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Victim mentality

Post  Pitchguest on Thu Oct 25, 2012 7:22 pm

While I didn't intend to spend my time on the Atheism Plus site more than I cared for, I've encountered the argument of victim mentality more than once.

It appears that if you've been sexually assaulted, or raped, or if you've suffered racism or homophobia then you're free to use that as an excuse for pretty much...everything. I'm of the contention that kind of mentality is counterproductive. I realise I'm speaking as a person with a fair complexion, straight, who has neither been sexually assaulted nor raped in his life, but bear with me. I don't know the minds of rape victims so this is only based on my own presumptions, but I imagine a rape victim in the aftermath must feel devastated. I imagine they feel their worth as a human being has been reduced to someone's plaything. However, I also imagine that they want to put the whole thing behind them. By which I mean don't forget it ever happened, but don't let it get them down. That they wouldn't allow it to become a crutch. I imagine it's painful for them to relive the experience and thus I don't imagine they would allow for that experience to decorate their life onwards.

I suppose it's the same (or similar) with those who've suffered from racist remarks or violence from racism, homophobia or violence from homophobia, that they wouldn't allow the fact that they are black or gay and that they might experience hateful remarks or violence to characterise their entire existence. I recognise I talk from a position of "privilege" (in scare quotes because I really hate that word) but I just don't think anyone would allow themselves to remain a perpetual victim for the rest of their life to wear as a sort of "badge of honour" just so they can use it ward off criticism (not to do with their race or sexuality). Am I wrong? Am I completely backwards in this? Thoughts, please.

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Re: Victim mentality

Post  Cuduggan2K2 on Thu Oct 25, 2012 7:59 pm

Pitchguest wrote:It appears that if you've been sexually assaulted, or raped, or if you've suffered racism or homophobia then you're free to use that as an excuse for pretty much...everything. I'm of the contention that kind of mentality is counterproductive.
As am I. Some people will take more time than others to heal, and some heal with deeper scars but people should be helped to get past the phase where they define themselves by what happened t them.
I realise I'm speaking as a person with a fair complexion, straight, who has neither been sexually assaulted nor raped in his life, but bear with me. I don't know the minds of rape victims so this is only based on my own presumptions, but I imagine a rape victim in the aftermath must feel devastated.
I can speak from a little more experience, as someone who has been both raped and forcibly enveloped (FFS, why isn’t that rape again?) I was devastated at the lost trust between myself and the person involved, (brief synopsis: Two incidents, close together, tried to forgive the envelopment as misunderstanding, while still trying to get over it raped, said fuck this shit and left the bitch, no legal redress was provided due to lack of evidence). I was devastated to lose someone I loved. I felt unclean and icky for weeks but I understand from counsellors that I am a minority case.
However, I also imagine that they want to put the whole thing behind them. By which I mean don't forget it ever happened, but don't let it get them down.
It’s not so much “don’t let it get you down” that I felt as “This doesn’t define me, I’m still the same person I was yesterday, in the same world”. That’s why I usually talk about myself as a former rape victim (when it comes up) than a rape victim, because I’m no longer a victim of it.
I just don't think anyone would allow themselves to remain a perpetual victim for the rest of their life to wear as a sort of "badge of honour" just so they can use it ward off criticism (not to do with their race or sexuality). Am I wrong? Am I completely backwards in this? Thoughts, please.
I don’t think anyone does for life, for a time, when you’re vulnerable, the victim label can be a shield but part of the healing process is getting to the point where you’re strong enough without it. One thing I found very unhelpful was the attitude of other people, wrapping the victim in cotton wool because they were vulnerable. I think it’s important for people to set their own tolerance levels, rather than everyone being hypersensitive on their behalf.

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Victim Mentality

Post  piginthecity on Fri Oct 26, 2012 12:34 am

Hey Pitch -

I'm coming from the same place as you on this issue. And I'm in the same demographic. I think it's helpful to approach this by examining the processes of empathy, which I guess could be said to be the basis of how we interact with someone in the 'victim' position. Please note that the following doesn't specifically apply to replying to people on online forums (i actually have grave doubts that online forums are a suitable medium for these type of topics), it's an attempt to analyse what's going on in our heads when we're faced with this sort of situation generally.

The easiest form of empathy (empathy 101) is just to empathise with someone who's dropped a brick on their foot. I have feet. I know bricks hurt. I can empathise. We are nearly all capable of this.

The next level up is to empathise with say, a victim of racism. I've never been in an ethnic minority in my home country, so I have to use a little bit of imagination here. But my imagination is informed by the fact that I'm a human being with feelings, and I have experienced exclusion and generalisation a bit and know how this feels. The lever of empathy is only accessible via some imagination. Most people are capable of this (two conditions - they've experienced some pain in their lives and they don't consider ethnic minorities so alien that they couldn't possibly imagine being a member of them).

