Hypernormalization is a logical fallacy about normality. It takes the general form:
- A. All members of group X have attribute Y.
- B. Having attribute Y is an essential part of the nature of group X.
- C. Person Z is a member of group X.
- D. If person Z does not have attribute Y, this indicates that person Z is damaged or flawed in some critical way.
The logical fallacy lies in the fact that if person Z does not have attribute Y, this is proof that either they are not actually a member of group X or else the rule expressed in points A and B is actually false.
In other words, hypernormalization is the stigmatization of perceived abnormality: any personal attribute which does not fit within the observer's framing of what is acceptable is positioned as indicating a flaw in the observed person, rather than a (possible) flaw in the observer's understanding.
Hypernormalization derives much of its effectiveness from the ambiguity inherent in the word "normal".
Hypernormalization arguments are used to enforce behavior or rules desired by the speaker. Members of group X will be motivated to conform with rule A by the fear of being ostracized, while non-members will feel more free to repeat rule A as fact and ostracize members of group X who do not display attribute Y.
One of the most frequent uses of hypernormalization is in the social enforcement of gender roles and gender essentialism.
- Hypernormalization is a form of overgeneralization.
- Hypernormalization can be used as an emotional argument: If the listener is a member of group X, then it may activate their sense of insecurity; if the listener is not a member of group X, then it may activate a rewarding feeling of superiority.