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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.
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?
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.
The closest analogy I can think of is those religious people who say “God is just another word for the order and beauty in the Universe” – and then later pray to God to smite their enemies.
In the comments section of the last disaster of a social justice post on my blog, someone started talking about how much they hated the term “mansplaining”, and someone else popped in to – ironically – explain what “mansplaining” was and why it was a valuable concept that couldn’t be dismissed so easily. At this point I jumped in and commented: I feel like every single term in social justice terminology has a totally unobjectionable and obviously important meaning – and then is actually used a completely different way.
Or The Idea Of Female Privilege – It Isn’t Just Wrong, It’s Dangerous.
Or the one on how there is no female privilege, just benevolent sexism.
If you challenge them, they’ll say that you’re denying reality is socially constructed, which means you’re clearly very naive and think you have perfect objectivity and the senses perceive reality directly.
The writers of the paper compare this to a form of medieval castle, where there would be a field of desirable and economically productive land called a bailey, and a big ugly tower in the middle called the motte.
Maybe 18 Reasons Why The Concept Of Female Privilege Is Insane.