Kate Manne, „Himpathy“ und warum die Theorie dahinter wenig überzeugend ist.

Kate Mannes Theorie einer „Himpathy“ wie sie sie etwa hier darlegt, wird gegenwärtig häufig aufgegriffen:

Mr. Trump is manifesting what I call “himpathy” — the inappropriate and disproportionate sympathy powerful men often enjoy in cases of sexual assault, intimate partner violence, homicide and other misogynistic behavior.

There is a plethora of recent cases, from the Stanford swimmer Brock Turner to the Maryland school gunman Austin Rollins, fitting this general pattern: discussion focuses excessively on the perpetrator’s perspective, on the potential pain driving him or on the loss of his bright future. And the higher a man rises in the social hierarchy, the more himpathy he tends to attract. Thus, the bulk of our collective care, consideration, respect and nurturing attention is allotted to the most privileged in our society.

Deswegen fand ich diese kurze Kritik zu Himpathy, hier mal zu einem Text zusammengefasst, sehr passend:

1. THREAD Himpathy: An unsympathetic but fair-minded assessment. Himpathy, forwarded by the philosopher Kate Manne, is either completely wrong or partially correct but poorly named and misleading.

2. Himpathy is the hypothesis that either (1) people generally sympathize with men more than women (hence the name), or (2) people generally sympathize with *powerful* men more than low status women (or „their low status victims“).

3. Version 1 of the hypothesis, one that I often see people forward, is almost certainly false. So, let’s focus on that version before moving to version 2. First, it contradicts everyday experience. Women much more than men are used as victims PRECISELY because we sympathize.

4. In movies, harm to women is used to illustrate that somebody is truly heinous. The saying „women and children first,“ although not always practiced, certainly suggests more concern for potential women victims. Our reluctance to allow women into battle, the same.

5. Furthermore, a priori evolutionary logic suggests that society would sympathize more with female victims than male victims (of equal status). I can’t go through all of sexual selection theory here, but the important thing is this: Females have the more „valuable“ sex cell.

6. Think of extreme case. One group with 100 women and 25 men. The men could get all the women pregnant. The reverse, though, 100 men and 25 women, would be a reproductive problem for a social group, and a recipe for coalitional collapse.

7. Men’s sex cells are cheap; therefore, men are more disposable, especially low status men. This is why men have almost always been forced to die more often than women (in war, in dangerous jobs, et cetera).

8. Research supports this. Women are seen as more sympathetic victims. People want to punish male perpetrators more harshly. People believe women victims will experience more pain. And people support policies that help only women more than those that help only men.

9. To my knowledge, Manne’s only real response to this is to point to studies that show that people believe that men (boys) experience more pain than women (e.g., ). However, as and others have noted, there is a rather obvious explanation.

10. People believe that boys/men are more tolerant of pain and are more likely to suppress expressions of pain. Indeed, in the study cited by the WaPo, the effect disappeared when researchers controlled for perceptions of „stoicism.“

11. Think of an obvious analogy. If shown a film of an adult and a child getting pricked and displaying the same expression, most viewers would believe the adult is experiencing MORE pain. Why? Because adults generally react more stoically to pain.

12. Of course, nobody would print moralistic headlines „Americans take adults‘ pain more seriously than children’s!“ And nobody would contend this supported a theory that people sympathize more with adult victims than with children victims.

13. Hypothesis version 1, therefore, seems completely untenable to me. In fact, I think observation, theory, and evidence all suggest that it is exactly the opposite of the truth; and likely it would be ignored if not ideologically useful.

14. Version 2, however, is a bit more plausible, if stripped of its sex-based formulation so that it reads, „People value high status people more than low status people; and they sometimes let high status people get away with heinous crimes if the victims are low status people.“

15. Of course, this ruins „himpathy“ and makes the „sympathy“ not a manifestation of the background misogyny of society, but rather of a natural propensity to favor high status people over others. In fact, the effect is almost certainly stronger if the victims are men, not women

16. In an interview with Vox, Manne forwarded two examples that support the notion that society is „pathologically“ sympathetic to powerful men: The Kavanaugh hearings and Brock Turner. Yes, you read that correctly, Brock Turner. But we’ll get to that.

17. Manne uses Trump’s dismissals of Ford’s testimony about Kavanaugh as evidence of himpathy. Ford, according to Manne, was „totally erased from the discourse.“

18. Trump is callous and boorish, so unsurprisingly he did not handle the situation well. But (1) Ford testified and many, many people believed her (she was certainly not erased); and (2) attitudes about Kavanaugh were largely partisan, so this example is not useful.

19. The Brock Turner example was shocking to me since he is nearly universally reviled. Here is what Manne said, „And what we saw, from his father and his friends, was this wave of sympathy over what the whole ordeal was costing him.“

20. This is called kin-selection and tribalism, not himpathy. Of course his friends sympathized with him. And they would have if he were a woman as well. I’m sure many family members have sympathized with ruthless, cold-blooded women. How does the rest of society feel?

21. So far as I can tell, very few people sympathized with him. He is generally depicted as a spoiled, privileged asshole who got a lucky break from an asshole judge. And many were outraged at his lenient sentence. Judge for yourself. Do a Google search.

22. Now, ask yourself this: If I used an example this ludicrous to support a theory that Vox and other progressives disagreed with, would they ever let it pass? Is there any evidence that most normal Americans experienced a wave of sympathy for Brock Turner??

23. What is true, however, is that HIGH STATUS PEOPLE probably do and have for a long time received preferential treatment. In many ancient law codes, including Anglo-Saxon and Roman among others, high status people were explicitly treated differently from low status people.

24. Although our law codes discarded this preferential treatment, it stems from a natural human propensity to admire and defer to high status people. So, in this very circumscribed sense, Manne’s hypothesis is probably 60% true. BUT, it’s not about sex.

25. It’s about status. It’s not himpathy. It’s hierarchy. And, my guess is that there would be an interaction such that a female victim would increase not decrease our hatred of a powerful perpetrator and increase not decrease our sympathy for the victim. One way to find out!

Meine Vermutung ist auch, dass man da mal wieder vorschnell etwas als rein männlichen Vorteil deklariert, was gar nicht so deutlich Männern zugeordnet ist und weitaus eher an einem anderen Faktor liegt. Etwa hohem Status.