Sunday, February 27, 2011

Why Gender Privilege Does Not Exist

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.

45 comments:

Rimi said...

Privilege is hardly a useless term because people with brains on permanent holidays abuse it by radical redefinition. If that were the case, several other words would be out of commission as well: 'racist', '(family) values', 'pro-life', 'choice', 'offence/offended', 'democracy', 'freedom', 'feminism', 'the 'free' market'.

I'd say to dismiss the politics of privilege because it has the potential to cut both ways would be ike cutting off our noses to spite our faces. After all, 'male privilege' is as much class-based as it is gender-based, something the poorly-constructed mainstream feminists frequently overlook.

The middle-class professional man does not enjoy male privileges to their fullest extent, just as the middle-class professional woman cannot really afford to paint her nails and watch television all day. She will have far too many domestic duties to perform. To use it in the way the media seems to use it really reflects the privileges of a long-bygone era, when even retired people could have a daily come in and do the grunge work*, so that a working woman was more of a statement of emancipation, than of dire financial need.

I really do dislike it when people take economics out of the 'rights' debate.

*a retired lady from the northern UK was telling me how her mother could employ a maid and a part-time gardener on her father's pension till the 60s, and now she has to work at two part-time jobs in the US just to make ends meet.

Melissa said...

I agree with your analysis and have been enjoying your blog, which I've recently discovered. "Privilege" is a limited concept, especially when it is deployed in the simplistic way you examine. That said, I think that thinking about privilege, especially in terms of racial privilege, is a pedagogically helpful first step. I've seen students get their minds blown the first time they meaningfully reflect on their own privilege, but it is not very helpful unless they are guided to analyze the system as a whole.

Tom Carter said...

"In this country, women in all professions are paid less than men for performing the same work." This is mostly bogus. There are all kinds of objective,non-feminist sources on the so-called pay gap, such as this one.

"I am routinely underpaid and discriminated in the workplace." Really? I'd be interested to know if at your university and in your department there's a male professor with your qualifications and length of service who is making more money than you are simply because he's a male. And in what specific ways are you discriminated against because you're female?

Clarissa said...

" I'd be interested to know if at your university and in your department there's a male professor with your qualifications and length of service who is making more money than you are simply because he's a male. "

-That's what I said, isn't it? I was hired at the same time with a male colleague who a) didn't have his PhD yet while I did; b) did not have work experience while I did; c) did not have a stack of publications while I did. At the moment of hire, he was offered a higher salary. So no, it's not "bogus."

Clarissa said...

" just as the middle-class professional woman cannot really afford to paint her nails and watch television all day. She will have far too many domestic duties to perform."

-In the US? I can't imagine what those domestic duties would be. Sticking the TV dinner into the microwave? :-) :-)

Charles Rowley said...

Clarissa:

Please do not resign your position in order to paint your nails! What a waste of a wonderful talent that would be! Universities are not-for-profit environments in which discrimination thrives. So it is no surprise that sometimes women are held down unjustifiably. But few real scholars teach and write for monetary returns alone. So, be proud of your talent, know your own worth, and earn what you can. And smile!

Clarissa said...

I'm not that into nail painting, so OK, I won't resign. :-)

Thank you, Charles!

Rimi said...

Probably a fair point. I'm still conditioned to see domesticity in older terms: making one's one bread, cooking daily, dusting twice a day, paying all bills by hand at each different office (cooking gas, electricity, cable, internet, phone...), and for mothers, arranging for private tutors, vocational classes, supervising homework. On top of all this keeping up with one's extended family and friends, and looking after all elderly relatives.

It's only when I really think about it do I realise how different concepts of lifestyle can be.

Spanish prof said...

Clarissa:

Even if I agreed with your description of stay at home women (which I do not), I think your post assumes that any women can have the "choice" to opt out of the work place, and that's simply not the case (at least in the US) and has not been for a while. As Rimi said, I think you are living "class" out of the equation.

Clarissa said...

What description of stay at home women?? We must be reading different posts. I only wrote about what I could do. First person singular. Where did you find a "description of stay at home women"?

As to class, I find it to be completely irrelevant. People marry into different classes all the time. I have a friend who is from an indigent immigrant class. She married an investment banker and now sits there doing her nails all day long. Again, notice that I used third person singular, not plural.

Anonymous said...

