Checking “Male Privilege”

We’ve all been there – you’re with a group of people, or maybe just a friend or two, and That Subject comes up. Everyone knows what That Subject is, even though the details may be different for some people. It’s rare for a person to have absolutely no opinion on That Subject, and how frustrating is it when you present your opinion along with well-researched facts, figures and references that completely support any reasonable adult person agreeing with you, and the other person just waves it off and says “Nuh uh!”. Maddening, right?

I’ve recently had it thrown in my face that I supposedly have a superior social status to everyone else, and any objection I might make to that accusation is somehow proof of it. Then I had this list thrown in my face, so here we go. I’ve addressed this subject repeatedly, and I’m sure none of us will have seen the last of it in our lifetimes, but maybe our grandchildren will be mature enough to just treat everyone the same.

I’m sure you’ve seen The List. If you haven’t, you’ve heard of the same sentiments. It’s become commonly accepted in America that men rule and women don’t, because somehow there’s this invisible global patriarchy that has nothing better to do than keep women from stepping up and helping out.

“Look! Patriarchy!”


Well, today’s post is to point out that most of this “male privilege” either doesn’t exist, or is a privilege shared by both genders. This is what feminists claim is going through a man’s head every minute of every day, and here you’ll see it contrasted with what is actually IN a man’s head.

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.

“Probably”? I’ve never had a job handed to me because I’m a man. I’ve been told a position wasn’t OPEN to me because they needed a woman, but I’m pretty sure that has to do with state guidelines. I wonder if there are similar quotas for men, and if anyone would dare enforce them.

In all likelihood, the most prestigious jobs go to the most aggressive applicants, and men are under much more social pressure to be ambitious about their earning power, since a man’s value is usually measured in money and power. Unlike women, men have no recourse but to work – we cannot assume that it’s a safe option to “hook up” with someone and just quit our jobs to let them pay all our expenses for us.

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.

This directly contradicts #1. How can the author claim men get handed jobs because of their gender, and then turn around and make the exact opposite statement?

Furthermore, given the gender-based hiring quotas written into federal law decades ago, many women HAVE gotten their jobs because of their sex. If it’s true, why be so upset that people might know that fact?

3. If I am never promoted, it’s not because of my sex.

Really? A waiter at Hooters can step up to working the door? This statement cannot possibly apply to all jobs across the board.

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.

And how does this accusation tally with the boundless river of “men can’t do this or this” jokes that female comics have a solid stock in trade of? Men are ROUTINELY considered to be loud, smelly slobs who are bad at raising children and who always leave the toilet seat up. These are standard slams against men, and assumed to be true of the entire gender. All stereotypes come from somewhere. Deal with it.

5. I am far less likely to face sexual harassment at work than my female co-workers are.

Swap “face” with “report” and you’ll have a fact. Rule out all the false reports and you’ll have an actual discussion.

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.

“Chances are”? “People”? What people? How is this measured? What if the task is something like cooking, cleaning or taking care of a sick person? These are all things women are considered to be better at.

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

And if a man IS in prison, his odds of being raped are relatively high. I understand how tempting it is to rule out all information which contradicts the author’s main thesis, but is it really so important that it’s necessary to actually lie? Overall, in the United States, when you add in prison statistics, more men than women are actually raped.

Furthermore, this is completely aside from the fact that when you factor in sexual coercion as defining rape (and the Outrage Industry always does) the numbers show that men and women commit rape in roughly equal numbers.

8. On average, I am taught to fear walking alone after dark in average public spaces much less than my female counterparts are.

Taught by whom?

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

Actually, that’s the FIRST thing that comes into question. A man without children is accused of being gay, impotent or sterile pretty much immediately.

10. If I have children but do not provide primary care for them, my masculinity will not be called into question.

If you google the phrase “a real man takes care of his children”, you come back with well over 600 million hits. A similar search using “woman” and “her” only comes back with about a third that many hits. Financial support is the FIRST thing a father gets hit for, and even if the mother has used the courts to force him to leave his own home and family, it’s still considered a personal failing on his part for being an absentee father.

There are so many “A REAL man does this or this” websites out there that it’s laughable to claim nobody is out there trying to define masculinity for us, or shame us for not living up to these claims.

11. If I have children and provide primary care for them, I’ll be praised for extraordinary parenting if I’m even marginally competent.

