2

Often I see people comment on tragedies online and attempt to "deflect" it with something "more tragic."

For example, let's say that a woman in a workplace in the USA is oppressed for what she wears to work, and ends up making the rounds online. Usually I see comments such as 'Well in other parts of the world women face x punishment just for stepping out their front door.'

My question is, does this process of saying "whoever is worse off so it's not that bad" have a name? It almost resembles strawman but it doesn't quite fit I'm sure there is a better way of phrasing it.

  • 2
    It's a form of "one-upmanship", but that doesn't precisely match. – Hot Licks Sep 27 '17 at 23:54
  • Pretty close! Would like an exact match though. Seems common enough these that surely there is a term or phrase out there. – Cameron Sep 28 '17 at 0:06
  • Also, overshadowing. – Phil Sweet Sep 28 '17 at 2:31
1

The term you may be looking for is a "whataboutism" or possibly the tu quoque logical fallacy.

  • My first thought was "whataboutery" too. I think it's a better answer as it is a general term for the process, the effect of which is to minimise, trivialise, negate or deflect the original point, without actually addressing it. – JonLarby Sep 28 '17 at 12:32
  • Agreed - 'whataboutism' is definitely a good fit with what I was thinking. Shame it doesn't have a nice sounding term, almost sounds like a made up word haha. Thank you :) – Cameron Sep 29 '17 at 0:53
  • Technically, all words are made up. It might be best go for the tu quoque fallacy. There’s nothing like a bit of Latin to scare the children. – smatterer Sep 29 '17 at 1:13
2

The psychological and rhetorical concept you're looking for is minimisation, for which there are many synonyms.

I think the best term here is that the speaker is downplaying the woman's struggles.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.