FEMALE PRIVILEGE – And a woman who sees it (and how it’s not always only women who have it)

F

In a very good article* at the New Republic about being an adjunct professor teaching writing, Sarah Marshall says something very honest and insightful:

“Over the course of a ten-week class, I play the role of therapist, priest, mentor, and friend. In their writings, in our class time, and in their meetings with me, students tell me about their pasts, their aspirations, their medical and mental health emergencies; about family tragedies and abuses they have survived; about their sexualities, their identities, their relationships, and their fears. I do not ask them to tell me any of this, but they offer it freely, as if they have simply been waiting for someone to tell.”

She goes to say something really insightful:

“This happens because I am in a position of authority, but I am also deeply non-threatening for being a young, blonde woman who smiles a lot. I can’t strike fear into anyone’s heart, and certainly this has a great deal to do with my age and gender, but it also means that I benefit from a very specific kind of privilege. White male privilege means the gift of easy authority and confidence, among other dubious rewards. White female privilege means being viewed as harmless, innocuous, and safe to confide in. For a teacher, this is both a blessing and a curse. But mostly, I’ve found, it is a blessing.”

In teaching is may be mostly a blessing, because often the trust she evokes leads to respect. What she is describing can clearly be a real curse, but then that says something about the endeavor the person is engaging in, doesn’t it?

But the point is that privilege is situational. It’s situational on two levels. For one thing privilege is contextual. It’s not some personal attribute, although that is almost exclusively how people conceive of it and use the term. This is more due to the hyper-individualistic norms of our culture than a reflection of how privilege or rights or advantages actually work. It’s contextual because it takes other people to confer privilege. Simple as that.

It’ situational also because this or that kind of privilege confers an advantage, actually functions as a form of privilege, only in certain situations, while in other it can confer definite disadvantages. Here’s a neutral example: just envision someone using a prestige variety of a language in the wrong setting and getting his ass beaten for it.
And here’s an example of how situational privilege can be:

“I know I’m not alone. When I asked my coworkers if they’d had the same problem—the confidences of a student whose behavior or whose problems they couldn’t handle—to a one, they said yes. We are all newly minted adjuncts, but in one or two or three years of teaching, this is the once experience that crops up again and again. Every female teacher and many of the male teachers described students who visit their office hours to discuss their personal problems.”

Male teachers tapping into what the author identifies as a typically female form of privilege. How situational is that?

This kind of insight is the gift only honesty can give. Only freedom from cant and cultural conditioning, only a dogged reliance on one’s own observations, can grant this kind of insight. No wonder her students learn from her. The power of her good example is irresistible.

 

*For whatever reason, I am having difficulty inserting links. Here’s the link to the article:

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/117872/adjunct-responsibilities-college-campuses-extend-mental-health

 

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Jim Doyle

<span class="dsq-postid" data-dsqidentifier="4364 http://www.genderratic.com/?p=4364">17 comments</span>

  • A question for Typhobnlue (or anyone else that knows): Did Mary Koss ask the same questions to men as she asked to women in her original one in four women have been raped study? I kind of get the impression from reading this post that she might have:

    http://www.genderratic.com/p/4057/mens-rights-vs-feminist-rape-culture-explained-using-puzzle-pieces/

    I`ve asked this question before but did not get a reply to it: Typhonblue writes about Canadian 5 year numbers for male rape victims in the same post. Does anyone (Typhon?) have a name or link to that study? I have no idea what study it is and it would be very useful for me to find it. Epsecially if I can find a Canadian study with lifetime numbers that find a higher rate. It backs up the importance of 12 month numbers as opposed to lifetime numbers.

  • @Katana

    In her original study, Mary Koss asked men the same questions as she asked women, but with an important difference. She asked women whether they had been victims of certain acts, she asked men whether they had perpetrated those acts. Her conclusion was obvious from her line of questioning, men were deemed perpetrators and women were deemed victims.

  • There’s a difference between “privilege” stemming from an innate biological reality and the “privilege” stemming from society’s bigotry towards one group of people. That doesn’t mean that men get to situationally tap into a “female” privilege, it means that situationally, a form of bigotry isn’t always there.

    And I hate to say it, but when we’ve got a pretty young blonde stepping in to take place of Socrates in our society, there may be an opportunity cost for future generations. Sometimes, helping your students means standing up to drink the Hemlock – to become disposable. You have to be someone like Lawrence Summers if you’re going to stand up for some of the problems your facing your students. That’s certainly not within the “non-threatening” gender roles that dominate the educational system.

  • “There’s a difference between “privilege” stemming from an innate biological reality and the “privilege” stemming from society’s bigotry towards one group of people.”

    These men are biologically men and yet the students are belaying their learned fear and bigotry….

    “That doesn’t mean that men get to situationally tap into a “female” privilege,”

    One of my problems with the privilege discourse is that it labels the right to decent treatment as a privilege, when it should be labeling the deprivation of that right a disprivilege.

    ” it means that situationally, a form of bigotry isn’t always there.”

    In this case I think it’s just being disengaged, but the bigotry is still there. These students are not going to walk out into the world trusting random men as much as random women.

  • or you could be a sociopath like Schwyzer and use your “position” to get all the young pussy while you bash low status men at TGMP…

    Toxic Masculinity–hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

  • Hugo was their darling for a while, wasn’t he? Apexual as fuck, Ferengi-ass moral entrepreneur, man-hating sleazoid……

  • …and is now getting exactly what he deserves, that rat-faced, viper-smiling little excreta. It seems Charles Clymer is starting to reach the cliff drop found at every backbiting moral entrepreneur apex. Sooner or later these idiots are going to realise this and start peddling themselves to us, which means get out the bugspray.

