Why “Female Privilege List” Is Garbage
I’m sure many of you remember my deconstruction of the ridiculous “male privilege list” (if not, see here and here). Now I want to do the same for the “female privilege list” I found here. Before we begin, please note how this list is as filled with passive voice statements as the male privilege one.
1. I am physically able to give birth to another human being, and then do my best to mold her or him into the kind of person I choose.
Women spend over 40 years of their lives – the most productive years for any human being – worrying about getting pregnant. Since most of the women in the world are not that eager to give birth every year, this “privilege” becomes a harsh burden. And then what about all those women who are not physically able to give birth to another human being. The infertile, the menopausal, the transgender women. What does this make them? Men? Or shall we invent a third gender for them?
2. I am not automatically expected to be the family breadwinner.
The passive voice will drive me bananas one day. But leaving that aside, it is true that it’s easier for women in a few very rich countries to avoid working based on the shape of their genitals. This “privilege”, however, only favors those women who don’t want to develop professionally, intellectually, personally, socially, etc. Every other kind of woman suffers because of this “privilege.” How come, then, the list assigns as a privilege to all of us something that only a few are capable of wanting or enjoying?
3. I feel free to wear a wide variety of clothes, from jeans to skimpy shorts to dresses as appropriate, without fear of ridicule.
OK, this is plain weird. Since when are men not allowed to wear jeans? As for short shorts, in a wide variety of professional settings, neither men nor women can wear them. Women get ridiculed and slut-shamed for their clothes very very VERY often, so I’m not really sure what the idiot creator of this idiotic piece of arrant idiocy was trying to say here.
4. I can choose to remain seated to meet most people.
When was this written? In 1812? The habit of men getting up whenever women entered a room has been dead and gone for such a long time that not even my grandparents would have witnessed it.
5. I am not ashamed to ask for others’ perspectives on an issue.
The Dean and the Chair at my university keep sending out endless emails beseeching us to offer our perspective on a huge quantity of issues. I’m now realizing that they are not men, as I always supposed, but women who just don’t perform femininity very well. Or something. I have no other way to interpret this bizarre statement.
6. I feel free to exhibit a wide range of emotions, from tears to genuine belly laughter, without being told to shut up.
It’s undeniable that men find it harder to express emotions publicly. But this idea is worded in such a clumsy way that this item on the list bothers me as much as all others. Who on earth tells men to shut up when they laugh?
7. My stereotypical excesses in shopping, clothes, jewelry, personal care and consumption of chocolate usually are expected, even the source of jokes.
So it’s a privilege to be the butt of a joke. How great! I’m now extending to the list’s author an invitation to come to my blog where I will subject her to the kind of ridicule that will make her feel like the most privileged creature on Earth. As for all those “stereotypical” excesses in clothing and jewelry, the spoiled brat who wrote this stupid list cannot even imagine how many women around the world don’t buy any jewelry at all because they have no money for it. And then there are all those women who hate chocolate and dislike shopping for clothes or jewelry. They must be joining the ranks of men, too.
8. Public policies generally offer me an opportunity to bond with my offspring.
A very mysterious statement, indeed. Which public policies would those be? The fact that the maternity leave is non-existent in this country?
9. I am among the first to get off a sinking ship.
Yes, we can finally figure out the actual age of the list’s author. She must have been one of the people who survived the Titanic sinking. The old lady must have gotten batty in her dotage. Well, that’s old-age privilege, I guess. You can always enjoy senility for all it’s worth.
10. I can usually find someone with superior strength to help me overcome physically challenging obstacles, such as changing a tire or cutting a huge Christmas tree.
It is sad that this person hasn’t found anybody to help her overcome the huge intellectual obstacles she is facing. Men and women can all usually find companies that provide tree-cutting and tire-changing services. Last week, I had two people deliver my new bed and install it. They didn’t do it because they were men or had superior strength. Actually, I could have easily lifted either of them off the ground. The reason why they performed this service for me was not that I’m a woman but that I’m a customer who paid them to do it.
11. Changing my mind is seen as a birthright or prerogative.
OK, now this is getting really offensive. Has this loser ever heard words “date rape” and “spousal rape”? Is she aware of how phenomenally hard it is still to prosecute rape in court precisely because of the idea that women cannot change their mind and withdraw consent to sex? As for all other areas of life, I suggest she put her wallet where her dirty mouth is and announce at work, “I have changed my mind about performing this assignment because that is my birthright as a woman.” I will enjoy seeing how fast she will land in the street.