First - the New York Times will NOT applaud you for snoozing all day on the couch. It will applaud you for staying at home to take care of the husband, kiddies, and house. The fact that you may spend all your day on the couch eating bonbons is no different from a man at a "real" job who spends most of his day playing Angry Birds and posting on Facebook - he's NOT doing what he's paid to do, what he's supposed to do both as an employee and a man - but still getting away with it. Same for a stay-at-home mom/housewife: you're not MEANT to be lazing around eating bon-bons, you're shirking your duties to do so - and anyone can shirk their duties. In fact, an argument can be made that it's easier to do nothing at the office, with 500 other employees covering your trail. At home, on the other hand, if the floor is dirty - the floor is dirty...Either way, I promise you there aren't more women eating bon-bons on couches than there are working men (and women) who fritter away the working day doing nothing.

And then the question becomes - is it a privilege to be allowed/expected/applauded to stay at home and take care of your children, your husband, and your house, without accumulating any money, status, or achievements (other than said kids, husband, and home) to your own name? I dunno, I think we should look at what happens to such families after divorces (which, I remind you, affect 50% of marriages). And the statistics show it's pretty grim - women who were devoted to their hearth and home (or alternately were slovenly and raised kids on bon-bons and pop-tarts) are left with nothing and drop close to or below the poverty line, while the poor overworked males who supported them (and enjoyed clean clothes and homes, food on the table, organized social lives, not to mention the logistical nightmare of raising children that they were spared...) usually improve their financial position.


Also, I think you're a bit blinded by your class privilege: the whole "snoozing on the couch" thing is possible for a very very VERY narrow segment of the population. Most women always have and always will work - because they have to, not because they "want" to (the same is true, btw, for men).

It's just that while doing the thankless, unglamorous job that women who aren't comfortably middle class can't afford NOT to do - they'll be paid less than men, and then have to do the second shift (kids, housework, shopping, cooking) while their husbands don't (all the above statements, btw, are supported by research - the number of women who work, the types of jobs they work in, the distribution across class lines, the pay gap, who does the second shift, etc...)

See? only a very very VERY few women can take advantage of the "female privilege" of not working, while most men can take advantage of the male privilege of getting paid more.

Any other "female privileges" you'd like to discuss? because you know the list of male privileges is a bit longer than one statement that's true for a VERY small minority of the discussed sex...

I like your blog (although I think you're a bit eager to be approved of by Teh Menz), but I think that sometimes you dismiss a lot of feminist thought and criticism because your narrow experience doesn't support them, which is part of the famous "I ain't seen it, so it ain't so" school of thought...

- Gillian

Anonymous said...

Interesting.

But if there is no such thing as gender privilege, what exactly is the "patriarchy"?

Clarissa said...

" if there is no such thing as gender privilege, what exactly is the "patriarchy""

-It's a system that imposes rigid gender roles and forces people into certain lifestyles based on their physiological characteristics.

Clarissa said...

"First - the New York Times will NOT applaud you for snoozing all day on the couch. It will applaud you for staying at home to take care of the husband, kiddies, and house."

-Do you want me to find links to those NYTimes articles that celebrate extremely wealthy women for "opting out"? Women who don't clean and cook because they have a host of servants to do that for them? So you are wrong, quitting one's job will be celebrated by everybody as long as the person doing the quitting is a woman.

"and then have to do the second shift (kids, housework, shopping, cooking) while their husbands don't"

-Nobody has to do this "second shift" you talk about. Nobody. Some women choose to, but that's their choice. I have wrote at length why some women love infantilizing men and why so many women fall over themselves to do more than half of housework:

http://clarissasbox.blogspot.com/2009/10/infantilizing-men.html

http://clarissasbox.blogspot.com/2009/10/gender-and-housework.html

"I like your blog (although I think you're a bit eager to be approved of by Teh Menz)"

-One more hysterical outburst like this one and you can stop expecting me either to take your comments seriously or to respond to you. Use your brain for a change and realize that I have no way of knowing the gender of any of my readers.

April said...

Women who don't clean and cook because they have a host of servants to do that for them? So you are wrong, quitting one's job will be celebrated by everybody as long as the person doing the quitting is a woman.

I agree with your general thesis, but this is needlessly, and ignorantly, insulting. Quitting one's job does not mean sitting around doing nothing. Even if the person sitting around doing nothing is a woman, and definitely even if she's wealthy. If I were wealthy enough to afford to hire people to cook and clean for me, I would absolutely not eat bob bobs and lounge on the couch. I'd spend my new free time doing fun and productive things that give me pleasure and enrich my life. And I doubt I'm in the minority there.