  • Uh, talking of excreta, is it just me or is carnation getting worse over at Ally’s place?

    He’s not even trying to make sense any more, and is just constantly ranting. If he wasn’t that he can be relied upon to make a fool of himself, and good for convincing people to “our side”, I’d probably just ignore him completely.

  • Such scuttling internet trollery is always useful to drive away anyone of even minor conscience or sense. Carnation is useful only for swelling the size of the MHRAnation. So if they didn’t exist we couldn’t invent them, except as something for the whole universe to kick.

  • Adiabat,
    “Uh, talking of excreta, is it just me or is carnation getting worse over at Ally’s place?”

    Better and worse. On that latest post, he fell in with Ally’s main thrust, and that was decent and humane and surprising, but he couldn’t keep it up. Mike Buchanan in particular makes him foam and froth. He burnt his bridges with Raging bee, so he can’t expect much support there. The thread went against him.

    Ally’s take on this is interesting. it’s a real change form the past. I guess it took this kind of evidence to get him to open his eyes on assault and DV. he was already there on F>M rape, so maybe this is just a further development of a trend already in progress.

  • Thanks!

    Another question. Have any of you looked into the difference between lifetime and 12 month rates for severe domestic violence? I just read a few studies that found a rather large difference between lifetime and 12 month rates for sever domestic violence. The the differences in lifetime rates of severe domestic violence was the typical 1 man for every 5 and 1 man for every 10 women who had experienced that but the past year rates where much more equal, from 30-50% of victims of severe domestic violence. As fas as I can remember, the studies I have read before by people like Strauss etc. look at lifetime numbers.

    Have any of you seen studies showing the rate of severe domestic violence in lesbian relationships? I know the rate of moderate violence is about equal or higher in lesbian relationships than in heterosexual relationships but I have never seen a study that looked at severe violence.

  • “Here’s a neutral example: just envision someone using a prestige variety of a language in the wrong setting and getting his ass beaten for it.”

    Heh heh. I’m a born Australian, but managed to pick up a noticeable British accent from my parents and Grandparents… I am familiar with this phenomena. (The funny part is that the ‘style’ of Brit-speak I that influenced me is of the Yorkshire variety, which I do not believed codes as posh at all in ‘Old blighty’. 🙂

    “Uh, talking of excreta, is it just me or is carnation getting worse over at Ally’s place?”
    Personally I wouldn’t know, I have a short list of people over there (from both sides) that I just do not bother reading. Most of the time I do not even bother reading people responding to them. (You, Adiabait I read no matter who you are talking with, if you are curious 😉

  • @Robert Crayle:

    Sooner or later these idiots are going to realise this and start peddling themselves to us, which means get out the bugspray.

    They started a while back. Or at least pretend to. Haven’t you noticed all the articles trying to convince MRAs that what they really need is feminism? Of course, they’re not really intended to convince MRAs, but other feminists that the MRM is unnecessary. Lindy West even says that she doesn’t want to listen to the men she claims she’s fighting for, which should’ve been a red flag, but most feminists reading the article apparently didn’t notice.

  • And they are such (as Gingko put it eloquently) “insultingly witless” attempts, more, as you put it, for themselves and the cult than to recruit or shut down dissent. The step-up in the near future I think will be something slightly less half-assed and a slight hint of a carrot. At least a better carrot than “stop or we’ll hate you, you MISOGYNISTS!”

    The first attempt down this road has actually been that abysmal sketch on Saturday Night Live which seemed to proclaim that you can have any character flaw other than being an MRA and the hot Ethnica Stereotypa will swoon at you. And don’t you recognise your mission in life, your highest calling, young men? Cracked.com is continuing it’s slow descent into unfunny lunacy with similar attempts headed by humourless arseclown Luke McKinney (who SYABM has found out in his “all movie superhero main characters are white guys!” farce).

    The attempt at mockery is not working very well, but it is the first step at selling the apexual of social acceptance at the world in the form of “superior” wit and “real man” charm. And these twits will just never land it. It won’t stop them trying.

  • I love how they present MRAs with the options of “we’ll continue to mock you, which you’ve already shown your willingness to endure, which has clearly forced us to pretend to talk about men’s issues more and more” and “we’ll stop mocking you and make your issues a distant second priority, at best, behind those of women”. Not to mention that the first, current option is actually alienating increasing amounts of feminists, male and female, who actually do want to discuss men’s issues outside of the mainstream feminist paradigm, and they’re “defecting”, for want of a better word.

    Someone on /r/FeMRADebates asked where the MRAs were for Elliot Rodger, and the responses pointed out that a)MRAs didn’t know about him, and b)society ignores the MRM and feminism does its best to keep MRAs from having any power or influence at all, then blames them when they have little real-world effect.

    http://www.reddit.com/r/FeMRADebates/comments/271bid/where_were_the_mrms/

  • “White male privilege means the gift of easy authority and confidence, among other dubious rewards.”

    Urmmmm I am white and male, can I be given my easy authority and confidence please?

    Men have to earn female access and acceptance with resources, the woman can break the relationship deal at any time and take his kids away too.

    I was battered and abused by a black female at a childrens home, my face smashed up. According to intersectionality I would of been able to get justice. Since I was a worthless white boy of no value, the police did jack shit.

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