The next and more difficult level is the case of a female rape victim. Here, I'm faced with the limits of my imagination. From my experience of interacting with human beings I've noticed that my attempt to mentally put myself in her position is not going to work. I know this because, not only is my body physically different, but my psychological relationship with my body is also different. This can't be bridged by imagination (in the sense i mean it in the earlier racism example) alone. The best that i can do is to use imagination plus, i dunno what to call it - 'Factor X', where 'Factor X' stands for something that's not obtainable from my own imagination, but only from listening to and, importantly, believing, the actual woman victim. I can then access the lever of empathy using imagination and, to the extent that i understand it, Factor X.

Now, a feminist reading the above may well be quite happy, particularly about the bit where i emphasise that I have to listen to the victim and can't get there on my own. To which I say 'fine', and I'm quite happy to acknowledge that I've learned from feminism and to credit it accordingly.

Where i would agree with this hypothetical feminist is that I have some particular, extra work to do as a man, in order to be able to claim that I've made a decent attempt to pull the lever of empathy.

However, feminism is a wide term, and associated with it are some completely different ideas. As far as i can tell, in practice, this boils down to the fact that because I'm a man, no level of valid empathy is even possible. Instead, I'm assigned a fixed role in the discourse which is determined for me, and may vary depending on the conversation, but is certainly not one conducive to me making any actual contribution. It may be as scapegoat, it may be that i'm expected to passively validate for example.

I also may be asked to accept wider concepts and analysis which are not rooted in my experiences of the world at all, but that I'm first asked to accept them on authority, and then to re-interpret my experiences based upon them. Being prepared to believe an individual victim about their particular experience, and take their word for it is absolutely not the same as being prepared to accept generalisations about society which don't meet the demands of scepticism.

It's this latter step which I'm not prepared to take.

I think i should add that in fact, I have never, probably will never, and don't want to, actually correspond with a victim about their experience by any medium whatsoever. I certainly wouldn't seek them out or butt in and demand that they accept my empathy (that would be the craziest of all crazy talk). I do general discourse only, and everything above refers to generalised conversations not a specific 'support' type of conversation. The thinking i have done to write the above is simply as a result of firstly living in a world where these assaults happen (and could conceivably happen to someone I know in real life who could use my support) and secondly, that, as a man in the secular online community, in this time of Great Rift, there seems to be a challenge at the moment to get one's thinking about this particular topic into some sort of shape.

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Re: Victim mentality

Post  fossil on Fri Oct 26, 2012 12:22 pm

piginthecity wrote:I also may be asked to accept wider concepts and analysis which are not rooted in my experiences of the world at all, but that I'm first asked to accept them on authority, and then to re-interpret my experiences based upon them. Being prepared to believe an individual victim about their particular experience, and take their word for it is absolutely not the same as being prepared to accept generalisations about society which don't meet the demands of scepticism.

It's this latter step which I'm not prepared to take.

Please elaborate.

And keep in mind that your experience =/= objective.

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Re: Victim mentality

Post  piginthecity on Fri Oct 26, 2012 6:45 pm

Sheesh, Fossil - I took hours on that post, no bugger's read it and you want me to elaborate ??

I guess what was in my mind at that point was that, sure, I'm prepared to take people's word about specific things which I haven't experienced. Especially so for experiences which our outside what I could experience because of different physiology/psychology or relating to a social subset of which I'm not a member.

However, the more the conversation goes from the specific to the general, then the more my significance of my lack of experience diminishes. This is because my experiences of sharing this planet with my fellow humans over a fair few years are now bound to intersect with theirs. Like if you 'zoom out' enough on Google Earth, you're bound to be able to see a place where I've been. And, by 'experience', of course, I don't just mean direct experience, but also indirect, by communicating with people who have had the experience in question.

So, if i am ever told that there's something that I've missed, some generalised factor, such as 'patriarchy theory' which can explain everything, but so far has yet to manifest in my life until that particular conversation, then it's time to invoke skepticism. Especially when the conversation I'm having is with someone who has basically lived in the exact same society as me.

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Re: Victim mentality

Post  AliRadicali on Sat Oct 27, 2012 4:02 am

fossil wrote:
piginthecity wrote:I also may be asked to accept wider concepts and analysis which are not rooted in my experiences of the world at all, but that I'm first asked to accept them on authority, and then to re-interpret my experiences based upon them. Being prepared to believe an individual victim about their particular experience, and take their word for it is absolutely not the same as being prepared to accept generalisations about society which don't meet the demands of scepticism.

It's this latter step which I'm not prepared to take.

Please elaborate.

And keep in mind that your experience =/= objective.
I guess it could be summed up as such:

If a woman told me that she fears the prospect of rape whenever she sees unknown strangers, I'd be forced to accept that, because being a different person, i can't judge what goes on in her head.

