I would like to know if there is a name for the fallacy used in the following conversation. [The content is arbitrarily chosen]

A: Men have to deal with sexism in dating.

B: That is nothing compared to the sexism women face in marriages.

So, here the topic of interest is "sexism against men", and not a comparative study of sexism faced by various genders. However, person B tries to nullify the suffering of one group of people, by introducing a scale of suffering.

Another example:

A: I had to sleep on the street that night.

B: That is nothing compared to what the homeless people deal with on a daily basis.

What is the name for this fallacy?

  • Not a fallacy per se, but "conflation" describes it in a word.
    – Egox
    Jun 22, 2018 at 14:25

2 Answers 2


This is a fallacy of relative privation.

Fallacy of relative privation (also known as "appeal to worse problems" or "not as bad as") – dismissing an argument or complaint due to the existence of more important problems in the world, regardless of whether those problems bear relevance to the initial argument. First World problems are a subset of this fallacy.

  • There's a longer description at Bennett, Bo (2012). Relative Privation. Logically Fallacious: The Ultimate Collection of Over 300 Logical Fallacies, and at RationalWiki, for which it is the main source. Jun 21, 2018 at 23:47

It's a syllogistic fallacy, which affirms that x < y ⇒ x = 0.

x < y may be true, but that doesn't mean that x is nothing.

Keeping with the example given in the question, in Australia men's rights organisations concede that twice as many women are killed by their spouses in heterosexual couples than vice-versa, yet point to the fact that 1 in 3 is not nothing, and should therefore be afforded the same rights and protections under the law.

The way to respond to such a fallacy is simply to take interlocutor's word for what it's worth and do the comparison she proposes by calculating the ratio. Following the example above, she might say the number of male of victims of spousal homicide is nothing compared to the number of female victims of the same crime. You can then just take the recorded figures, show it's a half, which means it's 33%, far from "nothing".

  • Which category of syllogistic fallacy does this fall in? There are many syllogistic fallacies.
    – Explorer
    Jun 21, 2018 at 8:55
  • Indeed, Explorer. Voted up @aeismail's answer instead. Jun 22, 2018 at 0:17

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