Monday, February 20, 2012

A Realistic Female 'Privilege' Checklist

I was compelled to create a post on my Tumblr account, due to an on-going brouhaha involving moderation of the 'politics' tag on that site, and the misogynistic and socially offensive rantings and ramblings of the editor in question (who was subsequently removed from his editorial post). Part of his defense of his irretrievably unconscionable behavior was rooted in his denial of the idea of male privilege and his mistaken impression that the whole root cause of feminism was to drag men down into the mud and stomp them into it. When works of false and ignorant premises, one invariably opens themselves up to attack.

One place he pointed to, was a web site called 'Feminist Critics' -- which I shall not deign to link to -- and an article there on "female privilege," which was just an outrageous collection of non-interrelated and male-centered screeds on how "good women have it" in comparison to men, and how male privilege is just a figment of feminism's imagination. It so enraged me, that I proceeded to pound out what I consider a more accurate representation of "female privilege" as it exists in the modern world, and part of which I now reproduce here:

As a woman, you have the privilege of...
  1. Being told by men that you do not have a right to do what you like with your own body.
  2. Being told by men that they only find you attractive when you dress sexy.
  3. Being told by men that if you dress sexy, you're being "slutty."
  4. Being told by men that they want to have sex with you.
  5. Being told by men that if you have too much sex, you're being "slutty."
  6. Being told by men that if you don't want to have sex with them, you're being "frigid."
  7. Being drugged or manhandled by men who want to have sex with you when you don't.
  8. Being raped by men, whose sexual needs override your consent.
  9. Being told by men that if you were raped, you were asking for it, because of what you said, how you were dressed, what you drank, where you went, etc.
  10. Being told by men that if you get pregnant by being raped, you should "make the best of it."
  11. Being told by men that your position in life is to carry a fetus to term, even though you don't want it, can't afford it, and they won't lift a finger to help or support you.
  12. Being told by men that marrying them and raising a family with them is what you're "meant to do."
  13. Being told by men that the black eyes, bruises, and broken bones you got from them beating you is "your own fault."
  14. Being told by men that if you try to leave them, they will take away your children and you will never see them again.
  15. Being told by men that they've "moved on" and "found someone new" who is "more exciting," a.k.a. "slutty."
  16. Being told by men that you are not smart enough.
  17. Being told by men you're not good enough.
  18. Being told by men that you're not strong enough.
  19. Being told by men that you are too emotional.
  20. Being told by men that you are too cold.
  21. Being told by men to make them a sandwich.
If I were a woman, and I had to navigate that world on a daily basis, you can bet your ass I might harbor just a small amount of enmity toward men. Women have spent millennia getting the short end of the stick... ask Eve. And maybe, just maybe, women are tired of taking crap from men. BTW, I know I'm being all cis here, and I apologize to my trans friends, but the bottom line is: if you're a woman in this world, born that way, built that way, or otherwise, you can look forward to a long life of being told you are subservient to men, that that is the way "God intended it," and you should just shut up and accept it. I'm here to say that's wrong, that male privilege bullshit talking, and this is one man who doesn't buy it. You're a person, not a possession. You have rights. You have feelings. And no man has the right to tell you that you owe them anything.

Any man who denies his privilege is obviously so colored by it, that he cannot be rationally expected to understand it, so it is up to other men not as tinged by it, to explain. Because one cannot look at what's going on in our nation and claim that there is no male privilege at work, when the majority of anti-choice organizations are run or advocated for by men, when the bulk of the legislators who are bringing forth and supporting anti-choice and anti-woman legislation are men, when the vast majority of Congressional members are men, when there has been no woman President, when women are a scarcity in boardrooms and at the heads of corporations, and where women, on average, still earn far less than male counterparts for the same level of work.

It is easy for a man to dismiss the complaints of women; those in a position of power, for no other reason than they are of one gender -- or one race or one religion, similarly -- have exactly that which they are unwilling to share. To a man, it may seem far-fetched that a woman would want or should have power, and that man will find it easy to construct a specious and fallacious argument structure to reinforce their view. It is a facet of an on-going issue humanity has, whereby fact takes a back seat to belief. Men believe they are meant to be in control, to dominate, to rule, and would rather fight among themselves for the privilege, than allow women an equal opportunity.

As I have noted before, men wrote their dominance of humanity into society of their own accord, not because it was necessary or required. Misogyny is an extension of the primitive hunter/fighter mentality that drove primitive human society. It is a self-reinforcing construct, held in place by the male domination of society. That is privilege at its most basic -- I have the power, therefore I was meant to have it. If the heroes of The Bible are mainly men, it is because men were in the positions of power, men wrote the words, and men determined which gospels would be included, meaning the female voice was conspicuously absent by design. If most nations in the world have been run by patriarchal forces, that is because those forces already held sway. If the governments at the local, State, and Federal levels in the United States are dominated by men, that is by design, as it was men who dominated society and initiated the creation of the nation.

It is not enough that women fight for their right to join men equally in power, for to overcome thousands of generations of patriarchy through sheer will and determination means thousands more generations before it can come to pass. If women are to reach the equal footing they deserve, and is long overdue them, then it is up to we men who understand our privilege and its ill effects on society, to stand up to our brethren, and make them aware that the current state of affairs will no longer be tolerated. We must stand beside our sisters and we must take the power away from the patriarchy that maintains its death-grip on human society. We must break ranks with those men who hold power for power's sake. We must drive the money changers from the temple, to restore order to a more natural state of human equality in every dimension. We must reject our privilege, for to do less only perpetuates a system that has been unfair for far too long.

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