Examples of Male Privilege I Regularly Have To Deal With...Like On A Daily Basis!
Male Privilege: What is it?
Male Privilege is a simple concept, it's a term used to describe the advantages, be it social, political, sexual or economic, that are afforded to men, without them even realizing it. Men being paid more, just because they are men, is male privilege. Men being able to have sex with as many women as they like without being slut shamed is male Privilege. However, male privilege is also dependent on race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender etc. So White Male Privilege is really what we talking about since if a man is anything but white, or is even a white gay man, they are not afforded the same advantages.
Here's a link to a blog I found really interesting, from a trans guy who noticed Male privilege after being a woman: These 25 Examples of Male Privilege from a Trans Guy’s Perspective Really Prove the Point.
So while many men don't notice their own advantages, or maybe just don't care, I have had to deal with men who abuse their privilege, without even knowing they are doing it! As a woman, many will agree I'm sure, Its very obvious. In my day to day life I have to put up with these privileges that are afforded to men, while my body and emotions are taken for something of lesser importance, something to be openly criticized, and not just by men, but by women who have been conditioned to see it as something normal.
So here are some examples of Male privilege that have affected me on a regular basis, I mean its nearly a daily thing at this stage.
10 Hours Walking in NYC
Ugh, I literally shudder whenever I think about this, But it happens too often to ignore. Catcalling is when a woman is walking down the street, and men feel it necessary to tell her how good she looks, to whistle at her or even what they would want to do with her (yes it even gets aggressively sexual). Now I don't walk anywhere in the hopes that some jackass I don't know is going to comment on my body or my clothes....not ever! So why do men feel the need to openly speak what's on their minds, no matter how degrading it is to that woman, how uncomfortable it makes them feel or even if they don't acknowledge or make eye contact? Male F#ck#ng Privilege is why. To the right is a video of a woman walking in NYC for ten hours in a black top and jeans, she doesn't acknowledge the men, she doesn't look for attention, she's just walking. But watch what happens, its despicable.
So why does this happen? Well the common thought is that women in public are fair game, some men feel it their right to comment on a woman in public. If a woman is looking particularly well, they feel they have the right to tell her, as if saying 'If you don't want the attention you should have stayed at home where you belong!'.
Another aspect of male privilege is that men rarely have to actually put up with the equivalent: Being catcalled by women. This is such a rarity that men who are catcalled may find it a bit funny or confusing, because it just doesn't make sense to them. And rightly so, no catcalling makes sense. Its just another way of making some men feel dominant over women.
Being Told To Smile In Public!
Its not a shudder I feel when this happens, its pure anger! And, I don't know why, but it happens to me ALL THE TIME! I can't walk anywhere without a man telling me to smile or saying cheer up, its not that bad. It doesn't matter where I am, who I am with (Unless its with a man), or what I'm doing, they feel the need to control my face. Only yesterday two men shouted at me to smile and not to take things to heart, then proceeded to laugh at me when I told them to basically go f#ck themselves and their suggestion. So again, How many men out there have been told to smile for no god damn reason? How many men walk around without worrying about strangers telling them what to do? I'm going to say not a whole lot, because quite simply, women don't feel the need to tell strange men how to act in public. While some men absolutely feel it their right to tell a woman how to act, because god forbid a woman walks in public and is anything but cheerful and happy. Women in public are there to be looked at and no man wants to look at a woman with a frown apparently. In This article it is explained really well why some men do this:
"Why do they expect women to do what they want them to, just because they said so. The smile benefits them, they can see it not us. It’s not for our benefit – so it must be for theirs."
So again, there's another side to this privilege, where men simply don't have to worry about someone controlling how they look when they step out in public, they can feel what they feel without criticism.
Both men and women are shocked when their Bums are groped!
And now we're getting into actual sexual harassment territory, but there you have it! This is a constant too. Like when is it ever ok to touch someone without their permission? Never! So why is it that some men feel they have the right to touch my butt?! Again, this comes down to male privilege in public open spaces, women there are fair game, and if a man feels he wants to grab some ass, he will. These men feel they have authority over my body, they will touch me when they want and most of the time just walk away like nothing happened. And what's worse is that a lot...I mean A LOT of these men don't even realize its assault. I typed in these exact word into google; Bum grabbing in public. The top results were prank videos where women's bums were groped or pinched, and How To's of grabbing in public and getting away with it. This leads me to believe that some men just don't care that it is assault, or are simply too stupid to realize.
