Colloquium - Kate Manne - Cornell

Title: Disabusing Her: How Misogyny Turns on Gaslighting

In this talk, I will explore some of the ways in which gaslighting may make a woman willing and able to not only recant her former testimony regarding misogynistic violence and sexual abuse, but even to reject the very questions or concerns on which it was premised. Raising the sorts of issues to which a woman's story provided answers (e.g., “Was he abusive?”) is effectively billed as a symptom of rational breakdown (e.g., paranoia, being delusional or 'crazy') or, just as importantly, morally bad character (e.g., ingratitude, being insufficiently forgiving, or self-pitying and maudlin). Concepts and phrases like “playing the victim” and “fishing for sympathy” make merely raising the specter of moral wrongdoing done to oneself suspect and fraught from certain social positions, relative to others, where the most privileged men are located. I will also say something about the collective conceptual, moral, and narrative resources which may be useful to resist such revisionist history via self-erasure and reformation.