18 examples of imaginary privilege

People-Working-Together-for-a-Cause-1m552p6I was reading an article on a website, when I saw a link for this one. I was intrigued. I have female privilege? What kind of power do I unfairly wield against men and how can I abuse said power? What have I been missing out on?

What I found was a list of examples that mostly aren’t universal and almost all are a result of stereotypes and examples from a sexist culture. Needless to say, allegedly being able to get out of a speeding ticket is not going to compensate for not getting equal pay or rape culture. Funnily enough, the list seems to be modeled after this list on white privilege.

There have already been some great responses to this list. So here’s mine. Let’s dive in and see how women, the useless bitches, are abusing men today.

1. Female privilege is being able to walk down the street at night without people crossing the street because they’re automatically afraid of you.

Yes, because we’re supposed to be the victims. It’s unthinkable to imagine a woman attacking a man on the street because women are taught to be passive and submissive while men are violent and dangerous. This isn’t a power that women wield, it’s the natural assumption that women are the ones being attacked, not the ones doing the attacking.

So no, no one fears that we’re going to attack them, we have to worry about people attacking us. Men in particular. We are are the ones that take self-defense classes and carry mace, fog horns and handheld tasers. We’re the ones that don’t walk at night because, should something happen to is, it would be assumed to be our fault. We’re the ones that have our behavior restricted because we might be assaulted and we would be responsible for it.

2. Female privilege is being able to approach someone and ask them out without being labeled “creepy.”

This is not universal at all. I know women who have done this only to have been labeled creepy and guys have labeled me creepy when I wasn’t willing to play “hard to get” quite hard enough.

3. Female privilege is being able to get drunk and make love without being considered a rapist. Female privilege is being able to engage in the same action as another person but be considered the innocent party by default.

Personally, I don’t drink and have sex. However, I would never assume that if two people had sex while drinking it was 1. non-consensual. 2. the man’s fault. There are plenty of other people, women included, who don’t think like this either.

4. Female privilege is being able to turn on the TV and see yourself represented in a positive way. Female privilege is shows like King of Queens and Everybody Loves Raymond where women are portrayed as attractive, competent people while men are shown as ugly, lazy slobs.

Women, if they’re portrayed at all, are usually shown as one-body type self-sacrificing, one-dimensional characters that are always sexy, always nice and always will to put up with said slobby husbands because that’s what women do. Famous TV wives like Jill Taylor from Home Improvement had to have their actresses fight to have her character do something other than take care of her house. Also, what does it say about these supposedly amazing women if they resign themselves to being in a relationship with someone that is an “ugly, lazy snob”?

5. Female privilege is the idea that women and children should be the first rescued from any sort of emergency situation. Female privilege is saving yourself before you save others and not being viewed as a monster.

This again is because women were thought to be too weak and childlike to take care of themselves. Women and children equates women WITH children. They are on the same level. This isn’t privilege, it’s held over sexism.

6. Female privilege is being able to decide not to have a child.

If you have picked up a newspaper ever in your entire life, you’d know that this is an on-going problem for women. Anti-abortion bills are introduced every day and threats to women’s right to choose are myriad and not going away. Not to mention the social stigma against using your right to choose. And this fact isn’t privilege, it’s the reality of nature. I wouldn’t say that men have the “privilege” of peeing standing up. It’s just how their genitals work.

7. Female privilege is not having to support a child financially for 18 years when you didn’t want to have it in the first place.

Women pay child support as well. Women also sometimes give birth and raise to children that they don’t want. This is not a male vs. female problem. This is a fact of biology: women get pregnant. Furthermore, if you don’t want to have a baby, you might want to establish that before having sex.

8. Female privilege is never being told to “take it like a man” or “man up.”

Instead, women are told to be ladylike. Which, in this case, means quiet, passive, soft-spoken, and nice. Then they hear men telling each other that acting like a girl or doing anything like a girl is an insult along with words like “sissy”, “pussy”, and “bitch”. If you want to insult a woman, call her a woman. If you want to insult a man, call him a woman.

9. Female privilege is knowing that people would take it as a gravely serious issue if someone raped you. Female privilege is being able to laugh at a “prison rape” joke.

Of all of the experience I have had between myself and my friends and associates, I have never heard them talk about the police, authorities or a lot of other people taking them gravely seriously after reporting a rape. More often we’re asked what we were wearing, if we had been flirting with him previously, if we had been drinking. Myself, I’ve been in a situation where my safety was threatened and the police that I called to help me had no concern for me whatsoever, in fact, they didn’t even believe me. “Gravely serious”, my ass.

Also, I have never laughed at a prison rape joke and I wouldn’t tolerate someone that did. Male rape is a problem that the legal system hasn’t caught up with yet and feminists, yes, feminists, are the ones that are pushing for it to be addressed.

