Monday, 21 May 2007

Prom Queen Syndrome

My girlfriend recently came up with this diagnosis, after enduring serious bouts of precious behaviour from some of our white middle-class friends, and from me (also white, middle-class).

Basically, a prom queen* has huge amounts of popularity, so much so that she** expects everyone to like her. Finding that anyone has problems with her (or is even disinterested in her)especially someone with less power, leads to much hand-wringing, and declarations that she is being ‘bullied’, ‘oppressed’ or ‘disrespected’ and will generally cause her to pack up her toys and move on to other friends.

Prom queens have no skills when it comes to resolving disagreements, because they have always been popular enough to find other friends, rather than ride out the tough times. They are almost always unaware of their own power and sense of entitlement, and are prepared to complain at great length to women whose lives are much harder than theirs. Their sense of solidarity is consequently impaired and their conception of feminism often involves other women giving them the numbers to advance their own demands.

*Of course it is possible to display symptoms of PQS without being a full-blown prom queen.
**No cases have yet been diagnosed among middle-class men, perhaps because they have to worry even less about what people think of them.

I haven’t followed the whole argument, but Jessica (of is displaying several symptoms of it over at feministe in the argument about whether or not her latest book does a disservice to women of colour. Eg. I’m not visiting your blog to discuss ways I may have used my privilege to hurt you because someone once said something mean to me there…

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