Nicole Chardenet en Lifestyle, Publishers & Bloggers, Politics Salescritter • BLUERUSH Digital Marketing 18/5/2017 · 4 min de lectura · 2,1K

The Power of Victimhood

The Power of Victimhood

Photo by DualD Flip Flop on Flickr

Today, everyone’s a victim.

Everyone. Like, everyone. Even over-privileged white men are happy to whine about how much it sucks to be them.

Y’all don’t know what it’s like, bein’ male middle class & white!

Rockin' the Suburbs - Ben Folds Five

    There’s a lot of power in being a victim. If love means never having to say you’re sorry, victimhood means never having to be accountable for your own actions or destiny. ‘Coz, you know, it’s not your fault.

    Everyone wants power, particularly if they actually are disadvantaged, but the problem is it also comes with responsibility. No one wants that. Subconsciously, we fear that gaining real power might mean going from “It’s not your fault,” to “It’s all your fault.”

    Realistically, it’s somewhere in between. They’re a matched set.

    The beauty of victimhood is that it’s always someone else’s fault. Some other a-hole or collection of a-holes are keeping you down.

    True victimhood isn’t one-size-fits-all. Not all victims are created equal. Some people are victimized, but less than they think. (See: Aforementioned over-privileged white boys).

    In truth, probably everyone can claim victimhood to one degree or another. Even white men, who may come across as whiny aging brats but they do receive outsized blame for everything wrong with the world. Speaking as a white person, if not a male, I say: Kim Jong Un, anyone? Xi Jinping? Robert Mugabe? Idi Amin? Saddam Hussein? Mao-tse Tung? Pol Pot? ISIS?

    Don’t go entirely blaming America’s white males for those guys. People suck universally. You know it. The U.S. gets blamed for everything, including the Inquisition and the Punic Wars and original sin. Don’t believe me? Check out all those medieval and Renaissance paintings of the Fall. Adam and Eve were white. And you just know they were American.

    The original Stupid White People trick. Painting by Adriaen van der Werff, a Renaissance Dutch painter whose name couldn’t be any whiter if you bleached it. Photo by Tilemahos Efthimiadis on Flickr

    The Power of Chicktimhood

    Some of my self-styled feminist friends on some social media get mad at me when I express my feminist views because, well, there’s too much empowerment and shit. They don’t actually put it that way but that’s what they mean. We disagree on whether women actually have some decision-making power when it comes to how victimized they’ll be. (Guess which side I fall on.)

    Related: Mama Didn’t Raise No Victim Feminist

    Sure, there are still plenty of inequities and battles yet to fight, like the Trumpocalypse, surrounded by the stupidest white men he could find and one token dizzy blonde dimbulb. The Trumpocalypse got to that lofty height because a lot of white women voted for him, despite his well-publicized love of grabbing women’s nether regions without asking permission. Many of whom were apparently quite happy to have him do so, which brings up embarrassing questions about female psychology and power, but that’s a subject for another day.

    Related: When Victims Take Charge

    My feeling is that some women are more victimized than others but are overall more powerful than fifty years ago, or a hundred years ago when we first got the vote. Just because there’s still a power imbalance between males, females, and Gender Binary Hoozits doesn’t mean we’re still in the days when a man had to to co-sign a loan for us and we couldn’t get a birth control pill on demand because we might get up to All Kinds Of Things.

    Too many victim feminists ignore all progress and believe inequities are just as bad as they ever were or maybe even worse. Like the Trumpocalypse, which is bad for women (and blacks and Muslims and Mexicans and gays and immigrants) but it’s not the end of the world.

    Interestingly, my Power Feminist views go over better on professional social media sites, where, I guess, women feel more empowered, even if they’re not making quite as much money as men for the same amount of work and still have to deal with sexual harassment. My last post, Women’s Only Groups: Are They Archaic? did well on beBee and LinkedIn, although when I posted it to a women’s rights/spirituality group on Facebook, it was about as well-received as Jake Tapper at a presidential press conference.

    It was kinda funny, actually, to hear them challenging me while defending their need for ‘safe spaces.’

    There’s a similar siege mentality among some American blacks who are also blind to progress even if plenty of grievances about inequality and violence directed against them still remain. Outgoing President Barack Obama challenged this blindness in his last speech to the American people:

    “After my election, there was talk of a post-racial America. Such a vision, however well-intended, was never realistic. For race remains a potent and often divisive force in our society. I’ve lived long enough to know that race relations are better than they were 10, or 20, or 30 years ago – you can see it not just in statistics, but in the attitudes of young Americans across the political spectrum.”

    Victimhood for everyone else

    No one wants to hear they need to grow up. Ever. But power isn’t for children. It means assuming responsibility and recognizing that lack of success isn’t all because of racism, sexism, or other forms of discrimination. It might be because one didn’t study hard enough. Or because one made some bad choices in life. Or bought into a mentality of ‘not good enough’ from parents, society, or maybe just one’s self. The reasons why anyone didn’t ‘make it’ are probably multiple, and maybe some of it isn’t their fault. But many don’t want to look too closely and ask what they or their tribe are doing wrong. It’s less personally threatening to blame others.

    Chronic victimhood is wreaking havoc with our public discourse or ability to address or resolve any real inequities. Social and moral immaturity go unchallenged because the moment you say, “But I’m a PERSON OF COLOUR! I’m a WOMAN! I’m a GENDER BINARY HOOZIT! I’m a MUSLIM! I’m a GAY PERSON!” you shut down conversation and never ever have to ask more uncomfortable questions: How much is society, discrimination and whatever-phobia holding me back, and how much of it is myself? Am I doing a better job of keeping me down than The Man?

    Are you ready for real power?

    I mean real power?

