It happens every day. In fact, it is pretty hard to avoid it. There are some things that can only be understood with a slap on the forehead. Things so mind-boggling that one wonders how humans managed to evolve thumbs while being this mentally inept. Case in point:
Why Reverse Oppression Simply Cannot Exist (No Matter What Merriam-Webster Says)
From the title alone I got the feeling the stupid is strong with this one, and Melissa A. Fabello proved my feelings right.
Fabello starts with an anecdote:
It’s a common argument that those of us – all of us – who work in social justice movements face: the straw man of reverse oppression. Even within the in-crowd of people who are quote-unquote “socially conscious,” this argument pops up now and again.
It is a good thing Fabello knows what a logical fallacy is because she engages in scores of them. For example:
“Yes, black women are beautiful — but I think what you mean is that all women are beautiful,” they say.
“But isn’t telling men to ‘sit down and shut up’ also sexist?” they ponder.
“But in the dictionary,” they start.
And we – seasoned veterans in the war against anti-oppression – know that the battle has already been lost.
It’s hard to convince someone that they’ve misunderstood a concept when their very (albeit misguided) understanding of the world depends on the existence of the falsehood in question.
However, it’s true that reverse oppression – like “reverse racism,” “female privilege,” and (so help me God) “cisphobia” – cannot possibly exist. Because the very nature of oppression won’t allow it to!
That is a nice example of denying the antecedent. Fabello, like most feminists, defines oppression in a way that wholly excludes certain people from being considered oppressed, and then uses this as proof that said people cannot be oppressed.
She cites Urban Dictionary when she claims people have “internalized oppressive ideas and values,” which is odd considering that she immediately argues:
Put it down. Close that web browser. And for those of you who I know are going to post dictionary definitions in the comment section before even reading the article, you— I don’t have anything to say to you. Just stop.
Merriam-Webster is not your friend today.
The dictionary, to begin with, is a really trite resource to use when arguing complex topics.
I am curious: if dictionaries are so useless and untrustworthy, why did Fabello cite Urban Dictionary? Are people to understand that Fabello considers Urban Dictionary, yet Merriam-Webster is not? Is it not possible she favors the Urban Dictionary definition because it is written by users, meaning that feminists like herself can add a definition and upvote it to popularity, making it the topmost definition?
Likewise, given that many feminists cite Merriam-Webster’s definition of “feminism” whenever people criticize the ideology, does this mean that said definition is now inaccurate? Is Fabello arguing that feminism is not “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes?” Continue reading