Male privilege is becoming more obvious


State Hornet Staff

People like to throw around the word “privilege” in regards to race and status, but many ignore the blatant male privilege happening every day. 

Privilege is when a group of people, not an individual, receives conscious or unconscious benefits based purely on a demographic trait or characteristics beyond our control. 

Sure, many of these privileges are unavoidably centralised to Western culture, but some are universal. The saddest part is the astounding amount of men who fail to even recognize these not-so-subtle advantages. 

Before delving into the perks of having a penis – like being able to pee just about anywhere – let’s clarify something: Male privilege does not imply that bad things do not happen to men or that having male anatomy doesn’t come with its disadvantages – like how you guys used to have the draft and still deal with unrealistic expectations of what masculinity is.

Perhaps the worst of these privileges unique to the male gender, is when a crime is committed against a man, what he was wearing will never come up. His clothing will never be questioned and it will never be judged or considered in the verdict. But as a woman, that is often the first question we are asked after reporting a sex crime. 

And as we all know, with sex crimes comes victim blaming and slut shaming. Because clearly they haven’t been through enough already. 

How many men do you know that are slut shamed for how many sexual partners they have had? It’s sad how not being labeled a whore is a privilege for certain people, rather than a basic human right. 

The reality is not pretty, but needs to be recognized. While I’m busy being taught how not to get raped, male students aren’t being taught to not rape. 

Men are also not warned near as much of the dangers of walking outside after dark or being in a parking garage alone. Some may not realize it, but being able to walk to your car after a night class without carrying pepper spray or looking over your shoulder every 10 steps, is a privilege not typically experienced by women. 

This issue has long outgrown the more obvious of male privileges, like being able to ride the light rail after dark, and has seeped into education and employment. I have to try twice as hard, if not more, to get the same promotion or job as my male counterpart. The more acclaimed the position is, the more the odds are skewed in favor of men. 

People like to attempt to refute this concept, but those attempts are petty and futile. The proof is in the paycheck pudding. A disturbingly high rate of companies across the nation, not to mention globally, are still not paying men and women equally for the same job. 

On top of the fact that I could be receiving the same pay grade as Bob down in the mailroom while I’m up in corporate, women are also much more likely to be sexually harassed in the workplace than a man.

According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, in 2012, female full-time workers made only 77 cents for every dollar earned by men, a gender wage gap of 23 percent. On average, women earn less than men in virtually every occupation for which there is sufficient earnings data for both men and women to calculate an earnings ratio.

Let’s go back in time for a moment, and think of our own childhoods. If you’re a female, odds are you were taught to be careful, timid and girly while our brothers and male friends were taught to explore, reach new heights and be rough and tough. 

When I make a mistake or do something clumsy it’s because I’m a woman, and when I tell people how bad I am at sports, the instant response is something along the lines of, “well you’re girl.” But when a man is terrible at driving or is having a bad day, it isn’t attributed to his sex or a bodily function.

The list goes on. It’s not about pointing out flaws in men or ignoring the privileges women have. It’s about acknowledging the fact that most privileges enjoyed by males are basic human rights that should not be unaccessible to the rest of the population. 

In response to “privileged Princeton kid” Tal Fortgang, a Jezebel Magazine blog writer under the pen name Violet Baudelaire wrote, “A privilege does not have to be something positive; it can simply be the lack of something negative.”

The greatest privilege of all, is being unaware of male privilege.