Author’s note: This article is based on the work of Dr. Ofer Zur and his attempt to draw attention to the need of studying victim-hood in order to help both victims and perpetrators. All quotes are from his paper on the subject, linked both above and at the end of the article. His work on the subject is available on his website and offers an excellent list of suggested further reading.
Culture has always tried to define its advancement on scales of morality. Superior morality has an unfortunate need for inferiors against which to measure and so we love to both judge and condemn in the personal pursuit of happiness. Such games have reached the status of entertainment in the modern world.
With each generation’s goal of raising the ‘quality’ of society by removing identified immoral elements the Western world in particular has ‘advanced’ to a point where more than 100% of society are deemed victims and we all want justice. We have become a Victim Nation scouring under rocks to find more people to blame.
Everybody wants to be a victim because if you’re not the victim you’re the bad guy.
Social justice organizations pop up daily like rodents in a carnival Whac-A-Mole. Every right they fight for assumes that right was denied through oppression and, invariably, requires a cloak of victimhood to gain sympathy. The inequality that victimhood claims to fight becomes an essential element of the movement to the point of embrace.
“Ironically, the rights movement often victimizes one group while liberating another. What seems to be a noble, justified, long overdue act of protecting a victim can easily turn to blame and warfare. When this happens, conflict, injustice, and victimization are perpetuated, and the possibility of resolution and healing is destroyed.”
Equality has become the focus of social justice for the last two decades. We are no longer content to accept that people are born with different characteristics and skill sets which make some stand out as leaders and others remain followers. While leadership is a desired quality, anything that makes someone different is no longer seen as good, it has become a source of evil. “In this Western worldview, inequalities and differences are often associated with injustice and victimization.”
It doesn’t require an act of injustice to make some people more or less fortunate. All it takes is birth. Inequality has always existed in many forms and will continue to exist. The social justice presumption is that inequality can be eliminated by somehow training or forcing people to become blind to nature. By removing some words from the dictionary we can make the concepts they represent disappear along with the descriptive tool.
We all know quality when we see it but we can’t say what causes quality to exist or exactly what makes one thing better than another. But we do know it when we see it. We also know that some ice cream is better than others but we haven’t asked Häagen-Dazs® to cease and desist.
If you carry the social justice principles to their conclusion we end up with some hilarious and disturbing results.
As long as someone in the world can’t read no one should write books. As long as there is someone without footwear none of us should go shoe shopping. As long as there is someone who can’t get a $200 haircut we should all use a Flowbee® or, as long as there is a bald man, we should all shave our heads.
When feminism fought against victim blaming they had some things right but they got the solution wrong. Dr. Zur describes this second approach as one which “also concentrates on blame; however it lays all blame entirely on men. This approach has been promoted by a brand of feminism, which holds the male dominated patriarchal system responsible for all the evils in the world. Whether the issue is wars and politics, domestic violence and sexual abuse, toxic dumps and the corporations, or nuclear weapons and the military industrial complex, the finger is pointed at men as the culprits. At the heart of this approach is the split between men’s aggressive and violent nature and women’s inherent goodness.”
Where there is good there must be evil. To feminists, women are good and men are the only convenient target to label as the evil enemy. The characterization of men as inherently violent and beastly is essential to maintaining the victim class of all women. While they insist that it’s not men they are fighting it’s the “patriarchy,” their plight is reduced unless the perpetrator is tangible. Patriarchy can’t be put in jail.
The insubstantial nature of the feminist foe makes feminism weak so every male crime with a female victim is hauled into the public media court to make the enemy flesh and blood. Patriarchy is the name but individual men are the bodies to be held accountable. To feminists, every man who commits a crime is an example of male oppression of women, while female criminals are called bizzarities and declarations ensue that “that never happens.”
“These two approaches of blame have not only failed to resolve the violence and suffering but in fact, as Zur’s paper explains, have tended to perpetuate and exacerbate them.”
If victimhood mentality doesn’t help women or society, why does it continue?
