Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Privilege is Privilege is Privilege

Okay as you know I'm not exactly a friend of many feminists. Now before you try to write me off now and forever let me explain why. Feminism is a movement made up of people, those people would be feminists. And that is where the problems begin. Time and time again I hear feminists hide behind the "feminism is about equality" defense in order to explain away feminist critiques. While feminism may be about equality the people who make up that movement are not always on the same page on how to go about getting that equality (because feminists are not a monolith right?). And one of the things that's gotten on my nerves about some feminists is how they try so hard to explain away the ways that the system favors women over men. Oh here's one now.
As someone who loves to address those who disagree with me, I have become quite familiar with their arguments. Many believe feminism isn’t for equality but for female supremacy, and one of the most common positions I hear is that women are not only equal but have more privilege. What privilege is that? Chivalry, apparently:
Now while it is unfair to try to generalize feminism as a movement for female supremacy there is no question that there those among them that do and carry the label feminist. Yeah I've seen some that try to site chivalry as proof that women hold more privilege over men. Frankly I'm of the mind that I really don't care who has more privilege over who because spending your resources arguing over who has it worse will eventually just lead to time wasted and mud slinging. Let's just get them on the table and deal with them.

I'm going to skip to the bottom for a bit:
Society says men are stronger, smarter, and more capable of handling tough situations. Because of this some men are annoyed at women’s rights movements, because what more could they want? Women aren’t taken seriously in the world and fight to be but their fight is deemed meaningless. Every argument here says women have more privilege but i’m sick of being seen as a delicate little flower who can’t take care of herself.
Check this out. Society says that women are more nuturing, nicer, and should not be held as responsible for certain crimes (especially violent ones). Because of this some women are annoyed that men are starting to speak up for themselves, because really a "real man" wouldn't complain right? There are plenty of places in society in which men are not taken seriously and are outright silenced and attempts to address that are deemed privileged whining. A lot of arguments pretty much label men as nothing but privileged bodies that don't have anything to fear but I'm sick of being seen as a brick wall that never wears over time.

Now I'm not trying to disprove or shut down what the blogger here is saying. They make good points. My problem is that this blogger seems hellbent on trying to spin every advantage that women have over men into "women are the actual victims here". Let's take a look at a few.
1. Men are the ones who have to pay for dinner and dates.

Well, feminists don’t believe men have to pay because they are men, and actually this is insulting to many women because it contributes to the idea that women cannot and are not capable of paying for anything because they are women and women must be taken care of like children. There are a lot of women and men who believe men should pay, but if you ask me, it’s because they have been taught that this is the way things are supposed to be, and it’s rude to behave otherwise on a date.
What the blogger is missing here is that the reason this is a privilege women have over men is because, just male privileges are, it is something that society enforces on a regular basis. This is rule that puts the burden on men to make money, to be providers, to be the one that has to "win" a woman's affections by showing off how he can take care of her. Its good that there are feminists who don't like it either but feminists not liking female privilege doesn't magically make it not a privilege. I don't like the idea that I might be more likely to be considered for a job than a woman but that doesn't mean its not male privilege at work does it?
2. Men are the ones who get drafted.

Women have never been drafted, but women have also been restricted to certain positions in the military and aren’t allowed to do everything men are permitted to do in times of war. Do i believe women should be drafted? No, but i don’t believe men should be either.
Good. Now what about the part where women who don't go to war are women and men who didn't go to war were cowards, draft dodgers, and in some cases war criminals. And while I don't think she meant anything by it note that the writer went straight from "women are treated unfairly by being kept out of the military" to "no one should have to fight" and only took a glance at "men are unfairly expected to fight in the military because of their gender".
5. Men have to pay child support and women never do.

This just isn’t true. I know women who do pay child support and the father has primary custody. I’ve heard people say women are commonly given bias in custody trials and i honestly can’t say whether or not that’s true because i’m not very familiar with it, but i wouldn’t be surprised if it did happen, as this directly reflects values feminists fight against, a woman must care for the child and a man must give sole financial support.
Now if only feminists could actually acknowledge that men who speak up about being treated unfairly on the child support issue are being treated unfairly rather than just write them off as trying to get out of paying money. I mean the system will move heaven and earth to hold a man, any man in some cases responsible for child support but good luck getting help with a woman who is interfering with visitation.
7. Women can hit men, and men can’t hit women.

It’s not okay to abuse anyone regardless of gender. Men shouldn’t hit women and women shouldn’t hit men, period. Feminists know that sexism hurts men too, and feminists want fairness for everyone.(Men can be feminists too.)
Of course its not okay for anyone to abuse people regardless of gender. But fact of the matter is depending on who you're dealing with there are those that think women deserve to get hit by men and/or men deserve to get hit by women. There are those who think that Rihanna deserved to get attacked by Chris Brown just as there are those who think Matthew Winkler deserved to get killed by Mary. Yet for some reason feminists, and a large portion of society, seem to only talk about one side of that equation. And that "sexism hurts men too" is pretty much "(oh yeah I forgot) sexism hurts men too (there I said it so shut up)". Yeah there are feminists who want fairness for everyone but there are those that don't and those that will say they do but at the end of day they really don't.

Now I'm not trying to stick it to this blogger and in fact they even say that they are trying to sort out their thoughts on this. Perhaps its because they are still thinking through things but it seems like this person is trying to use the disadvantages that women suffer in order to washout the advantages they enjoy. What I find odd (and kinda hypocritical) is that for some reason (on the gender front) this seems to only be okay to do for women. Men being expected to choose career over family doesn't mean that men aren't privileged in the workplace so why/how does women being expected to choose family over career mean that women aren't privileged in the childcare realm?

Check this out:
The whole point of the post was that chivalry is a way to oppress women and i know very well that men suffer for it too, i was pointing out that I as feminist am against sexism, in all forms and that includes chivalry.
Does it cause actual pain for a feminist to simply say something direct like "chivalry is a system that oppresses men and women"? It seems that most of the time when a feminist is talking about sexism against men they have to say in a manner of "....too". As a man and non-feminist that bothers me a lot. Its like they can't wrap their heads around that fact the system harms men. Not the system harms men too, just the system harms men.

I'm not going to waste my time trying to post over there because I can already see how it would turn out but I just had to get my thoughts down on this. I just they would understand that when non-feminists critique that movement we aren't just trying to write them off as female supremacists that hate men.


sonja said...

"...in some schools they can’t play on the football team because they are girls."

Yeah, in my school, we couldn't (unless it was touch footy) either because of the potential damage to our breasts.

Funnily enough, copping a hit to your tits is quite painful, and something most of us would rather avoid, just like guys would very much like to avoid copping one in the balls.

Danny said...

And oddly enough when it comes to playing sports boys are reminded that taking one in the balls hurts (and by god it does) but if we, like, decide not to get into sports for not wanting to get injured (and while one to the balls hurts its by far not the only injury we can suffer) our manhood is called into question. And by that same token a woman who wants to play sports, and taking the chance she might take on in the tits, will have her womanhood questioned.

So with the way it is boys are fine ASSUMING they want to play sports and girls are fine ASSUMING they don't want to play sports.

But despite that going on the boys are the only privileged ones?