Male privilege—Why do women assume they know about men or men’s lives?

Longtime GendErratic commenter Eagle35 posted the text of a Reddit exchange he had with a feminist as a comment. (He prefers to not link to the actual exchange.)

The feminist in the exchange exhibits a behavior that is a recurring problem in the discussion of gender: the assumption that women fully understand men and our lives and can make meaningful comparisons. This typically is expressed in statements such as “Men have X privilege because men can Y and women cannot.”

These statements usually suffer from two defects. One is that very often the statement that men can do X is simply false and the speaker is unaware of the relevant facts. The feminist below exhibits this in her reference to the threat of street violence when walking home from class. This is sometimes acknowledged by denial, in the form of some kind of bogus, supposedly extenuating or mitigating factors around the threats men face and the harms they suffer. The typical form is “Yeah, but that’s inflicted by men!” as if that effectively discredits the claim. (Didn’t you just list a harm to women that is also inflicted by men? So is that now discredited too?)

The second and more problematic defect is the erasure—sometimes to the point of appearing sociopathic—of a particular disadvantage men have, usually by false equivalence. To answer a point about the rate at which men are murdered with a statistic about female rape victims is to equate rape to murder, which pretty obviously erases the seriousness of murder. I am going to spell this out in detail: saying the rape of a woman is equivalent to the death of a man devalues his life fundamentally.

We see this particular form of misandry all the time. When men’s suicide rates are mentioned, a response that rests on women’s rates of attempted suicide devalues actual suicide. When the removal of the entire foreskin is discussed, there is inevitably a reminder that the removal of a portion of the clitoris in incalculably worse. When the deaths of men in war are mentioned, we have Hillary Clinton telling us that “Women have always been the primary victims of war. Women lose their husbands, their fathers, their sons in combat. Women often have to flee from the only homes they have ever known. Women are often the refugees from conflict and sometimes, more frequently in today’s warfare, victims. Women are often left with the responsibility, alone, of raising the children.” In other words, they survive, unlike their men.

Please add your own examples.

Ah, one of my own—K. R. Suryaprakash was chased down and physically attacked in the street for “eve-teasing”—flirting with his attacker—and Matthew Champion of The Independent applauds this, as if a physical attack is a mete response commensurate with flirting.

Here is Eagle35:

I’ll supply you the Male Privileges she lists instead.

“Male privilege is not walking down the street and being singled out and verbally harassed by different groups of men on a weekly basis.

Male privilege is being visually harassed by blatant sexual displays on the street on a daily basis and being called a misogynist for daring to “dictate to women” when it comes to dress by calling this what it is, visual harassment.

Male privilege is not having to explicitly plan out your walk home from class every evening by carrying bear mace or holding your keys in your hand because you’ve been approached by men/people who are 1.5 times your size and demand you ‘sit your purple lips on their nose’.

Male privilege is being the overwhelming majority of actual, not just feared, street violence, violence that results in injury and death, not just a sense of affront. Male privilege is being the target of actual physical violence rather than mere speech.

The society you live in doesn’t teach you that your primary value is in the sexual pleasure you are capable of providing to the opposite sex.

The society we live in teaches men that their primary value is their usefulness to women, and that if they want intimacy with a woman, they have to pay for it one way or another. It may be performing three feats to win the princess, it may be spending six months income on a piece of jewelry, it may be staying in a job for a lifetime that kills your soul and keeps you from raising your own children.

(With that said, wouldn’t life be easier for dudes if they were as objectified as much as women are in the media? If women were told that men were to be primarily valued for how they look and for their sex, maybe more women would see men as sexy things to do sex on!

Yes it would. It would be like sexual equality. But before that can ever happen, women are going to have to stop choosing to see male sexuality as predatory and male genitals as some kind of weapon that they can mutilate at will and then laugh about. (You don’t know what I’m talking about? How convenient.)

Unfortunately(?), our society perpetuates the notion that men are to be valued for many things other than their sexuality.)

Unfortunately our society values men only for their economic profitability and usefulness to others, primarily women, and their willingness to risk their lives to protect women.

Male privilege is failing at something, anything, and not qualifying your entire sex as a failure. Example: girls are bad at math. (Really, I can’t count how many times in my life I’ve heard ‘girls can’t do x’ or ‘only boys can do y’).

Male privilege is being told by elementary school teachers, while you are young and defenseless and gullible, that girls are naturally smarter, that they are better behaved, and that men cause all the wars and problems in the world.