NancyP said...

For 99% of women, the privilege of staying home for many years to raise children is also a ticket to poverty if the husband later wants a younger model or if the husband becomes abusive. Alimony is a thing of the past, and child support never amounts to actual expenses incurred. If nothing else, the payments don't take into account the staggering cost of daycare. Not all women have readily accessible family willing to do daycare for free, and the woman HAS to work because childcare payments are insufficient to house and feed both mother and child in the most modest semi-middle-class style.

Most women aren't married to hedge fund managers or corporate lawyers in blue-chip firms.

You are younger, still in love, and still not too clear about American working class and middle class culture and reality.

Spanish prof said...

"What description of stay at home women?? We must be reading different posts. I only wrote about what I could do. First person singular. Where did you find a "description of stay at home women"?"

OK, I apologize for misreading the personal pronoun and thinking you were generalizing.

But as class being completely irrelevant because people marry into different classes all the time, a) I don't think it happens that often. I tried to look into statistics, but since in America talking about social classes is a taboo, I couldn't find any concrete data. b) I was actually referring to the decline of the middle class household in America, where women who are already married do not have the "choice" to quit working to do whatever it suits them to do at home.

Clarissa said...

" If I were wealthy enough to afford to hire people to cook and clean for me, I would absolutely not eat bob bobs and lounge on the couch. I'd spend my new free time doing fun and productive things that give me pleasure and enrich my life."

-But, you see, I didn't write about you and what you would do. I wrote about me and what I would do. This is why I used the word "I" in the post. Which has been mentioned before. So I fail to understand what it is that you find so insulting about my fantasy about what I would do.

Clarissa said...

"where women who are already married do not have the "choice" to quit working to do whatever it suits them to do at home"

-That's great. Maybe little by little we will achieve equality. For now, however, the pressure to support a family is very much a male pressure.

Clarissa said...

"For 99% of women, the privilege of staying home for many years to raise children is also a ticket to poverty if the husband later wants a younger model or if the husband becomes abusive. "

-I know that. This is why I believe that housewifery is a horrible choice. And I blogged about it on many many occasions to the outrage of scores of people who came here to protest about how fantastic their hosewifely lifestyle are. So this should not be directed to be but rather to them. I happen to agree completely that castrating oneself socially and financially is a horrible horrible choice.

Dana said...

I don't see how the concept of male priviledge is mutually exclusive from patriachy hurting men too.

I think it *sucks* that we (societally) are so unsupportive of men as primary caregivers - though in NZ we are significantly better than the US. I hate the way men are utterly disallowed from being remotely "feminine". But that doesn't change the reality that men can persue most careers without harassment (nurses etc may have harassment from "friends" and aquaintances but will get nothing but support and admiration from their workplace), are not really expected to parent (though obviously that sucks for guys who really want to), are paid more to do the same job, are chosen preferentially for jobs, pay rises and positions of responsibility.

The main thing that I see as "priviledge" though is the ability to go through life without threat of attack simply for existing, people assuming you are incapable and generally patronising attitudes many men just don't see because it's not their reality.

It doesn't mean any individual man has it easier than any individual woman. But all else being equal, a women will generally have been forced to recognise discrimination in their lifetime, where a man may well not have.

People take the concept of "privilege" as being an attack on the privileged party. It's not. If you have not lived as female/not white/gay/trans, you are not going to have the same grasp of what it means to be in one of those groups.

P.S. This was not as succinct as I'd like and I've only read half the comments, but my lunchbreak is nearly over so I'll come back later. :P

Clarissa said...

"people assuming you are incapable and generally patronising attitudes many men just don't see because it's not their reality"

-Really? Think about the emotional sphere, personal lives, parenting, relationships, etc. Aren't men routinely presented as completely incapable in these areas and patronized to death in them?

Some examples: http://clarissasbox.blogspot.com/2010/04/infantilizing-men-contd.html

Danny said...

Feminism got itself into a dead-end when it chose to analyze the workings of patriarchy in terms of gender privilege.
Actually I think they were fine at that point. In my opinion the dead end came when they started trying to make black and white declarations like "men as a class have privilege and women as a class do not". In short they went and wove male and female into the very definition of gender privilege (and have done the same with sexism).

So now when they do acknowledge how the system harms men they kinda sound like they are backpedaling. Hence lipservicing terms like "(Oh yeah I forgot) Patriarchy Hurts Men Too (there I said it now shut up evil male oppressor)".