How many men actually get custody in court? Chances are, by the time a man has actually worked hard enough for long enough to get the opportunity to provide primary care for his children, he’s had to pursue it so aggressively that the levels of ambition required rule out anyone who’s anything less than completely committed to fatherhood, often at the expense of his own best interests.

12. If I have children and a career, no one will think I’m selfish for not staying at home.

And if he stays at home to take care of the children, people will call his masculinity into question, or insult him as a mooch.

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.

Except that it will. Obama’s relationship with his children is pretty much constant news, as was Bush’s relationship with his children, Clinton’s relationship with his children, and so forth. Male and female politicians have about the same degree of scrutiny in this area, so I’m not sure why this is even here.

14. My elected representatives are mostly people of my own sex. The more prestigious and powerful the elected position, the more this is true.

This is basically the same accusation as #1, and just as untrue. Jobs requiring ambitious pursuit tend to go to people who have greater social pressure to achieve wealth and power.

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.

This depends on the organization. There’s no one answer to this. Many corporations have female CEOs, and all levels of management have female representation. If you want to see more female managers, go to college for Management instead of Gender Studies.

16. As a child, chances are I was encouraged to be more active and outgoing than my sisters.

Again with the “chances are” stuff. I have three daughters and I constantly encourage them to be active and outgoing. This is one of the many statements on this list which is completely unprovable because it provides no context or statistics.

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.

Lara Croft would disagree, being the chief protagonist of one of the greatest game/movie/comic book franchises of all time. Roughly half of the X Men were women. (UPDATE – the latest incarnation of X Men comics features a lineup entirely composed of women) Sitcoms routinely portray the female lead as being secretly in charge while the male lead runs around being stupid and creating a disaster which is then solved by the female lead.

18. As a child, chances are I got more teacher attention than girls who raised their hands just as often.

Teaching is an overwhelmingly female profession. Exactly who is doing the discriminating here?

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.

The only people insisting that everything bad that happens to a woman is automatically sexist … are other women!

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.

So can women. In fact, if you turn on the evening news you’ll see more women than men.

21. If I’m careless with my financial affairs it won’t be attributed to my sex.

Sure it will. Men are routinely assumed to blow all their money on gambling, stupid investments or … other women.

22. If I’m careless with my driving it won’t be attributed to my sex.

So why exactly do men pay more for car insurance?

23. I can speak in public to a large group without putting my sex on trial.

Two words. Bill Clinton.

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.”

“Playboy”. “Man-whore”. “Philanderer”. “Seducer”. “Player”. “Casanova”. “Don Juan”. And the ever popular “Dog”. We’ll come back to this. As for “male slut bashing”, there are quite a few websites where women can go and publicly accuse men of this very thing.

25. I do not have to worry about the message my wardrobe sends about my sexual availability.

Men are assumed to be in constant sexual availability, so this is a moot point. Men’s wardrobes signal their wealth and power, which translate to how much women want them. It amounts to exactly the same thing – clothing signaling how much a person can be exploited for resources.

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.

Anyone who’s ever shopped for a decent suit will know this is a lie.

27. The grooming regimen expected of me is relatively cheap and consumes little time.

This is because a man tends not to capitalize nearly so much on his physical appearance as women do. A man’s appeal is based on his wealth and power, so he tends to spend a lot more time and money creating displays of these features rather than his grooming. Pinky rings, expensive watches, sports cars, and big houses are just a few of the displays men are expected to invest in, rather than his physical body.

28. If I buy a new car, chances are I’ll be offered a better price than a woman buying the same car.

Says who? Are there different stickers for men and women?

29. If I’m not conventionally attractive, the disadvantages are relatively small and easy to ignore.

See #25 and #27 above. Women capitalize on their appearance far more than men do.

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.

Well yes, those aren’t terms applied to men because they’re the female of their respective species. Men have their own pejorative terms applied to them, such as “dick”, “player” or “dog”. Men are only called “bitch” when they’re meek and subservient.

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.)

This is actually a reverse-gender issue. Violence that happens mostly to men isn’t considered to be “a men’s issue” because men don’t get special treatment for their gender – violence against men is treated as perfectly normal, and in the case of domestic violence against men it’s usually assumed to be the man’s fault. More than half of all incidents of domestic violence are instigated by the woman, even though nearly all cases of a person getting arrested for it involve the man. There is virtually no media attention for issues that primarily affect the quality of life for men.

