Hey, guys and gals.

Probably opening up a big can of worms here and opening myself up to all kinds of never-ending debate, but I’m curious anyway:

Which parts of these lists do you disagree with?

Answer only if you’re willing to argue. Because even if I don’t do it myself, I’m sure someone will.

Guys, in this Male Privilege Checklist, what do you have a problem with?

The Male Privilege Checklist

1. My odds of being hired for a job, when competing against female applicants, are probably skewed in my favor. The more prestigious the job, the larger the odds are skewed.
2. I can be confident that my co-workers won’t think I got my job because of my sex – even though that might be true. (More).
3. If I am never promoted, it’s not because of my sex.
4. If I fail in my job or career, I can feel sure this won’t be seen as a black mark against my entire sex’s capabilities.
5. I am far less likely to face sexual harassment at work than my female co-workers are. (More).
6. If I do the same task as a woman, and if the measurement is at all subjective, chances are people will think I did a better job.
7. If I’m a teen or adult, and if I can stay out of prison, my odds of being raped are relatively low. (More).
8. On average, I am taught to fear walking alone after dark in average public spaces much less than my female counterparts are.
9. If I choose not to have children, my masculinity will not be called into question.
10. If I have children but do not provide primary care for them, my masculinity will not be called into question.
11. If I have children and provide primary care for them, I’ll be praised for extraordinary parenting if I’m even marginally competent. (More).
12. If I have children and a career, no one will think I’m selfish for not staying at home.
13. If I seek political office, my relationship with my children, or who I hire to take care of them, will probably not be scrutinized by the press.
14. My elected representatives are mostly people of my own sex. The more prestigious and powerful the elected position, the more this is true.
15. When I ask to see “the person in charge,” odds are I will face a person of my own sex. The higher-up in the organization the person is, the surer I can be.
16. As a child, chances are I was encouraged to be more active and outgoing than my sisters. (More).
17. As a child, I could choose from an almost infinite variety of children’s media featuring positive, active, non-stereotyped heroes of my own sex. I never had to look for it; male protagonists were (and are) the default.
18. As a child, chances are I got more teacher attention than girls who raised their hands just as often. (More).
19. If my day, week or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether or not it has sexist overtones.
20. I can turn on the television or glance at the front page of the newspaper and see people of my own sex widely represented, every day, without exception.
21. If I’m careless with my financial affairs it won’t be attributed to my sex.
22. If I’m careless with my driving it won’t be attributed to my sex.
23. I can speak in public to a large group without putting my sex on trial.
24. Even if I sleep with a lot of women, there is no chance that I will be seriously labeled a “slut,” nor is there any male counterpart to “slut-bashing.” (More).
25. I do not have to worry about the message my wardrobe sends about my sexual availability or my gender conformity.
26. My clothing is typically less expensive and better-constructed than women’s clothing for the same social status. While I have fewer options, my clothes will probably fit better than a woman’s without tailoring. (More).
27. The grooming regimen expected of me is relatively cheap and consumes little time. (More).
28. If I buy a new car, chances are I’ll be offered a better price than a woman buying the same car. (More).
29. If I’m not conventionally attractive, the disadvantages are relatively small and easy to ignore.
30. I can be loud with no fear of being called a shrew. I can be aggressive with no fear of being called a bitch.
31. I can ask for legal protection from violence that happens mostly to men without being seen as a selfish special interest, since that kind of violence is called “crime” and is a general social concern. (Violence that happens mostly to women is usually called “domestic violence” or “acquaintance rape,” and is seen as a special interest issue.)
32. I can be confident that the ordinary language of day-to-day existence will always include my sex. “All men are created equal,” mailman, chairman, freshman, he.
33. My ability to make important decisions and my capability in general will never be questioned depending on what time of the month it is.
34. I will never be expected to change my name upon marriage or questioned if I don’t change my name.
35. The decision to hire me will never be based on assumptions about whether or not I might choose to have a family sometime soon.
36. Every major religion in the world is led primarily by people of my own sex. Even God, in most major religions, is pictured as male.
37. Most major religions argue that I should be the head of my household, while my wife and children should be subservient to me.
38. If I have a wife or live-in girlfriend, chances are we’ll divide up household chores so that she does most of the labor, and in particular the most repetitive and unrewarding tasks.
39. If I have children with a wife or girlfriend, chances are she’ll do most of the childrearing, and in particular the most dirty, repetitive and unrewarding parts of childrearing.
40. If I have children with a wife or girlfriend, and it turns out that one of us needs to make career sacrifices to raise the kids, chances are we’ll both assume the career sacrificed should be hers.
41. Magazines, billboards, television, movies, pornography, and virtually all of media is filled with images of scantily-clad women intended to appeal to me sexually. Such images of men exist, but are rarer.
42. In general, I am under much less pressure to be thin than my female counterparts are. If I am fat, I probably suffer fewer social and economic consequences for being fat than fat women do.
43. If I am heterosexual, it’s incredibly unlikely that I’ll ever be beaten up by a spouse or lover.
44. Complete strangers generally do not walk up to me on the street and tell me to “smile.”
45. On average, I am not interrupted by women as often as women are interrupted by men.
46. I have the privilege of being unaware of my male privilege.

Gals, in this Female Privilege Checklist, what do you have a problem with?

As a woman …

1. I have a much lower chance of being murdered than a man.
2. I have a much lower chance of being driven to successfully commit suicide than a man.
3. I have a lower chance of being a victim of a violent assault than a man.
4. I have probably been taught that it is acceptable to cry.
5. I will probably live longer than the average man.
6. Most people in society probably will not see my overall worthiness as a person being exclusively tied to how high up in the hierarchy I rise.
7. I have a much better chance of being considered to be a worthy mate for someone, even if I’m unemployed with little money, than a man.
8. I am given much greater latitude to form close, intimate friendships than a man is.
9. My chance of suffering a work-related injury or illness is significantly lower than a man’s.
10. My chance of being killed on the job is a tiny fraction of a man’s.
11. If I shy away from fights, it is unlikely that this will damage my standing in my peer group or call into question my worthiness as a sex partner.
12. I am not generally expected to be capable of violence. If I lack this capacity, this will generally not be seen as a damning personal deficiency.
13. If I was born in North America since WWII, I can be almost certain that my genitals were not mutilated soon after birth, without anesthesia.
14. If I attempt to hug a friend in joy, it’s much less likely that my friend will wonder about my sexuality or pull away in unease.
15. If I seek a hug in solace from a close friend, I’ll have much less concern about how my friend will interpret the gesture or whether my worthiness as a member of my gender will be called into question.
16. I generally am not compelled by the rules of my sex to wear emotional armor in interactions with most people.
17. I am frequently the emotional center of my family.
18. I am allowed to wear clothes that signify ‘vulnerability’, ‘playful openness’, and ’softness’.
19. I am allowed to BE vulnerable, playful, and soft without calling my worthiness as a human being into question.
20. If I interact with other people’s children — particularly people I don’t know very well — I do not have to worry much about the interaction being misinterpreted.
21. If I have trouble accommodating to some aspects of gender demands, I have a much greater chance than a man does of having a sympathetic audience to discuss the unreasonableness of the demand, and a much lower chance that this failure to accommodate will be seen as signifying my fundamental inadequacy as a member of my gender.
22. I am less likely to be shamed for being sexually inactive than a man.
23. From my late teens through menopause, for most levels of sexual attractiveness, it is easier for me to find a sex partner at my attractiveness level than it is for a man.
24. My role in my child’s life is generally seen as more important than the child’s father’s role.

What do you agree/disagree with? What is utterly ridiculous, which examples do you feel you can reasonably debunk? Which things are total crap? Which ones are right on? At what point do so many of these intersect that it becomes almost impossible to tell them apart?

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70 Responses to Hey, guys and gals.

  1. Danny says:

    I think one thing that happens when people talk about privilege lists is that some get so caught up in trying to “call out” other groups that they will turn the smallest thing into a privilege. For instance:

    11. If I have children and provide primary care for them, I’ll be praised for extraordinary parenting if I’m even marginally competent. (More).
    This totally ignores the fact that men are presumed to be bad parents by default. According to this it is a privilege to be presumed to be a bad parent.

    I’m all for laying out who has unfair advantages over who but a lot of these discussions usually end up turning into shouting matches.

    • April says:

      a lot of these discussions usually end up turning into shouting matches.

      I know… I thought that might be fun right now. 😉

    • April says:

      To be more clear, my intent wasn’t necessarily to put us all against each other, but rather to just bluntly get it out, word for word, what it is that we all have such a problem with about these privilege lists, without filtering it through a response to a different topic entirely.

  2. April says:

    From the Male Privilege checklist:

    9. If I choose not to have children, my masculinity will not be called into question.

    I don’t think is very true these days (within recent years). In my “circle,” people who get pregnant are looked at funny. I’m almost afraid of the negative reactions that I will get from my peers if/when I choose to become pregnant.

    38. If I have a wife or live-in girlfriend, chances are we’ll divide up household chores so that she does most of the labor, and in particular the most repetitive and unrewarding tasks. (More).

