The Narcissism of Common Victimhood

There is one of what we can expect to be legion articles about Mothers Day, (which we can hold forth to juxtapose to Fathers Day and make unequivocal points, again) on Fox News website where a woman describes her single mother’s life. This mother seems to be the real deal. She lost her husband to death at 35 years old and went on to focus on the family so to speak, (but in real terms not that misandric ministry’s terms).

The writer (the Reverend Becca Stevens)  , in the article titled

On Mother’s Day 2012 — the best gift you can give

says the following:

Many of the women share a past like mine that holds stories of tragedy, sexual abuse, and resilience.

I had to go back and read the short article several times, looking for the common thread between the writers life, and the women she describes as working for the craft company she founded. There is no common thread except the narcissism of common victimhood.

She, at once, praises her mother for rising to a very real and uninvited challenge and doing the job of single parenting swimmingly, and claims to have a shared victim status with women whose victim CV would appear to be heavy, and convincing.  She equates her life to the victims of sexual abuse, sex trafficking, and who knows what other kinds of victim-hood or self inflicted injury these women lived in for the years prior to coming to her company. Does she do this altruistically, to try and relate? Or, intended or not, are her motives more insidious?

I see this same dynamic all the time in evangelical feminist circles. They sell victim-hood, in lists. They see a woman in marital problems and immediately ask, “do you not realize his failing to open up emotionally is abuuuuussssse?”

Most of us know about the UN map depicting women’s rights violations by color coding regions of the world as to the severity of their women’s rights violations. It colors Somalia and the U.S. the same. On Somalia, it is due to gentile mutilation, and on the U.S. is says there is limited access to reproductive health care.

How narcissistic it must be to exploit a small number of real victims to convince ones self that they can join the march of the sisterhood because they are all co-victims. They do then get bidirectional empathy, ends justifying means, all that.


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