Personal benefit. Aside from the sense of moral superiority that they glean by being victims, feminists need resolution for a bigger problem: they have no justification to exist unless they have victims to save, a foe to blame, and a cause to write about. Feminists want to exist. They may be obnoxious but their stupidity is calculated.
“The culture of victimization is closely tied to what Amitai Etzioni (1987), a sociologist at Georgetown University, called the ‘rights industry.’” Among other service industries, psychotherapists and lawyers also stand to benefit from perpetual victimhood. They are the cheerleaders in an un-winnable game and as long as the game goes on they keep getting paid.
“In claiming the status of victim and by assigning all blame to others, a person can achieve moral superiority while simultaneously disowning any responsibility for one’s behavior and its outcome. The victims ‘merely’ seek justice and fairness. If they become violent, it is only as a last resort, in self-defense. The victim stance is a powerful one. The victim is always morally right, neither responsible nor accountable, and forever entitled to sympathy.”
Responsibility takes a lot of hard work and strength of character. It is not an innate skill, it’s learned… but not in Women’s Studies classes. Women are not born in a glass box, it is built around them by misguided ideology. Where feminists claim to liberate women by convincing them they are oppressed, all they’ve done is to teach women how to blame their personal failures on external sources. While it sells many books, blame has never built a house.
As unhelpful as feminism has been with their obsession over externalizing personal failure and inadequacy, they have successfully intimidated others into supporting their ill-conceived ideas. They’ve turned it into a fad. It’s the new black.
“The blame-victim approach is not confined to the rights or recovery movement. It is also at the heart of the legal system’s approach, which attempts to respond to injustice and violations by identifying and prosecuting the perpetrators and compensating the victims (Sykes, 1992; Hughes, 1993). The faulty part of this legal approach is the focus on simplistic, linear, short term, and face-value justice.”
Dr. Ofer Zur took a chance with his research. He notes that “[v]ery few writers have warned against the unrealistic and ultimately patronizing portrayal of victims of crime as total innocents” and admonishes that is it is a grave error to continue down the road that’s being paved.
“We have become a nation of victims, where everyone is leapfrogging over each other, publicly competing for the status of victim, and where everyone is defined as some sort of survivor.”
When victimhood is rewarded there will be no incentive for people to heal. While victims do exist and victimizers should be punished, the definition of what constitutes a crime expands exponentially to keep up with the number of self-identified victims. We now measure our status by how oppressed we are and can take a test to find out if our “privilege” is low enough to give us a voice.
The reason people only hear men’s anger and not their pain is that men’s pain competes with the pain of women. It’s harder to be taken seriously as a victim when your supposed victimizer is crying. Meanwhile, anger sounds oppressive and violent which lends to the promise of reinforcing the victim status of women as long as people only listen to the “tone” and not the content. That’s why A Voice For Men is constantly being criticized for tone instead of content.
As Zur says, “To understand better the dynamics of violent systems, we must first free ourselves from the binds of politically correct thinking.” Violence exists in both male and female form and as long as women continue their role in the cycle immune from criticism the entire system will endure. It’s not the tone that is the problem.
The MHRM is not engaged in a battle for victimhood champion, we are fighting to eliminate that victimhood mentality which is blocking true, positive social change. The MHRM is seeking to end the proliferation of false victimhood so that people can go about living truly empowered and healthy lives.
“An individual or group can win the battle, become the victim of the year, yet lose the war.”
Men have traditionally fought all the wars and taken on the main burdens of survival. They have built structured societies and put the very systems of government and justice in place to which feminists have turned to play their victim cards. Men have shouldered the responsibility of doing all those things and been so gracious about their possible mistakes they’ve allowed themselves to be turned into the enemy. Until now.
Feminism made a mistake when they picked a war with men. If someone saves you from a burning building you don’t accuse him of grabbing your ass while he carried you over his shoulder. What you might do is to hope you can save him right back if he ever needs your assistance.
But the victims of the world are all too busy feeling sorry for themselves to have thought of that.