Oppression Olympics is a term used when two or more groups compete to prove themselves more oppressed than each other. In geek feminist circles, contestants may include:
- People of color
- People with disabilities
- LGBTQ people
- Members of minority language groups
- Residents of non-Western countries, or people from non-North American countries
- People who were unpopular in high school
Competing in the Oppression Olympics attaches something like a moral dimension to oppression, in which the most oppressed are worthier.
People who participate in Oppression Olympics tend to ignore the fact that it's possible for multiple groups to be oppressed, and necessary to address all those problems, without choosing a single group to get all the anti-oppression activism. Oppression Olympics also tends to ignore Intersectionality, except where the existence of multiple degrees of oppression can help an individual participant "win".
Beginning a round of Oppression Olympics is generally seen as Derailment or even as a Silencing tactic, as it attempts to prevent or deflect discussion of one kind of oppression by denying its legitimacy or existence, downplaying its importance, or simply switching the focus to another.
- One of the really irritating misuses of intersectionality and sourcing of oppressive behaviors is how it’s sometimes used to create Keystone Theory bullshit.: "Where concepts like how huge components of transphobia arise from sexism and huge components of ableism arise from colonialism are used to basically state that there’s this Keystone that if you break it, you can break the whole arch and solve all the problems at once... This, plainly speaking, is a load of rancid horseshit. There is no keystone. There is no oppression that you can eliminate that will wipe out all of or even most of the other ones."
- Another potential sources includes Iam Buruma who writes about the cult of victimhood and observes the following "sometimes it is as if everyone wants to compete with the Jewish tragedy, in what in Israeli...once called the Olympics of Suffering." l
When used in arenas other than oppression, this is sometimes called the "Pain Olympics". See Baby Loss and the Pain Olympics about a similar dynamic in which parents who have had miscarriages are declared to be in less pain than parents who have had children die.