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June 11, 2008

The List of Male Privileges

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  1. Suggestions: Men can pass out at a rowdy party without being raped, and then being blamed for having been raped because they got drunk and passed out.
    Men can walk through a dark parking lot without it ever occurring to them that they should arrange their keys to stick out between their fingers in case they have to gouge someone's eyes out.
    Men can have lots of strings-free sex with multiple partners and never hear about what skanky sluts they are.
    When men are single in their thirties, no one bats an eye about it.
    When stuck outside on a hot day, men can safely and legally remove their shirts.
    A man can eat a banana while walking past a construction site.

  2. Men have the privilege of defining themselves.

    Men have the privilege of having their gender-based privilege be invisible.

    Men have the privilege of taking credit for women's work.

    This leads to a suggestion that is in no way snark. The suggestion is that you give credit to posters who have helped you compile this list, most of whom I'm guessing will be women. You may even consider referring to the list as a collaboration.

    By the way, Good Job! Men writing about masculinity from a feminist perspective is important, IMO.

  3. Good work on this list so far! May I suggest:

    Men get to age any damn way they please without any pressure to remain "young looking". They can go grey, get fat etc, and it all "adds character". Whereas if a women does that she's "letting herself go."

    I may be back with more later!

    PS: I am really glad you have rape as number one on this list, that is definitely where it belongs.

  4. Men are actively encouraged in "hard" sciences and math, while women are actively discouraged.

    Men aren't called lazy, unhygienic, or flat out disgusting if they decide not to shave their legs, arms, pubic hair, or arm pits.

  5. Hi, decidedly non-feminist girl here who happened to stumble across your blog. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems like one of the reasons you have written this list to show feminists, radical feminists, just how much you "get it"


    Radical feminists don't want anyone like you or me in their enclave. I am a girl, and any radical feminist I've ever come across has tried to negate my feelings and experiences if they so much as slightly deviated from their own, even though I am supposed to be their "sister" And I've seen that they often treat men, no matter how enlightened, as whipping boys, tearing apart their every argument and never allowing any dissent. In fact, it seems to me that they treat men in the very fashion in which they say the patriarchy treats them.

    From what I've read here, you seem like you're a good man. Don't beat yourself up just b/c some girls want you to---you don't deserve it.

  6. I guess I need to add another male privilege to the list: Anytime a man expresses personal discomfort with his male privilege, said man is reassured (by other men and women who buy into the majority's narrative) that he deserves better than to empathize with those who are hurt by his privilege. He can then continue to blissfully step on the backs of the women around him.

    Shar, I have family members and several close friends who were raped, and none of them were okay afterward. I worked as a sexual assault and domestic violence advocate in a hospital for three years. I saw firsthand women whose souls were shredded by the inhuman acts done by men, and I watched as only a handful of the perps were ever arrested for their hideous crimes. This web site, all of my advocacy work, and all of my feminist activism, was initiated by me as a reaction to what had happened to the women in my life whom I love, and who will never be whole again. I was not pussy-whipped into doing this, and I resent your insinuation that my passion for feminism is nothing but a ploy to get in with the girls.

    Speaking of which, I also feel that you are being hard on radical feminists. The radical feminists that I know are some of the most considerate people I've ever met. (The most severe personal criticism I've ever gotten back from a radfem is a request that I stop using the word "fuck" so much when I post.) I tend to suspect that anyone getting shouted down by a group of radfems was being, at least unintentionally, antifeminist at the time, and negating the experiences of the radical feminists in the process. (Many a conversation between dudes and feminists begins with the statement, "You're a delusional, hysterical and overreacting feminist because...", as happened here, and thus killing any chance at a real conversation before it begins.)

    Getting back to my blog, if you haven't done so already, please read the intro. If you don't see in my intro any reasons why men should oppose male privilege and the Masculine Mystique for their own sakes, then I suggest hanging around as I complete the detailed blog entries for each of the male privileges. Perhaps you'll understand where I am coming from a bit better once we've hashed through all the privileges in greater detail.


  7. You talk an awful lot about men in your response and their interactions with radical feminists, but you don't say very much about women.

