The Cult of Victimhood
In our society, the category of ‘victim’ deeply paradoxical.
To be accorded that status is to be held blameless; once it has been granted, no one may suggest that the victim’s own choices might have contributed to the harm they suffered, nor may anyone suggest that the victim may have had the power to prevent by some means harm done to them. Suggesting that the harm may have been rightful or fair is out of the question; victims are those who have been wronged, those treated unjustly. If they weren’t wronged, they wouldn’t be victims, and since they are victims, they must have been wronged.
Once the status is granted, alternatives contrary to that status arising are automatically dismissed. Of course they weren’t responsible – they’re victims. Of course they were helpless – they’re victims. In logic, sufficient contrary evidence overturns an assertion, but mere logic does not apply to social consensus. If someone is defined as being a victim, everything must proceed from that given; questioning that definition is an attempt to undermine the social order and is evil in itself, and probably another attempt to harm the victim.
To be perceived as powerless and harmed, according to the consensus of our society, is to become entitled. Entitled to the sympathy and aid of the powerful. Entitled to the absence of contempt. Entitled to unique treatment; entitled to private, generous rulings that do not apply to others. As a consequence, gaining the status of victim brings immense power, a sort of aristocracy of the least and worst.
This can be seen in the context of Consistency.
A sort of schizophrenic thinking takes hold in the people who want to acquire the status of victim for their favored group. For example, you can see it in a particular strain of feminists. They cannot accept that female genital mutilation is mandated and often carried out primarily by women; nor can they accept that lesser but similarly harmful fashions stem from women’s standards. Women are victims; ergo, they cannot be responsible for systematic oppression. The judgment of other women cannot possibly be involved; conformity to harmful standards cannot possibly be imposed by other women. Therefore, the odious cultural forces responsible for maintaining these atrocity must spring from men.
Not only is this sort of thinking untrue and thus harmful in itself, but it turns the assignment of responsibility into an even greater minefield that it would otherwise be.