-Really? Think about the emotional sphere, personal lives, parenting, relationships, etc. Aren't men routinely presented as completely incapable in these areas and patronized to death in them?
That plus when's the last time you've heard about a woman being assumed to be a child predator for simply being around children or being interested in being around children (even one's own children?)?

Dana:
People take the concept of "privilege" as being an attack on the privileged party. It's not. If you have not lived as female/not white/gay/trans, you are not going to have the same grasp of what it means to be in one of those groups.
While people may not mean for it to come off as an attack that is just what happens. You're basically trying to tell people who are a part of those "privilege" groups that you know their lives better than they do and when they question it you point to language that has already been defined to your liking.

The main thing that I see as "priviledge" though is the ability to go through life without threat of attack simply for existing, people assuming you are incapable and generally patronising attitudes many men just don't see because it's not their reality.
So along with Clarissa's "Really? Think about the emotional sphere, personal lives, parenting, relationships, etc. Aren't men routinely presented as completely incapable in these areas and patronized to death in them?" and being assumed to only want to be around kids to hurt them, and only being adept at sports because of one's size, being assumed that you're just looking for sex all the time, being told that you deserve to be assumed to be a sexual predator, being told that if you are attacked you deserve it, etc....none of that is a part of a man's reality? Is that what you're saying?

Look I'm not trying to say that there is no such thing as gender privilege that favors men but what I am saying is that its getting rather tiresome listening to people try to twist reality to create the illusion that gender privilege only benefits men.

Clarissa said...

" In my opinion the dead end came when they started trying to make black and white declarations like "men as a class have privilege and women as a class do not"."

-Exactly!!!

Love the rest of the comment too.

David said...

The grass is always greener on the other side, ain't it?

J. said...

I'm not convinced I agree with you here, but on the other hand I want to go away and think about this, because it's an intriguing thought and one I had not considered...

I definitely don't think privilege is EVERYTHING, nor that it should be the entire measure by which feminism is examined, and I do value the idea that patriarchy is a two-edged sword...but on the other hand, I don't know what to call the dominance of males in rules-of-society-making positions, making rules which they think are fair and just for all (but missing the boat because of their complete lack of reference), if not "privilege."

Help?

Clarissa said...

Can you give an example of these rules?

Pen said...

I think a lot of people are mixing gender privilege and gender bias. Aren't they two different things? I guess what I'm trying to say is in my mind, gender bias--or discrimination--causes the belief in or illusion of gender privilege. Reading the comments, I see it isn't always made clear in personal definitions of "privilege."

Anonymous said...

"-Do you want me to find links to those NYTimes articles that celebrate extremely wealthy women for "opting out"

That's less that 1% of the population. Do we want to talk about them in a conversation that supposed to apply to an entire sex? also - again, they're not applauded for just staying in the house and doing nothing. They're supposed to be raising children, which is hard work.

"Nobody has to do this "second shift" you talk about. Nobody. Some women choose to, but that's their choice." Ah. So 80% if women choose to do the majority of housework and childcare because....it's biology? it's their nature? or is there some sort of social pressure (including New York Times articles that tell you what a wonderful wonderful wonderful person you are for taking care of your children and home full-time) that pushes women into these positions?

"One more hysterical outburst like this one and you can stop expecting me either to take your comments seriously or to respond to you. Use your brain for a change and realize that I have no way of knowing the gender of any of my readers."

Ah. Hysterical. And that's not sexist, is it? calling someone hysterical for disagreeing with you? and Teh Menz you're trying to please aren't your readers - they're men in general. Y'know, The Patriarchy in which you disbelieve. Use your brains for a change, and realize that not everything refers to the immediate here and now, you and me, and the readers looking at this RIGHT NOW. Otherwise this argument would look very different, if only because I'm a woman, I test in the upper 99th percentile in IQ, I earn in the 99th percentile in a male-dominated industry, and I supported a house-husband for years before we divorced - so nothing of what we discuss here is relevant to me personally.

And if we're spreading links - http://www.thejournal.ie/readme/the-secret-regrets-of-a-stay-at-home-mum/

Written by one of the women who stayed at home to eat bon-bons all day.

And btw, I know you think housewifery is a horrible choice - you wrote that yourself just above. So - is it a meal ticket to a golden future and a female privilege, or is it a horrible choice? it really can't be both...

- Gillian

Clarissa said...

"gender bias--or discrimination--causes the belief in or illusion of gender privilege."

-I think that's exactly what happens.

