Here are the initial tweets I’m referring to:
This is a thought that I’ve had bubbling up inside for a while. We so often criticize women for being indirect, although we’re actually punished even more for being “too direct”.
Anyway, back to the main thread.
I think I first encountered the term “Power Over” in The Verbally Abusive Relationship by Patricia Evans. She says:
“Power Over is one model of how the world is believed to work. A belief in Power Over resembles a lens through which the believer views the world. Someone who believes in Power Over expects to get what he or she wants through the use of Power Over another. Our Western civilization was founded on Power Over. Now as a civilization, we have tremendous Power Over the earth and its peoples and resources.”
Evans frames Power Over in counterpoint to what she calls Personal Power, but I prefer the way Sarah Schulman framed it, in counterpoint to a power struggle.
I don’t want to point to individuals who have been on the receiving end of this, because I don’t want to make them further targets, but the way GamerGate has focused on the ”Gamers are over” articles is a prime example of this. Framing a series of articles talking about misogyny and harassment and describing how the gamer demographic has changed recently as an “attack on gamers” to justify harassment, doxxing, threats and abuse is an expression of Power Over.
“The abuser’s highly entitled perceptual system causes him to mentally reverse aggression and self-defense… The lens of entitlement the abuser holds over his eye stands everything on its head, like the reflection in a spoon”
“Freedom from accountability means that the abusive man considers himself above criticism. If his partner attempts to raise her grievances, she is “nagging” or “provoking” him. He believes he should be permitted to ignore the damage his behavior is causing, and he may become retaliatory if anyone tries to get him to look at it.”
As I said above, I haven’t given any examples of individuals who have been targeted in this way. Not only because drawing further attention to them can provoke further harassment and abuse, but also because I’m starting to feel that some of you are really only interested in seeing us as victims and hearing our victim stories, when we are so much more than that. When we’re talking about abuse and harassment, let’s put the focus on the abusers — they’re the ones guilty of wrongdoing, so let’s hold them accountable for that.
Originally published on Medium.