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Oppression Olympics

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In Recognition of Your Struggles We Hereby Bestow this Special White Woman Award to Our First Plate Winner in the Field of Oppression Olympics
Oppression Olympics refers to arguments in which inequalities faced by a group are dismissed for being considered less important than those faced by another group. While it was originally used inside feminist circles to address race-related grievances within the feminist movement, the term has been used online to mock those who seek approval or praise for being more disadvantaged than others.


In 1993, the phrase "oppression olympics" was coined by feminist author and activist Elizabeth "Betita" Martínez[wp] to challenge the idea of the "hierarchy of oppressions" when addressing inequalities faced by minorities.[13][1]


On April 29th, 2008, Urban Dictionary[2][2] user Allison Amy submitted an entry for "Oppression Olympics." On May 6th, the race and pop culture website Racialicious[3][3] published an article titled "Re-Examining the Phrase 'Oppression Olympics'", which discussed usage of the term among minority groups. On January 28th, 2010, an entry for "Oppression Olympics" was submitted the the Geek Feminism Wiki.[4][4] On January 7th, 2013, Redditor 2129096947 submitted an oppression olympics infographic to the /r/TumblrInAction[12][5] subreddit (shown below).

On July 21st, 2014, YouTuber Shoe0nHead uploaded a video titled "Oppression_olympics.mp4," in which she mocked third-wave feminist grievances expressed on Tumblr for being unwarranted in Western countries (shown below). Within three months, the video gained over 200,000 views and 5,100 comments.[6]

On August 23rd, 2014, Kotaku[8][7] published an article in the "Talk Amongst Yourselves" section of the video game blog titled "Gaming Media and the Oppression Olympics," which criticized contemporary feminists, so-called "social justice warriors" and video game news sites. On September 25th, Gawker[11][8] published an article titled "The Privilege Tournament," which invited readers to cast their votes for who would be considered the most privileged group. A tumblr page was created to list occurences of Oppression Olympics arguments taking places on tumblr.[15][9] On September 26th, the philosophy blog Critical Theory[10][10] published post mocking the Gawker article for being an example of the oppression olympics.


The term came under scrutiny by feminists online for the fallacy of relative privation[14][11] it relates to. The Geek Feminism's definition of it[4][4] also highlights how it can be used to derail a discussion from its original course, or to silence a debate. A November 4th, 2012 blog post from Everyday Feminism quoted it to support the idea that Oppression Olympics as an argumentative tool shouldn't be used at all when discussing oppression and inequalities.[7][12] This idea was picked by other bloggers.[5][6][13][14] A February 2014 Group Think article from the Jezebel website mocked the term as an argument, emphasizing on its derailing nature.[16][15]
- KnowYourMeme: Oppression Olympics

External References

+1 Oppression Point
Quick Chart of Binary Oppressions in American Culture
Women are oppressed - your argument is invalid
[1] culturalstudies.ucsc.edu - Coalition Building Among People of Color / 12/7/1998
[2] Urban Dictionary - Oppression Olympics
[3] Racialicious - Re-Examining the Phrase "Oppression Olympics"
[4] wikia - Oppression Olympics
[5] egrollman.com - Racism vs. Homophobia: Why No One Wins the Oppression Olympics
[6] thesociologicalcinema.com - Oppression Olympics: A Losing Game for All
[7] everydayfeminism - Oppression Olympics: The Games We Shouldn't Be Playing
[8] Kotaku - Gaming Media and the Oppression Olympics
[10] critical-theroy.com - Gawker is Literally Hosting the Oppression Olympics
[11] Gawker - The Privilege Tournament
[12] Reddit - Oppression Olympic Infographic
[13] Google - oppression olympics
[14] Wikipedia - Fallacy of relative privation
[15] Tumblr - Oppression Olympics, Go for the GOLD!
[16] Jezebel - How to Compete in the Oppression Olympics [and Win]
Not here to play "Oppression Olympics" - unless I can win
Oppression Olympics is a term used when two or more groups compete to prove themselves more oppressed than each other. In geek feminist circles, contestants may include:
  • Women
  • People of color
  • People with disabilities
  • LGBTQ people
  • Members of minority language groups
  • Residents of non-Western countries, or people from non-North American countries
  • People who were unpopular in high school

Competing in the Oppression Olympics attaches something like a moral dimension to oppression, in which the most oppressed are worthier.

People who participate in Oppression Olympics tend to ignore the fact that it's possible for multiple groups to be oppressed, and necessary to address all those problems, without choosing a single group to get all the anti-oppression activism. Oppression Olympics also tends to ignore Intersectionality, except where the existence of multiple degrees of oppression can help an individual participant "win".

Beginning a round of Oppression Olympics is generally seen as Derailment or even as a Silencing tactic, as it attempts to prevent or deflect discussion of one kind of oppression by denying its legitimacy or existence, downplaying its importance, or simply switching the focus to another.

Further reading


When used in arenas other than oppression, this is sometimes called the "Pain Olympics". See Baby Loss and the Pain Olympics about a similar dynamic in which parents who have had miscarriages are declared to be in less pain than parents who have had children die.
- Wikia - Geek Feminism Wiki: Oppression Olympics

External links

This article based on an article Oppression Olympics from KnowYourMeme.
This article based on an article Oppression Olympics from Wikia - Geek Feminism Wiki.