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 Post subject: "Don't complain, some people have it worse!" is bullshit.
Post Posted: Feb 5th, '14, 22:26    


Sierrie
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I've come across this argument a few times dealing with anti-feminists and homophobes, but it pops up a lot of other places too. Gays in America shouldn't complain about not being able to be married, because at least they're not being executed for being gay. Women in America shouldn't complain about... anything, I guess, because women in developing nations have it worse. There's also the sometimes thinly, sometimes not so thinly-veiled implication that you're selfish for only caring about your problems, and just... I don't know, don't think that developing nations are worth caring about.

Well, that argument is absolute bullshit.

For one thing, I really doubt a lot of the people who use it are doing much for the developing world. And really, what's a worse problem? Having your rights trampled on, or having to listen to people on the internet complain about their rights being trampled on? Seriously, if your only problem (since by the logic of this argument, the problem you are currently complaining about is the problem you perceive to be more important than any others) is having to listen to people whine on the internet, you're doing alright for yourself.

It also implies that basically, everyone needs to decide on the worst problem in the world and then not talk about anything else until it's done. Of COURSE I realize that there are worse fates than being a white woman in the gaming industry, but that doesn't change how frustrating it was when credit for my accomplishments last year was given to someone else. Basically, by saying this, you're saying nobody is allowed to be upset, ever, unless they are the one person in the world who's worse off than anyone else. That person can be upset, the rest of us just need to say "Well, at least I'm not them!" and move on with our lives.

Furthermore, I talk about the problems I face because they're the ones I have experience with. Not because I think other people don't have it worse. Plenty of people don't really want a white, cis, abled woman to speak for them anyway, so the best I can do is read/support their blogs and their work. But I don't write about the problems they face, because I'm not qualified to. All I can do is listen, support, and encourage others to do the same.

The fact is, this isn't an argument. It's a guilt-trip meant to silence those you disagree with.

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 Post subject: Re: "Don't complain, some people have it worse!" is bullshit
Post Posted: Feb 5th, '14, 22:33    


xBDMx
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I've mostly seen this argument applied to people with mental illness since it's more of an immediate social conflict in my are than sexism or LGBTQ (althought these conflicts are JUST AS VALID IF NOT MORE IMPORTANT).

I hate this argument so much. It has so many ugly connotations to me. It practically says, "Your problems are now meaningless, thus you are meaningless." This can cause people to pull back and rarely to never share their struggles. Even if someone is just feeling sorry for themselves, I will never use that on them. What if one day they have a real struggle? All they hear in their minds is "it could be worse, it could be worse".

I understand that I'm blessed to have warm clothes, shoes, a roof over my head, and food in my stomach this winter, but if I feel like I'm under distress for any reason, I am going to talk about it until I find a solution. I am only JUST RECENTLY getting over the effects of this phrase being constantly used on me.

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 Post subject: Re: "Don't complain, some people have it worse!" is bullshit
Post Posted: Feb 6th, '14, 23:44    


Yokuutsu
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I see where they're coming from, because some people act like -insert thing here- is as bad as it is in other places.

For me, if I were to say that (which I don't except maybe once in awhile), I don't mean that how they feel is stupid or anything....I'm just pointing out that we've come farther than some have on -insert thing here- but at the same time we can always keep on going, we shouldn't stop just because -insert group here- isn't as bad off as the group in -insert country/whatever here-

Of course, I do not apply this to mental illnesses since nothing will improve that until the right therapy/medicine/combination of them both is found.

No matter how a person feels, it's valid, and sometimes the argument of other people have it worse can actually help, but it depends on why and all that. Not mental illnesses, not social issues, and it'll rarely help.

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 Post subject: Re: "Don't complain, some people have it worse!" is bullshit
Post Posted: Feb 7th, '14, 01:32    


Sierrie
Well yes, if someone's actually saying "I have it SOOOO much worse than these people" or using language that implies they do, then yeah. I'm more talking about, for example, gay people wanting equal marriage rights and people telling them to stop asking for it, because they should just be grateful they're not executed for being gay like in some other countries.

