Category Traitor YKTTW Discussion

Category Traitor
(permanent link) added: 2011-04-03 01:01:48 sponsor: Xzenu (last reply: 2011-04-09 09:55:37)

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Bob belongs to a certain group, or at least Alice consider him to belong to it. And thus she demand that he stay "loyal" to this group. It's beside the point whether the group actually exist as a relevant group and whether Bob actually sympathize with it or not.

And thus, Alice will consider Bob a "traitor" or similar whenever he does something she consider to be against the group. This includes anything that might be beneficial to any other group, based on the assumption that life is a Zero Sum Game. (Note that words such as "traitor" or "betrayer" does not necessarily have to be invoked, as long as Alice make her position clear one way or another.)

This group can be exactly anything. In real life, psychological experiments has shown that people can quickly be made to develop group identity over any dividing lines, no matter how arbitrary and superficial. However, some dividers are more common then others. The classics are race, gender, class, religion and what sports team you're cheering for. This mindset might also lead a character (of either gender, but almost always male) to become Mr Female Sexual Duty.

Unlike the goofy act of calling someone a Straw Traitor, the act of branding someone a Category Traitor is usually Serious Business... at least for the character who does it, even if the narrative doesn't agree - the accuser can be portrayed as justified or at least as a good kind of bigot, but can also be portrayed as a Strawman Political or someone doing Activist Fundamentalist Antics. In either case, being branded as a Category Traitor might cause Internalized Categorism.


Comic Books
  • In Bitchy Butch, Butchy is very quick to brand other women as gender traitors for not sharing her misoandry (hatred & prejudice against men).
  • Whatever Love Means rant quite a bit about how men are expected & indoctrinated to be loyal to men in general, at the expense of women.


  • The Turner Diaries is built on this trope: The base premise is that being white without being a nazi is a crime, the Moral Event Horizon of "betraying" your race.
  • In Harry Potter, the Death-Eaters consider wizardy to be in the blood. They also feel that all "real" wizards are obliged to be "loyal" to "their own kind", and thus despise all regular humans, fantasy creatures, and above all else the so-called "mud-bloods": Those wizards that doesn't the deatheater ideology's arbitrary definition of a "real" wizard. Unsurprisingly, their cintempt for pureblood and halfblood wizards who care for muggles and mudbloods turn out to become a big part of their undoing as young Snape lose faith in them because of his love for the "mudblood" wizard Lily.

  • In West Side Story, Maria is pressured to marry Chino simply because they are from the same ethnic group. When she falls in love with an outsider, all hell breaks lose. Interestingly, Chino never get any Mr Female Sexual Duty lines, but that's probably because he's such a minor role in the first place.
  • In Fiddler on the Roof, the protagonist Tevye (a good Jew in a really conservative society, who is struggling with his prejudices and social pressure versus the emancipation of his daughters) consider his beloved daughter to be past the Moral Event Horizon simply for wanting to marry a guy who isn't Jewish.
    • In the beginning of the play, she and her sisters waiting for some random Mr Female Sexual Duty to be assigned to each of them, but they all eventually rebel and chose their own husbands. Tevye accept the rebellion of his oldest daughters, since they stick to choosing Jewish guys.
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