on to make assumptions about the possible victim’s upbringing in an attempt to further belittle the trauma he may have faced:
Maybe LaBeouf was actually raped, I don’t know. What I do know is that he wasn’t socialized his whole life to mistrust himself and his own experiences; to be polite when strange women approach him, sexually harass him, or hit on him, lest he offend them; to believe that women have insatiable sexual urges that can’t be controlled; that his primary role is to provide women with pleasure; and that he must fear violence from women at all times, whether he is in public or in private spaces.
Murphy ends with an assertion that, because she is a woman, she knows literally everything, beyond question:
These are the facts. I know these things to be true because this reality is impossible to ignore if you pay any attention to media at all, because I am a woman and this is my life, and because I am a feminist and I understand the devastating impact patriarchy has on women and girls everywhere. And that is why, as a feminist, I believe women.
Calling “Dibs” on Being Hated
A sad, and fairly terrifying, trend currently dominating the minds—and Internets—of those attempting to sell the illusion of being “oppressed” is to act as though only they—and others physically similar to them—are capable of experiencing hatred. For radical feminists, this has manifested in the talking point of “there is no sexism against men.”
This can be done by a) redefining a word in order to prove a point that does not stand up to scrutiny without first altering facts:
b) insisting that actual words don’t exist because they harm your ability to be the sole victim:
or c) publicly treating everything from a member of the “Goliath class” as a personal and vicious attack on your David:
Fabricating and Exaggerating Additional Controversy
We live in a world where a new identity is a few short clicks away. When a member of the “oppressed kids club” is having a slow day, a fairly common occurrence is to either exaggerate or construct attacks in order to further paint yourself as a victim.
The above examples, while seemingly rational to irrational minds, are also common symptoms of a very real, and very serious, psychological disorder: Munchausen syndrome. In those affected, there is such an intense need for attention, people are willing to lie, exaggerate, poison themselves, and even undergo unnecessary surgeries in order to garner the sympathy of others. Those suffering from the disorder will often feel the urge occur more severely when others are suffering, putting their own attention at risk.
I feel fully confident in saying modern radical feminism is the sociological manifestation of Munchausen. By constantly painting yourself as an oppressed person, as a victim in need of special protection or consideration, and by driving this point with an “ends justify the means” mentality, you are exhibiting the same symptoms as a Munchausen patient, especially in a world where true oppression exists—Malala, for example.
When you have to stretch reality beyond the point of tearing in order to find a way in which you are somehow victim to the boogeyman … when you have to spit in the faces of victims in order to continue your reign as Queen of the Oppressed … when it isn’t just you, rather tens of thousands of people just like you … maybe it is time for an intervention.
A big one.
This post originally appeared at Feels and Reals.—Eds.