Brian said...

I don't think what you're describing means that privilege is a bad model. It's that it's being applied badly. Lots of what gets lumped in as "male privilege" is really much more like "gender compliance privilege"; people who follow their gender roles are privileged in trying to obtain the outcomes their gender role dictates they ought to want.

To try and push everything into "male privilege" means you have to assume that what men are supposed to want is preferable. It doesn't always pan out (and in practice, often comes across to me as strangely misogynistic.) But so few people who think about gender seem really invested in getting both gender experiences right. See Dana suggesting that men don't get attacked just for being men, or Tom being incredulous that you'd be discriminated against trying to follow a stereotypically male path.

Are there really any open-ended gender privileges, where getting all outcomes is favoured to one gender over the other? I'm not totally sure. For the most part, what gets labelled male privilege certainly seems to me to demand that I want the stereotypically masculine desire. But I might be missing something (and obviously, have finite experience.)

Clarissa said...

" Lots of what gets lumped in as "male privilege" is really much more like "gender compliance privilege"; people who follow their gender roles are privileged in trying to obtain the outcomes their gender role dictates they ought to want."

-That makes a lot of sense. A lot. If you comply with what you are supposed to be and do, you get rewarded by the system. If not, you get beat down. This is definitely how it works.

J. said...

On the one hand (re gender compliance privilege), this makes a LOT of sense and is making me reframe my thinking a bit...

...but, if the system says that what I am supposed to be is weaker and less intelligent, and what I am supposed to do is take care of a man and let him make the decisions for me, that frames it all a little differently, and for me reintroduces the "dominant-part-of-the-dyad" privilege part...

Okay, you asked earlier about "rule-making"--I accept that I may need to concede on that note a little bit, because the "gender compliance" part negates most of the law issues I can come up with. Like affordable child care, health care, etc.

BUT...along those same lines, suppose a man and a woman have a baby. And he does his Man (gender-compliant) Thing and works to support them, and she does her Woman Thing and stays home. And suppose he decides, hell with this, I'm out of here, and takes off. She has no job, likely no skills to get one if she's been gender-compliant up till now, but the responsibility for the child is legally hers.

In a way, it's not THAT different from if SHE took off and left him with the baby--the main difference being he has the job skills to support himself and the child, maybe, if he's been properly gender-compliant, but she does not.

Is this not privilege at work? (That's a serious question, not a smartass one, I'm trying to figure out if I've been defining it wrong all this time.)

Another much sillier example of a "rule," this one grammatical--using "he" and "men" to refer to gender neutral situations as well as strictly masculine situations; i.e. masculine pronoun as normative, whereas "she" and "women" refers only to females, i.e. only used to deviate from the assumed norm. THAT seems like pretty textbook privilege.

(Context: I work professionally under the umbrella of the oh-so-gender-generous Roman Catholic Church. Trust me, sexism and privilege are hard at work and thriving here, and my lack of penis is a severe impediment to being taken seriously. I'm trying to get OUT of here and INTO academia in the hopes of landing someplace where the ceiling is at least made of glass and not of cast iron.)
--J

Clarissa said...

Of course, the traditional path of staying home and taking care of the baby might not work out for a woman. But the traditional male role of going out there and being the bread-winner might not work out for a man. He might be laid-off which would be as disastrous for him in terms of fulfilling his social role as for this traditional woman to be dumped by her husband. He would be worse off financially, of course. While the woman who was dumped will still get child support, the laid-off person will soon not be able to count on any unemployment benefits at all.

"using "he" and "men" to refer to gender neutral situations as well as strictly masculine situations; i.e. masculine pronoun as normative, whereas "she" and "women" refers only to females"

-This example is quite outdated in North America.

Good luck with getting into academia, J.! We need more intelligent people like you.

Sara said...

"See? only a very very VERY few women can take advantage of the "female privilege" of not working, while most men can take advantage of the male privilege of getting paid more."

You mean the majority of people, who happen to be poor, and make minimum wage? Those people don't get "paid more". There is no wage negotiation at this level, that I know of.

I'm below working class, and can enjoy the privilege of not working. Our total household income is 14k$ a year. Though he's also not working (recession made us both jobless).

Don't have kids, can't have kids. Probably won't ever be allowed to adopt either. If they ban gay people from adopting, I don't imagine they'll allow trans people to adopt.

He cooks also, because he likes to cook (he's also significantly better than me). I don't do dusting, and both of us are not social, and care very little about our extended families. Our elders are fine, or dead.

