Therapist Calls Out Women Who Call Everything 'Weaponized Incompetence'

Therapist and author KC Davis says our obsession with weaponized incompetence is obscuring how damaging it actually is.

Mother preparing after school meals for her kids @domesticblisters | TikTok

There's been a lot of talk lately about "weaponized therapy-speak," in which people online feel all too free to use psychological terms all too liberally — often diluting their meaning in the process.

If therapist and author KC Davis' recent TikToks are any indication, "weaponized incompetence" might need to be the next terminology to be added to the list. After receiving several comments from strangers baselessly judging her husband and marriage, she's warning that the overuse of the term is dangerously diluting its important meaning.


Davis is urging women to stop calling everything weaponized incompetence.

It all started innocently enough. Davis, an accomplished therapist, public speaker and writer of the book 'How to Keep House While Drowning: A Gentle Approach to Cleaning and Organising', which focuses on strategies for managing a home while struggling with stress or conditions like depression and ADHD, posted a video about how she prepares for her kids to come home from school each day.

The video was pretty standard stuff. Davis showed how she gets ready each day for her kids' "post-school restraint collapse" — the term for how kids tend to "come home and just fall apart" after spending the whole day managing their emotions at school all day.


Davis showed how she prepares her kids' snacks ahead of time and plans activities to keep her dog occupied so that she can give her kids her full attention if needed — basic parenting stuff.



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The response she got, however, was anything but basic.


Davis immediately received backlash from people accusing her husband of weaponized incompetence and not pulling his weight.

Many people in the comments thanked Davis for her helpful tips, but others were immediately critical, like a commenter who wrote, "this may not be popular but all I see is a mom working like a slave and everything falling apart around her."

tiktok screenshot about women calling everything weaponized incompetencePhoto: @domesticblisters / TikTok

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Understandably, this presumptuous and judgmental comment, which assumes Davis doesn't have her act together simply because she has lots to do in order to manage her kids and her own mental health as a person with ADHD, didn't sit well with Davis. 

"I think you're trying to do a feminism here," she responded to the comment, "but you're just doing a rude."

But as always happens on social media, many people still didn't get the point, and before long another stranger was taking the criticism a step further, accusing her husband of weaponized incompetence for not helping her. And Davis was having none of it.



"It is bizarre to me that some of y'all watched a 90-second video of a stay-at-home mom pre-making an afternoon snack and went, oh, where's your husband?" she pointedly said. "I don't know, it's 1:30 on a Wednesday, Cheryl. Where the [expletive] do you think he is? He's at work!"


She then gave a pointed rundown of how judgments like these negatively impact women by either, as in Davis' case, needlessly putting them on the defensive about their lives, parenting and marriages or, even worse, placing blame on women's shoulders if they are in a toxic relationship.

"You're just pointing out with this insinuation that if she was stronger, if she pushed more, if she had better boundaries, she could what? Make him do more?" Davis said. "That's not how that dynamic works."

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Davis went on to urge women to stop calling everything weaponized incompetence.

This fundamental misunderstanding of what exactly weaponized incompetence even means is the real core of the problem, Davis went on to say. In another follow-up TikTok, she explained how insidious the trend of calling everything weaponized incompetence has become.



Davis says the true nature of weaponized incompetence "is not appreciated by the public in general because what they assume it is, is a man taking advantage and a woman not standing up for herself."


But that's only part of the story — it's actually a tool of manipulation that creates an insidious power imbalance in a relationship.

"We're talking about a man just enough [so that] the withdrawal of that support...would make that woman's life even more miserable," Davis explained. "But if she pushes for more, he just threatens to remove the little he's already doing. He is quite literally the one with all of the leverage in the relationship because of this."

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This, she says, is what makes the criticism she received for her after-school prep video and the trendification of weaponized incompetence so dangerous — it reduces a very serious and damaging dynamic to simple male laziness and a woman's refusal to do anything about it instead of treating it as, in Davis' words, the "nuanced, complex, painful situation" it is.

"When you address or highlight a woman in this situation with things like 'you shouldn't put up with this girl' [you're] basically pinning the perceived faults of the man on that woman. You can say you're being supportive, encouraging all day long, but all you're doing is highlighting this woman's humiliation for the entire internet."

And, of course in Davis' case, there was no weaponized incompetence in the first place — her husband was just at work, so the criticism was presumptuous at best. Which brings to mind a dynamic all too easy to fall into — we often criticize in others what we're angry about in ourselves. When it comes to commenting on other people's marriages, we might want to first give that a bit of thought.

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.