However, when she then tells me, on her authority as a woman, that all women (should) feel this way, it's time to start asking critical questions, because in my experience, many women (justifiably) do NOT feel an imminent threat of rape by merely being in the presence of unknown men.
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Re: Victim mentality

Post  DMB on Sat Oct 27, 2012 7:56 am

Rape is bad enough, but continued abuse is IMO far worse. When someone suffers that, sometimes over years and often when still pretty young, it's likely to have a far more detrimental effect than a single episode. And not all victimisation is sexual. It can just be sustained bullying. There are all sorts of traumas that are very hard to throw off.

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Re: Victim mentality

Post  fossil on Sat Oct 27, 2012 10:21 am

piginthecity wrote:
So, if i am ever told that there's something that I've missed, some generalised factor, such as 'patriarchy theory' which can explain everything, but so far has yet to manifest in my life until that particular conversation, then it's time to invoke skepticism. Especially when the conversation I'm having is with someone who has basically lived in the exact same society as me.

I love the scare quotes around patriarchy. Do you do that with the 'theory of evolution' too?

And the effects of a patriarchal system do manifest in your life if you live in a Western society; I'd be willing to be you just don't notice. That is, you don't notice if you and a woman submit the exact same resumé for a job, you are more likely to get hired. You don't notice that women are much more likely to be poor, and actually that over half the households in poverty are those of single women (as opposed to single men or couples). You don't notice that 83% of the US government is male--and they are constantly trying to legislate against women's health and choices, which even further limits women's economic potential. You don't notice that 1 in 6 women will be raped, but because of the victim-blaming mentality present, most don't ever come forward, and those that do get chided for what they wear, instead of people being angry at the person who did it. (Bonus: Only 3% of rapes ever result in the perpetrator going to jail!)

Women are marginalized economically, politically, and socially, and yet somehow the idea of a system where men as a group are generally better off doesn't sit well with you. Be sure to let all of anthropology and sociology know you disagree with them!

And before you give me the tired old MRA talking points about the draft and prison and suicide: Nobody's been drafted since the Vietnam war, and it's unlikely to ever happen again. This is not something that impacts the lives of men today. Statistics for men going to prison are so high because 1 in 3 BLACK MEN are arrested and sent to prison because they live in a police state whereby the criminal justice system is disproportionately harsher on them due to racism. This does not hold true across other racial and ethnic groups. And more women (than men) are likely to attempt suicide, but men are more likely to use a gun and therefore more likely to succeed at it. None of the MRA talking points detract at all from the assessment that men (white men, specifically) have the most political, economic, and social power in Western societies.

However, when she then tells me, on her authority as a woman, that all women (should) feel this way, it's time to start asking critical questions, because in my experience, many women (justifiably) do NOT feel an imminent threat of rape by merely being in the presence of unknown men.

I highly doubt that's ever happened.

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Re: Victim mentality

Post  piginthecity on Sat Oct 27, 2012 1:05 pm

Hey, Fossil -

I'm trying to summon up the maturity not to start with a zinger based on that I do use scare quotes for the 'Hovind Canopy Theory'. As you can see I failed so please disregard the above, and decide whether you might like to make a mental note not to lead with your chin.

I guess in seriousness, the status of the one theory is somewhat between the other two in terms of general acceptance and the quotes depend on context, but point taken in that my use of the quotes does indeed reflect my perception of the degree of acceptance of that particular theory.

Thanks for reading my rather tealdeer post. As I'm sure I don't need to re-iterate, its subject was the challenges about empathising across demographic divides. To the extent that it had a conclusion, it was that broadly there are two sorts of challenges which are put to people of my perceived demographic (we're now talking about meta-conversations like this) which take the forms;

1) That I have some extra work to do in order to be able to empathise
2) That my empathy is impossible/irrelevant because of .... (insert generalised reason here)

And that, as far as I am concerned, as an individual, I can certainly entertain type 1 but have a problem with type 2 because I've never come across a reason good enough. Also we are talking about conversations in which a (perfectly legitimate) appeal to empathy is being made at the start but then the conclusion is that i can only show the correct level of empathy by admitting that i can't empathise and saying that i buy into the generalised reason.

As you'll see if you go back, I didn't give patriarchy theory as an example of what this 'generalised reason' might be as a hard limit for empathy in my original post, only in the later clarification. I now think it was a badly chosen example, and perhaps there is a term for what I mean precisely within sociological theory of which I'm unaware. My feeling is that it would be related to or derived from patriarchy theory which is why that was the best I could do without spending too much time on a clarification written when i should have been working.

As you point out, patriarchy theory encompasses such things as statistics about gender of politicians and employment practices, so it clearly is far too wide a term to use in the context of something which has nothing to do with these metrics. Therefore I accept that patriarchy theory was too general a term to use in this context and am grateful to you for pointing this out.

Leaving the clarification aside, I stand by my original post as an accurate picture of where I am as an individual on these issues. Even though I say it myself, I do think it's coherent, though not necessarily the only valid position of course.