Household chores, if he worked, would be 1:30 to 3 hours a day, tops. The rest playing videogames. And yes, it's fulfilling for me.

We don't iron, or dust. We do normal laundry once a week, should wash floors about once a week, too. And bed sheets once a week. Broom every day if possible. Glass stuff once a week, Pledge on wood surfaces once a week.

All this together doesn't even total 20 hours. And much of it is the washing machine doing the work. And I could get away with doing much less than this.

Got no car, so we go get groceries together.

Clarissa said...

An excerpt from a very good post on this subject:
As a woman …

1. I have a much lower chance of being murdered than a man.
2. I have a much lower chance of being driven to successfully commit suicide than a man.
3. I have a lower chance of being a victim of a violent assault than a man.
4. I have probably been taught that it is acceptable to cry.
5. I will probably live longer than the average man.
6. Most people in society probably will not see my overall worthiness as a person being exclusively tied to how high up in the hierarchy I rise.
7. I have a much better chance of being considered to be a worthy mate for someone, even if I’m unemployed with little money, than a man.
8. I am given much greater latitude to form close, intimate friendships than a man is.
9. My chance of suffering a work-related injury or illness is significantly lower than a man’s.
10. My chance of being killed on the job is a tiny fraction of a man’s.
11. If I shy away from fights, it is unlikely that this will damage my standing in my peer group or call into question my worthiness as a sex partner.
12. I am not generally expected to be capable of violence. If I lack this capacity, this will generally not be seen as a damning personal deficiency.
13. If I was born in North America since WWII, I can be almost certain that my genitals were not mutilated soon after birth, without anesthesia.
14. If I attempt to hug a friend in joy, it’s much less likely that my friend will wonder about my sexuality or pull away in unease.
15. If I seek a hug in solace from a close friend, I’ll have much less concern about how my friend will interpret the gesture or whether my worthiness as a member of my gender will be called into question.
16. I generally am not compelled by the rules of my sex to wear emotional armor in interactions with most people.
17. I am frequently the emotional center of my family.
18. I am allowed to wear clothes that signify ‘vulnerability’, ‘playful openness’, and ’softness’.
19. I am allowed to BE vulnerable, playful, and soft without calling my worthiness as a human being into question.
20. If I interact with other people’s children — particularly people I don’t know very well — I do not have to worry much about the interaction being misinterpreted.
21. If I have trouble accommodating to some aspects of gender demands, I have a much greater chance than a man does of having a sympathetic audience to discuss the unreasonableness of the demand, and a much lower chance that this failure to accommodate will be seen as signifying my fundamental inadequacy as a member of my gender.
22. I am less likely to be shamed for being sexually inactive than a man.
23. From my late teens through menopause, for most levels of sexual attractiveness, it is easier for me to find a sex partner at my attractiveness level than it is for a man.
24. My role in my child’s life is generally seen as more important than the child’s father’s role.

http://www.feministcritics.org/blog/2008/06/08/female-privilege/

Heather. said...

Thank you for your excellent example of upper class privilege.

Clarissa said...

Heather, I'm an immigrant from a 3rd World country. Try to read before you post unintelligent comments, OK?

Anonymous said...

Class is not an immutable quality. In this country you occupy a position of privilege. If you want your arguments taken seriously you should stop attempting unintelligent refutations.

Clarissa said...

So in this country immigrants are privileged? Are you sure we are located in the same country?

I actually don't want my arguments taken seriously by fools who come here to announce to an immigrant that she is privileged and upper class.

David said...

But Clarissa, everything you do drips with so much genetic privilege. I mean, you're so smart and hardworking and that is hardly normal.

/end sarcasm.

Clarissa said...

:-) :-) :-)

People really get angry when asked to explain what this "privilege" thing means. because it means nothing.

Anonymous said...

Good call on the wider neo-Calvinist obsession within modern feminism - with everything revolving around a culture of WORK, and WORK deemed good for it's own sake...

Feminism has "prescribed" work as a cure-all.

Isn't life somewhat more complicated (and well-rounded) than this?

Clarissa said...

Work is good for its own sake. Work turns monkeys into human beings. Absence of work turns people into monkeys. If you are here to defend well-rounded lives of housewives, then you really came to the wrong place.

Anonymous said...

As a man, I am grateful for this post.

May I suggest one improvement, however? Instead of “Patriarchy,” which has become a violent term, might we simply call this social structure “traditional” or something like that?