The Male Privilege Checklist

An Unabashed Imitation of an article by Peggy McIntosh

In 1990, Wellesley College professor Peggy McIntosh wrote an essay called “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”. McIntosh observes that whites in the U.S. are “taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group.” To illustrate these invisible systems, McIntosh wrote a list of 26 invisible privileges whites benefit from.

As McIntosh points out, men also tend to be unaware of their own privileges as men. In the spirit of McIntosh’s essay, I thought I’d compile a list similar to McIntosh’s, focusing on the invisible privileges benefiting men.

Due to my own limitations, this list is unavoidably U.S. centric. I hope that writers from other cultures will create new lists, or modify this one, to reflect their own experiences.

Since I first compiled it, the list has been posted many times on internet discussion groups. Very helpfully, many people have suggested additions to the checklist. More commonly, of course, critics (usually, but not exclusively, male) have pointed out men have disadvantages too – being drafted into the army, being expected to suppress emotions, and so on. These are indeed bad things – but I never claimed that life for men is all ice cream sundaes.

Obviously, there are individual exceptions to most problems discussed on the list. The existence of individual exceptions does not mean that general problems are not a concern.

Pointing out that men are privileged in no way denies that bad things happen to men. Being privileged does not mean men are given everything in life for free; being privileged does not mean that men do not work hard, do not suffer. In many cases – from a boy being bullied in school, to soldiers selecting male civilians to be executed, to male workers dying of exposure to unsafe chemicals – the sexist society that maintains male privilege also immeasurably harms boys and men.

However, although I don’t deny that men suffer, this post is focused on advantages men experience.

Several critics have also argued that the list somehow victimizes women. I disagree; pointing out problems is not the same as perpetuating them. It is not a “victimizing” position to acknowledge that injustice exists; on the contrary, without that acknowledgment it isn’t possible to fight injustice.

An internet acquaintance of mine once wrote, “The first big privilege which whites, males, people in upper economic classes, the able bodied, the straight (I think one or two of those will cover most of us) can work to alleviate is the privilege to be oblivious to privilege.” This checklist is, I hope, a step towards helping men to give up the “first big privilege.”

The Male Privilege Checklist

1. My odds of being hired for a job, when competing against female applicants, are probably skewed in my favor. The more prestigious the job, the larger the odds are skewed.

2. I can be confident that my co-workers won’t think I got my job because of my sex – even though that might be true. (More).

3. If I am never promoted, it’s not because of my sex.

4. If I fail in my job or career, I can feel sure this won’t be seen as a black mark against my entire sex’s capabilities.

5. I am far less likely to face sexual harassment at work than my female co-workers are. (More).

6. If I do the same task as a woman, and if the measurement is at all subjective, chances are people will think I did a better job.

7. If I’m a teen or adult, and if I can stay out of prison, my odds of being raped are relatively low. (More).

8. On average, I am taught to fear walking alone after dark in average public spaces much less than my female counterparts are.

9. If I choose not to have children, my masculinity will not be called into question.

10. If I have children but do not provide primary care for them, my masculinity will not be called into question.

11. If I have children and provide primary care for them, I’ll be praised for extraordinary parenting if I’m even marginally competent. (More).

12. If I have children and a career, no one will think I’m selfish for not staying at home.

13. If I seek political office, my relationship with my children, or who I hire to take care of them, will probably not be scrutinized by the press.

14. My elected representatives are mostly people of my own sex. The more prestigious and powerful the elected position, the more this is true.

15. When I ask to see “the person in charge,” odds are I will face a person of my own sex. The higher-up in the organization the person is, the surer I can be.

16. As a child, chances are I was encouraged to be more active and outgoing than my sisters. (More).

17. As a child, I could choose from an almost infinite variety of children’s media featuring positive, active, non-stereotyped heroes of my own sex. I never had to look for it; male protagonists were (and are) the default.

18. As a child, chances are I got more teacher attention than girls who raised their hands just as often. (More).

19. If my day, week or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether or not it has sexist overtones.

20. I can turn on the television or glance at the front page of the newspaper and see people of my own sex widely represented.