    I’ve co-habitated with 3 different males in my adult life, and of the two of us, I was always, without argument, the one of the two who did the least of all household chores of all kinds. My current relationship is much more egalitarian in terms of our comfort levels with various degrees of messiness, but I’m still admittedly the one who does fewer household chores. My generation (I’m 26) largely does not have the “housework problem.” This is an irrelevant argument for women of my generation. It may be relevant for many, but not everyone, and it won’t continue to be for much longer. And I doubt I’m the only feminist slob out there.

    From the Female Privileges List:

    3. I have a lower chance of being a victim of a violent assault than a man.

    Isn’t rape considered a violent assault?

    8 (& 14, 15, 16, & 17). I am given much greater latitude to form close, intimate friendships than a man is.

    Forming close bonds with other humans is considered a “feminine” trait. While women are socially allowed to exhibit “masculine” traits (being a tomboy as a kid, punching a boy in her class, riding up the corporate ladder, etc.), men are not generally allowed to exhibit “feminine” traits. Femininity is only okay when a girl does it, but masculinity is a desired goal for all sexes.

    13. If I was born in North America since WWII, I can be almost certain that my genitals were not mutilated soon after birth, without anesthesia.

    I agree with you that male circumcision is really a fucked up practice, but we need to stop comparing it to female genital mutilation.

    While your circumcision was done without anesthesia, you don’t remember a second of it. Females who have been “circumcised” have it done when they are 13. I remember quite a fucking bit from 13, and certainly wouldn’t forget a circumcision done at that age. Even if it doesn’t kill or injure a person, the memory alone would be enough to traumatize a person for the rest of their life. I don’t need statistics to convince anyone of this, although I’m sure they’re out there.

    FGM is performed in a way that deliberately eliminates the most common and proven way for a a woman to have an orgasm, by cutting off the clitoris. Male circumcision does not alter the man’s sexual function.

    That said, I’m not circumcising my son if I have one. I think that regardless of whether or not you remember it, it’s pretty weird, mean, and unethical to make that decision for your son without his consent when there are really no amazing health benefits involved.

    • April says:

      Glaring oversight on my part– the Female Privilege List did not include anything about FGM, and made clear where the female in question purportedly lives, and the US certainly isn’t a place where FGM is alive and well. I suppose I made the connection after seeing many arguments about how they’re similar or not the same or whatever throughout the blogosphere. My apologies!

  3. Melissa says:

    I had a whole long post about that “female privilege checklist,” but it`s unfortunately being held hostage on my currently non-functional computer.

    My basic reaction to the list is that almost every single item of both male and female “privilege” can be chalked up to the patriarchy. That list comes from an MRA site and appears in the context of bashing feminism…which is kinda hilarious, considering feminism is pretty much the only thing that will improve any of those problems for men. Men who want to be able to show emotion and have it be considered socially acceptable should be allying themselves with feminists, not fighting us. The patriarchy and toxic masculinity hurt us all.

    • April says:

      I used that particular checklist because the author, Ballgame, is a frequent commenter here and while we may have some disagreements as far as the whole privilege/feminism thing is concerned, he’s really quite reasonable when discussing them, and I think the privilege checklist in particular is rather neutral as far as criticising feminism is concerned.

      That said, I completely agree with you about the cause of the gender-based problems facing both women and men being patriarchy, and that many of the oppressions that men face are actually rooted in misogyny.

    • Danny says:

      That list comes from an MRA site and appears in the context of bashing feminism…which is kinda hilarious, considering feminism is pretty much the only thing that will improve any of those problems for men.
      While it may be used in that context it does serve one good purpose. It shows the ways that society harms men and privileges women in a way that feminists usually only selectively talk about (that usually being lip service or immediately with assurance that women do have it worse).

      And while feminism may be trying to help men (although it seems to be that said help is only a side effect of helping women) it is most certainly not the only thing working on the things that harm men and sure as hell isn’t as helpful as it pats itself on the back for.

      Men who want to be able to show emotion and have it be considered socially acceptable should be allying themselves with feminists, not fighting us.
      I’m sorry but this sounds like feminist PR and I almost laughed when I read it. Feminism as it stands today (as in being influenced by the people that practice it) just doesn’t seem like it wants to seriously help men despite the words. But when that day comes (I think I’m one of the few people that think that if MRAs and feminists go together on a united front the system would not stand a chance, and believe me the problems are not onesided) I’ll think about working with them.

  4. Melissa says:

    Danny, I think we`re saying kinda the same thing but in different ways. You said that
    “although it seems to be that said help is only a side effect of helping women”
    You`re right that in feminist discourse, the benefits for men are usually seen as “side effects” or “bonuses” rather than the core of the argument. I suppose my argument is…is this really such a bad thing? Dismantling the system that has oppressed women for centuries (that is, the patriarchy) WILL help men…but simply trying to dismantle “female privilege” as is appears in this list will do little to help women. I`m not wording this well. I`m trying to say that dismantling the patriarchy will help both sexes, but working exclusively on men`s concerns will, for the most part, only help men. Does that make sense?

    “I’m sorry but this sounds like feminist PR and I almost laughed when I read it. ”

    Really? Do you have an example of something written by a feminist that would somehow discourage the showing of emotion in men? It has always seemed to me (“anecdata,” admittedly) that the people who are most invested in maintaining “masculinity” are those most invested in the patriarchy and traditional gender roles. It seems feminists are more likely to acknowledge that our society`s conception of “masculinity” is culturally created and learned, not innate or inborn.

    • Danny says:

      You`re right that in feminist discourse, the benefits for men are usually seen as “side effects” or “bonuses” rather than the core of the argument. I suppose my argument is…is this really such a bad thing?
      In and of itself no its not. It obvious that there are many things in the system that harm women and they should be addressed. However when that is combined with telling men they should join feminism, which does put women first, as the way to help men you asking us to join a movement that puts women first and puts our baggage on the back burner to be brought up at women’s convenience. As a man that directly has to deal with the ways the system harms men (such as misandry and the feminist redefining of sexism so that it is only male against female) you are asking me to put my stuff aside and help women first with assurance that helping women first will somewhere along the line help men too. Would you ask any other class of people to do such a thing?

      …but simply trying to dismantle “female privilege” as is appears in this list will do little to help women.
      By that I take you mean that there is more to be done that dismantle female privilege to fix the system then yes I agree. However I do think that dismantling female privilege is a part of solution, just as addressing male privilege will not fix everything but it still needs to be done.

      Really? Do you have an example of something written by a feminist that would somehow discourage the showing of emotion in men?h
      I don’t have a direct link however one place to check out would be Toy Soldiers. Its a blog written by a man that was sexually assaulted by a woman when he was younger and has spoken many times on how he has been dismissed by feminists when trying to speak on the subject of being a child victim of a sex crime.

      It seems feminists are more likely to acknowledge that our society`s conception of “masculinity” is culturally created and learned, not innate or inborn.
      That only seems to go as far as how society’s conception of masculinity interacts with women. Sure feminists can talk about how the current construct of male sexuality teaches men to hold women to fucked up and unfair beauty standards precious few actually go beyond that and talk about how men are drilled with two different messages on who we should be interested in having sex with.

      Im not trying to say that feminists are not doing anything to help men but what I am saying is that is seems they are only willing to help men when its a side effect of helping women. That’s not enough for me. Usually the response I get from feminists is, “Why do we have to do it for you?” The answer is, “I don’t expect you to do it for me but don’t say in one breath that men need to help themselves and in the next say men need to join you if they want to help themselves.”

      I have a bit more to say but its time for me to go to work so it will have to wait til this evening.

    • Melissa says:

      “Would you ask any other class of people to do such a thing?”

      Yes, absolutely. White allies are essential in the anti-racism movement. Straight allies are essential for LGBT rights. Just about every social justice movement encourages members of privileged groups to join in. Feminists are far from unique in that pursuit.

    • Danny says:

      I didn’t ask if you were asking privileged groups to join you. I asked if you would expect any other walk of life to explicitly put aside or downplay the issues that harm them in order to be considered welcome by other groups?

      There are things in this system that harm men that feminists are not addressing. That’s fine because they are mainly focused on women. But don’t ask me to put aside the things that harm men in order to gain feminist approval.

    • Melissa says:

      Well, that was kinda still what I meant. For example, there are a lot of things in the system that hurt poor whites and disabled whites, but they’re still expected to put those things aside in the anti-racism movement. So it’s not really a unique situation with men and feminism.

    • Danny says:

      That’s not quite what I speak of. Asking a white person to put aside their disabilities for the anti-racism movement is one thing but what I’m asking is would you expect white people to put aside the things that harm them as white people for the anti-racism movement. One example being with it comes to sex. As you know there are several race based assumptions about people when it comes to sex. White guys, by virtue of being white are assumed to have small penises. White women, by virtue of being white are assumed to have small unattractive butts. And from what I heard people say in school white people excel at giving oral sex.

      You mean to tell me that the anti-racism movement would expect white people to just let these assumptions go?

      The uniqueness of something has no bearing on how right or fair it is.