    Are you sure?

    Nicole Chardenet is a freelance writer, language translation software schlepper and ideological pain in the ass to absolutely everyone. She agrees you’re probably a legitimate victim for one reason or another but still thinks you need to blame a little less and self-examine a little more. It won’t kill you. She promises. Vitriolic victimhood defenses or inquiries about her writing services may be directed to the contact info right next to this cheezy bio.

    Nicole Chardenet 21/9/2017 · #42

    #41 I'm well aware of the problems women in other parts of the world face, and in fact I've annoyed my liberal friends by pointing out how hypocritical it is for the left (and sometimes they themselves) to carry on about what are often minor issues in North America when women are facing far worse challenges elsewhere. A few months ago on Facebook, after taking a lot of shit from my (mostly white) liberal friends for my personal responsibility views on, like, everyone, I posted something about Female Genital Mutilation - something that apparently may be happening right here in Toronto, and is certainly happening indirectly as families send their daughters back to Third World Shitlhole to get their vaginas mutilated. Gee, here's a big surprise, no one had a damn thing to say about it. I *knew* the folks on my Self-Hating White Person list would claim they never saw it. So...I posted a polite but terse rant pointing out that my white liberal friends always had plenty to say when I was critical of Black Lives Matter, First Nations, and especially Muslim culture which is *rife* with all kinds of problems (especially treatment of women) but that when I posted about an unquestionably barbaric practice, NO ONE had anything to say about it. And I said..."It's because you can't blame white people or America for this one. It's been going on for thousands of years and originated in Africa and the Middle East." Later some of these same I'm Only A Male Feminist For White Women friends started giving me shit about something, so I said, "Hey, you missed the piece I posted on FGM! Would love to get your opinion on it." One of them refused to comment. The others sort of admitted it wasn't, well, you know, strictly speaking, a good thing.

    Lyon Brave 20/9/2017 · #41

    I think it is clear we have to take responsibility for our own lives. It is easy to blame others for our situations. However, I have to remind you to check your privilege, not as a white woman, but an American woman. When you talk about feminist views you say, " doesn’t mean we’re still in the days when a man had to to co-sign a loan for us and we couldn’t get a birth control pill on demand because we might get up to All Kinds Of Things." What about the days of getting your vagina stitched shut, or sold into slavery for a goat. This is reality of present day women. The situation for women in America is not the situation for women in the rest of the world. There are countries in Africa where you can be arrested for being gay, so you got to be careful about comparing plights and issues.

    Nicole Chardenet 21/5/2017 · #40

    #33 I just read your story, and you're right, if you've never experienced that early and deep level of abuse it's not something you can really understand. And you're right about the effects of trauma on the developing brain. You probably already know a lot of this as a psychologist, but I'll recommend the book I've been re-reading and have almost finished: Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain: How a new science reveals our extraordinary potential to transform ourselves. It's a fascinating look at the neuroplasticity of the brain and some chapters touch upon the effects of trauma and bad parenting. There are undoubtedly some books more devoted to the subject of trauma on the developing brain. If anyone knows of one I'd love to read it.

    Joyce, your story is a lot harder-core than the victims I wrote about. You're not the sort of person who can just learn from her mistakes and bounce're really NOT responsible for the way your life developed. Although I note that you *did* take responsibility, realized you were beginning to repeat the mistakes of your mother and made a conscious decision to not treat others that way (I'm unclear as to whether you have kids of your own). So, despite being a victim of horrendous abuse, you still empowered yourself to *not* make others' lives as difficult as the one allotted to you.

    I do hope you an find peace some day, and an end to your suffering.

    Nicole Chardenet 21/5/2017 · #39

    #34 It could get interesting if they can actually prove this happens. We'll still need to debate, though, how much of our lives we can blame on victimization.

    Alcoholics Anonymous is under fire these days by critics questioning its actual efficacy. My experience with it is when my ex went through it years ago when he was getting sober. One of the elements of the AA program that I really like, that I hope substance abusers and everyone else as well will keep, is the notion that at some point you have to take responsibility for your life and your actions, and make a conscious decision not to let it control you anymore. You explore all the things that drove you to drink but at some point you have to wo/man up and say, "No more." Victim or not, genetically changed or not, we still ultimately are masters and mistresses of our own fates.

    Here's an interesting and provocative notion: We contribute to our own continuing trauma when we refuse to learn from our mistakes. Those who fail to learn from history, etc...

    +1 +1
    Nicole Chardenet 21/5/2017 · #38

    #33 It's a fairly new idea, Joyce, so the scientific jury is still out on it. I found it an interesting idea. Trauma for sure does change the brain in many ways, and there *does* seem to be some evidence that it changes at a genetic level too. But we'll see how it pans out. I'm not ready to toss out the theory yet.

    Tricia Mitchell 20/5/2017 · #37

    #36 Hi @Joyce 🐝 Bowen Brand Ambassador @ beBee I understand what you are saying. We support people in our own unique ways. One of the ways I'm able to work is I can quickly deal with the ancestral trauma and imprints, so that people's 'now' are liberated. That's possibly why it fascinates me. You're interested in getting them through the day, which is vital, and what we can offer is, hopefully, what's needed at the time.

    +2 +2

    #35 Thank you for the reference, @Tricia Mitchell. I think I am so entrenched in the needs of now, I have a difficult time even considering any type of Jungian stuff. I see people hurting now, and am interested in how to get them through the day rather than how to deal with ancestral memories.

    +3 +3
    Tricia Mitchell 20/5/2017 · #35

    #33 @Joyce 🐝 Bowen Brand Ambassador @ beBee I love this programme I'm probably one of those people who are full of... Here's a couple of references for anyone who's interested in reading more

    +1 +1