I have always said that "privilege" is a meaningless, useless, empty concept which is employed by people with lazy brains whenever they want to avoid any attempt at analysis. Let me use the mythical "gender privilege" to demonstrate that privilege is non-existent.
As a woman, I am routinely underpaid and discriminated in the workplace. In this country, women in all professions are paid less than men for performing the same work. This is disgusting, unfair, and wrong. When you experience it yourself, as I did, it is also very painful. So is that male privilege at work? You could say so if it weren't for one little thing. I could quit my job today and spend the rest of my life painting my nails and snoozing on the couch while my husband would exercise his male privilege to pay all of my bills, bear the financial responsibility for both of us, stress out about the competition in the workplace and the danger of being laid-off, and die several years earlier than I do.
If I decided to exercise my female privilege never to work for a living again, everybody would applaud this decision. The New York Times routinely celebrates women who "opt out" of the workplace. "Choice feminists" keep screeching that women should have the right to choose to be kept by men their entire lives. If a man chose to stay at home permanently doing his nails and snoozing in front of a soap opera, there would be no similar social acclaim and support for him. He'd be a laughing stock and an object of derision for the rest of his life.
Feminism got itself into a dead-end when it chose to analyze the workings of patriarchy in terms of gender privilege. Only when we recognize that patriarchy benefits both men and women while at the same time causing great harm to both men and women, will we be able to move ahead. This is a system that has existed for such a long time because it offers huge rewards to people whom it oppresses. It's time we stopped all senseless blabber about privilege and started recognizing that.