In a previous post I poked fun at the habit that radical feminists have of claiming oppression at the slightest affront. In that they are an easy target, it is difficult to have a conversation for very long at all with someone of that persuasion without the 'o' word cropping up unless perhaps your position is one of slavish capitulation.
I feel however that I may have been slightly unfair in singling out the radfems in this matter. I realised this when I read some of the arguments between radfems and trans people over the RadFem 2012 conference in London; the word was being thrown around by all sides. Radfems, cis people and trans people all busily being oppressed by each other.
All this does leave a distinct impression that the word is being cheapened. There is plenty of real oppression in the world, of peoples, of women, of trans people and of a myriad other groups. A clash of views between people fortunate enough to live in a rich country with laws in place to protect them from discrimination is not real oppression.
It should not be necessary to provide examples but it seems that real oppression has been lost sight of in the melée. Women for instance are being oppressed when they are trafficked across borders for sex work against their will. They are being oppressed in some other countries where they are prevented from going to school, from accessing healthcare or from earning a living. Trans people are being oppressed when they are excluded from society, forced into sex work or harassed by authorities. Entire peoples are oppressed when they are persecuted by the regimes in the countries in which they find themselves living.
Against that backdrop, crying oppression because you're in an acrimonious argument which you sense you might be losing starts to seem rather unpleasant. It cheapens the word in the same way that using "rape" to indicate minor hurt of feelings does, and doing it should attract the same levels of opprobrium.
Do I need to go on? These words are pretty unambiguous and they are not the words of a mere online disagreement, however objectionable you may find the views of those involved.
I shouldn't have to make these points, but the following rules of thumb seem not to be self-evident enough.
If you encounter someone with views that differ from your own, you are not being oppressed.
You are not being oppressed if the way someone else lives their life offends you.
Get over it.