Professional victim can refer to a person:
- who has a victim complex, i.e. seems to think that all hardships in their life stems from their being oppressed; or
- whose public visibility and/or contribution to public discussion is based and dependent on their being (or playing) a victim.
A complex-type professional victim might associate every obstacle with just one of their minority profiles, or varyingly with whatever intersectional minorities they represent. It can be a form of responsibility dodging, especially when it's employed as a psychological coping mechanism.
Accusations of professional victimhood can be used as a two-pronged Silencing tactic: to discredit a person's argument with "You're the only one this is bothering", and to discredit the person themselves with an ad hominem about how they supposedly react to all kinds of hardships as if they were being oppressed.
When used in the second sense (against a public figure), it's used to imply that...
- the person should not be talking about the same incident anymore, that's they should move on
- the person is being insincere to get publicity due to moral outrage and media's preference for certain types of stories
- the person Makes feminism look bad
- the person has a victim complex and thus not contributing anything worthwhile to public discussion.
Implications of professional victimhood is one of the most frequently employed tools in creating Straw-feminist arguments.
Despite its use as a silencing tactic, some feminists have criticized using victimhood as a tool for political change. Naomi Wolf, who identified 'victim feminism' in contrast to 'power feminism', saying that victim feminism is a 'retreat' into 'appealing for status on the basis of feminine specialness instead of human worth'.