Pointing out how far we've come is great, but there's a time and a place for that. If I'm talking about the sexism I face in my work environment (questions about software I've developed being directed at male co-workers who do not know as much about it as I do, for instance) and someone tells me to just be grateful I have career options other than housewife... how does that help? It's basically saying that me asking for equal respect as my male coworkers is asking too much, and I should just be grateful for what I have. It just dismisses my problem because whoever is saying that doesn't want to acknowledge there is a problem, or else just doesn't want to discuss it.

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 Post subject: Re: "Don't complain, some people have it worse!" is bullshit
Post Posted: Feb 8th, '14, 06:02    


light_sucks
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Well if that argument held any weight only one person would be allowed to complain about anything. How strange would that be?

I think that it's fine to complain as long as you're not overdoing it.

And I don't think that fighting for your rights is complaining. It's just wanting to be treated equally. And if people in the first world countries don't have everyone with equal rights then why should developing countries?

I think that fighting against inequality is necessary.

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 Post subject: Re: "Don't complain, some people have it worse!" is bullshit
Post Posted: Feb 11th, '14, 05:50    


Spica
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It can be a bullshit argument.

I think it is a bullshit argument used against anyone fighting for equal rights. You don't deserve a pat on the ass for giving women or gays "more" rights than other countries. They deserve the same rights. And to imply that they should be satisfied with being treated like second class people, simply because they could be treated worse, is the most ignorant, arrogant insult ever.

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 Post subject: Re: "Don't complain, some people have it worse!" is bullshit
Post Posted: Feb 11th, '14, 11:34    


Tocxica
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I definitely think that it is a piss poor argument. But I also think that it's terribly insensitive. Of course someone is always going to have it worse off than you. But if you're complaining to someone about something that upsets you or makes things difficult for you, to flippantly say "some people have it worse" is completely disregarding that person's feelings. It's like saying, "your feelings are irrelevant because someone somewhere out in the vastness of the universe is having a harder time than you are". I think that anyone that uses this tactic isn't as invested in the happiness and well-being of the other person as they should be.

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 Post subject: Re: "Don't complain, some people have it worse!" is bullshit
Post Posted: Feb 13th, '14, 01:47    


Spica
It is wrong to use this argument to disregard someone's feelings. But at the same time, there are times when some people need to be reminded that they should be more grateful.

So I hesitate to say that its always a bullshit argument.

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 Post subject: Re: "Don't complain, some people have it worse!" is bullshit
Post Posted: Feb 13th, '14, 02:31    


Sierrie
If it's being used as an argument (ie, gays need to stfu about the whole marriage thing, because other countries are still executing gays) then it is always bullshit. Unless part of what you're arguing against actually says "America is the worst place to be gay" (or something), which is bullshit that should be called out. Because it's not, at all, and being melodramatic doesn't make your argument look good.

Yes, it's important to acknowledge how far we've come as a society, but there's a time and a place for it. And it should never, EVER be used to justify denying someone their rights, which is what I often see it used for.

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 Post subject: Re: "Don't complain, some people have it worse!" is bullshit
Post Posted: Feb 21st, '14, 09:10    


Froyo
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xBDMx wrote:
I hate this argument so much. It has so many ugly connotations to me. It practically says, "Your problems are now meaningless, thus you are meaningless." This can cause people to pull back and rarely to never share their struggles. Even if someone is just feeling sorry for themselves, I will never use that on them. What if one day they have a real struggle? All they hear in their minds is "it could be worse, it could be worse".


I agree with this. A lot of victims of abuse have a similar ideology. They convince themselves they aren't really in a bad situation, that the people living in a camp during the holocaust had it worse for example... But seriously, it's a bad way of thinking and perpetuates the situation.

I think talking about your struggles, no matter how mundane, can be important in their own ways, it can even drive innovations. One mundane example is "it takes too long to charge my phone, I have to plug it in, and at night it's even harder." It's true this issue is very small, but as a result we have managed to create wireless chargers and that has helped us as a society.

I think humans are social creatures and we learn by socializing. By talking about struggles, thoughts and other things we all benefit and progress. Sometimes, some people don't want to listen, but that's their choice and they don't have to listen, but it doesn't mean the person talking has no right to a voice.

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