I think that broadly, a response to this would be either that someone does think there are hard limits to empathy and can tell me what the reason is - now that we've agreed it's not patriarchy theory, or they don't think there are such limits and that therefore, empathy, to a workable extent anyway, is possible.

As this is another tealdeer, with your permission I won't address the second quote which was not from me, but from a third party clarifying my post, but in a direction which I would not necessarily have taken had it been me.



Last edited by piginthecity on Sat Oct 27, 2012 1:11 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : saw a mistake)

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Re: Victim mentality

Post  mood2 on Sat Oct 27, 2012 6:18 pm

pig I read your original post slightly differently to your clarifications, and that made more sense to me but now I'm thinking maybe I got it wrong.

Here's the gist of what I got from it -

- There's the personal individual aspect of empathising with someone who's gone through an experience like rape you haven't or can't, and part of that is accepting some of what that person tells you 'on faith'



- Then there is the more meta/generalised discussion, which should be rooted in rationalism rather than empathy, about what such experiences tell us about how society operates, in terms of gender relations and suchlike.



- You're concerned that 'having the individual awful experience' shouldn't bestow that person with some special authority when it comes to that rational discussion.



- And you think feminism does that, and prevents you from fully participating, or being listened to, in that discussion. And perhaps influences expectations of you which might flow from it.

Is that about right?


If so, I'd say only the last point is a bit iffy. In that as you say feminism, and patriarchy theory, are very broad fields, with a whole spectrum of theories, perspectives and analyses. And there's no set manifesto, no final arbiter authority figure. Ask one feminist and they might take that view, another might not. Actually ask one non-feminist (a non-feminist rape victim or their loved ones for example) and another might not.

So you'd really need to cite a specific theory, and talk in terms of that theory. I'd be interested to see what rationale lay behind it myself.

If however, it's more a general feeling you have, or you've heard some feminists talk this way, then you're saying something slightly different. There's also talk in wider society about how victims in general and rape victims in particular need to be listened to more. Tho that's usually in the context of giving more credibilty to victims, making reporting less difficult, trials less traumatic, sentencing etc. Altogether it can add to a zeitgeisty feel that 'feminism is dictating the agenda' which over-states the reality.


Or I might have gotten what you're saying completely wrong Smile


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Re: Victim mentality

Post  mood2 on Sat Oct 27, 2012 6:31 pm


However, when she then tells me, on her authority as a woman, that all women (should) feel this way, it's time to start asking critical questions, because in my experience, many women (justifiably) do NOT feel an imminent threat of rape by merely being in the presence of unknown men.

I highly doubt that's ever happened.

You and me both fossil

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Re: Victim mentality

Post  piginthecity on Sat Oct 27, 2012 10:08 pm

Hey mood -

Thanks for reading my somewhat 'thinking aloud' type of post and making a darned fine swing at making sense of it.

Your summarised gist made it exactly clear where you are with it and my response to the four points is:

yes (though to quibble, it's 'trust' not 'faith')
yes
no
no

I couldn't care less about 'being listened to' or 'participating' in the rational discussion. That is another problem for another hour. I haven't been dishonest enough to play at attempting to empathise just so that i can buy capital to spend in such a discussion. What sort of Dick would do that ?

No, my problem is from the other direction. By 'problem', by the way, I don't mean that it's deliberate, a 'conspiracy', makes me angry, or is even unreasonable, I just mean that, in a practical sense, I haven't yet worked out a way to keep a constructive dialogue going past it.

The problem is that there are some conversations which go like this: the start involves a topic being raised which would elicit an empathetic response from any normal human being, so some empathy happens in my head, and empathetic noises (however inadequate) start emanating from my keyboard. Please envisage not the most severe kind of trauma (about which I've never had these sort of conversations), but something of a moderate level such as death of a pet, being passed over at work, encountering rudeness (without threats) from a stranger. Also please envisage that it's not a case of me butting in to someone else's conversation, but that the description of the unfortunate event is being told to me particularly, or to a group which contains me in circumstances that would make it rude not to respond.

The conversation then segues in the direction of a meta-conversation and the suggestion is made (often by a third party) that, as I'm in the wrong demographic, then I have some extra work to do in order to empathise to the same level as those in the right demographic. So far I'm on board. So long as this 'work' is to access empathy which is rooted in my experiences as a human being I'm happy to admit that I have to do it.

Then the conversation takes another step which goes beyond this. The suggestion is made (implicitly) that, because of demographic factors, I am unable to emphasise. The lever is simply unavailable in my case. Not merely that I've failed in this instance but rather there's no point in me even trying to respond in a way that relates to my own experiences as a human being at all. My experiences, whatever they may or may not be are irrelevant. The asserter of this knows it's true because of some generalisation that he or she has either read in a book or has made for themselves based on their own observations of people. My response is now supposed to be that I agree that the asserter must be right for reasons which fly free of my experience of the world.