21. If I’m careless with my financial affairs it won’t be attributed to my sex.

22. If I’m careless with my driving it won’t be attributed to my sex.

23. I can speak in public to a large group without putting my sex on trial.

24. Even if I sleep with a lot of women, there is no chance that I will be seriously labeled a “slut,” nor is there any male counterpart to “slut-bashing.” (More).

25. I do not have to worry about the message my wardrobe sends about my sexual availability. (More).

26. My clothing is typically less expensive and better-constructed than women’s clothing for the same social status. While I have fewer options, my clothes will probably fit better than a woman’s without tailoring. (More).

27. The grooming regimen expected of me is relatively cheap and consumes little time. (More).

28. If I buy a new car, chances are I’ll be offered a better price than a woman buying the same car. (More).

29. If I’m not conventionally attractive, the disadvantages are relatively small and easy to ignore.

30. I can be loud with no fear of being called a shrew. I can be aggressive with no fear of being called a bitch.

31. I can ask for legal protection from violence that happens mostly to men without being seen as a selfish special interest, since that kind of violence is called “crime” and is a general social concern. (Violence that happens mostly to women is usually called “domestic violence” or “acquaintance rape,” and is seen as a special interest issue.)

32. I can be confident that the ordinary language of day-to-day existence will always include my sex. “All men are created equal,” mailman, chairman, freshman, he.

33. My ability to make important decisions and my capability in general will never be questioned depending on what time of the month it is.

34. I will never be expected to change my name upon marriage or questioned if I don’t change my name.

35. The decision to hire me will not be based on assumptions about whether or not I might choose to have a family sometime soon.

36. Every major religion in the world is led primarily by people of my own sex. Even God, in most major religions, is pictured as male.

37. Most major religions argue that I should be the head of my household, while my wife and children should be subservient to me.

38. If I have a wife or live-in girlfriend, chances are we’ll divide up household chores so that she does most of the labor, and in particular the most repetitive and unrewarding tasks. (More).

39. If I have children with my girlfriend or wife, I can expect her to do most of the basic childcare such as changing diapers and feeding.

40. If I have children with my wife or girlfriend, and it turns out that one of us needs to make career sacrifices to raise the kids, chances are we’ll both assume the career sacrificed should be hers.

41. Assuming I am heterosexual, magazines, billboards, television, movies, pornography, and virtually all of media is filled with images of scantily-clad women intended to appeal to me sexually. Such images of men exist, but are rarer.

42. In general, I am under much less pressure to be thin than my female counterparts are. (More). If I am fat, I probably suffer fewer social and economic consequences for being fat than fat women do. (More).

43. If I am heterosexual, it’s incredibly unlikely that I’ll ever be beaten up by a spouse or lover. (More).

44. Complete strangers generally do not walk up to me on the street and tell me to “smile.” (More: 1 2).

45. Sexual harassment on the street virtually never happens to me. I do not need to plot my movements through public space in order to avoid being sexually harassed, or to mitigate sexual harassment. (More.)

45. On average, I am not interrupted by women as often as women are interrupted by men. (More.)

46. I have the privilege of being unaware of my male privilege.

(Compiled by Barry Deutsch, aka “Ampersand.” Permission is granted to reproduce this list in any way, for any purpose, so long as the acknowledgment of Peggy McIntosh’s work is not removed. If possible, I’d appreciate it if folks who use it would tell me how they used it; my email is barry.deutsch@gmail.com.)

(This is an occasionally updated document; the most current version of The Male Privilege Checklist can always be found at amptoons.com/blog/the-male-privilege-checklist . The views expressed here, which I started writing in 2001, unavoidably fail to precisely express my current views; that’s life, isn’t it? To see posts discussing the Male Privilege Checklist and various items on it, please visit this archive page).

* * *

Related links

For another feminist list with a different thematic approach, see Andrea Rubenstein’s “Think We’ve Already Achieved Equality? Think Again.