Which leads me to my second point on the butt groping; There are literally thousands of videos online of butt groping pranks. Emphasis on the word prank, which means its a funny, lighthearted grope, not a sexually invasive one which will have women feeling overpowered and objectified. The men making these videos feel that if its done in a humorous way, then its ok, its not sexual assault! But, wait, no...It totally is.
This is Extremely Common Behaviour
Being Called Names When I don't Thank Strangers For Compliments!
Yep, not only do I have to deal with strangers catcalling and telling me to smile, If I don't do what I'm told or thank them for their very generous observation, I'm called fat, ugly, a Wh#r# and everything else degrading and aggressive. A lot of the time I do ignore and just keep walking because to be honest, I'm sick of the fighting and having to tell these men that I don't walk in public hoping some dipshit will notice me and comment on the way I look. So I ignore and just keep walking, maybe giving the finger as I do out of sheer frustration. However, it can go from bad to worse. Some men find it offensive...yes offensive, to be ignored when they offer their compliments and become extremely angered and violent, calling me names, or even following me for a bit and telling me how rude I am. Now, I live in a small town, this isn't inner city Dublin where I experience this crap. But I have to question the type of men who feel its OK to get offended when a woman doesn't thank them for a compliment they didn't want in the first place, but don't understand how the woman gets offended by said compliment.
But, this doesn't just happen in the streets, it happens everywhere. Some men offer compliments and simply don't know ho to deal with rejection so go on the offensive with statements like 'Your ugly anyway'. Have A look at men rejected on Tinder. How men feel its ok to act like this is beyond me, but it happens and all it proves is that these men assume women are here for them, and that women don't have the right to reject them. Male Privilege at it again.
Being Told To Use My Assets to Get Something Done!
Now, this has only happened to me in one job, selling art for a very eccentric artist who turned out to be a bit of an ass too. I was working on commission selling paintings for thousands, which obviously was going to be hard work, people barely have the money for rent, never mind art. But I tried my hardest, and since he too was actually poor as hell, I assumed it was just normal. One day he arrived in and told me to wear more flattering clothing, and to push up my boobs in the hopes that it will attract men to the gallery. I was instantly annoyed and told him to wear tighter pants in the hopes that it wold bring more women in, he wasn't impressed. Nor should he have been, being told to objectify your own body to attract people isn't what anybody wants to hear. And yet, he thought it totally appropriate to tell me what to wear.
Men are never told to flatter their butts or chest to do anything, and yet women everywhere in so many occupations have to use their body in order to do their jobs. its offensive and also implies that we can't get the work one without pushing out breasts in someones face.
Ah good old slut shaming! Yep, most women have had to deal with this. When is a persons sexual history/activity anybody else business? Never. So why is slut shaming such a big part of society? why do we feel the need to put women down for doing the exact same thing that men do? Women lose some value if they are sexually active, while the men are privileged enough to be empowered and congratulated by the exact same thing! Women are punished socially for even taking part in a sexual relationship-out of wedlock of course! But it goes even further than actual sexual history. I, unfortunately, hit puberty pretty hard at a young age, and before I even hit 13 I had breasts the size of fricken grapefruits. To me this was a catastrophe, I hated bra's and the unwanted attention I would get from boys...and men. Suddenly I was told what I could and could not wear. I wasn't allowed to wear low cut tops that showed any cleavage, while my flat chested friends could wear what they wanted. I found myself criticized for everything I wore. I couldn't wear a bikini because my foster mother told me i would be considered a prick tease (her actual f#cking words)!
And then there are the thousands of women who are slut shamed on a daily basis because of the clothes they wear. It doesn't make sense to me, men can go topless, a woman shows cleavage and she's suddenly a Wh#re. Men can wear shorts, a woman wears shorts and she's looking for trouble. The double standard is huge. Men don't even know their own privilege when it comes to what they can and cannot wear, simply because nobody has ever told them what they can or cannot wear.
Any Emotional Response to Anything is Blamed on PMSing
yes, women everywhere have had to deal with this. You get angry at anything and your met with 'Must be your time of Month'. You cry watching the Notebook, and its your hormones. You get upset when someone insults you and its the usual....'Don't be so over Emotional'. Female emotions have always been linked to our hormones, so that when ever we feel anything other than neutral, our womanhood is blamed.
