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Down GirlThe Logic of Misogyny$
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Kate Manne

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190604981

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190604981.001.0001

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Suspecting Victims

Suspecting Victims

(p.220) Chapter 7 Suspecting Victims
Down Girl

Kate Manne

Oxford University Press

The ideology of so-called victim culture casts women who attest to being wronged—especially by privileged male perpetrators of misogyny—as not only epistemically but morally suspect—e.g., as melodramatic, manipulative, and self-pitying. These claims are contested and connected in this chapter with women being designated moral “givers” of, e.g., care, sympathy, and attention. Such obligations debar women from the role of victims in victim/victimizer narratives. The person who occupies the victim position is in the moral spotlight, as the designated recipient of moral attention, for the duration of the narrative. This is contraindicated for women by patriarchal norms, telling her to provide a sympathetic audience and soothing ministrations for the wounds of others. She is supposed to direct her moral energies outward, rather than attracting attention to herself, or even directing her energies to her own person (as in “self-care”). This last often garners suspicions of narcissism and selfishness.

Keywords:   victim culture, ideology, victims/victimizers, victim narratives, sympathetic attention, moral giving, moral suspicion

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