I'm left in the position of the victim of a shell game. I've been suckered in by appeals to my humanity, then dismissed as being the wrong sort of humanity, then my humanity turned against me with the suggestion that the only kind thing i can do is to validate my own dismissal.

Please note that the above conversation actually hardly ever happens to me (although I'm sure it's happened at least once). If it happened every day, you'd suggest that I'd rubbed people up the wrong way by overbearingness, butting in, demands for validation for my empathy, condescension etc and you'd probably be right. No, I've been through it step by step because it's the only way i have of illustrating to what I'm referring. I'll leave it to you to decide how prevalent conversations are which approximate to this archetype, bearing in mind that a real conversation usually has an awful lot going on in it, and this may represent the narrative of only one thread of sub-text out of several.

Please also note that the quote in your second post was nothing to do with me, so I won't address this.


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Re: Victim mentality

Post  piginthecity on Sun Oct 28, 2012 4:26 am

Hey Mood -

If you can stand to read any more of my stuff i just wanted to add an addendum.

The reason I referred to the 'problem' as coming from 'the other direction' as where you thought was that, of the two conversations the empathetic/specific one and the rational/general one. I am not concerned with being excluded from the rational/general one by anything that happened in the empathetic/specific one, but rather that I am concerned at being excluded from the empathetic/specific one because of generalized beliefs which belong more to the realm of rational/general discussion.

This may sound a bit entitled, but please bear in mind that that judgement is all about context, and the context can be that we started out as a bunch of equal human beings whose conversation took a turn where empathy was a natural human response.

Clear as mud ?

good.

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Re: Victim mentality

Post  mood2 on Sun Oct 28, 2012 8:53 am

hey pig, thanks for spelling it out, think I'm getting there!

yes (though to quibble, it's 'trust' not 'faith')

not a quibble, I get the subtle difference and yeah, trust Smile


I'm wondering if what you're talking about is in part an online phenomenom. Usually, the only time you're going to interact with someone about such sensitive personal stuff is one to one, with someone who already knows and trusts you. And that's such a good environment for empathy. Still often awkward and hard to know what to say, but so much easier to guage and convey tone and trust and a shared sense of common humanity. There's also touching and nodding and all sorts of ways to communicate support and understanding. In that situation it's harder to imagine a victim saying to you, of course you can't really understand because you're a man, or something like that. And you're not likely to be thinking (never mind talking) in an academicky way about how empathy works. As you say, you're just being people reacting to each other how we're designed to, mirror neurons sparking when we see tears and wotnot.

It's just so different when a stranger on the internet uses their anonymity, their strangerness, to talk about something like that. You're not in auto-emotion response mode, you're in think mode. You take time to ponder how to respond, whether to respond. How to make the appropriate kinds of noises without over-stepping the mark. How to convey support and a degree of understanding without all the normal cues at your disposal, just dry text. I'll bet a lot of people, men and women, feel much the same. And that's the environment where a wider discussion is more likely to emerge amongst a bunch of strangers and become part of the same conversation. All the touchy feely cue stuff might make that too discordant in a RL one on one situation, but the internetz don't have those natural barriers.

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Re: Victim mentality

Post  DMB on Sun Oct 28, 2012 8:56 pm

With regard to empathy, IMO one can have great sympathy for someone who has undergone things one hasn't oneself, but there is always a gap between feeling that for someone or having undergone it or something similar oneself.

This doesn't just apply to things like sexism, racism and rape, but also to many other wounding experiences like learning one has a horrible disease or suffering bereavement. Many people say things like, "I know how you feel", but they don't. And one rape isn't like another or one bereavement like another.

People differ so much in their innermost nature that one rape victim will suffer her hurt internally and get on with the rest of her life while another will apparently go into suspended animation and be incapable of functioning. It doesn't mean that the first rape was necessarily less bad than the second; the victims simply function differently according to their personalities.

"We're born alone, we live alone, we die alone." Not a single one of us can really live in another's shoes. Just because two people share gender, skin colour, health status, whatever, they are still separate and affected differently by their experiences.

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Re: Victim mentality

Post  Eldin Alvere on Thu Nov 01, 2012 12:51 am

fossil wrote:I love the scare quotes around patriarchy. Do you do that with the 'theory of evolution' too?

And the effects of a patriarchal system do manifest in your life if you live in a Western society; I'd be willing to be you just don't notice. That is, you don't notice if you and a woman submit the exact same resumé for a job, you are more likely to get hired. You don't notice that women are much more likely to be poor, and actually that over half the households in poverty are those of single women (as opposed to single men or couples). You don't notice that 83% of the US government is male--and they are constantly trying to legislate against women's health and choices, which even further limits women's economic potential. You don't notice that 1 in 6 women will be raped, but because of the victim-blaming mentality present, most don't ever come forward, and those that do get chided for what they wear, instead of people being angry at the person who did it. (Bonus: Only 3% of rapes ever result in the perpetrator going to jail!)