    • Melissa says:

      Ah, but your perspective on what “hurts” white people, or men, or other privileged group is still fairly one-sided. There’s this perception of black sexuality as being something “animal,” something primal and exotic–hence the myth (well, partial truth) about penis size and the whole butt thing. While the song “Baby Got Back” does exist, that doesn’t change that the ideal of delicate, feminine beauty (at least, as butts go) is widely considered the flat butt. And the word that people tend to be leaving out when they talk about “delicate feminine beauty” is the unspoken assumption that such femininity is white. Yes, in some cultures and sub-cultures, bigger butts are preferred, but there’s still this general idea that rounder butts are overtly sexual, and it’s…again, back to the same racist jungle imagery. Same with the bigger penises. FIRST of all, I really hope you’re not one of the people who buys the societal narrative that bigger penises are somehow inherently better than smaller ones. Yes, that’s what society says, and yes, there are plenty of women who prefer big penises. That is, however, a personal preference. Not an absolute fact. But anyway…there is certainly no cultural narrative that white men generally fail to please in bed, so the whole story about black men having bigger penises really just contributes more to the idea that black people are dangerous and sexy just like wild animals in the jungle. All those narratives are a lot more harmful to black people than they are to whites.
      But I’m with you on the fact that that needs to go. All discussions of penis/butt size (as well as breast size, stomach size, bicep size, etc.) need to be totally overhauled. There IS no one “right” way to look. There’s only personal preference.
      So no, I don’t think the anti-racism movement would expect white people to “let these assumptions go.” In fact, the anti-racism movement is ACTIVELY WORKING to dispel such myths. (If you don’t believe me, there’ve been posts on both Womanist Musings and Stuff White People Do within the last 24 hours on exactly this subject) So…yeah. In short, those things hurt black people a lot more than they hurt white people, and yes, I think it’s totally acceptable to expect white people to make an effort to understand that.

    • Danny says:

      Ah, but your perspective on what “hurts” white people, or men, or other privileged group is still fairly one-sided.
      How so? I said it was one example not the conclusive end all be all of the intersection of race and sex.

      FIRST of all, I really hope you’re not one of the people who buys the societal narrative that bigger penises are somehow inherently better than smaller ones.
      What you make you think I am? But just save the guess work, no I’m not and I’ve more than enough of that assumption.

      In short, those things hurt black people a lot more than they hurt white people, and yes, I think it’s totally acceptable to expect white people to make an effort to understand that.
      I didn’t ask about who was harmed more or who should take the time to understand who I asked is it fair to expect whites to just stay silent on the things that harm them for the sake of others. But from the sound of things you agree that such an expectation is unfair.

      Now bearing in mind what you said and to relate back to the original question do you think it is fair to expect men to simply put aside the things that harm men when working withing feminism?

      But anyway…there is certainly no cultural narrative that white men generally fail to please in bed…
      You sure about that? The reason I ask is because insulting the size and performance white guys in bed is damn near a nation pastime. Not as prevalent as what is said about black men but its out there.

    • April says:

      It seems feminists are more likely to acknowledge that our society`s conception of “masculinity” is culturally created and learned, not innate or inborn.

      I think this is right on. When I see people (usually men) discussing the gender-realted problems they face, the complaint is almost always accompanied by a criticism of feminism. I think that usually, it can be boiled down to a failure to acknowledge how male privilege factors into the argument at hand, and a failure to blame the correct oppressor: patriarchy. I think that it would do a lot of men criticalof feminism a lot of good to take a deep breath and remember that feminists aren’t fighting or ignoring men, but rather the patriarchy. A man doesn’t have to call himself a feminist in order to dismantly the patriarchy, but it would probably be an accurate title, as I’m unaware of any other group that openly fights against the patriarchy that doesn’t align themselves with feminism ideals.

    • Danny says:

      …as I’m unaware of any other group that openly fights against the patriarchy that doesn’t align themselves with feminism ideals.
      MRAs do but they just call it “the system”. When people call the system patriarchy it sounds like they are trying to say that the system is built around being male when that is not the entire story. Being male is not the key to the kingdom as many, many men can attest to. Sure it seems like you’re fighting the good fight against the few elite Joes at the top but when you genderize it I think some sight is lost about what is wrong and what needs to be fixed. Case in point the way some feminists insists there is no such thing as misandry or sexism against men.

    • April says:

      Case in point the way some feminists insists there is no such thing as misandry or sexism against men.

      I so wish this argument would just stop. Of fucking course there’s sexism against men, and I’m tired of people actually perpetuating the ridiculous idea that this isn’t true.

      We could potentially never have to deal with this stupid debate ever again if we just called things what they were: sexism, and institutionalized sexism. Men are not, as a group, institutionally oppressed. Men can, as a group or as an individual, be treated less fairly than a woman because of his gender.

      I don’t need to change the word to “prejudice” when “sexism” will do justfuckingfine, thanks. That’s why the term “institutionalized sexism” exists– a term that is used interchangeably with sexism among the anti-oppression circles all the time. Let’s just keep it simple and stick to the dictionary. The reference exists for a reason!

      ANYWAY. Short answer: I agree with you.

      Being male is not the key to the kingdom as many, many men can attest to.

      You’re saying this as though you believe that feminists, in general, believe that all men are wealthy CEOs with beautiful wives and kids. Being a part of a privileged class doesn’t equate to awesome successful life for everyone. When discussing privileges such as male privilege, it’s important to remember that the people on board with the idea of patriarchy are thinking more along the lines of “boy + girl from similar economic and ethnic background,” and not “rich white girl vs. poor black boy,” for example. Men have more privilege than his female peers.

    • Danny says:

      Men are not, as a group, institutionally oppressed.
      And that is exactly what I’m talking about. While not in the same ways as women are men as a class are most certainly oppressed. Look at gender in the military. The script for being a woman says a woman is too precious and delicate to go the frontlines while the script for being a man says that a “real man” is always willing to go to the frontlines. Both are institutional. Both are sexist against both genders. Women are told they are not good enough for it and men have it held over our heads as a measurement of our masculinity.

      You’re saying this as though you believe that feminists, in general, believe that all men are wealthy CEOs with beautiful wives and kids.
      When I’m told that being part of the privileged class and therefore what I say is tainted and invalid then yes I do get the feeling that is what they think.

    • Melissa says:

      “While not in the same ways as women are men as a class are most certainly oppressed. Look at gender in the military. The script for being a woman says a woman is too precious and delicate to go the frontlines while the script for being a man says that a “real man” is always willing to go to the frontlines.”

      Yes. And you know who’s busy fighting hard for women to get the right to serve on the front lines, and for women to be drafted? Feminists.

    • April says:

      I wish there was a “like” button.

      Additionally, it’s important to consider that women weren’t allowed on the front lines and not drafted not necessarily (or only) because they are thought to be too precious or delicate, but because they’re not thought to be as capable as men are at fighting, war tactics, weaponry, strategy, or physical labor, among other things.

    • April says:

      Women are told they are not good enough for it and men have it held over our heads as a measurement of our masculinity.

      Oops, didn’t see that you’d mentioned that when I made the above reply. I get a Reading Fail award for my involvement in this post’s comment thread.

    • Danny says:

      For the draft? They might be out there but I’ve never seen a feminist arguing that women should be subject to Selective Service like men are.

      But even so feminism is not the only game in town doing such things.

    • Melissa says:

      Really? I wish I had a link for you, but I’ve heard feminists talk about how women should be subject to selective service. A number of times. It does happen, I promise.

    • Danny says:

      Perhaps they are out there but I’ve never yet to see one. I’ve seen some say that no one should be subject to it which is fine but one that said women should be subject to it? Never.

      But what can I expect from a movement meant to help a gender that is not required to sign up for Selective Service under penalty of fine, prison, and automatic rejection from (at least state funded) colleges and (some I know of) state jobs?

  5. Jim says:

    “to take a deep breath and remember that feminists aren’t fighting or ignoring men, but rather the patriarchy. ”

    Then it would be hugely helpful to choose a less obviously and insultingly gendered term, wouldn’t it? How would you as a women feel to hear all then ills of her society blamed on matriarchy? How would she feel that reflected on motherhood for instance? How would you as a women feel to hear estrogen blamed for all the neurosis and craziness you might ever be accused of? This is reallyn one area where feminists have shot themselves in the foot with men.

    “FGM is performed in a way that deliberately eliminates the most common and proven way for a a woman to have an orgasm, by cutting off the clitoris. Male circumcision does not alter the man’s sexual function.”

    Actually this is a comnmon misperception. FGM removes the tip of the clitoris and not the whole organ, most of which is internal and abouyt the same soze as the erectile tisue in the penis. That’s not generally known about the clitoris. Also, it is commonly assumed that MGM does not diminish or change male sexiual response, usually by peoole who either have no basis of comparison at all because they are female and either have a limited range of experience or else just assumed the guy was enjoying himself adequately (whatever the that could mean), or becuase as males they have never experienced both states, or who report a big imporvement in function because the circumcison was done to remedy some structural defect. I can tell you, as someone who has been with lots of both cut and uncut guys, that it does make a significant difference. Uncut is definitely better, just as I assume it is for women. Besides that, there are always medical risks, every time the procedure is done. Both practices are abhorrent, but it serves little purpose to compare them agiainst each other.

    • April says:

      Then it would be hugely helpful to choose a less obviously and insultingly gendered term, wouldn’t it?

