What do you do when the offender cries victim?

I’ve noticed recently a trend among folks of saying something completely and totally offensive towards an entire group of people, and then claiming victimhood if someone disagrees.


(This is an old one, but it’s the first time I can recall… no wait, the whole mentioning that Liz Cheney is lesbian is the first time I can actually recall.)
Dick Cheney:  Shoots old man in the face.
General Public: !
Old man: I abjectly apologize for getting shot in the face and causing so much distress to Mr. Cheney.

Perry:  Does not change racially offensive name on lodge.
General Public: !
Perry: It is so hard being an oppressed white man. You have to be soooo careful with this stupid PC stuff, it just isn’t fair.

Poster:  Nobody is allowed to disagree with what I am about to say.  All people who cosleep are child abusers who are unable to get human touch any other way, are unable to be individuals, and are forcing it on their kids.  Also some deeply disturbing stuff about sexuality.
Reply:  I am offended and disagree.  (Also mildly sickened by what is going on in your mind.  That is messed up.)
Poster:  How dare you disagree when I said at the top of the post nobody is allowed to disagree?  I am hurt.

Nature:  Men can do science and women can only shop
All intelligent readers: The 1950s called, they want their stereotypes back
Nature: You are all hysterical, how dare you complain? More proof that women are unsuited to science! Plus if the editor weren’t Jewish you wouldn’t be saying such things. You anti-Semitic jerks.

Poster: WOHM cannot bond with their children.
Reply:  That’s a stupid statement and untrue
Poster:   I demand you apologize.

I know this is a really common tactic among the Rush Limbaughs and Fox Newses of the world.  It looks like other folks are picking it up too.

There’s even a name for it.

It irritates me.

What do you think is the best reaction once they have claimed victimhood?  How do you react?

Dropping it seems to allow the person to continue their spreading of vitriol unchecked.  Pushing back even more allows them to milk the victim card even more.  How about directly addressing the claim of victimhood?  “Really, you just compared an entire group of people to Nazis and now *you’re* claiming to be the victim?”

29 Responses to “What do you do when the offender cries victim?”

  1. Sar Says:

    If I really care, I call them on it. If I don’t (most of the time), I walk away thinking the person is a moron.

  2. feMOMhist Says:

    it’s all feminists fault (eff you N. Wolf et al)

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Oh man… those comments over at CPP’s. First men aren’t allowed to be feminists ( I’m sure the d00d that CPP is talking about isn’t actually a feminist in action, but that doesn’t mean men who try to be feminists should be yelled at)… then women with PhDs aren’t allowed to be feminists and must shut up about all things feminist.

      Radical feminists chap my hide. I’d just feel sorry for them except I have seen them do real harm. Who wants to be for equality of the sexes if they’re told they’re not allowed to be for equality of the sexes because they’re male or educated? I bet most of the people throwing around those accusations throw them at people who have exactly as much privilege as they do in order to try to win an argument. (Proof by intimidation… also has some sort of name in philosophy.) They probably don’t realize that they themselves have that kind of privilege. Some sort of narcissistic personality disorder or something.

      Or they’re all 14 year old boys pretending to be radical feminists because they hate women. That’s also highly possible, even probable.

      • Funny about Money Says:

        LOL! The younger generation of women academics is taking a saner view of the position of women. I also wonder a bit about radical feminism, which makes me a strange old lady ion academia, and one who needs to keep her mouth shut. Still… One has to remember what we went through up to and during the 1960s and 70s. A little craziness is the reaction to be expected.

      • becca Says:

        That is one messed up comment thread.

        First, I’d just like to say I’ve learned a lot about feminism from you, and I find the labels and framework you put forth extremely useful. If you’ve been around feminism long enough to see all of those, but don’t have a personal identity as a “feminist” that conflicts with any of them, I think they are good labels to adopt and help dialog. None of this is is a criticism of you contributing that.

        That said, pontificating on how to apply to different individuals a useful theoretical framework which allows for *nuance* and *complex* identities and definitions… is an academic thing. As you probably know, it will often be seen as ivory tower in a bad way by people who are interested in trying to bring about real concrete change in a short term context.