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.

This is a peculiarity of the English language. Male denominators used to have their own distinction, “man” referring to the human race while “wyrman” and “wifman” referred to male and female respectively. Over time, men lost their own pronouns and were simply referred to in the neutral denominative.

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.

No, men are assumed to make bad decisions all month long. Again, this is stock in trade for male and female comedians.

34. I will never be expected to change my name upon marriage or questioned if I don’t change my name.

I always thought a married couple should take whichever last name is cooler. If I married Jane Awesome, I’d be filing papers with the DMV tomorrow to get that.

35. The decision to hire me will not be based on assumptions about whether or not I might choose to have a family sometime soon.

The female privilege here is that a woman is just presumed to be granted several months off for maternity leave, without losing their job.

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.

There are just as many goddesses as gods, and even the major religions mentioned here have female counterparts for their main deities. As for clerical leadership, I refer you back to #1.

37. Most major religions argue that I should be the head of my household, while my wife and children should be subservient to me.

Is this a privilege for non-religious men? Women are free to choose a religion which puts them in charge. It’s that whole First Amendment thing.

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.

Chances are I’ll be paying the rent and utilities entirely by myself. I think it’s not asking too much to have them chip in a little and help out around the house. Is it really a crime to expect someone to pull even part of their own weight?

39. If I have children with my girlfriend or wife, I can expect her to do most of the basic childcare such as changing diapers and feeding.

See #38 above. Expect me to be pulling extra shifts at work to pay for everything.

40. If I have children with my 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.

See #38 and #39 above. Also, since the overall feminist consensus is that childbearing is 100% the exclusive province of the woman, who is supposed to take responsibility for her choices if not herself?

41. Assuming I am heterosexual, 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.

See #25, #27 and #29 above. Women capitalize on their appearance far more than men do. Also, from a marketing standpoint it makes perfect sense – men respond to those pictures with desire, while women respond to them with envy, and a desire to see themselves in that position as an object of desire.

Given the majority spending power women have in America, if this marketing technique didn’t work on women would Madison Avenue still be using it?

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.

Again, see #25, #27, #29 and #41 above. A man’s chief appeal is his money and power, not his appearance.

43. If I am heterosexual, it’s incredibly unlikely that I’ll ever be beaten up by a spouse or lover.

Actually, more than 60% of all cases of domestic violence are instigated by the female. Also, the cultural acceptance of this can be seen in movies and television, when a woman slapping, punching or throwing things at a man is usually accompanied by a laugh track.

44. Complete strangers generally do not walk up to me on the street and tell me to “smile.”

Does anyone do this to women? Is this even really any kind of an issue? I can hardly imagine the horror of someone telling me to smile.

45. Sexual harassment on the street virtually never happens to me. I do not need to plot my movements through public space in order to avoid being sexually harassed, or to mitigate sexual harassment.

Men deal with the same gauntlet, but with people asking for money. A man’s appeal is his wealth and power, not sex. Men are considered to be sexually available at all times, so there isn’t any presumption of pursuit required.

45. On average, I am not interrupted by women as often as women are interrupted by men.

I am constantly interrupted by women.

46. I have the privilege of being unaware of my male privilege.

And women have the same privilege. Nobody ever wants to talk about women-only scholarships, women-only business grants, women-only gyms and clubs and organizations and charities. Nobody wants to acknowledge that women aren’t required to sign up for Selective Service, or that they are exempt from combat duty in the military. These are all privileges that women enjoy and have the privilege of not acknowledging.

The take-home from all this isn’t some sort of misogynistic rant (although I’m sure many readers have made that assumption before this point), but simply to point out that both genders have strengths and weaknesses, both natural and social.

None of it is all one way or the other, and both sexes are more alike than they are different. There is no resolution to be gained by emphasizing the differences and blaming them all on men. For those of you who think there’s a benefit to such nonsense, I have to ask one simple question:

“What would it take for you to consider yourself a man’s equal?”


2 thoughts on “Checking “Male Privilege”

    • Well, we all have it rough in one way or another. Membership in any group, whether by gender, race, religion or whatever, has both advantages and disadvantages. We all need to work together to correct imbalances though, and the original article’s entire objective was Blame And Shame for men, which doesn’t do anyone any good AND it completely fails to address the actual cause of the problems.


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