      The problem is, the word is 100% accurate. The patriarchy, which “…refers to a system of government by males, and to the dominance of men in social or cultural systems” is actually real, and present in my society. If that’s not something we agree on (most men I know do agree, regardless of whether or not they consider themselves to be feminist or pro-feminist), then we may as well stop this particular thread of discussion.

      How would you as a women feel to hear all then ills of her society blamed on matriarchy?

      Assuming that the Matriarchy were, indeed, the cause of all of the ills of my society, I’d feel pretty defensive at first, like I was being attacked, and I’d try to find a way to prove that I was not guilty of any crime simply because of my gender. I’d probably look for ways that men were contributing to the ills of society and consistently point them out. Then, hopefully, after a while, I’d wake up and realize that just because the Matriarchy is oppressive, and I am a woman, doesn’t mean that admitting that this is true makes me an oppressor who is incapable of looking beyond my own privilege. Then I’d deal with it, and I’d probably read about it and be active about it in whatever ways I am comfortable doing so.

    • Jim says:

      “The problem is, the word is 100% accurate. The patriarchy, which “…refers to a system of government by males, and to the dominance of men in social or cultural systems” …”

      Ah, I see the problem. You are taking Greco-Roman civilization to be ancestral to the Anglosphere. Here is the problem with that – it is true to some ways but false in many, many others, basically anything to do with anythiing other than high culture. And by the way, I do not impute any racist or imperialist intent to you, even though this identification with Rome and Greece was used as justification for Europeans’ imperialism. I’m mentioning this only to show that claiming kin with Greece or the Roman Empire is problematic.

      Anglospheric culture derives mainly form Celtic and Germanic culture, with an uneasy adstratum of Latinate culture.

      I absolutely do not dispute that men run the world. But even this mastery by men should be called “andrarchy” rather than “patriarchy”. Words matter, and even centuries of illiterate use don’t matter when we are dealing witha term of art rather than a standard lexical item in a language subject tonormal semantic drift.

      I do dispute that this mastery by a few men confers some kind of advantage to all men over all women. Feminists often do seem to assert this, and this is one point where feminism’s appropriation of Marxist concepts such as class really is inaccurate. The term “kyrairchy” fits better here, since it pertains to both kyrioi and kyrie, lords and ladies.

      Besides, in our day and age when a father can be dismissed form his children’s lives basically on an whim, ewith the full force of the legal system – and I can show you how to do this in five easy steps – “patriarchy” is almost a laughable term to apply to this society.

      As for blaming matriarchy – we do have matraiarchal subcultures, such as urban black culture, but I am not going to blame balck mothers for white society’s destruction and the resulting absence of black men. However in the case of the Roamn Catholic Church, as misogynist as it undeniably, grossly is, I will. That culture is matriarchal, and it’s misogyny doesn’t change that, and I don’t just mean the outright adoration of the Virgin Mary, which in many believers’ devotion trumps even worship of Jesus. I mean the complete suppression of masculinity in a religion that places celibate men at the top of the moral hierarchy – I don’t care how much you call a celibate man father, that’s not a patriarchy.

      Men do run this society and all the others I can think of. And that burdens very heavily the majority of men. Let’s just get our terms straight.

    • April says:

      Your comment is full of all kinds of things about words and cultures I’m not entirely familiar with, so I’m going to go read up on some of these things before I reply to this. I really appreciate accurate terminology and am a bit obsessive about it at times, so this is very intriguing. Thanks for the info.

    • April says:

      How would you as a women feel to hear estrogen blamed for all the neurosis and craziness you might ever be accused of?

      Well, Danny already pointed it out, but it already happens. The thing is, though, I totally fucking admit it. I am an emotional wreck when PMS Week happens. I would scream defiantly about how this is REALLY SERIOUS AND DRAMATIC and YOU NEVER LISTEN TO ME!!2!1!!!! till I was blue in the face, and then one day I caught the Retrospect Bug and managed to objectively see my behavior during that time of the month compared to any other time, and I realized that it was true.

      And ever since I finally admitted it to myself, I’ve been making a really conscious (and really, really difficult) effort to remember this when I’m on the verge of a breakdown for what seems like the 5th time in two days, and remind myself that it’s probably not that big of a deal. It’s fucking hard, but because it’s true that my hormones really do alter my mind and my behavior and that’s a scientific fact, I use that awareness to ensure that I do not negatively affect others as a result of my hormonal balance.

    • Melissa says:

      Whoa there…it’s one thing to read about the anatomy of the clitoris in a book, it’s quite another thing to have one. Just because the clitoris technically extends much farther into the body does not mean that all (or even most) women will be able to achieve orgasm without that tiny outer tip of it. Most women simply can’t orgasm from penetration alone. That’s a physical reality.

    • Jim says:

      Yes. And it’s a third thing to have brought women to orgasm through anal penetration, which can only reach the lower and innermost part of the clitoris. Believe me, that tip thing does not apply to all women, anymore than the doisposablilty of the foreskin applies to all men. The whole point is thought that the comaprison is odious.

      No one should be cutting on anyone unless there is some kind of medical purpose. I have never even heard of anyone claiming nay medical value for FGM, and all the so-called medical reasons for MGM I have heard are specious.

    • Melissa says:

      “that tip thing does not apply to all women”

      I never said it did. I said it applies to many women, possibly to most women. It’s not “all,” granted, but it’s still a whole lot.

      “No one should be cutting on anyone unless there is some kind of medical purpose.”

      Oh I totally agree, don’t get me wrong. My only point was that comparing FGM and MGM as if they have the same effects isn’t really accurate. Almost all (if not all) men who’ve been circumcised can still experience sexual pleasure. A huge number of women who’ve had it done can’t.

  6. Danny says:

    Okay back to what I was saying earlier:

    Melissa:

    Men who want to be able to show emotion and have it be considered socially acceptable should be allying themselves with feminists, not fighting us.

    Feminism is a movement that is by women for women. In my own life when I did things that went against the script of masculinity I have had a much bigger problem with women than men. While you can argue it should not be necessary if a guy tries to pick on something about me that does not follow the script I can simply stand my ground and they back off. Women on the other hand don’t back off so easily when I speak up to them about questioning me and my ways. So when I hear feminists try to say that they are the ones that are understanding I almost laugh.

    And there is also the fact that being allowed to show emotions other than rage and lust are only a small part of what harms men. Frankly I don’t think feminism is not addressing it like its members think it is. Fine well and good I’ll bring those things up myself.

    Jim:

    How would you as a women feel to hear estrogen blamed for all the neurosis and craziness you might ever be accused of? This is reallyn one area where feminists have shot themselves in the foot with men.

    Sad thing is, from at least what I can see, women do experience such things. I’ve seen plenty of feminists justifiably get angry when men accuse them of go crazy and becoming unstable during “that time of the month”.

  7. Melissa says:

    “I have had a much bigger problem with women than men”

    Sure. But don’t confuse “women” with “feminists.”

    Let me rephrase: Male or female feminists are much more likely to see through the cultural script of what’s acceptable gender behavior than men or women still deeply under the influence of the patriarchy.

  8. Danny says:

    I am very much enjoying this discussion.

    Melissa I have a question.

    Is there something wrong with the fact that while I agree with things that feminists do there are too many things that I don’t agree with that I choose to simply agree with them on certain points and refuse the title feminists?

    The reason I ask because sometimes I really do feel that as a nonfeminist feminists are pretty much saying, “Well since we agree you might as well join us and just ignore all the bad stuff that comes from us.” As if there is the condition that if I don’t identify as a feminist then I must be the enemy and therefore be destroyed.

    • Melissa says:

      No, there’s nothing wrong with it. Carry on. 🙂

      Although…I can’t help but add…I suspect you don’t disagree with us on quite as many points as you think. I could be wrong. But that’s my theory.

    • Danny says:

      Yeah there aren’t that many points of disagreement however they are major disagreements. Namely the idea that sexism can only be male against female and the sweeping of things that harm men under the rug. All this while I’m being told that feminism is supposedly the only thing in town working for gender equality.

  9. elementary_watson says:

    Question: Who is privileged? The individual, or the group? I always thought that theaory was talking about privileged *groups*, not individuals, and this was always told individuals who stated that they don’t get all those privileges on the list. Looking at the lists, however, they have an individual’s perspective (“I am …” instead of “My group is …”).

    The next thing is, if we are talking about groups (since talking about 3 billion individuals’ individual experiences may be too much of an Herculean task), how do we define those groups? What does “privilege” say about a “group” if it contains sub-groups with wildly differing degrees of privilege which are all rolled into one?

    • Desipis says:

      I’m curious as to what obligations or responsibility we can place on individuals for the privilege status of a certain group. Is it ok to cause harm to all members of a privileged group to help the unprivileged group? Is it ok to harm arbitrary individuals in the privileged group to benefit individuals in the unprivileged group? Is it ok to harm arbitrary individuals in the privileged group to indirectly benefit members of the unprivileged group?

      The diversity within the group is often glossed over on the basis that privilege is about the trend or statistics, but when it comes to taking action to “correct” those trends its not possible to gloss over the affect on the many individuals who don’t fit the trend or match the statistics.