    Lets just take one facet of my personality---I'm a girl who loves "girly" things and loves femininity. Every radical feminist I've encountered believes that these aren't my choices, but they patriarchy's choices---that I have no agency of my own. They just see a typically feminine girl. What they don't see is the girl that thought for years that she wasn't pretty enough to wear girl's clothes, or make up, or anything like that.

    At that time, I didn't fit into one of society's acceptable beauty categories (hell, I barely do now several years later)but I said fuck society, I'm going to be myself.

    So, to sum it all up, what do you have to say about radical feminists who negate the experiences of other women?

  8. An excellent list and website.

    Just this past weekend a group of friends was posing for a picture after a cultural event. Some damn man that I knew slightly thought people had to be "arranged" in the photo and grabed at my breasts and joked about this. Immediately, I grabbed him by the head, took him out in the hall and put a choke hold on him. I told him this was strike one, and the next time he'd be out. You should have seen the raw fear on that man's face. Never in his life did he ever meet a woman who was going to twist his head off.

    Afterward, another male friend in the group thought he was trying to be a friend, but the conversation became all about him. He then wondered if he made a mistake with me whether I'd take his head off.

    "Well you won't ever make that kind of "mistake" I told him." But if you did, yes, I'd take you out in the hall and make you feel that kind of fear. You should fear women, and women should defend themselves. "Men only respect those they fear," is what I said, "So now you have learned to fear me, that's good!"

  9. What an excellent list!

    I've been a radical feminist for well over 30 years now. Always loved the Dworkin comment: "I'm a radical feminist and not the nice kind," or something close to that.

    It amazes me how so much of the woman hating blogland out there is filled with men who take no responsibility whatsoever for anything they do, nor do they have the power to see their own complicite nature.

    So this is a refreshing change. I of course don't expect men to change. They are forever damned, but I hope this will help young women get a grip on what patriarchy really is all about, and use the 50 privileges to outmanouever the enemy on the field of battle (the office, the home, a presidential election).

    After 30 years of activism, and observing male behavior out in the world, I think they are beyond redemption in any way. What I have encouraged women to do is to pursue their dreams, never live with the oppressors, and build the world women want.

    I'd even like a country that women completely run. When women have a town, a country and perhaps someday a continent, then we'll see something truly new.

    Otherwise, we are stuck with Obama who thinks he's about change -- yeah, make sure his wife changes her last name to his name, and gives up her career! I believe this is on your list of 50 privileges.

    Just thought of privilege # 51-- the right to have your name on your work. Women get their work stolen, their names erased, and most certainly they don't keep the male designed copywrites very often. It's why men think they have authored and invented everything.

  10. Shar, why are you asking me about the thoughts and motives of radical feminists?

    I have nothing to say about the thoughts and motives of radical feminists. I am not a woman, and I won't abuse male privilege to speak for them.

    I'm writing from a man's perspective that is the life experience that I have. I figure it is best to blog on topics that I actually know something about. You won't find me giving out advice on paragliding in Australia either.

    I can, however, point you to someone who may be able to answer your question. Try here first:

  11. Hello,

    I found this site via I Blame the Patriarchy; it looks like a very interesting and worthwhile project.

    I have linked to this site under the 'what about the men?' section of the Anti-Porn Feminists blog.


  12. Do you know that I could deconstruct every part of your list and show that there is absolutely nothing behind it? What's more I could easily put up a female privilege checklist equally as long, and unlike this pathetic excuse of a list, mine would be filled with citations and actual laws that benefit women. Thanks for the laughs.
    Oh, by the way, I doubt you'll have the courage to let me criticize your list, let alone put up a female privileges one. How's it feel to be a lapdog for your ideology?

  13. Hell, don't just make a pompous ass out of yourself on my comments page, go for it Dudebag!

    Send me a link to your list and I'll post it right here! However, I want REAL citations to the federal and municipal codes that you feel give women such a huge advantage over your little ol' self. Links to Playboy articles do not count.

    While you're at it, you should really start deconstructing (assuming you know what it means) my list. Legitimate criticism sharpens arguments, and I really enjoy shooting down witless blowhards the rest of the time.