Women are marginalized economically, politically, and socially, and yet somehow the idea of a system where men as a group are generally better off doesn't sit well with you. Be sure to let all of anthropology and sociology know you disagree with them!

And before you give me the tired old MRA talking points about the draft and prison and suicide: Nobody's been drafted since the Vietnam war, and it's unlikely to ever happen again. This is not something that impacts the lives of men today. Statistics for men going to prison are so high because 1 in 3 BLACK MEN are arrested and sent to prison because they live in a police state whereby the criminal justice system is disproportionately harsher on them due to racism. This does not hold true across other racial and ethnic groups. And more women (than men) are likely to attempt suicide, but men are more likely to use a gun and therefore more likely to succeed at it. None of the MRA talking points detract at all from the assessment that men (white men, specifically) have the most political, economic, and social power in Western societies.

However, when she then tells me, on her authority as a woman, that all women (should) feel this way, it's time to start asking critical questions, because in my experience, many women (justifiably) do NOT feel an imminent threat of rape by merely being in the presence of unknown men.

I highly doubt that's ever happened.

Well, patriarchy theory is not a theory in the scientific sense. I often use the ' ' around it as well simply to denote that I don't entirely agree with the term. Yes, all societies in the world are patriarchies in that the positions are power are mostly held by men. This is quite easy to explain away though. Women get pregnant. Not all but most. So it's reasonable to expect that men tend to rise to positions of power notably more than women.

There is a selection bias favoring men. However, that is not because of the "patriarchy". It's inherent in all societies through out the world. It's because men are generally viewed as "productive". It's simply the roles we have played. This is one of the areas that I support feminism. Women are not less capable of men in most areas.

The US government is not constantly trying to legislate against women's health and choices. Some members in the government are but they are pretty much always rejected. What is a serious health issue for women in America? The government spends more money researching woman health care issues than they do men and more money is spent on woman healthcare in America than on men, despite men having more health issues and lower life expectancy.

You also don't notice that 1 in 16 men will be raped, that men are more likely to be murdered, mugged, assaulted, etc. Men are far more likely to die or be injured on the job. Men are more likely to commit suicide. Men are far more likely to be homeless. Etc. See? I can point out areas where it sucks to be a man as easily as you can being a woman.

Women have more choices in American society than men do. A woman can work or not work. Try being a non-working man and see how well that works out for ya.

I don't have to resort to the draft. 99% of war casualties are men. While not quite as drastic as the disparity in casualties in the military, the disparity in casualties in the police and fire department aren't far off.

Your dismissal of the fact that women are arrested as often (or close, 46%) but simply not charged because the victim doesn't press charges or the police give them a warning. Even ignoring all African American men, women would still be drastically less likely to face charges and receive 1/3 of the amount of time for the same conviction.

Most women's attempts for suicides are cries for attention. Men can't do that because society would not feel sympathy but would instead judge them as pathetic. A man doesn't attempt suicide but commits suicide because he means it to succeed. (generalizations, I know).

Men have more economic power. I do not agree that the other 2 are true any more.

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Re: Victim mentality

Post  fossil on Thu Nov 01, 2012 5:44 am

Eldin Alvere wrote:Yes, all societies in the world are patriarchies in that the positions are power are mostly held by men.

Um, no. Gender inequality is culturally constructed. Gender inequality is not a universal.

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Re: Victim mentality

Post  uncrystal on Thu Nov 01, 2012 6:36 am

fossil wrote:
Eldin Alvere wrote:Yes, all societies in the world are patriarchies in that the positions are power are mostly held by men.

Um, no. Gender inequality is culturally constructed. Gender inequality is not a universal.

I really dislike the word "equality" being tossed around. Equality has no true meaning in regards to humans unless you're talking about equality of opportunity and equality under the law. No two men are "equal". No two women are equal. No two gender queers are equal. No man, woman, or gender queer are equal to each other.

Men are better apt at killing wild animals and other men in hand to hand combat than women. Men and woman are UNEQUAL in this regard. Women have breasts for to feed babies. Women and men are UNEQUAL this regard. Human survival was FOUNDED on these two differences: A woman's ability to keep offspring alive (through giving birth, breastfeeding, and caring for young children) and a man's ability to keep women AND offspring alive (largely by fighting and usually dying).

Gender "inequality" was NOT "constructed" it was/ is biological.

Now how that can be applied to modern society is an argument worth having, but the idea that big bad men DESIGNED the world to be tilted in their favor is laughable.

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Re: Victim mentality

Post  fossil on Thu Nov 01, 2012 10:49 pm

uncrystal wrote:
fossil wrote:

Um, no. Gender inequality is culturally constructed. Gender inequality is not a universal.