    • April says:

      No one is advocating harming privileged groups. Where did you get this idea? If anything, oppressed groups are fighting for stopping the harm to oppressed groups.

      I know that it can happen, though. I know that women may abuse men and feel that it’s justified in some way. I know that some neighborhoods are dangerous for white people, etc. But I don’t participate in any of that or think that it is justified in any way.

    • Desipis says:

      I was thinking more along the lines of something like affirmative action where an individual from the “privileged” group is harmed by preventing them access to an opportunity in order to achieve equality at the group level.

      Or where an individual is not given help they need because they don’t fit in some predetermined “oppressed” group that needs help.

    • April says:

      Who is privileged? The individual, or the group?

      The way I see it is this: You don’t have to have a ton of tangible privileges to benefit from the privileges of your general “group.”

  10. in vita vinco says:

    >> “2. I have a much lower chance of being driven to successfully commit suicide than a man.”

    Wow, this is *carefully* worded in order to create “female privilege” where none exists–women have a signficiantly higher rate of attempting suicide (3 to 1); men “succeed” (I use that word with trepidation) more due to the different methods that men and women generally select.

    It is nobody’s goal to “attempt” suicide; women who attempt suicide but survive the attempt are driven to suicide just as surely as men (and women) who attempt suicide and die.

    • April says:

      It is nobody’s goal to “attempt” suicide; women who attempt suicide but survive the attempt are driven to suicide just as surely as men (and women) who attempt suicide and die.

      That’s a really important consideration.

    • Desipis says:

      …women have a signficiantly higher rate of attempting suicide (3 to 1); men “succeed” (I use that word with trepidation) more due to the different methods that men and women generally select.

      So men suffer more because of the way they are socialised to use violence against themselves, I don’t see how it’s not a female privilege. That said, being less likely to be in a suicidal mental state should be stated as being a related male privilege to give a balance perspective.

    • April says:

      I wonder if suicidal women might use more immediately effective methods (like a gun, for example) if they weren’t considered unladylike (for lack of a better term) or were more often taught to use weapons effectively, as many men are, or are expected to? They may also have far less confidence in their ability to use a more immediately effective weapon, which may convince them otherwise. Just to put a new spin on it.

    • Danny says:

      Balance. One thing that is missing from many of the items on both of those lists.

      Male Privilege
      9. If I choose not to have children, my masculinity will not be called into question.
      Given how men are expected to “continue the family” by having children I call bullshit on this. Now it would be one thing if it said the expectation wasn’t as strong on men as it is on women but the expectation is there. Hell look at the monarchies of the past. If a king did not have an heir he was considered weak would be vulnerable to challenges to his power.

      And then there are items on those lists that have a counterpart that is ignored for the sake of calling that group privileged.

    • April says:

      And then there are items on those lists that have a counterpart that is ignored for the sake of calling that group privileged.

      Yes. This is definitely true.

      Given how men are expected to “continue the family” by having children I call bullshit on this. Now it would be one thing if it said the expectation wasn’t as strong on men as it is on women but the expectation is there.

      Which is why the expectation is on the Male Privilege checklist. It’s not an institutionalized concern for men unless the man is in a relationship where she questions the tradition. Then it’s discussed to the ends of the earth and back because she might be too feminist, or might be taking something away from “her man,” or might be too demanding. Only if she questions her right to identifiable parentage is the issue of paternity even seriously addressed. Suddenly, the men want to fight for their rights to… monopolize a name?

      In other words, a man doesn’t have to worry about any of this unless the woman that he impregnated is a woman who isn’t 100% sold on the idea of rewarding their kids with his last name for no discernible reason.

    • Danny says:

      In other words, a man doesn’t have to worry about any of this unless the woman that he impregnated is a woman who isn’t 100% sold on the idea of rewarding their kids with his last name for no discernible reason.

      Really? So single men with no intention of having children don’t have to put with the expectation of having kids? All those times I’ve had people ask me when I’m gonna have kids (and asking about my sex life in general but that’s another story) was only a problem because I supposedly want to make sure the woman who would bear them is in line with the idea that they are mine and not hers?

      I really hope I’m misunderstanding you because if not then this is a an example of trying to take an expectation/hurt of men and examine, poke, prod, analyze, and look over it until a way can be found to link to women so all of a sudden its not something against men but is actually against women and the against men part is a side effect.

  11. Anon. says:

    I don’t usually respond – but I agree with the commenter above: “3 – I have a lower chance of being a victim of a violent assault than a man” on the Female Privilege Checklist seems to neglect rape as a form of violet assault. Also, even if men are more likely to be the victims of reported violent assault, AT LEAST 1 in 5 women TOTAL will be raped(depending on which statistics you use, and from which part of the world). To suggest that women are, as a group, somehow more privileged in this category is to deliberately misread the former statistic to create, as someone else have mentioned above, female ‘privilege’ where ABSOLUTELY none exists.

    For what it’s worth, I followed your post on Feministe’s Sunday Self-Promotion to find this page — so I would refer you back to Sady’s recent post on why it IS still VERY scary to be a woman, and urge you to revise your Checklist: http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2009/12/31/start-your-decade-off-right-by-rebranding-feminism/

    • Danny says:

      But Anon even with sexual assault added in to violent crimes if I’m not mistaken men are still more likely to be the victim of a violent crime. It might not be that way since people aren’t throwing around some scary “1 in _” quote.

      And as for being selective. From the male privilege list.

      7. If I’m a teen or adult, and if I can stay out of prison, my odds of being raped are relatively low. (More).

      Seriously? Remove the vast majority of male rape victims and then declare that women are more likely to be raped?

      Yeah both of those lists have some truths, some nonsense, and some outright lies and bullshit. But they do serve the purpose of sparking some interesting conversation.

    • Melissa says:

      Men are exactly as likely to be raped in prison as women are to be raped…in life. I didn’t realize that until a couple days ago…because you hear SO much freaking about about how prison is so scary because of the threat of rape (and I’m not arguing that, of course)…so I looked up the actual statistics of how many men get raped in prison, and the studies range from about 16%-23%. Which is exactly the same as the statistics for the rape of women. Which basically means that…men’s worst fear (or at least one of them) is having to live with the same fear that women do every single day.
      Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to say being a woman=being in prison. But take away all the other things (shame, lack of freedom and autonomy, bad food, etc.), and think about the way you would fear getting raped in prison…that’s how women feel every single day.

  12. arrogantworm says:

    ” was thinking more along the lines of something like affirmative action where an individual from the “privileged” group is harmed by preventing them access to an opportunity in order to achieve equality at the group level.

    Or where an individual is not given help they need because they don’t fit in some predetermined “oppressed” group that needs help.”

    Desipis,

    To the best of my knowledge the oppressed/oppressor and affirmative action don’t harm the privileged group as a group. The privileged group is often coming out ahead statistically, wildly so, even with such affirmative action.

    If things were equal, people would be, say, hiring people with disabilities in equal numbers to able-bodied/minded people. But they’re not. If there’s any question, it should be “How many people in the privileged groups have been given something someone else should’ve received instead, all other things being equal”.

    Here’s an example – I’ve a visual disability. Blind and visual services (which I use) currently offers a stipend to – pay back – quite a nice portion of the funds an employer would be paying me in wages. Someone who wouldn’t qualify for BVS would not be able to get that incentive to be hired. Ergo, you don’t receive that particular affirmative action, while it is possible I may make use of it, – provided someone agrees to hire me -.

    While someone hiring me might be ‘taking away’ (tell me, please – how could I take something away that wasn’t specifically given to you? Unless you feel you deserved it at the expense of someone else, in which case – privilege.) a job from a better-sighted person, the work output is still what should be judged on the job – we should both be equal (assuming, of course, accessibility issues are met) give or take a smidge.

    And no, for the question I – know – is in most able people’s passing consciousness – the better-sighted person is probably (and not necessarily) better than me specific tasks, just as I’m much, much better than them at specific tasks (and this hypothetical outcome isn’t based solely on vision by any means, let’s remember that) – but my ‘better’ is somehow null and void when it comes up in the job market. So for those people who might be reading that want to jump in and point out that someone else is undoubtably better for the job, which is why they were hired, which again, happens whenever someone brings up disability and work – bullshit – quite typing while (general, not particular) you are ahead of the game, save some face.

    Anyway, the affirmative action ‘benefits’ you speak of that I gave an example to are, roughly, legally waving a bit of a bribe in front of an employers’ face to hire me in lieu of another for work both potential employees may provide. There’s a difference between equal playing field and what I consider a bribe. Me being able to offer that bribe when the likelihood of getting hired for a job (I haven’t been, yet) is still much loswer than yours isn’t yanking a damn thing out of – your – mouth.

    • Desipis says:

      arrogantworm,

      To the best of my knowledge the oppressed/oppressor and affirmative action don’t harm the privileged group as a group.

      They do harm the individuals of the privileged group that fall at the margins where the change is implemented. Unfortunately those at the margins are typically not the members of the group who are practically privileged.

      The privileged group is often coming out ahead statistically, wildly so, even with such affirmative action.

      I’m generally a supporter of equal opportunity for individual members of each group, not a supporter of equal outcomes for the groups as a whole. Statistics point to the possibility of discrimination but can also be caused by other practical differences between groups.