        And apparently, it also comes across as condescending to some. Which doesn’t make sense to me, exactly, except I’ve seen it happen enough times now that it is not surprising. Simply using academic type analysis for a situation is seen as an exclusionary tactic. It’s not about “fear of intellectuals”- it’s about different people finding value in different types of discourse, and also having different levels of exposure to academic discourse in ways that are dreadfully wound up with SES (frankly, I think one of the reasons CPP is so successful is that he doesn’t do the academic thing on his blog).

        In other words, you weren’t told to shut up because you have a PhD. You were just told to stop talking like you have a PhD and were here to educate everyone. Which is an unreasonable thing for someone to demand on someone else’s blog, to be sure.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        @becca– sure sure, except the one thing… “different people finding value in different types of discourse” — I’m just not sure where the standard “shut your piehole, bitch” that these folks use actually has value (CPP’s thread is not the first place we’ve gotten these comments– the “shut your piehole, bitch” is an actual quote).

        Really I think they’re just bullies with low self-esteems. Sure, the patriarchy may have caused those low self-esteems, but that doesn’t mean their behavior is helpful.

        @Funny– Right, I “get” (the idea of) feminists who have been through the wars– I have one in my department (with the more general term of feminist that encompasses race and class) and it is very interesting seeing how her views are different from the younger person in the department who studies issues of race and class who hasn’t seen what she has. However, based on the kinds of personal comments the folks on these forums make, most of them don’t really remember the 80s, much less the 70s or 60s. That’s not what’s going on. These are often younger folks who often attack me for having a job(!). Which I can only have gotten because of my privilege. (And yes, that’s true as we all have privilege, but that doesn’t mean I should be blamed for being successful unless I’m actively trying to keep other people down. Given how much effort and time I spend teaching math to women who are math-phobic so that they can be successful… I like to think I’m pulling people up.)

      • Cloud Says:

        Women with PhDs aren’t allowed to be feminists? Well, that explain a lot….

        Since I don’t work in academia, my only interaction with radical feminists has been online. I’ve mostly just gone away when I’ve found a site to be infested with them.

        On your main question: I have no idea how best to respond. If I really care, I’ll stick around and try to make sane arguments, hoping not so much to convince the false victim but to sway any undecideds reading the thread. I have to really care about the topic, though. So, working mom things, vaccination, that sort of thing.

    • feMOMhist Says:

      Did I miss something good on CPP? Damn I guess I should read some D00Ds.

      In the meantime WTF? I was poking fun at faux feminists. Does no one recall Reagan’s 11th commandment. Damn I’m old. LE SIGH

      <3 self proclaimed academic feminist person

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        I thought he was making the same comment about the same d00d? But then it branched out to the idea that just because this guy sucks no guy can call himself a feminist. Whatevs.

        Update: No, different d00d. I misread this morning!

  3. Molly (Mike and Molly's House) Says:

    In my fantasy I say something like, ‘Wow! You are either have your head up your ass (all will be forgiven and I’ll help you pull it out) or are you just a narcissistic butt who thinks you are the center of the universe?’

  4. Funny about Money Says:

    I had no idea t here was a name for this tactic. I’ve always thought it was called “bullying,” as it’s a typical behavior of bullies. They beat you up and then when you appear to be disturbed, they blame you for having no sense of humor or for bringing it on yourself.

  5. ianqui Says:

    Well, at least in the online cases, it’s easy. You just leave that link for DARVO in the comments, and that will change the focus of the conversation from the issue itself to whether or not the writer is inappropriately playing the victim.

  6. bogart Says:

    Walk away, gnash my teeth, and eat dark chocolate. Why do you ask?

  7. Comrade PhysioProf Says:

    “Who wants to be for equality of the sexes if they’re told they’re not allowed to be for equality of the sexes because they’re male or educated?”

    While it is true that in some individual cases this may be–or at least reasonably appear to be–what is being said, this is not the general theoretical point being made by me and by many radical feminists (such as Twisty). Rather, the general theoretical point is that exhortations from a position of privilege aimed at those oppressed by that privilege in relation to the definition of their oppression and the appropriate means for its amelioration are not to be countenanced. This is completely different than saying that the privileged are not allowed to be opposed to the oppression their privilege creates nor to take action to ameliorate that oppression.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Gosh golly gee wiz, CPP… You know something, I’m a woman, #2 is a woman… and by your post and the comments on your blog post… YOU’RE NOT ALLOWED TO LECTURE US ON FEMINISM. At least not if you disagree with our female opinions.

      Not saying we agree with that stance, just that you’re kind of being a hypocrite.