I really dislike the word "equality" being tossed around. Equality has no true meaning in regards to humans unless you're talking about equality of opportunity and equality under the law. No two men are "equal". No two women are equal. No two gender queers are equal. No man, woman, or gender queer are equal to each other.

Men are better apt at killing wild animals and other men in hand to hand combat than women. Men and woman are UNEQUAL in this regard. Women have breasts for to feed babies. Women and men are UNEQUAL this regard. Human survival was FOUNDED on these two differences: A woman's ability to keep offspring alive (through giving birth, breastfeeding, and caring for young children) and a man's ability to keep women AND offspring alive (largely by fighting and usually dying).

Gender "inequality" was NOT "constructed" it was/ is biological.

Now how that can be applied to modern society is an argument worth having, but the idea that big bad men DESIGNED the world to be tilted in their favor is laughable.

How about looking at what I was responding to, instead of babbling on about something unrelated.

Eldin Alvere said:

Eldin Alvere wrote:Yes, all societies in the world are patriarchies in that the positions are power are mostly held by men.

That statement is false. Patriarchy is not universal (i.e., not biological). It is socially constructed.

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Re: Victim mentality

Post  Eldin Alvere on Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:27 pm

fossil wrote:
Eldin Alvere wrote:Yes, all societies in the world are patriarchies in that the positions are power are mostly held by men.

Um, no. Gender inequality is culturally constructed. Gender inequality is not a universal.

Can you name a society in which the positions of power were predominately male? Yes, it was culturally constructed. That doesn't refute what I said nor did I ever state that it was a universal law. I state that all societies in the world are predominately male dominated. Please do not strawman me.

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Re: Victim mentality

Post  uncrystal on Fri Nov 02, 2012 5:03 am

fossil wrote:
uncrystal wrote:
fossil wrote:

Um, no. Gender inequality is culturally constructed. Gender inequality is not a universal.

I really dislike the word "equality" being tossed around. Equality has no true meaning in regards to humans unless you're talking about equality of opportunity and equality under the law. No two men are "equal". No two women are equal. No two gender queers are equal. No man, woman, or gender queer are equal to each other.

Men are better apt at killing wild animals and other men in hand to hand combat than women. Men and woman are UNEQUAL in this regard. Women have breasts for to feed babies. Women and men are UNEQUAL this regard. Human survival was FOUNDED on these two differences: A woman's ability to keep offspring alive (through giving birth, breastfeeding, and caring for young children) and a man's ability to keep women AND offspring alive (largely by fighting and usually dying).

Gender "inequality" was NOT "constructed" it was/ is biological.

Now how that can be applied to modern society is an argument worth having, but the idea that big bad men DESIGNED the world to be tilted in their favor is laughable.

How about looking at what I was responding to, instead of babbling on about something unrelated.

Eldin Alvere said:

Eldin Alvere wrote:Yes, all societies in the world are patriarchies in that the positions are power are mostly held by men.

That statement is false. Patriarchy is not universal (i.e., not biological). It is socially constructed.

I read the comment I replied to (your comment) and the sentence you replied to (Eldin's comment). My reply stands.

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Re: Victim mentality

Post  fossil on Fri Nov 02, 2012 9:03 am

Eldin Alvere wrote:
Yes, it was culturally constructed. That doesn't refute what I said nor did I ever state that it was a universal law. I state that all societies in the world are predominately male dominated. .

And you're wrong.

The Zuni of New Mexico
Iroquois of the "New World"
Cultures of Multiple Fathers in South America

are just a few examples of egalitarian societies. Matriarchies have existed, too. You are apparently ignorant of the last 40 years of anthropology. You are incorrect.

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Re: Victim mentality

Post  Matthew Bailey on Fri Nov 02, 2012 3:24 pm

Pitchguest wrote:While I didn't intend to spend my time on the Atheism Plus site more than I cared for, I've encountered the argument of victim mentality more than once.

It appears that if you've been sexually assaulted, or raped, or if you've suffered racism or homophobia then you're free to use that as an excuse for pretty much...everything. I'm of the contention that kind of mentality is counterproductive. I realise I'm speaking as a person with a fair complexion, straight, who has neither been sexually assaulted nor raped in his life, but bear with me. I don't know the minds of rape victims so this is only based on my own presumptions, but I imagine a rape victim in the aftermath must feel devastated. I imagine they feel their worth as a human being has been reduced to someone's plaything. However, I also imagine that they want to put the whole thing behind them. By which I mean don't forget it ever happened, but don't let it get them down. That they wouldn't allow it to become a crutch. I imagine it's painful for them to relive the experience and thus I don't imagine they would allow for that experience to decorate their life onwards.