A list of links to many other “privilege lists.”

1,110 Responses to The Male Privilege Checklist

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  11. 111
    James says:

    I don’t agree with no. 6, because the fact is the expectation is lower for women (because of the whole sexism thing) and so people are generally more surprised when they find that women can do anything and everything a man can, apart from create semen of course xD

    Also no. 18 is dodgy, because there is solid proof that girls are doing better in British schools because they are less obstrictive, which does mean that boys who are obstructuve get more attention, but it’s not helpful attention atall.

    No. 26 is iffy, because women have a much wider variety of shapes than men, so it will be harder to get a “one-size-fits-all” womens outfits, than mens.

    I feel really bad about no.38, since that is kinda the way it is in our house… :( Though no 39 doesn’t ring true in our house.

    And the final one is incredibly true. Till recently I had never thought about it either…

    A very good read, though I don’t know if the people who need to read it will find it or even bother to read it.

  12. 112
    Azkyroth says:

    25. I do not have to worry about the message my wardrobe sends about … my gender conformity.

    This one’s not actually true, mainly in the form of pressure on men to avoid dressing “gay.”

    The rest of the list is spot-on, though I’m not finding much here I wasn’t already aware of.

  13. 113
    Liam says:

    One for the female prejudice checklist:

    I can refuse to show interest in a good-looking man without having my sexuality called into question.

    As a guy, there is lots of pressure to focus on physicality, and among many guys, it is assumed that if she’s good looking, you should try and go out with her/sleep with her, even if you feel you’ve got nothing in common, or aren’t attracted romantically/spiritually.

    And on the subject of language (“mankind”, “man-handling”, “chairman”), I think people are a bit over-sensitised. When we talk about “mankind”, of course we are not implying that everyone on the planet is a man – in this context, the term “man” is being used to refer to “people”.

    God is usually referred to as He, yes, but again, it’s arbitrary. Somehow “it” is a lot less personal. Mother Earth is always portrayed as a female, but I am in no way bitter about this, because I know that in reality, the Earth is genderless, and it is just a convention that we use. Likewise, ships are always female.

    Other than these points, this was an enlightening post – thank you.

  14. 114
    Freemage says:

    I’m a bit curious about #9–at a minimum, I think it’s narrow to say that that’s a male privilege, as opposed to a middle- and upper-class white male privilege (where it’s easier to establish your bona fides as a provider and alpha male through work, for instance). In working-class and impoverished communities of all ethnicities, a man who hasn’t managed to spawn by his mid-20s is often accused of “shooting blanks” by family and peers; if he’s not with a woman at that point in his life, he’s also suspected of being gay, even if he’s had girlfriends in the past.

  15. 115
    Phil says:

    I think the point, Liam, is not that listeners mistakenly think that someone using the term “mankind” is suggesting there are no women in the world. Rather, the problem is the use of maleness as the default gender, so that men are always “option 1″ and women are always “option 2.” When you say, “Where no man has gone before,” your listener will instinctively picture a male, even though, on further consideration, your listener might realize you actually meant, “no person.”

  16. 116
    Julien says:

    First of all, this is a fantastic list. It’s a bit hard as a male to read through – I couldn’t help but feel as I read that this list was a judgment against me for all the bad things males in general do. I think that’s the hardest thing for me about supporting feminism – I keep wanting to jump in with “but I cook and clean! I’m in the Society of Women Engineers! I’m not like that!” in my defense, rather than just listening and understanding that feminists who speak up are not blaming me personally for society’s ills.

    You’re spot on with much of this list, but the items related to household and family missed the mark with me. I know that these are general problems and my point is not to say that my exception disproves the rule – rather, I wonder if these differences are because I was raised by a single woman. Around our house, I had to help with everything, and as I’ve grown older it’s just never occurred to me that I’m not expected to put in an equal share in everything around the house. As the percentage of children born to single parents increases year after year, I wonder, will we begin to see these established household patriarchies break down?

    Thanks for putting this together.

