#NotAllMen, #AllLivesMatter and the entirely useless Straw Man Argument

#NotAllMen, #AllLivesMatter and the entirely useless Straw Man Argument

Just a handy little thing to throw back at people who feel the need to argue with you about this kinda stuff.

"Just because you’re a woman doesn’t mean you’re the only one who can get upset about it."

These were probably the least-offensive words muttered by #controversial radio host Steve Price on QandA last Monday night, when he argued with The Guardian columnnist Van Badham about how women are treated in society in 2016. We won't go into the rest of it because you've no doubt read all about it, suffice to say bandying around the term "hysterical" when a woman is trying to have a discussion with you about sexism and violence against women is a decidedly wrong path to take.

But we highlight the comments made by Price about how he should be allowed to be upset about this as well to talk about something else today, an issue that's also becoming increasingly popular in the states as the counter-argument to the @BlackLivesMatter movement - #AllLivesMatter.

It's called the Straw Man argument, and while its origins can date back as far as Aristotle, it officialy dates back to Stuart Chase's 1956 book, Guides To Straight Thinking, as identified in a paper by Doug Walton - The straw man fallacy.

To go super deep into it can be a little confusing, but to simplify things it usually goes a little like this:

One person states a proposition, which we will call X - for example, #BlackLivesMatter.

In rebuttal, a second person argues against that proposition with a similar proposition, let's call it Y, under the assumption the first argument (X) was against theirs (Y) i.e. "No, #AllLivesMatter".

There's no logical reason for #AllLivesMatter or #NotAllMen to exist - these counter-points are stating the obvious, simply for argument's sake. Of course all lives matter, and of course not all men are rapists. But with the rise of social media and the ability for everyone on the planet to have a platform to voice their opinion, these are discussions that unfortunately continue to happen.

Right now, in America, innocent African-Americans getting shot and killed by people in authority based on the colour of their skin is a massive issue. Therefore, it's an important issue that rightfully should be focused on.

Likewise, and to tie us back in to the start of this article, women are at a much higher risk of domestic violence and/or death at the hands of someone they know/trust/live with. Arguing with them that domestic violence happens to men too, or that you're allowed to be outraged by these facts as well, isn't helping the conversation or helping to bring about any kind of change.

It's just the straw man argument in action, and should be dismissed as quickly as possible so that actual, important conversations with people can happen, and we can stop giving people like Steve Price the airspace to convolute helpful dialogue.

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