You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Privilege’ tag.

fish“The oppressive effect of privilege is often so insidious that dominant groups complain whenever it’s brought up for discussion. They feel impatient and imposed on. “Come on,” they say, “stop whining. Things aren’t that bad. Maybe they used to be, but not anymore. It’s time to move on. Get over it” But people who are white or heterosexual or male or nondisabled or middle- or upper-class have to ask themselves how they would know how bad it really is to be a person of color or a lesbian or a woman or gay or disabled or working- or lower-class. What life experience, for example, would qualify a white person to know the day-to-day reality of racism? People of color are, by comparison, experts in the dynamics of race privilege, because they live with the oppressive consequences of it twenty-four hours a day.”
— Allan G. Johnson

I’m reading Kimmel’s book GuyLand and I shudder to think of what I would be if I had engaged in the sort of crap that constitutes the typical male maturation process.


privilegecap    You know what privilege is?  It’s not having to expend the mental energy to do certain things or even having to think about doing certain thing.   Another fun fact your perceptions and reactions are yours and yours alone and as a general rule of thumb should *not* be generalized other people.   Let’s take a look at just one small etymology of one of the most simplest and most common words in the English language.  The word “No”.

“Women are socialized to make men feel good. We’re socialized to “let you down easy.” We’re not socialized to say a clear and direct “no.” We’re socialized to speak in hints and boost egos and let people save face. People who don’t respect the social contract (rapists, predators, assholes, pickup artists) are good at taking advantage of this. “No” is something we have to learn. “No” is something we have to earn. In fact, I’d argue that the ability to just say “no” to something, without further comment, apology, explanation, guilt, or thinking about it is one of the great rites of passage in growing up, and when you start saying it and saying it regularly the world often pushes back. And calls you names.”

The art of “no.” «

If there is so much that goes into saying “no” for women, does it not follow that other tasks and routines in society are also significantly different for women as well.  Yes Dudes, I’m talking to you – take half a minute and think about what your life might be like if saying “NO” is this much of fucking big deal.

Now dear Equalists and Humanists tell me another frakking story about how we share a “common experience” in society and how your prescriptions are going to fix the patriarchal bullshit that pervades our culture.  This idea of a completely similar shared experience needs to die a quick and painful death because it erases the experiences of one gender and invalidates attempts to fix and modify the sexist and patriarchal fabric of our society.


Cameron Russell shows us the power of image and how our perceptions shape our reality.

Tim Wise has many things to say on the topic of racism in America.  His analysis is deft and competent, I reprint the introduction to his essay “Getting What We Deserve? Wealth, Race and Entitlement in America” for the benefit of the education of my readership.  Educational purposes aside, many of the complaints/justifications that seem to come up in the comments section of DWR are mentioned in this essay, and are given a thorough rebuttal and explanation.  I may dedicate a page to the entire essay for sake of easy reference.

Everywhere you turn, conservatives are bemoaning the so-called “mentality of entitlement.”

“To hear such folks tell it, the problem with America is that people think they’re owed something. Of course, income support programs, nutritional assistance, or housing subsidies have long been pilloried by the right for this reason — because they ostensibly encourage people to expect someone else (in this case, the government, via the American taxpayer) to support them. But now, the criticisms that were once reserved for programs aimed at helping the poor are being applied even to programs upon which much of the middle class has come to rely, like Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment insurance.

Increasingly one hears conservative politicians and commentators arguing for cuts in these efforts as well, and critiquing those who rely on them for health care, retirement, or income in-between jobs. To the right, the elderly and unemployed apparently refuse to do for self. They aren’t far-sighted enough, one supposes, to invest their money in a high-growth (and high-risk) private retirement plan; they aren’t responsible enough to purchase good health care, and they’d prefer to sit at home collecting a couple hundred dollars a week in unemployment insurance than find a job that might support them and their families. In other words, there’s something wrong with these people: they’re lazy, have the wrong mindset, and need to get out there and show initiative, presumably the way rich people do.


Though this critique is not solely aimed at persons of color, there is little doubt but that the history of growing opposition to social safety net efforts — which were wildly popular among most whites from the 1930s through most of the 1960s — mirrors, almost perfectly, the time period during which black and brown folks began to gain access, for the first time, to such programs. While blacks, for instance, were largely excluded from Social Security for the first twenty years of its existence, and while very few people of color could access cash benefits until the 1960s, by the 1970s, the rolls of such programs had been opened up, and the public perception was increasingly that those people were the ones using (and abusing) the programs. So in large part, the critique of “entitlement” has been bound up with a racialized narrative of the deserving and undeserving, which can be seen, in many ways, as a racist meme.

But if we look and listen closely, what we discover is that the mentality of entitlement and expectation is far more embedded among the affluent and among whites than among the poor or people of color.”

I’ve researched a little into the topic of Heteronormativity in our culture.  It is a big word, but really it just means the structural framework of how we view women and men in our culture and the roles and expectations we define as normal and how these roles should be performed.  All fine and dandy right?  In reality, not so much.  It does not take much to transform gender roles into gender stereotypes and beginning the process of ordering people into their “proper” gender identities based on their actions and appearance.

Being an outlier on the hetronormative scale invites a variety of negative responses ranging from quizzical looks and questions all the way to profane gendered slurs.   Concepts like heteronormativity and Patriarchy, if you are part of the dominant majority, are sometimes very hard to see or even conceptualize.  It is only until you breach a perceived norm (as a member of the privileged class, if you’re in the underclass you get oppressed by default 24/7) do things start to go sideways.  I came to this little discovery point about twenty some years ago for something as basic as choice of adornment.


The cause of some controversy? :>

Having worn a gold rings on my index toes for some twenty years now let me assure you that I have received compliments all the way to outright hostility for a simple choice of jewelry.  One of the most common responses I get is “Hey, aren’t toe rings for girls?”  to which I usually reply to my (almost always) male questioner, “Hey aren’t earrings for girls?”. Which usually makes them stop and think for a bit as the realization that the cultural validity of gendered practices is not static, but rather quite fluid in nature.   Okay, well I hope they realize this, but most of the time they, just repeat their first comment again (they having just passed a heteronormative judgment), to which I reply, “I think they look cool, and thanks for asking,” and politely steer the conversation elsewhere.

Less judicious or enlightened  individuals have often questioned my sexuality dropping the familiar hetro-bomb, “Are you gay?” with the word gay dripping with scorn and derision.  Does wearing toe rings make you gay?  It has not worked yet, and I would not be particularly worried if it did because like most decisions of this nature, first and foremost it is my choice.  And I choose the gendered slurs and disapprobation  from various sources because when it comes down to it, it is their problem, not mine.  I can come to this conclusion precisely because I am a member of the dominant class and still retain enough of my privilege so that my outlier choices do not negatively effect my social status much over all.

Still think that patriarchy and privilege are not integral parts of our society?  Push your “normal” gender role a bit just to see, as an experiment,  how closely heteronormative norms are enforced, I dare ya.  :)

  Men are not supposed to do nail polish either.  I say bollocks to heternomativity. :)

Men are not supposed to do nail polish either. I say bollocks to heternomativity. :)

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