      “How many people in the privileged groups have been given something someone else should’ve received instead, all other things being equal”

      That’s a very valid question to ask. It’s also something I support attempts to minimise because it’s unfair to the individuals involved. Affirmative action does nothing to reduce this type of unfairness though. It simply creates more unfairness to individuals, just in the opposite direction, in an attempt to create an illusion of fairness through statistics. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

      …point out that someone else is undoubtably better for the job, which is why they were hired, which again, happens whenever someone brings up disability and work – bullshit…

      Is there any research that suggests that employment issues for the disabled are primarily driven by discriminatory attitudes rather than practical business considerations?

      I generally consider ablism to be significantly different to sexism or racism. A disability has a direct and practical implication on someones life, so as an assessment can be made of individuals I don’t have a problem giving extra support to those individuals. Framing that assistance in order to assist disabled people participating in the economy is an idea that makes sense to me, although I’m not sure the market mechanism is the best way to do so.

      I do think there’s a number of different ideas of exactly what “fair” means that causes fundamental disagreement is areas such as these. Does fair mean everyone has the same quality of life? Does fair mean everyone has a quality of life relative to the effort they spend contributing to society? Or does fair mean everyone has a quality of life relative to the practical amount they contribute to society?

  13. Melissa says:

    “But from the sound of things you agree that such an expectation is unfair.”

    Quite the opposite, actually. I’m not really sure how you got that from what I said.
    I talked about racism against blacks. I talked about white privilege. I talked about white people putting aside whatever their small complaints may be in order to better support the REAL fight, which is for people of color. So I’m not entirely sure how you could have gotten the idea that I thought it was unfair to ask white people not to talk about their problems in a discussion of racism. White people are the privileged group. Whatever problems they (we) face due to our race is a teeny tiny side effect of racism against POC. So yes, we should absolutely be quiet about it. Sorry if I was somehow misleading on that point.

    “Now bearing in mind what you said and to relate back to the original question do you think it is fair to expect men to simply put aside the things that harm men when working withing feminism?”

    Yes and no. I fully understand the value of talking about the ways the patriarchy hurts men too. It’s a great way to win over allies, because it shows men why they should care. But “things that harm men” in this system fall into one of two categories
    1. Side effects of the patriarchy which will be monumentally helped by feminism (and permanently cured, in an ideal world where feminism achieves all of its goals)
    2. Slight losses of privilege that some guys get very upset about. They cry “reverse discrimination” when what they’re really talking about (though they’re usually too steeped in their own privilege to see it) is the idea that they should maintain all the unearned privilege they’re used to, at the expense of women.

    You strike me as someone whose complaints are in the first category. I’m not saying that there’s no place for men’s concerns…it’s something you should be able to express your feelings about (because expecting men to bottle up their feelings is absolutely an oppressive patriarchal construction), and it’s a great tool for winning over more male allies. But that doesn’t mean that men’s concerns should be the center of feminism. That’s like trying to treat a symptom while the disease rages on. Every single thing that legitimately hurts men in this system will be solved by dismantling the patriarchy. I’m not saying that you can never ever talk about your concerns, I’m just saying…don’t adopt MRA rhetoric to do it. They have a whole different agenda that falls squarely in category #2. By co-opting their language you’re supporting the patriarchy and ultimately hurting yourself.

    • Danny says:

      So yes, we should absolutely be quiet about it. Sorry if I was somehow misleading on that point.
      Sorry for the misunderstanding but I don’t think you should. If some guys start bothering you about how you need to eat to put some more meat on your bones and look like a black woman I don’t expect you to point out the sexual harassment while keeping quiet about the racist expectation they were trying to hold you to. Perhaps its because I as a man have been taught to hold in pain but I really really don’t like the idea of expecting anyone regardless of what walk of life they come from to hold in their pain because its not PC for people of said class to speak up. That’s how the system is the fine mess it is now. People are in pain and are either forced to stay quiet (mostly women) or have been trained to stay quiet as a display of their character (mostly men).

      Yes and no. I fully understand the value of talking about the ways the patriarchy hurts men too. It’s a great way to win over allies, because it shows men why they should care. But “things that harm men” in this system fall into one of two categories
      1. Side effects of the patriarchy which will be monumentally helped by feminism (and permanently cured, in an ideal world where feminism achieves all of its goals)
      2. Slight losses of privilege that some guys get very upset about. They cry “reverse discrimination” when what they’re really talking about (though they’re usually too steeped in their own privilege to see it) is the idea that they should maintain all the unearned privilege they’re used to, at the expense of women.

      I have to disagree with you on this. You make it sound like those few men at the top have set out with the express purpose of hurting women and any men that are hurt in the process are acceptable collateral damage. I on the other hand think that those few elite men have gotten in to power and are willing to mow down anyone that stands in their way regardless of class. But I can see how the former sounds interesting to feminists since it allows the movement to benefit from the presence of men but keep them at arms length by reminding them that they share gender (and therefore automatically suspect if not outright automatically guilty) with those few at the top.

      And I have to say I find it almost sad that you think that the ways the system hurts men are either just side effects of hurting women or are cries of “reverse discrimination” (no such thing its just plain discrimination).

      But that doesn’t mean that men’s concerns should be the center of feminism.
      I never said it should be. But what I am saying is that if feminists think that men should embrace a movement that explicitly puts women first as the way to cure what ails men its a bit unfair. I’ll say it plain and simple. Feminism has not shown me enough to make me want to join its ranks as a way to help men. Its done marvels at helping women and I hope it continues in those ways but I don’t see myself joining a movement that treats the way other classes are harmed as side effects and thus acts as if the cures for those harms should be side effects.

      <Every single thing that legitimately hurts men in this system will be solved by dismantling the patriarchy.
      So I’m supposed to just trust that and keep my mouth shut?

      By co-opting their language you’re supporting the patriarchy and ultimately hurting yourself.
      And exactly what MRA language am I using? Talking about the things that harm men in a feminist approved manner? And speaking of them say what you will but they are bringing things up that harm men that feminists either don’t want to talk about don’t understand because as a movement for women by women they don’t know the male experience (even though they feel qualified to speak on it).

    • April says:

      If I may add my input to this particular conversation:

      Every single thing that legitimately hurts men in this system will be solved by dismantling the patriarchy.
      So I’m supposed to just trust that and keep my mouth shut?

      Why wouldn’t you trust that? If you won’t, I could only surmise two reasons: one, you don’t believe that patriarchy (or “the system,” or whatever word you want to attach to that idea) is the problem, or two, you do believe that’s the problem, but you’re just not willing to admit it because you have a distaste for groups of women who identify as feminists (who do, in fact, happen to be the ones attempting to dismantle said system).

    • Danny says:

      Wrong on both counts. The system is the problem and I don’t have a distaste for the men and women that call themselves feminists (I have a distaste for some of them but simply calling themselves feminist is not the source of the distaste). Its a simple matter of I want to have my own voice in fixing the wrongs of the system. Why is it so hard to believe that someone may not have full faith in feminism as the one true way to equality? Question, if I were a woman would we even be having this conversation about why I don’t identify as feminist? I ask because I am almost about to think your only grounds for questioning my not taking up the label is because I’m male.

      (who do, in fact, happen to be the ones attempting to dismantle said system)
      You keep referring to feminists as if they are “the ones” trying to make the world a better place. They are among those trying to do so but they are not the only ones and they are not the official bringers of equality either. Frankly given how there are so many things that harm the many walks of life a single all encompassing movement is still a long ways off.

    • April says:

      Why is it so hard to believe that someone may not have full faith in feminism as the one true way to equality?

      What is it about feminist theory that is different than any other method of bringing about social justice? It sounds like you’re thinking “feminism = women are more important than men” instead of “feminism = the fight for gender equality, whose name comes from founding women who fought the oppression they suffered at the hands of a patriarchal system.”

      Feminists are fighting the system that oppresses them. The oppressions that men face in this system are because of the expectations placed on them which occur as a result of the oppression of women. That is why Melissa saying “Every single thing that legitimately hurts men in this system will be solved by dismantling the patriarchy” is completely valid. The things that hurt men happen because of the things that hurt women, that are perpetuated by elite and powerful groups of primarily men. No, you may not identify with the elite and powerful man, but the hurtful ways in which gender-based prejudice affects you are because of the system which thrives off of the institutionalized oppression of women. You and the elite, powerful man have nothing to do with each other. The cause of the negative stereotypes or issues you are faced with simply because you are a man still only came into existence because society oppresses women. Therefore, society stops oppressing women, and the problems men face as a result of oppressing women stop happening, as their cause is no longer in existence.

    • Danny says:

      The oppressions that men face in this system are because of the expectations placed on them which occur as a result of the oppression of women.
      This is where I got the comment earlier that I made about some feminists that think that those in power do what they for the express purpose of keeping women down and that damage that is done to men is just acceptable collateral damage. I don’t agree with this conclusion. From what I see those in power are willing to do and doing anything and everything they can in order to maintain their own power and oppressing women is a part of maintaining the power. Oppressing women, men, or any other group in and of itself is a part of the master plan, not the master plan itself.