Do men have this? Absolutely not. When a man gets angry its because he has good bloody reason to. If he gets upset its because something must have really upset him, because men dont just get emotional for no reason, they are logical, not ruled by their hormones and most importantly....are always taken seriously. Women don't have this pleasure, we are constantly scolded, teased and laughed at for our emotions because they aren't taken seriously, they are assumed to be overreactions, period emotions or plain hormone levels acting up again.
And this train of thought has managed to make its way into mainstream media, take for example Super Mario Bros. A fun game for all genders and ages to enjoy but for some reason they decided to bring out a version just for girls...one that gives the metaphorical middle finger to women everywhere, the very same people they were directing the game towards. How do they manage to do this? Well, they use female emotions commonly related to periods and menstruating as Princess Peaches powers are her ....emotions?! One of her powers is even crying....crying!!! Because that's a power women use and not an actual emotional reaction to something valid. She can become extremely aggressive at a moments notice and even eats her enemies to gain strength.....which is kind of cool but then being a woman, I have too often dealt with Mensies Munchies, so even this turned int a massive slap in the face to all women who have to deal with periods.
So yeah...The basic gist of this example is:
Men + emotions =Totally normal reaction to something-its cause and effect!
Women + emotions = Over Fucking reaction! (Mostly due to high hormone levels, Periods, or the fact that they are just quite simply women!)
I'm Never Taken Seriously-Especially When It Comes To Feminist Talk!
Yep, any time I acknowledge, or try to have someone else acknowledge a double standard or even blatant sexism, I'm met with "ugh fucking feminist!". I mean all the time, because being a woman, what I have to say doesn't matter, regardless of how educated I am on the matter, men always know better. So for example:
A friend comes into my home and begins to tell a story of how he called a co-worker a wh#r#. I stop him immediately and question why he did this. he responds with 'its not offensive if its to a man! Because he obviously isn't one', I reply, after long intake of breath...'It absolutely is, but only because your lowering him to the supposed disgusting nature of women who have have sex. The word itself is degrading, and so whether you use it on a man or a woman...it still always comes back to a woman being in the wrong.' He looks at me, rolls his eyes and laughs, and says 'More feminist sh#t?'. I kick him out of my home.
So no matter what I say, I'm always wrong, wrong for bringing it up in the first place, wrong for my assumption that the very word is offensive...wrong because I'm a woman and my personal experiences just don't matter.
Men however, can say what ever they hell they want, a man could have told my friend the exact same thing, and he would have been 'thanks dude for educating me on such a serious matter, I had no idea how offensive I was being!'.
Because Im Feminist, Everything I Do Or Watch Or Laugh at is Questioned....By Men!
This irritates me like crazy. I go to the cinema and laugh at some guy say something sexist (mainly because I was so shocked) and my male friends are all 'Hypocrite, you can't laugh at that and give out about it!' If I tell someone I really like the 212 song because of its gender swapping and role reversal, they're all like 'But she's treating men the way you say women don't want to be treated' (an argument I here all too often). If I get angry at a dude for putting up blatantly objectifying images of women on facebook, they'l take a look a look at my pictures, see one of me in a bathing suit and be like...what the hell? Your objectifying yourself! But the fact is that I am questioned and criticized for everything I do because I identify as feminist. Which then leads me to argue my point by which time they're all like rolling their eyes, laughing and stating 'More feminist sh#t'.
If I were to cut out everything in society that was misogynist, double standard based or even soft sexist I would have to walk through life blinded and deaf, because guess what? Society itself is inherently sexist. What I do try to do is acknowledge where I see it and question why it is there, and how it could have been done differently.
Also,, its not my place to educate y'all on how something is or isn't feminist or sexist, educate yourselves #ssh#les! That's what I did.
The male Privilege in this sense is that these men feel they can undermine my experiences by questioning what I watch, or who I listen to. And this is with a lot of my male friends, who will question everything I do or say, because they honestly don't get where I'm coming from. what they don't understand is that I've done five years of research on the history on sexism and misogyny in our culture and others, if I hear a song or watch a movie or tv show that I find sexist, I'l research it, examine it and then write about it, but I'm still questioned for everything I say in that writing. Male feminists are usually given a clap on the back for doing the EXACT SAME THING AS ME. So while I do my best to acknowledge sexism where I see it and not ignore it, a lot of people don't even notice. Those people aren't criticized for not knowing, but I am for seeing it?
Im Made Accountable For Everything...Including Cat Calling and Sexual Assault!