This is getting too long, so I will put the rest of the post under the fold. Make sure you read it because it’s very good.
12. I feel free to explore alternate career paths instead of being bound to a single career ladder.
If you honestly believe that the freedom to explore different career paths depends not on having money but on possessing a vagina, you need to have your head examined. One of the most constant readers of this blog, a brilliant, talented, highly educated woman, has been dying to change her career path but has been prevented from doing that by lack of resources. And believe it or not, the magical career-changing vagina has not been of any help to her whatsoever.
13. I am used to asking for help, around the kitchen table or the proverbial water cooler or the conference room.
Good for you. I, on the other hand, have had to struggle with my incapacity to ask for help to the point where I now have a psychoanalyst who is trying to fix this issue for me. I must be a man, too. It is starting to sound like you are the only woman on the planet.
14. People I’ve never met are inclined to hold doors open and give up their seats for me.
Unless you are physically disabled, I don’t see what is all that privileged about somebody holding a door open for you. As for giving up seats, this all stayed back on the Titanic.
15. I can be proud of the skill I have worked to develop at stretching limited financial resources.
So poverty is a privilege? Good to know, you condescending prick.
16. I am not ashamed of using alternatives to positional power to reach my goals.
Finally, I can happily exclude you from being a woman because I have no idea what positional power even is. How do you like that, you. . . man?
17. I know how to put a new roll of toilet paper in use and am not above doing it for the next person.
As ridiculous as this point on the list sounds, it is actually very important because it reveals the intention behind the use of the word “privilege” and the creation of these privilege lists. It is extremely enjoyable to imagine a huge group of people as being incompetent, useless, and stupid and to convince yourself of your own superiority based on this invented difference.
18. I am not ashamed to admit that the decisions I make reflect my personal values.
Neither do Obama, Romney, and every other male politician in existence. Those stupid broads!
19. I am not afraid to create and maintain honest relationships with others.
Oh, that sense of superiority is so sweet, especially when it’s so baseless. I’m guessing all those “others” are 100% female because if men can’t maintain honest relationships, not even the biggest, best-appointed vagina in the universe will save a relationship where honesty is one-sided and contempt for another human being so deep.
20. I do not fear being accused of having an ethic of care in my professional life.
You obviously don’t fear being accused of having very poor writing skills. I don’t know what your profession is and whether anybody would want to employ such an unintelligent creature, but in my profession, having my evaluations or recommendations say that I’m caring and nurturing would condemn me professionally. I guess if you had an actual job, you’d know that.
21. When I enter an office, I am likely to encounter those who can help me “in low places.”
OK, I will let my readers help me decipher this incomprehensible statement. What are these mysterious “low places” you encounter when entering offices? When I enter my own office, I don’t normally encounter anybody. Well, there was one dead bird once but it was hardly helpful.
22. I am more likely to get hugs than handshakes, depending on the situation.
And that is supposed to be a GOOD thing? Because all people invariably dig being groped as a form of greeting?
23. I am less likely to be seen as a threat, which allows me more subtle alternatives.
Why am I so cursed that I have to put up with such crappy writing in the midst of grading equally crappy writing by my students? Alternatives to what? And what the fuck is a subtle alternative?
24. I can use men’s “sheer fear of tears” to my advantage.
Life must be hard when you are so stupid. Don’t you see, you stupid thing, that this statement directly contradicts the previous one? If you can threaten a man with your tears, didn’t you just say that men can in turn threaten you with other things?
25. I can complain that these female privileges are relatively minor compared with the vast assortment of dominant male privileges, but I wouldn’t change places for the world.
And so we, the women, are stuck with idiots like you among our ranks. Yes, what a privilege!
What can we conclude from all these privilege lists (other than how useless the term “privilege” is, of course)? That all of these “privileges” only benefit people who can and want to follow the strictest traditional definition of gender roles. Any departure spells loss of this so-called privilege both for men and women. Those of us who, irrespective of our gender, don’t want our lives, choices, behaviors, beliefs, thoughts and feelings to be ruled by the shape of our genitals don’t enjoy any privileges whatsoever in the traditional system of gender roles. This isn’t about men having an easier existence than women or women having an easier existence than men. It is, rather, about a reality where people of both gender who comply with certain gender roles win out and those who don’t end up losing.
Let’s stop the gender wars, people. Seeing women / men as the enemy does not benefit you or me. It benefits the system of gender roles that hurts me and you.