      And when you come from the approach you have you really sound like you have already decided that women are the real targets of everything harmful and then from there try to find things to prove it.

      The cause of the negative stereotypes or issues you are faced with simply because you are a man still only came into existence because society oppresses women. Therefore, society stops oppressing women, and the problems men face as a result of oppressing women stop happening, as their cause is no longer in existence.
      Really? So when people say that because of my size I haven’t seen my penis in years the real target of that aren’t fat men but women? When women have several options when they are abused but men have none those men aren’t the target but women are? When I’m presumed to be a football player because of my size and gender the real target is women?

      As we have seen in the last several decades women have become a much larger presence in the workplace but the same cannot be said about men becoming child care takers. Simply saying that getting women into the workplace will not automatically translate into society accepting men as child caretakers. I agree that the acceptability of women in the workplace is a major issue and needs to be addressed but it is not the only problem that needs to be addressed.

      When it comes to sex people are much more accepting of women having active premarital sex lives that they were several decades ago, its not perfect but progress has been made. Yes that is a great thing but by what you say addressing the virgin shaming of men should be corrected as well. Its not.

      From the sounds of things you and other feminists like you have concluded amongst yourselves the the oppression of women is the root of all gender inequality and fixing that will fix everything in gender relations. From there you have labeled yourselves the official bringers of equality and anyone that doesn’t join you either needs to be converted or destroyed. In my interactions with feminists it seems I’m the former in which since I agree with some of their positions I must really be a feminist and not know it. Does taking on the label feminist suddenly add some validity to what one says and does that wasn’t there before?

    • April says:

      those in power do what they for the express purpose of keeping women down and that damage that is done to men is just acceptable collateral damage

      You’re saying this as though “keeping women down” is actually a tangible secret plan in a mountain hideout somewhere. It’s not like that. It’s not tangible; that’s why it’s often called “invisible.” And people don’t want to get rid of what is comfortable and familiar to them, to over-simplify it. The problems that men face are not “collateral damage.” They’re victims of the system, just as women are. The system that values traditionally-identified masculinity.

      So when people say that because of my size I haven’t seen my penis in years the real target of that aren’t fat men but women?

      No. This is not an example of sexism against men- this is an example of sizeism. Fat women hear the same shit, substitute vagina for penis. Guys say that have to move the fat to get to the pussy, (I listened to a guy tell this story) etc. It’s not targeted only at men. The genitals in those types of comments are a reference to sexual function, not gender.

      people are much more accepting of women having active premarital sex lives that they were several decades ago, its not perfect but progress has been made. Yes that is a great thing but by what you say addressing the virgin shaming of men should be corrected as well. Its not.

      Here’s the thing about what you just said… At first I read the part about how slut-shaming is better now that it used to be, and shook my head in disbelief at how amazing incorrect that was. Then I read the following paragraph and thought that you were also wrong, because virgin-shaming hardly exists in my world of puritan guy friends around here. I’ve often had more past sexual experience/partners than people I’ve dated, and never gave it a second thought. Neither did many (not all, but many) of my girlfriends. I thought that had gotten a lot better.

      I think we’re just a little blind to the progress in our own communities in this area.

    • Danny says:

      The problems that men face are not “collateral damage.” They’re victims of the system, just as women are. The system that values traditionally-identified masculinity.

      Even though you earlier said:
      The oppressions that men face in this system are because of the expectations placed on them which occur as a result of the oppression of women.

      You’re saying that the oppression against men comes only happens as a result of the oppression of women. Are you not saying the the reason men are harmed at all is because the system set out to hurt women first and foremost and some of that damage just spilled over onto men?

      Guys say that have to move the fat to get to the pussy, (I listened to a guy tell this story) etc. It’s not targeted only at men. The genitals in those types of comments are a reference to sexual function, not gender.
      Let me get this straight. You’re saying that when insulting one’s sexuality its not gendered? Talking about having to move the fat out of the way to get to a woman’s pussy in an insulting manner is not a gendered insult against her?

      At first I read the part about how slut-shaming is better now that it used to be, and shook my head in disbelief at how amazing incorrect that was. Then I read the following paragraph and thought that you were also wrong, because virgin-shaming hardly exists in my world of puritan guy friends around here.
      The point I was making was this… Okay as we know one point of oppression against women is the expectation that they have no sex before marriage in order to “save herself” for her husband (making premarital sex for a woman taboo) while a point of oppression against men is the expectation that we are supposed to have wild, reckless, and carefree sex lives (making premarital sex for men a requirement) and are supposed to be ready to take his future wife and show her the ways of sexuality. According to this you said earlier:

      Therefore, society stops oppressing women, and the problems men face as a result of oppressing women stop happening, as their cause is no longer in existence.

      Women attaining sexual freedom would mean that the expectation of men to have wild, reckless, and carefree premarital sex lives would fade along with the expectation that women have no premarital sex lives. It hasn’t. Well instead of waiting for someone else (feminists or anyone for that matter) to address it why not do it myself?

    • April says:

      You’re saying that when insulting one’s sexuality its not gendered?

      Sexuality as in, the ways in which someone has sex. Or the idea of them having sex at all. Not relating it to established societal sexual expectations of men or established societal sexual expectations of women.

      Well instead of waiting for someone else (feminists or anyone for that matter) to address it why not do it myself?

      By all means. I just don’t know why you have to go out of your way to criticize feminism while doing it, when we’ve already agreed that the system is the problem, not feminism.

      Women attaining sexual freedom would mean that the expectation of men to have wild, reckless, and carefree premarital sex lives would fade along with the expectation that women have no premarital sex lives.

      That’s what I was talking about in the previous comment. Both have made vast improvements, and it is only hard to see the improvements for each of our “sides” because we continue to experience the negativity (even if it is less frequent or intense) and are, in effect, blind to it.

      We have certainly not achieved the desired result in eliminating female slut-shaming. Nor have we eliminated male virgin-shaming. So saying that men haven;t benefited when women have is inaccurate.

      The problems that men face are not “collateral damage.” They’re victims of the system, just as women are. The system that values traditionally-identified masculinity.
      Even though you earlier said:
      The oppressions that men face in this system are because of the expectations placed on them which occur as a result of the oppression of women

      See the part I bolded. I already addressed that and made it clear that I don’t believe that feminism is trying to marginalize men. It’s that the system is inherently misogynist, instead of egalitarian. The system as a whole, not individual people. The whole giant system. If the system were misandrist instead, women would certainly suffer oppressions as a result, but they would still be in power as a general whole group.

    • Danny says:

      By all means. I just don’t know why you have to go out of your way to criticize feminism while doing it, when we’ve already agreed that the system is the problem, not feminism.
      The reason I criticize it is because as you and Melissa have done here feminists try to prop themselves up as the solution to all gender inequalities yet only work from the woman’s perspective as if that is the only perspective needed to fix the world.

      As feminists I’m sure you’ve come across people that tell you that we are in a post feminism world and you can lay down your weapons (voices) because you’ve won. Even for as much as I disagree with feminists I know that’s not true because I know there still a lot that needs to be done. When feminists tell me that I should look to feminism as the way to solve the things that harm men but then I look at feminist spaces and see that the voices of men are kept in the back seat even when the topic covers men I’m left confused.

      We have certainly not achieved the desired result in eliminating female slut-shaming. Nor have we eliminated male virgin-shaming. So saying that men haven;t benefited when women have is inaccurate.
      The measure that came to mind on this is movie/tv culture. While there is plenty of content that both praises and condemns women who have active premarital sex lives there is precious little content that treats men who don’t with anything other than contempt and/or shame (despite there being much more content these days that condemns men that have active premarital sex live). This is why I say that when it comes to true sexual freedom (as in freedom to decide if you want to have sex or not and how much) women have benefited from it more than men have.

      It’s that the system is inherently misogynist, instead of egalitarian. The system as a whole, not individual people. The whole giant system.
      I would say that its both misandrist, misogynist, racist, and any other -ist you can imagine. The misogyny of keeping women down and the misandry of keeping men down are happening. You sound like you are trying to say that the system is inherently setting out to harm women (and the primary goal, whether its “invisible” or not is to harm women not hoard power) and the harm that comes to men is some sort of after thought or spill over.

      If the system were misandrist instead, women would certainly suffer oppressions as a result, but they would still be in power as a general whole group.
      Question. If we agree that the few men in power do not represent men as a whole class then why is it that them being in power means that men “as a class” are the class with power? It would seem to me that they either represent the class or not but can’t be both.

  14. Melissa says:

    “If some guys start bothering you about how you need to eat to put some more meat on your bones and look like a black woman I don’t expect you to point out the sexual harassment while keeping quiet about the racist expectation they were trying to hold you to.”