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  20. 117
    mythago says:

    Liam, when you refer to people as being too sensitive, or “over-sensitised”, you’re indulging in argument by insult.

  21. 118
    Elusis says:

    One for the female prejudice checklist:

    I can refuse to show interest in a good-looking man without having my sexuality called into question.

    Uh, what?

    There are three acceptable conclusions to the “hey baby, hey baby, hey baby, gimme a little sugar baby, sure would like to get next to that baby, don’t be mean, gimme a smile…” monologue if the woman in question ignores her “suitor.”

    1) “B**ch.”
    2) “C**t.”
    3) “Dyke.”

  22. 119
    F.R. says:

    I can refuse to show interest in a good-looking man without having my sexuality called into question.

    You do realize that this is because women are not supposed to be sexually aggressive and “ask out” men, right? The reason our sexuality is not called into question if we don’t attempt to have sex with a gorgeous guy is because our sexuality and sexual desires aren’t taken seriously in the first place. Not to mention that, as Elusis said, if a guy – any guy, never mind if he’s attractive or not – hits on us or asks us out and we’re not interested, we’re automatically a “frigid bitch” or a “dyke”.

    Also, the “you’re too sensitive” (sorry, “over-sensitized”) thing? Have you any idea how often feminists hear that they’re over-sensitive and they should lighten up about things? And how it’s just a joke, really, you shouldn’t take it so seriously, it’s not supposed to be offensive? Yeah, that’s pretty much exactly what you just did. Have a look at this satire; it pretty much contains your argument, just with a slightly different, uh, slant.

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  24. 120
    Freemage says:

    Julien: One thing to help keep yourself in the right mindset: A lot of this isn’t a list of “bad things men do”, but rather “bad things society does” to women. The patriarchal mindset is a societal problem, even more than an individual problem. Privilege-checking, then, isn’t a way of tallying up your personal sins; it is a way to help men crack out of the blinders that the patriarchy puts on us, so we, in turn, can work to advance feminist principles.

    I think the biggest problem caused by privilege is, in fact, for guys who are, themselves, mostly getting things right. Guys see the world through eyes of privilege, and so fail to understand that, even if we, personally, aren’t oppressing women, that doesn’t mean that women aren’t getting oppressed, or even that our part in opposing that oppression is over. Personal change is important, as all ‘first steps’ are, but if it stops with you, personally, then it’s little more than a pebble in the river. Societal change is about building a dam and re-directing the waters entirely.

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  30. 121
    Pherguson says:

    On number 7, sure, if you can stay out of prison. But men are 10 times as likely as women to go to prison. http://dsusa02.degreesearchusa.com/t.pl/000000A/http/bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/index.cfm=3fty=3ddcdetail=26iid=3d404
    I dunno, it seems to me that this list comes off as reaching, especially for some. Grooming is relatively quick and cheap? Relative to what? Between rogaine for my head, the only part of the body that WON’T grow hair, plus having to shave virtually everything else, then lotion afterward, pluck my uni-brow, trim my nose and ear hair, I take at least 45 minutes in the bathroom to get ready for work, and spend easily $150 on personal care products.
    #47 A stranger doesn’t tell me to smile? Really? If this is the sort of thing we can worry about, then we’re in the clear. But I can get told to “Man Up” or not be a b***h or a p***y, if I show emotion.

  31. 122
    Danny says:

    Julien:

    It’s a bit hard as a male to read through – I couldn’t help but feel as I read that this list was a judgment against me for all the bad things males in general do.

    Yeah I get that feeling too which makes it harder to distinguish actual valid critique from raw emotion. But it does make for intersting mental exercise.

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  33. 123
    Freemage says:

    Pherguson: One thing to keep in mind, though–the list isn’t dozens of individual events which can be analyzed reductively. Sure, if the only difference between a typical man’s day and a typical woman’s was that she got told to smile by complete strangers, that would probably not merit a claim of strong privilege for the male. But it’s the context created by the sum total of all these little elements (not to mention the big ones that I would hope you wouldn’t want to dispute as issues, such as, say, #s 31, 40 and 43). Note that the context of the “smile” complaint, in particular, is directly tied to #45–a woman who complies to a stranger’s demand to “smile” is likely to face increased attention of a decidedly less pleasant nature.