      • Comrade PhysioProf Says:

        I’m not lecturing you about feminism–i.e., telling you what feminism should be or what you should be doing about it. I am simply attempting to clarify the meaning of a particular theoretical point some people have made. (Not that it matters, but my personal opinion is that it is most helpful in general that there exists a range of approaches, from the most strident separatism–the world would be better off if there simply were no men in it–to the mildest equality feminism.)

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Then your definition of lecture is different than that of the folks commenting on your blog… ‘cuz gosh, I think we also made the point that there are many different kinds of feminism. But that was considered a lecture.

        And our point is that if a guy wants to consider himself a liberal feminist or a post-modern feminist, then he can. He just can’t consider himself a radical feminist. That’s not allowed by at least a subset of radical feminists. But such radical feminists don’t hold the copyright on the word “feminism” and thank goodness for that. We will continue to call gentlemen who exhibit feminist tendencies feminists and be happy that they’re in the cause.

      • Comrade PhysioProf Says:

        It’s certainly possible that some commenters on my blogge define “lecture” differently than I do, because–while I don’t read all comments to my blogge–I read yours in that thread and didn’t think you were “lecturing”.

    • chacha1 Says:

      CPP, quit lecturing. You don’t “clarify” meanings by applying multiple polysyllabic words in a complexly constructed paragraph intended to obfuscate and defend. To clarify, you simplify. If you can’t state your position in plain language your position probably doesn’t hold up.

  8. Grace Says:

    Interesting that the comment focus is on radical feminism. My first thought was not about feminism but right-wing Christianity. How sick am I of hearing Christians whine about persecution? At least in this country, they’ve been in charge and in the majority forever, and they are NOT a minority. Christians are NOT victimized (except sometimes by their own leaders) but they are, sadly and all too often, among the bullies. [I consider myself a mildly agnostic Christian, but I embarrass easily, which is more than I can say for many of my brethren–not to mention sisteren!)

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I love the War on Christmas stuff on the Colbert Report and Daily Show.

    • feMOMhist Says:

      tee hee I was JOKING about the feminists, but did manage to derail things didn’t I.

      YES to the Xians. We are having a Xmas-public-display kerfuffle in adjacent town and DAMN you’d think Pontius Pilate himself was crusading through town taking out putative Christians who seem to be keeping the Christ in Christmas by acting unchristianly towards others

  9. chacha1 Says:

    I consider myself a feminist because I have made my own, often counter-traditional, choices throughout my life and I have never felt the need to apologize for them.

    I am deeply grateful to those who came before me and made it possible for me to have the freedoms I have …. and I never forget that even I, a high achiever in high school in the 1980s, was never counseled about pursuing certain careers because it was simply assumed that *as a female* I would not be interested.

    Not sure what constitutes a “radical” feminist but it sounds a little scary.

    • feMOMhist Says:

      radical literally means getting to the root of, like the long division dohickie, in addition to its more common political, far left conntation.. The women who called themselves radical feminists were attempting to differentiate, while at the same time justify themselves to, the New Left socialisty D00Ds who didn’t think women needed a movement of their own.

      • chacha1 Says:

        thx I guess I may be a *leetle* radical. I do think women should be thinking about and working on equality issues independently of mixed-gender groups … if that makes sense … because even the strongest-minded women tend to defer to men in mixed groups (or argue with them, also nonproductive) and even the best men tend to allow it.

        I am 100% on board for men claiming the title “feminist” however. As long as their actions back up their speechifying. I always have to wonder how many “feminist” men actually do 50% of the housework and childcare in their own lives.

  10. virgo Says:

    I don’t have a response to how to respond, but I can’t help but let you know that this statement below really made me laugh.

    “The 1950s called, they want their stereotypes back.”

    The best way to deal with DARVOdism is, I think, through humor and irony. Because, honestly, one can’t reason with idiocy.

  11. MutantSupermodel Says:

    There’s no point in responding. It’s a waste of time.

  12. RBOC | Grumpy rumblings of the (formerly!) untenured Says:

    […] If you write an offensive post, and someone tells you that the post is offensive (you know, straight out says, “this is an offensive post,” not mincing words with softening “maybes, perhaps, I feel, etc.”)… then perhaps the reason it bothers you is not because the person commenting is a meanie-head, but that deep down you know it was an offensive post and you feel guilty.  DARVO. […]

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