    That’s never happened to me. I’ve been dating for like a decade now, men who I have a platonic relationship with tend to be very open and honest with me (something to do with being a good listener, I think), and I run in highly multicultural circles…so honestly, if that kind of thing existed, I suspect I would have heard something about it by now. If the thinking that “white women should look more like black women” does indeed exist, it’s a pretty insignificant minority viewpoint. What’s hugely prevalent are horrifying standards for black women’s hair and skin, and a pervasive cultural narrative that the “lighter” a WOC is, the better. I’ve never once been asked to conform to a more “ethnic” standard of beauty. WOC, however, can’t escape the expectation to make themselves more white. That’s what’s racist. So honestly I think your hypothetical situation isn’t terribly rooted in the reality of what usually happens in the world.
    But, that said, if it were to happen (and I’m sure it’s happened to somebody sometime, it’s a big world out there), it wouldn’t be racist. I’m white. There’s no such thing as racism against me. Because ultimately, despite the personal preference of the hypothetical man in question, I still have all that privilege in society as a whole. It’s the difference between the prejudices of the individual and large, systematic power differentials. So yeah, in that situation, I’d notice sexism, but not racism. As far as I’m concerned, racism is not present in that situation.

    “I have to disagree with you on this. You make it sound like those few men at the top have set out with the express purpose of hurting women and any men that are hurt in the process are acceptable collateral damage.”

    Not quite. I’m well aware of the ways the rich and powerful can oppress the less fortunate, but I haven’t seen that kind of power to be gendered. That is to say, the men at the top probably struggle with the concerns you’ve brought up every bit as much as “the little guy” does.

    ” I on the other hand think that those few elite men have gotten in to power and are willing to mow down anyone that stands in their way regardless of class.”

    I agree, but I’m not sure this is gendered.

    We’re kinda talking about two different things here, unless I’m misunderstanding. It seems you’re talking about the most rich and powerful in society (who do tend to disproportionately be men, so there’s a somewhat gendered aspect of it) keeping poorer and less powerful people down, while I’m talking about gender. Your concerns are valid, but I’m not sure what they have to do with sexism…except for the prevalence of men in such positions with is a result and a symptom of sexism, but not really a root cause.

    “And I have to say I find it almost sad that you think that the ways the system hurts men are either just side effects of hurting women or are cries of “reverse discrimination” (no such thing its just plain discrimination).”

    Fair enough. Since I’m not a man, I may have overlooked something. Can you think of an example of a men’s issue that doesn’t fall in either of the categories I outlined?

    “So I’m supposed to just trust that and keep my mouth shut?”

    Haha, no, I suppose if you haven’t seen it, then we’re the ones who aren’t doing our jobs.

    Ultimately, I don’t think it’s necessarily a “label yourself a feminist or be labeled the enemy” thing…and I was probably not clear about that earlier and that’s my fault. But so far, I haven’t seen a legitimate men’s issue that isn’t also a feminist issue. I think there’s a lot to be gained from working together. A huge example is the whole problem of child custody. The fact that women are so much more likely to get custody is rooted in the deeply sexist assumption that women belong in the home and should be taking care of kids…but it hurts men in a big way! Especially in cases where the father is genuinely the better parent, or where the father has more desire to parent. The solution isn’t in making an explicitly big deal about “fathers’ rights”…not because the concept of fathers’ rights isn’t totally legitimate, of course it is…but because Glenn Sacks and his ilk have taken up the term and twisted it into…something else. I’m 100% supportive of the idea that good fathers shouldn’t be denied parental rights because of screwed-up societal assumptions, but you can bet I’ll oppose the Glenn Sacks conception of “fathers’ rights” ’till the cows come home. (I have no clue how you stand on the issue, I’m just using it as an example) But in order to undo the real injustice of fathers who should be getting custody and aren’t, we need to work to undo ALL the patriarchal expectations…tha women must be naturally good mothers, men are always neglectful and irresponsible…women must be caretakers, men must be breadwinners (and therefore, women can’t be breadwinners and men can’t be caretakers)…women must WANT to parent, men must want independence. For every woman’s issue, there’s a men’s issue on the other side of the coin, so to speak. We can wipe them all out with a unified attack on the patriarchy more effectively than with two antagonistic movements.

    • Danny says:

      That’s never happened to me. I’ve been dating for like a decade now, men who I have a platonic relationship with tend to be very open and honest with me (something to do with being a good listener, I think), and I run in highly multicultural circles…so honestly, if that kind of thing existed, I suspect I would have heard something about it by now.
      Rest assured as a man who has been around a lot of men it does happen and I admit that in my past I have made such remarks about white women and tried to pass it off as advice or joking. And speaking as a man who has made those remarks I will be the first to say that at least I think its racist regardless of who has what power or privilege. When I was making those remarks I was attacking the gender and race of those women. And bear in mind that as a women yourself you probably haven’t heard it because despite the loudmouth catcaller being presented as the norm of men we keep a lot of those remarks amongst ourselves. But thankfully I’ve seen the light and realize that while I have my tastes it is totally wrong to presume to tell a woman what she should look like regardless of her race.

      And as a side note I have to point out how often I’ve heard women of color comment on the shape of white women. In fact I had such an encounter today with two black women. I was sitting in the break room when an examiner walked through. Yes I looked (but what is wrong with merely looking) but as soon as she was gone the two black women went right into how “she got a little bit back there” and how “she got an alright shape to be white”.

      Not quite. I’m well aware of the ways the rich and powerful can oppress the less fortunate, but I haven’t seen that kind of power to be gendered. That is to say, the men at the top probably struggle with the concerns you’ve brought up every bit as much as “the little guy” does.
      Actually you have. When it comes to war who is expected to fight? Men. Yes their power and status may protect them from going to war or sending their own sons to die but when it comes down to it when those politicians at the top decide to go to war they know full well they are sending mostly men to die. When they support legislation that leaves men with the short end of the stick in child custody they are operating by the stereotype that men are good to children for as long as they can supply money (and are in fact depending on harming those men under the guise of drumming up voter support from women).

      I agree, but I’m not sure this is gendered.
      Oh yes it is and you can tell by how those in power want to keep the genders in the roles they are trapped in now. They need men to be kept out of children’s lives while draining their money just as much as they need to keep women to be seen as the only fit primary care givers. And so on and so on.

      Your concerns are valid, but I’m not sure what they have to do with sexism…except for the prevalence of men in such positions with is a result and a symptom of sexism, but not really a root cause.
      I’m saying that those in power use the various -isms to keep themselves up and everyone else that doesn’t play by the script down. The system will even destroy a middle aged heterosexual man if he doesn’t play by his assigned script (I just saw this happen yesterday at work). Being male is not the key to the kingdom that people prop it up to be.

      But so far, I haven’t seen a legitimate men’s issue that isn’t also a feminist issue. I think there’s a lot to be gained from working together.
      While that may be so it will be hard to work together when when it comes talking in feminists territory men are expected to take a background to women by virtue of gender even when the discussion may be about men. Early last year there was a thread at Feministe that even a little over two years that was discussing whether the murder of Sean Bell (young black man killed by racist cops the day before his wedding) was a feminist issue and some people brought up that since he left behind a wife and daughter it is. If a group that says they want to help all people has to find how something harms a woman to consider it a their issue then forgive me for being hesitant to join them.

      The fact that women are so much more likely to get custody is rooted in the deeply sexist assumption that women belong in the home and should be taking care of kids…but it hurts men in a big way!
      Now I don’t know if this intentional but this is actually two gender oppressions at work. Women being expected to stay at home and raise children while men are expected to be out of the home working. Yet just like when you mention it here feminists will go on about how this hurts women (and it does) and then drop a footnote at the end to say that “yeah it hurts men too”.

      Actually when it comes to Glenn Sacks I agree with a lot of what he says and frankly he talks about the rights of father’s and men in a manner that feminism doesn’t touch on as well. I can’t go to a feminist site and expect to see posts about how fathers are mistreated by the system and the women that use it in such an abusive manner.

      But in order to undo the real injustice of fathers who should be getting custody and aren’t, we need to work to undo ALL the patriarchal expectations…that women must be naturally good mothers, men are always neglectful and irresponsible…women must be caretakers, men must be breadwinners (and therefore, women can’t be breadwinners and men can’t be caretakers)…women must WANT to parent, men must want independence.
      I agree that it all must be brought to the table and dealt with but despite assurances by many a feminist they don’t touch on how the system harms men anywhere near as well as they touch on how the system harms women (and like I’ve said feminism is by women for women so that is how I expect it to be). And if you read material at Glenn Sacks you will often see them point out how men taking a larger part in child care is just as important as women taking a larger part in the work force. Its going to take more than the occasional, “patriarchy hurts men too” to bring the pain of men to the table and have dealt with.

      For every woman’s issue, there’s a men’s issue on the other side of the coin, so to speak.
      Yes and as it stands you have feminists and MRAs talking about women’s issues and men’s issues respectively. And at the same time you have people on both sides that think the occasional shout out is enough to win over the other side to their own fold.

      Haha, no, I suppose if you haven’t seen it, then we’re the ones who aren’t doing our jobs.
      Hey you’re concentrating on helping women and I wouldn’t expect you to put the same effort into helping men which is part of why I’m speaking up as a man with my own words.

      I too think that the system would not stand a chance against a united front of MRAs and feminists. But that is not going to happen as long as there are people on both sides trying to either destroy the other side or convince them that they are the one true way to equality.

      I have to say that this has been a very stimulating conversation.

    • April says:

      I’ve never once been asked to conform to a more “ethnic” standard of beauty.

      Well, to be fair, every white girl I know tans regularly, and I’ve been constantly teased about my “pasty” skin.

      But I agree with your larger point.

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