Trigger Warning: Discussion of psychological abuse
A blanket statement is a generalisation about an entire gender, race, country, etc. Example: “All women are obsessed with shoes,” or “All men love sports.” Although some women may be obsessed with shoes, not all women care about them. I personally have two pairs of shoes, one for work, and one for outside of the office. The same can be said of men, not all men like sports. My ex-spouse wasn’t a sports guy.
Rather than taking the time to carefully consider a different perspective, people who make blanket statements generalise anything and everything you say. It’s all and nothing and there’s no place for negotiation, no grey areas.
Blanket statements, therefore, invalidate experiences that don’t fit in the unsupported assumptions and stereotypes of society. For example, if you are women who don’t like shoes, you’re just lying to yourself. There is no argument or proof you can come up with that will change their mind.
In activism, this form of digression exaggerates one perspective to the point where a social justice issue can become completely obscured.
For example, rape accusations against well-liked figures (Bill Cosby anyone?) are often met with the reminder that there are false reports of rape that occur. While those do occur, they are rare. Using blanket statement like this one discredit anyone who would speak against the public figure and becomes viewed as the behaviour of the majority while the specific report itself remains unaddressed.
If you bring up to an abuser that their behaviour is unacceptable for example, they will often make a blanket statement about your hypersensitivity rather than addressing the real issues at hand. It’s possible that you are oversensitive at times, but it is also possible that the abuser is also insensitive and cruel the majority of the time.