    As for comments like “man up”–you’re right, the patriarchy has some really bad effects on men, too, including categorizing an entire class of human behavior as “feminine” and therefore “abnormal”; this classification scheme definitely harms men, and that’s something that most feminists will be glad to see get ditched once and for all. However, while it might be assumed to be “natural” for a woman to be emotional, that same assumption is still used to justify treating her as somehow deficient in reason (hence mansplaining, job discrimination, and other odious behaviors). Thus, it still is an aspect of male privilege.

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  37. 124
    Leonard Daniels says:

    Liam’s concept of the Female Privilege Checklist is an interesting one, actually, if only because it quickly becomes clear that women do not have nearly as many privileges as men. Women do have some privileges, it is true, but even though I don’t agree with every item on the Male Privilege Checklist, I’d say that (estimating conservatively) at least 30 of them are true and widely applicable. I am going to try and list some female privileges here, and other people are welcome to add more, but I don’t think we’re ever going to get even close to 30 that are true and apply to a majority of women (compared to, at most, a very small minority of men).

    Here is what I have come up with:

    1. You will never be expected to fight anybody.
    2. If you have children and get divorced, you will be presumed to be the most suitable parent for the children unless the evidence to the contrary is totally overwhelming.
    3. You can be openly bisexual without being considered strange.
    4. You can wear clothes designed for the opposite sex without being considered strange.
    5. If a prospective employer discriminates against you because of your gender, they are acting illegally. (Note: UK-centric, this one – since 2008, it has legal here for prospective employers to discriminate in favour of women and ethnic minorities.)

    See how quickly I ran dry there? Only 5 entries in, and already I am forced to resort to a recent law passed in one country that will probably affect very few men even in that country.

    So there you go. I’ve thought of four privileges that the majority of women (at least in Western society) have that the vast majority of men do not have. Only four. And I thought about this for a long time. Feel free to add any more that you can think of, but good luck in coming up with enough convincing entries to come even close to the Male Privilege list.

  38. 125
    Leonard Daniels says:

    Oops, I just noticed that I put all of those in the second person instead of the first, which would have fitted better with your list. Thinking about it, that was probably another unconscious sign of privilege – I automatically switched used the second person rather than the first when referring to women. Ah well, you live and learn.

    Also, I thought of another couple. I’ll keep them in the second person for consistency.

    5. When you are out on your own, you can express interest in a child without without having to worry that people will assume that your interest is sexual in nature.

    6. If you do not like sport, you will not be looked upon unfavourably. If you do like sport, you will receive disproportionate admiration.

    It’s still a depressingly short list, though. To make matters worse, I thought of a couple more entries for the Male Privilege Checklist (although these have probably been added by other people elsewhere, and/or are just variations on existing entries):

    47. If I become famous, magazines and tabloids are unlikely to publish the worst photographs of me they have in order to highlight how I have let myself go recently.

    48. As a child, I probably had toys that were more interesting and versatile than those of my sisters.

    (Also, just to be clear – I didn’t include Liam’s example because I thought that it had been comprehensively debunked by other posters.)

  39. 126
    Leonard Daniels says:

    Sorry to triple post, but I don’t think I made it clear that I am aware that all of these examples of female privilege were also constructed by a male-dominated society, as corollaries of existing examples of male privilege (e.g. women are not expected to fight because they are not considered capable of it). I listed them only to show how much more men benefit from the current societal order than women do.

  40. 127
    Thene says:

    Leonard – the original list is written in first person because Amp is a guy and he was approaching the subject from the standpoint of his own person.