What were you wearing is literally the first thing I was asked when I told my foster parents about a sexual assault that happened in broad daylight, in a public shop. I was in my school uniform (because that totally matters!) when a man came up behind me, shoved his hand up my skirt, in my underwear and whispered an extremely graphic description of what he wanted to do to me.....I was fifteen. Now who's at fault? Me for thinking I could walk into a shop without being harassed or the guy who blatantly assaulted me in public and walked off like nothing happened? cause Im under the impression that IT ABSOLUTELY WASN'T ME! And yet, women are always made accountable for the behaviour of men. Take this female student in America who was kicked out of school for wearing a maxi dress with straps instead of sleeves because the boys would have been distracted by her back and shoulders! Full Story here.
Why are men never held accountable for this? Why is it always the woman's fault? Well society tells us that it is our fault for being sexually appealing to men, and if we do anything to provoke unwanted attention by these men, then we should learn from OUR mistakes, we should dress more sensibly, not show off our bodies...because men just can't control themselves....boys will be boys!. My response: Men need to learn to some self control instead of trying to control women's bodies!
Men are not to blame, women are. For everything from unwanted compliments on the street to actual sexual harassment and assault.
I'm Always Dealing With Soft Sexism!
Soft Sexism is really quite annoying, its when your at a party and its up to the female members of the family to clean up after, its after dinner and you notice your the only one getting up to do the dishes while the men sit around and talk. Its living with men and still finding yourself doing 90% of the cleaning and chores. Its being talked to in a suggestive manner at work, or being told that you only got the job because of your body. It's when women who are in control at work are called bitchy or bossy, while the males in control are assertive or strong. Its working in an all female based organisation and being asked by some men if there are any male staff they can talk to. Its going to a job interview and being asked if you have any Family commitments. These are all experiences I have dealt with personally, and I always ask myself, would that have happened to man? Why is it only me and my female family members that are left to clean up after dinner while the men retire to the living room?
Its not in your face sexism, but its not equality either. Men simply don't have to worry about any of this because 1; they are always taken seriously and assumed to be competent, and 2; They are too used to women being the fall guy...or gal in this sense. Men don't have to worry about cleaning if there is a woman in the house, they don't have to worry about being told they got a job because of their body, or because they slept with the boss. They don't have to worry about sexual innuendo at work that can really never be proved because its so cloak and dagger and double meaning. These are still examples of male privilege, and I am so over dealing with it. At this stage I will outright ask 'Would you have asked a man that?', or tell my housemates 'I'm not your mother, its not my job to take care of you, clean the bloody dishes'. But the more you say things like this the more you are called Bitchy, or Nagging.
Being Criticized For My Eating Habits...At A Healthy 9 Stone!
Yup, society has made it abundantly clear that woman have to look a certain way. And if you don't fit hat perfect body formula then obviously 'No Man will want you'. This is all too common and I'm sure many women will agree, but you eat an entire pack of sharing Doritos and you get the 'Really? You think that's a good idea' from friends and even family. What's worse is that women are the perpetrators of this a lot of the time too.
I can almost guarantee that men have rarely had to deal with the judgmental looks from people if they order a 10 oz burger and scoff it down in 10 minutes, but me...always. But f#ck you guys, I'm not paying €15 for a salad just so you can feel better. I want me some friggen burger. Or if I'm out with my partner and we both order the ribs...its me who gets the looks from other women as if to say 'If you keep that up you'l be sorry'. well, no actually I wont. I'm perfectly happy with my body thank you very much, and that's without me doing a 20 minute run after meals, or spending my free time running up and down the stairs. Its without me looking up fit summer body in two weeks, or worrying about how many calories is in everything I eat. But guess what #ssh#les, I eat fruit for breakfast, and snack on nuts, so hell yeah I am going to enjoy a big meaty meal when I'm out....because that's the whole f#cking point of eating out...enjoying yourself guilt f#cking free.
Check Yo Privilege!
So while men glide through life without worrying about being called a fat cow in public because of the clothes your wearing or what your eating, without being asked if you are family or work committed, without being expected to do the cleaning or being sexually harassed in public, women are dealing with this EVERY DAY! Check your privilege, acknowledge it exists and stop blindly assuming it's because your just awesome at life, because truth is, being born a white straight man has made your life a whole lot easier. Being born a woman has made me have to stand up myself in everything I do, its made me a victim of street harassment and downright assault, its made me the cleaner and the cook, and the Mother figure, its made me constantly worry about my weight (when its not even a problem), its made me the potty mouth when men swear all the time but that's considered normal behaviour. Its made me extremely aware that being born a woman, isn't the same as being born a human being.