Victimhood can be a performance. Many of today’s feminists “do” victimhood like an actor “does” emotion up on a stage. And the performance-of-victimhood becomes a self-fulfilling cycle – it encourages dissent and then that dissent is used as proof of one’s victim status.
Highly visible feminists (especially on Twitter) like to stigmatise themselves. They align with any political agenda that would be viewed as deviant by mainstream audiences, as a deliberate tactic to position themselves as marginalised. By inciting disapproval and ultimately stigma, it makes the performance of victimhood very easy. All one has to do is trigger disgust and then when any disapproval is uttered, it is then proof (!) of sexism/misogyny/oppression/whatever.
Check Etsy for the word misandry and you’ll find super-cute pom-pom knit hats with “misandry” emblazoned between rows of hearts. You’ll also find lavender and white heart-shaped misandry hair barrettes, a plastic misandry necklace and a misandry-adorned heart-shaped felt brooch with beads.
It’s all pretty distasteful. And do these women really hate men? I doubt it. One thing is irrefutable however – these women love being irritants of a first-class order.
Irritants and shock-jocks should be called out for their offensive comments. But we are afraid of calling out female shock-jocks lest we are accused of sexism. Twitter feminists take any and all criticism as evidence that “women are being silenced”. No. Some of us women are just embarrassed that they speak on our behalf. Some of us cringe at the repeated failures in logic which unfairly malign whole groups of people.
The idea of “woman as victim” is a stereotype like any other, and it needs to be put to rest. It is just as toxic than other stereotypes of women that people dislike and have fought against (like the docile housewife or trophy-wife ornament). And there’s nothing that undermines agency than a fatalistic, paranoid feeling that the world is out to get you.
If I were a feminist in a position of high visibility I would tell girls that the world is not out to get you. Boys and men are not out to get you. What happens in your life is mostly up to you – the choices you make, the people you associate with, and the vision you have for yourself is your responsibility. Life can be unfair, but it is more unfair if you don’t make good decisions. And if you come up against sexism, stand up for yourself. Speak to authorities and demand action. Don’t walk away and internalise your victimhood and then tell the rest of us that we are all victims too.