I suppose it's the same (or similar) with those who've suffered from racist remarks or violence from racism, homophobia or violence from homophobia, that they wouldn't allow the fact that they are black or gay and that they might experience hateful remarks or violence to characterise their entire existence. I recognise I talk from a position of "privilege" (in scare quotes because I really hate that word) but I just don't think anyone would allow themselves to remain a perpetual victim for the rest of their life to wear as a sort of "badge of honour" just so they can use it ward off criticism (not to do with their race or sexuality). Am I wrong? Am I completely backwards in this? Thoughts, please.

Then let me say it:

• I'm a rape victim.
• I'm not heterosexual.
• I'm a combination of strange and marginalized ethnicities (although it rarely is a problem where people are not aware of the family history).
• I am disabled
• I have psychological and Psychiatric problems (mostly related to childhood abuse - my mother tried to kill me several times. She thought that I was possessed. And she was abusively religious).
• And I'm dirt poor (although that is changing as I climb out of the hole into which I have fallen).

But the other forum is full of people who play the victim like a Maestro does the Violin.

I can understand what it is like to be that way, to a degree, as I tended to play the victim a lot when I was younger. I didn't know any different. No one had taught me how to take responsibility for myself.

That didn't mean forgiving anyone who had wronged me (I did have one advantage in this regard, in that I managed to exact pretty severe revenge upon the people who raped me). But it did mean that I needed to recognize that I needed help; that I needed to follow through with getting help; that I needed to prioritize recovering from the disaster of my life above other things (which meant that helping others needed to come second to helping myself - I am no good to others if I am not capable of taking care of myself); that I needed to come to terms with the fact that these experiences had destroyed who I was before, and that I needed to rebuild myself (this new me might resemble the old me, and he might not).

If the members of the other forum are so vulnerable that they need a "Safe Space" then how do they plan to take action to change the world for the better.

Activism is dangerous. Take a look at what happened to us last year at the Oakland and Berkeley Occupy Protests! We were shot at by the cops with rubber-bullets and gas-grenades (with which they aimed directly at protestors). Or, have a look at the 2007 May Day Protests in Los Angeles. The Police failed so spectacularly on that day that it was beyond tragic (fortunately, the Police were held accountable).

So if the people on the other forum have so many deeply seated issues, then they need to get those dealt with; they need to take responsibility for themselves before they set out to do something so fraught with danger.

I think that this is why the forum has failed so badly, and why they had such an issue with Trolls.

Had they been emotionally and psychologically stronger, then Trolls would not have been a problem, and they would not have developed a pathological paranoia over "trolls" that were mostly imaginary.

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Re: Victim mentality

Post  Matthew Bailey on Fri Nov 02, 2012 3:35 pm

DMB wrote:Rape is bad enough, but continued abuse is IMO far worse. When someone suffers that, sometimes over years and often when still pretty young, it's likely to have a far more detrimental effect than a single episode. And not all victimisation is sexual. It can just be sustained bullying. There are all sorts of traumas that are very hard to throw off.

You have no idea!

The abuse I suffered at the hands of my mother turned me into a Monster when I was in my 20s. It took a rather large series of disasters for me to learn how damaged I was because of that, and how wrong much of my behavior had been (although... It is a tragically complex set of circumstances, in which I would have to say that I would have little choice but to do what I had already done. It's just that my feelings about it would change considerably, and thus the disaster that eventually befell would not have come about).

But due to that abuse, I can now pretty much look at a kid and tell if he is or has been abused by a parent (well... That's a little bit of an exaggeration). I can often tell when it is taking place, but it can be damned tricky to be able to get real evidence, even when it is completely obvious that it is happening. Just as I did with my mother, most children will protect an abusive parent.

I didn't speak to my mother for almost 2 decades. And the only reason I speak to her now is that the first time I did speak to her was just after my wife left (after just having tried to kill me - shot me in the back twice) my mother called me out of the blue and said "I didn't know who else to call... But I don't think I believe in God any more."

Which was kind of funny... Because I never thought she did believe in God. I always thought that she had a more pathological obsession with justifying her anger at the world.

But anyway... Yes... Abused kids... Very damaging.

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Re: Victim mentality

Post  Matthew Bailey on Fri Nov 02, 2012 3:50 pm

Eldin Alvere wrote:
fossil wrote:
Eldin Alvere wrote:Yes, all societies in the world are patriarchies in that the positions are power are mostly held by men.

Um, no. Gender inequality is culturally constructed. Gender inequality is not a universal.

Can you name a society in which the positions of power were predominately male? Yes, it was culturally constructed. That doesn't refute what I said nor did I ever state that it was a universal law. I state that all societies in the world are predominately male dominated. Please do not strawman me.

I'd also point out that the term "Patriarchy" implies an intentional decision to exclude women.

I don't know of any guy-meeting where we all sat down and decided to exclude women from positions of power.

Now, does this mean that we don't have a problem with implicit patriarchy?

That is a very arguable position, and an argument that needs to be had.

But saddling the entire male gender and blaming them for something in which they have had no part is no conducive to helping progress an agenda to correct any gender power-differentials.

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