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As soon as someone challenges you, you retreat to the impregnable motte and glare at them until they get annoyed and go away. This is a metaphor that only historians of medieval warfare could love, so maybe we can just call the whole thing “strategic equivocation”, which is perfectly clear without the digression into feudal fortifications. Why can’t social justice terms apply to oppressed groups? There is no way to get a quicker reaction from someone in social justice than to apply a social justice term like “privilege” or “racist” to a group that isn’t straight/white/male. If “privilege” just means “interjecting yourself into other people’s conversations”, this seems like something that women could do as well as men.
Like, let’s say that a feminist woman posts a thoughtful comment to this post, and I say “Thanks for your input, but I was actually just trying to explain things to my non-feminist male friends, I’d prefer you not interject here.” Isn’t it possible she might continue to argue, and so be interjecting herself into another person’s conversation?
Yet a lot of the feminists I talk to have this feeling that this is entirely about how they think they own women’s bodies and are entitled to sex, and from their experience as attractive women it’s easy to get dates and if you can’t it’s probably because you’re a creep or not trying hard enough.
This seems to me to be something of a disconnect and an underappreciation of the pain of others, of exactly the dog-lizard variety.
Or suppose “privilege” instead just means a cute story about a dog and a lizard, in which different people have trouble understanding each other’s experiences and appreciating the amount of pain they can be causing.
I know a lot of men who are scared of being Forever Alone but terrified to ask women out, and I feel their pain and most of my male friends feel their pain.
The paper was critiquing post-modernism, an area I don’t know enough about to determine whether or not their critique was fair.
A reader responding to my comment above pointed out that this tactic had been described before in a paper, under the name “motte-and-bailey doctrine”. All it means is that you’re interjecting yourself into other people’s conversations and demanding their pain be about you. So, it turns out that privilege gets used perfectly reasonably.Statements like “God is just the order and love in the universe” and “No one perceives reality perfectly directly” and “Men should not interject into safe spaces for women” are the motte – extremely defensible, but useless.As long as nobody’s challenging you, you spend time in the bailey reaping the rewards of occupying such useful territory. So let me point out something I think the standard theory fails to explain, but my theory explains pretty well.