    I'm actually curious to see how many female privileges you can put together on your own. You probably don't have a job, and live out of your mother's basement, so you should be able to finish a complete list of 50 privileges (with full accompanying blog articles) within a week.

    I am patiently waiting. However, until you can actually come up with a coherent argument, I am shitcanning your other baseless and pointless posts.

  14. This list is fantastic and concise! I have a link to it on the side-bar of my blog - if that's okay.

    I thank you for posting it and I appreciate it with all my shriveled, black, radfem heart.

  15. Sure thing. Blogrolls, Diggs, side-bars, follows, whatever links you like to do are fine by me.

    Thanks for the endorsement!

  16. Up and running for 2009. I love this site, and look forward to future great and original articles.

  17. Great stuff, here. Thanks for being another human being with
    man parts who gets it. You'll be on my blogroll as soon as I'm done with my comment.

  18. interesting post. certainly many of them are accurate. However, men are *actually* larger than women, regardless of what they eat. across cultures. that is just a biological fact.

  19. "interesting post. certainly many of them are accurate. However, men are *actually* larger than women, regardless of what they eat. across cultures. that is just a biological fact."

    Ah, but you are making an assumption there! That men are larger than women (by a few inches of height and several pounds of muscle when the adult population of is averaged together) is indeed a statistical fact. However, that does not mean it is also a biological fact!

    I would argue that a lot of the statistical differences between the physical sizes of women and men are better explained by cultural forcings than by human biology.

    In fact, the height of people across cultures is the subject of a post that I am currently working on. It is currently behind several other posts that I need to get out first, but keep an eye out for it later on this year!

  20. "Heterosexuality [and/or masculinity] has been forcibly and subliminally imposed on women. Yet everywhere women have resisted it, often at the cost of physical torture, imprisonment, psychosurgery, social ostracism, and extreme poverty." — Adrienne Rich

  21. Great list! I'd add:

    The Right to be Adult
    Which of course would be the right not to be infantalized, to have the right to make decisions in your own interests and the right to not be equivovated with children in terms of vulnerability or capacity.

  22. I'm a radical feminist. I think this list is great. I'm a little puzzled as to why rape is no. 1 though, and not murder. Some feminists call it "femicide", some say misogynist killings should not be given such a euphemistic name. In any case, I hope I don't have to explain to a feminist such as yourself why getting away with killing women is a feminist issue and a male privilege (of course I'm not saying that all instances of men killing women result in them getting away with it- but there are many instances where they are excused, let off, allowed to go on for years before being caught, for misogynist reasons; these vary across countries and cultures). I've been raped, and who knows how different I am today because of it (compared to the self I would have been had it not happened) but I'm here to tell the tale- if I had been murdered by some boyfriend who got away with it because I was "nagging" or "cheating" I would not be typing these words. That is my proposition to you: make murder number 1!

  23. You partially addressed this issue in "Privilege to Be Single", but I think this subject deserves its own space on the list of privileges.

    Men can be child-free their entire lives and nary a negative judgment is made. Women who "fail" to become mothers are viewed as barren, heartless, selfish bitches who must have deep-seated emotional problems. They are looked upon with a mixture of pity and contempt in the best of scenarios.

    Another partially addressed issue falls under "Privilege of Pleasure."
    Women who have a sex drive equal or greater than the average man and dare to fulfill this drive are not just demonized, they can lose their lives. I know that ten adjectives spring to mind when describing a woman like this; so it goes without saying and I won't repeat them.

    Good work, and thanks.

  24. First-time reader of your blog. Love it already!

    More privileges: how about the privilege of pain-free sex? When female patients express concern over painful intercourse (or gynecological exams), doctors frequently tell them they just need to "relax," it's "all in their head" or that they just need to "keep doing it and it'll go away after a while." A woman is expected to endure some pain for the sake of her partner; a man is not.

    Women are also more exposed to the medical gaze (men's privilege of unobtrusive medicine?). There are numerous examples of the medicalization of women's bodies: pregnancy/childbirth, cosmetic surgery, fertility/conception, menopause, etc. Gynecological examinations, for example, are unnecessarily obtrusive, as women could be taught to do parts of the exam themselves.