10. Female privilege is being able to divorce your spouse when your marriage is no longer working because you know you will most likely be granted custody of your children.

This, again, is due to the patriarchal notion that women are natural caretakers and function better with children. If there was equality, then this problem wouldn’t exist. Also, a lot of women can’t divorce because doing so would land them in poverty along with their children. That’s hardly privilege.

11. Female privilege is being able to call the police in a domestic dispute knowing they will take your side. Female privilege is not having your gender work against where police are involved.

I’m not going to get into details on this one, but no. This is not universal and I know from first-hand experience. But even if it was, the assumption would be that the woman couldn’t have done anything because the woman was too fail and helpless to be the attacker. Also, a quick viewing of COPS would do you that the police generally don’t walk into a domestic dispute ready to cuff the male.

12. Female privilege is being able to be caring or empathetic without people being surprised.

If someone is surprised that you’re caring or empathic just because you’re male, they’re sexist and probably born in the 1860s. But really, this is because women are supposed to be this way. Every single one of us. A woman that isn’t caring or empathic is viewed as evil and strange. You complain that you can’t be caring or empathic, but we can’t be anything other than caring and empathic.

13. Female privilege is not having to take your career seriously because you can depend on marrying someone who makes more money than you do. Female privilege is being able to be a “stay at home mom” and not seem like a loser.

Ever heard of something called a wage gap? Men can better support women because they earn more money, because they are men and working in a system created and run by men that benefits them. Also, women aren’t silly whores that just count on men for everything and resign themselves to be trophy wives, because who really wants to work anyway?

I don’t care what happens in my life, I will always work. I need to work. I don’t feel good about myself or anything else when I’m not working. I find fulfillment and happiness in work and even when I was unemployed, I still had projects and tasks to do that I looked at as work. I set goals and quotas and had to play pretend that I had a real job because I was so lost without one.

And who calls stay at home fathers losers? I certainly don’t and wouldn’t want to associate with someone that does. Taking care of children is not a gendered calling. All people should be able to choose to stay home or have a career, not because of their genitals, but because of what they want to do.

14. Female privilege is being able to cry your way out of a speeding ticket.

Every single time I’ve been pulled over I’ve gotten a speeding ticket. I’ve never cried, but a speeding ticket wouldn’t be enough to make me do so by itself. And really, if we did get out of paying speeding tickets, maybe that’s just a way to even up the wage gap. Which even then isn’t very effective.

15. Female privilege is being favored by teachers in elementary, middle and high school. Female privilege is graduating high school more often, being accepted to more colleges, and generally being encouraged and supported along the way.

This happens because women are better groomed to be students than men. Men are taught to be active and expressive and that does not work well in a classroom. Being quiet and taking notes is something that women have been trained to do and it works well for us in an academic setting. Without gender roles, students would be able to concentrate on school better and not feel as though they have to be disruptive or cause problems in order to live out their gender.

16. Female privilege being able to have an opinion without someone tell you you’re just “a butthurt fedora-wearing neckbeard who can’t get any.”

No, I just get called a butthurt feminazi whenever I have an opinion. Then I get told that I don’t understand feminism and I don’t shave my legs and I’m a lesbian and I hate men… The list goes on. But really, this is your example of privilege? Someone doesn’t call you a specific name?

17. Female privilege is being able to talk about sexism without appearing self-serving.

I don’t even know what you’re talking about here. Anyone can experience gender-based discrimination and discussing has nothing to do with self-serving behavior.

18. Female privilege is arrogantly believing that sexism only applies to women.

Sexism, like racism, is based on a system that oppresses one certain group while benefiting another. Men, like white people, can experience prejudice, but to experience the full-blown “ism” you have to be on the wrong side of a system and men are not. They are on the top. Men, as a gender, have problems too. There is no denying that. But their problems are often caused by the sexism and gender roles that are inflicted upon women. Promoting equality would benefit everyone.

When it comes down to it, this list is mostly an example of stereotypes that the patriarchy has created and nourished. If you want men not to be feared for being men then you have to teach that women are not victims. If you want men to have equal custody in divorces, then stop teaching that men have to go out and earn a living while women have to be caretakers.

Society still has a long way to go when it comes to sexism, but making lists like this that attack women for the very myths that are pushed on them is not going to help. There are plenty of problems to go around when it comes to gender discrimination and there are lots of ways to work on it. But this is not one.

When it comes to privilege, it’s never the person’s fault that they’re white or male or able-bodied or all of the above. There’s no need to feel guilt or shame because of this or manage these feelings by attacking the people pointing out your privilege. Ignoring privilege where it occurs and trying to say that marginalized people are actually the ones in power is not going to help.