About 'Alpha+Good'

Alpha+Good (a bad wordplay on Orwell's "double plus good" and old machismo - I'm the realest after all) is a side project that belongs to 'Onklare taal' ('Unclear' or 'Unripe language'), the umbrella of several literary projects in Dutch.

This section is almost exclusively in English and comprises my ongoing thoughts on progress, gender, politics and various other social themes. Why is this in English why everything else in Dutch? Because I want to gun for a much wider audience here. Also, my literary English isn't good enough, otherwise I would always write in English.

Are you a little lost? This link will take you right back to my home page.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Ten male privileges

Generally, men are unaware of the systematic privileges they enjoy. It's one of the major obstacles to a fair discussion about sexism, because they can't seem to tell the difference between a commercial that depicts some man as a savage brute or a woman that gets harrassed on the street. While they will correctly conclude that both are inappropriate, they completely ignore that the disadvantages that women have to cope with are institutional, programmatic and systematic.

We've talked about privilege here before, and there's also a nugget devoted to it in the 'Progress 101' presentation that I made.

Someone recently pointed me towards this list. It attempts to list the typical instances of privilege that (white, heterosexual) men enjoy and while I didn't think it was bad per se, it did contain a few questionable points, and was generally pretty US-centric. So, I've tried to condense the list a little and put my own spin on it.

Here we go. As a heterosexual, white man:
  1. I have the privilege of being thought of as the default audience by most modern media, in terms of representation (see the Bechdel test, for example) as well as how a lot of things are advertised alongside beautiful women (male gaze).
  2. I have the privilege of not facing scrutiny for being ambitious, assertive or career-driven.
  3. I have the privilege that all major world religions are led by people of my own gender and that most of their scriptures, traditions and rituals accord me a position of power and respect, most notably over women.
  4. I have the privilege that my chances of being groped, catcalled, sexually harrassed or sexually assaulted in a public space are negligibly small.
  5. I have the privilege that discussions that relate to my achievements, opinions or personality is unlikely to be taken as emblematic for all men - I am usually seen as an individual.
  6. I have the privilege that people are unlikely to dismiss my opinions merely because I am a man.
  7. I have the privilege that most economic, political and academic systems disproportionally advantage people like me, or are entrenched in a culture that is more benign to people like me.
  8. I have the privilege that large parts of society do not value me solely on basis of how I look.
  9. I have the privilege that I can indulge in casual sex without being judged for it.
  10. I have the privilege to be unaware of my privilege and to be blind for the difficulties that others face on a systematic and day-to-day basis.