  25. Hi,i am impressed....and somehow,scared.I am in a Latin country and as a woman,i can say that many of this do not apply to our culture,for exemple,although rape is not that well accepted and when the justice fail,the population kill the rapist by them onw.Besides,we have a considerable number of women in science and i have never seen women being that worried about travelling alone.We also have the option of keeping our maiden name after marrying.

    It is difficult to read/know that in developed countries,considered more "civilized" than ones like mine,men have such horrible destructive behaviour.

    1. Not all privileges will apply everywhere. While I wrote this from my US-centric experience, I bet that many privileges on this list will apply elsewhere. Patriarchy is the most popular social order on the globe, after all.

      And yes, the whole notion of "first-world" / "third-world" countries is misleading. It also hides the granularity of conditions within countries. For example, while the US is considered a "first-world" country, there are many counties, states, cities, and communities who live in third-world conditions. Hurricane Katrina exposed the plight of many third-world communities right here within the United States.

  26. 'They just see a typically feminine girl. What they don't see is the girl that thought for years that she wasn't pretty enough to wear girl's clothes, or make up, or anything like that.'

    Radfems totally understand that sh*t. Many of us have been there too, I know I have. The argument that radfems are making, is that it's more liberating to reject the beauty standard altogether than to try and expand it to include everyone.

    F*ck M*asculinity - love what you're doing here! Came over from IBTP.

  27. This is similar to the privilege of selective hatred, but it's different in that it treats a different issue.

    The Right to Hatred

    Men have the privilege to be misogynist and be backed up by other men, but when a woman says she hates men, she is attacked and denigrated.

  28. lol You're a dude? haha, this trend where increasing numbers of men actually seem to gronk the problem of sexism makes it difficult for me to be a feminazi. :-) Carry on!

  29. Interesting list, and as a man it made me think. Most points are accurate, although I take issue with a few and wanted to see what you think about it:

    -Privilege of Harassment: To me this is partially true, but there's a border here between harassment and inclusion. The way men talk to one another, especially amongst friends IS belittling, cynical, crude, etc etc. When we talk that way to women we get blamed even though it's business as usual. I can't tell you the number of times I've held my mouth when talking with women (even close friends) simply to be polite when I would have told hideously off-color jokes if they'd been male. This isn't to be patronizing or protective, it's to keep them from blowing up on me and calling me a pervert or a pig.

    -Trophy Wives: I'd say this one cuts both ways. Men take beautiful young wives as trophies, but those young wives only use the men for their money, which is definitely a female privilege employed constantly.

    -Privilege of Good Medicine: Not where I live, but perhaps in other places. However the example about breast vs prostate cancer is false. Breast cancer can be of multiple histological forms (coming from different tissues types), whereas prostate cancer overwhelmingly has one. Breast cancer can develop early, develop quickly, spread quickly and kill quickly whereas prostate cancer has a late onset, is slow growing and can stay undetected and untreated for a decade or more. Prostate cancer is simply a cancer with a "better" course than breast cancer, and that's nobody's fault.

    1. In response to your points:

      -Privilege of Harassment: With regards to that privilege, I am focussing mostly on women getting harassed on the streets and the high prevalence of workplace sexual harassment that is not stopped by management.

      Although it is interesting to note that the 'hideously off-color jokes' you mention do not bother men but do bother women. I bet most of those jokes make fun of women for being stupid cunts? Or or end with women taking it up the rear? Because if they do then that justifies women's anger at them. That such jokes are so common in everyday speech that you have to regularly hold your tongue speaks to how much of everyday life is steeped in women's harassment.

      Out of curiosity, do you feel that women blowing up at you and calling you a pervert or pig is unjustified? Is it also unjustified for a black guy to get mad when a white dude tells a 'nigger' joke?

      - Trophy Wives: Young wives taking men's money is not a privilege, it is what is known as benevolent sexism. Men aren't forced into any situation to pay women, they choose to do so for the obvious benefits that they receive. Rich men even set up dating services and try out lots of women before settling on one for awhile and dumping her later. At what point are these guys the victims of women using them?

      - Privilege of Good Medicine: Thanks for the notes about prostate cancer. Would testicular cancer be a better example?


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