The society you live in equates logic and academic prowess with masculinity, even though most college graduates are female and those numbers are increasing.

So obviously that society does not equate academic success with masculinity, it equates it with femininity, and privileges femininity in granting access and opportunity to education.

Male privilege is being able to meet friends for drinks at a bar and not having to preemptively think about how you’re going to peacefully make it to the bathroom when you have to piss without someone trying to stick their hand up your skirt.

Male privilege is having women grab your crotch – not your ass, your actual genitals – and being called a misogynist or gay if you’re not all flattered and cool with it, or getting thrown out by the bouncer if one of them objects to your reluctance.

Female privilege is being able to meet friends at a bar and not having to worry if you are going to be attacked by the boyfriend of the woman who has come over to flirt with you, or attacked when you leave the bar. Hell, female privilege is having strangers buy you drinks based on nothing more than your gender.

In the same respect, male privilege is talking to a person without uncomfortably trying to cover your chest as a means of maintaining a person’s attention on what you’re saying. The society you live in doesn’t teach the opposite sex that you are to be treated as something that is another’s right to consume.

Male privilege is not having the majority of acquaintances you run into on a daily basis ask you if you’re sick because you’re not wearing makeup. Society doesn’t tell you that you’re ugly without it.

Male privilege is risking your life on the street if you wear make up.

Male privilege is having society deem you unattractive, ugly even, for not presenting a female face. Male privilege is having your genitals deemed ugly, ugly enough to require mutilation at birth, before you can possibly consent, to make them esthetically acceptable to some shallow sociopath. Male privilege is having all depictions in art be of female bodies and no male bodies.

Male privilege is not being interrupted or having your opinions dispelled immediately by your opposite-sex peers because you’re considered biologically ‘illogically inferior’ and ‘professionally incompetent’ (in other words: ‘because what do you know?’).

Unless you happen to be talking about raising your own children or trying to watch them at a public park. If you dare try that, you can count on some officious matron giving you the stink eye and even accosting you or reporting you to the police.

Interrupted? You mean like having your every comment in the discussion of gender policed or silenced with “what about the menz?” or accusations of misogyny or of whining or the simple resort to “male privilege”? Ooops, just like above.

The society you live in does not tell the opposite sex that they inherently know more than you because at some point thousands of years ago they had to fight to fuck a person and they killed animals for food while you merely built homes and raised the next generation.

The society you live in says women get to make all reproductive decisions because you “create life”. The society you live in says women have a special feel for the arts and anything to do with design in the home, so her man had better just shut up, pay the bills and sit in his designated chair, and go sleep on the couch if she takes a notion.

Male privilege is actually having male masturbation depicted in media of any kind or referenced in popular media with regularity.

Okay, this is so false as to border on willful blindness. Depictions of male masturbation? This part is a straight up lie. Can she show me even one, or is she just perving on gay porn sites?

The fact is that male masturbation has been the object of cultural hysteria for centuries. There are even films on the subject: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_White_Ribbon

Anonymous feminist is apparently unaware of the shaming language directed at men who masturbate – “wanker”, “jerk”, “jerk off” – and how this language equates male masturbation with being worthless.

Anonymous Feminist is almost certainly ignorant of the fact that the prevention of male masturbation was the infamous Dr. Kellogg’s reason for popularizing mass male genital mutilation in the US.

How often do you think young girls and women get to see female masturbation or even remotely accurate female desire depicted in popular media? (I’ll give you a hint: never.)

Then why don’t they get up off their asses and develop some content that does show it? Popular media is market driven, and young girls and women sure have a lot of disposable income for it to chase; why so passive?

Male privilege is not having to shave your legs or armpits if you don’t want to and not expecting to be treated as a deficient man.

Female privilege is not having to shave your face every day and not being considered some kind of a boor or a peasant or worse yet some kind of unclean pervert if you don’t.

I have very little leg hair and don’t shave. My boyfriend still fucks me harder than ever and even licks my legs while he does it. I can’t count how many times I’ve been asked to justify why I don’t shave. How many times a day are you asked about the hair that occurs naturally on your body?

Asked? If it even gets that far. Male body hair is execrated and derided: http://www.theguardian.com/fashion/fashion-blog/2014/aug/20/hairy-back-wax-grooming-men

And then there is all the sneering and opining and femsplaining about beards.

I mean, make some attempt to know something about the society and culture you are criticizing. You say you live in it? I think you have shown you really don’t.

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