Difference Between Gaslighting and Straw Man

“A lot of arguments can be avoided if we simply stop and think about our response before we say it.” A quote by Charles Harper helps in enlightening how one should respond in a compatible conversation.


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Gaslighting and Straw Man are types of psychological manipulation and arguments, respectively. There are very different from each other.

Gaslighting vs Straw Man

The difference between Gaslighting and Straw Man is that Gaslighting is a manipulating tactic while Straw Man is a type of fallacious argument. The main reason for Gaslighting by people is to gain power over others. The main reason why people Straw Man is to distract people from the actual argument or conversation going.

Gaslighting vs Straw Man

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Gaslighting is a manipulation tactic. A person who uses this tactic is called a gaslighter, and It can be counted as emotional abuse to the person the gaslighter is using towards.

Straw Man is a fallacious tactic played by the person in different ways in a conversation. It can happen anywhere, whether it be in a professional debate to any decision-making in a company.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonGaslightingStraw Man
Person NameGas Lighter A Straw Man
Another nameHoodwinkingAunt Sally argument
First usedUsed since the times of Aristotle but from the 1950s in print media.1938 play and then in a 1944 movie.
TypesMedical gaslighting, Racial Gaslighting, Political Gaslighting, etc.Debate Straw Man argument, Media Straw Man argument, etc.
ExamplesDiverting the conversation, countering, stereotyping, etc.Distorting, attacking a particular part of a conversation, etc.

What is Gaslighting?

“Gaslighting is an attempt to change the truth.” quoted by Tracy Malone. It explains how and what length can Gaslighting can go through.

Gaslighting a person makes her or her question the sanity of the other person. The person gaslighting may or may not know if they are using this tactic.

A Gaslighter’s victim often becomes dependent on the Gaslighter, thus fulfilling the aim of the Gaslighter. Gaslighting may be a symptom of diseases like anxiety, depression, or any other type of mental illness.


What is Straw Man?

Straw Man is a type of Fallacious argument that makes the opponent’s mind divert from the actual conversation to the Straw Man’s viewpoint.

The best way for someone who is facing a Straw Man argument is to be firmly stable on their point of the argument because the person using the Straw Man would try their best to divert the direction of the conversation.

An example for Straw Man would be taking out quotes or certain words from a context and making their argument based on those.

straw man

Main Differences Between Gaslighting and Straw Man

  1. Gaslighting can turn from mental abuse to physical abuse. On the other hand, Straw Man does not turn into anything that can harm anyone physically.
  2. The idea of Straw Man is to not address a conversation correctly. In comparison, the idea of Gaslighting to manipulate someone.
Difference Between Gaslighting and Straw Man
  1. https://books.google.co.in/books?id=Sq80DwAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=what+is+straw+man&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjV8bShyo_xAhWzxzgGHYErCaIQ6AEwAHoECAcQAw#v=onepage&q=what%20is%20straw%20man&f=false
  2. https://books.google.co.in/books?id=SaRnDwAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=what+is+gaslighting&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjG0Lmyyo_xAhUFzTgGHZmaAUIQ6AEwAHoECAMQAw#v=onepage&q=what%20is%20gaslighting&f=false
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