    3. You can be openly bisexual without being considered strange.

    a) this applies only to a small minority of women, ie. bisexual women.
    b) it’s very context-dependent. It’s possible that I am considered less strange than a bisexual man would be, but I certainly don’t feel safe enough to be out in any and all situations (I’ve had one job recently where I didn’t come out at all; I’m out at my current job but the main reason I feel safe doing so is that my boss is also queer.) There are some people who consider all queers strange, some who consider some queers to be stranger than others.
    c) in so far as it applies, I’m not sure it’s based on privilege – more like, it’s not as ‘strange’ as male bisexuality because it isn’t seen as a threat to male heterosexuality. One of the foulest comments I’ve ever had in response to my coming out was; “But that’s wonderful.” Needless to say, it came from a straight dude. Yes, there are far more dangerous possible reactions but thinking that male approval is somehow necessary or relevant didn’t exactly imply that I was privileged – exploitable, more like.

  41. 128
    Leonard Daniels says:

    Leonard – the original list is written in first person because Amp is a guy and he was approaching the subject from the standpoint of his own person.

    Yes, I realise that. That’s why I thought it sadly ironic that I listed my women’s privileges list in the second person.

    a) this applies only to a small minority of women, ie. bisexual women.
    b) it’s very context-dependent.

    Surely the point of a privilege list such as this one is that it doesn’t necessarily apply to everybody, but it represents the opportunities that are available to one sex that are not available to the other. I am not religious, and so the religious entries in the list do not apply to me, but that doesn’t mean they are not still examples of male privilege. Similarly, although the majority of women may not be bisexual, the opportunity is still there to present oneself as such without criticism, an opportunity that is not available to most men. [Disclaimer: I am a bisexual man.]

    c) in so far as it applies, I’m not sure it’s based on privilege – more like, it’s not as ‘strange’ as male bisexuality because it isn’t seen as a threat to male heterosexuality.

    As I said, most if not all examples of female privilege are a consequence of the male-dominated world we live in. The list I gave was not intended as a justification of male privilege, but rather a further criticism of it. I’m sorry if I gave the wrong impression.

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  47. 129
    Kristen says:

    Using this in a “Pscyhotherapy and Diversity” class to illustrate gender privilege. Great list . . . thanks!

  48. 130
    June says:

    Bisexuality in women is seen as more acceptable, because men find it sexually appealing. Therefore society’s acceptance of it, is based on men’s acceptance of it.

    @Julien re: household chores & child care – while it is true that men are starting to come around and help more around the house and with children, the brunt of the work is expected to be performed by women. My husband is an enormous help around the house. He cleans, washes dishes, takes out the trash, cooks, etc. However, if the house is a mess – it looks bad on the woman.

    When it comes to caring for children (and pets). Women are the ones who are expected to be organized and remember to feed them, to pack their belongings when we go out, orgainze parties, schedule dates and pick ups, etc. If I don’t do these things and they aren’t done, I’m a bad mother.

    Even with family get togethers, women are expected to help the other women in the kitchen to prepare the food and clean up, while the men watch sports on TV together. If a pot luck is being organized, even if it’s my husband’s side of the family, they call me and ask me (the woman) to prepare something and bring it. Why can’t they ask my husband? He knows how to cook. At holidays and birthdays, the woman is expected to send a card and a gift. If he forgets, well he’s a guy. If I forget, I’m thoughtless.

    Men have the luxury of not having to worry about these details.

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  50. 131
    blakerivers says:

    Very nice list. I appreciate someone attempting to put all these privileges in one place. Hopefully it will continue to be compiled.

    In case it isn’t obvious enough, I’d like to point out that these male privilege checklists and female privilege checklists presented are by no means complete or even 10% complete. For every item you can think of off the top of your head, there are a dozen others that are, or are not, as salient. So you want to keep an open mind and proceed with the understanding that gender privileging is much more hairy than it appears.

    Freemage is spot on:
    A lot of this isn’t a list of ‘bad things men do’, but rather ‘bad things society does’ to women. The patriarchal mindset is a societal problem, even more than an individual problem. Privilege-checking, then, isn’t a way of tallying up your personal sins; it is a way to help men crack out of the blinders that the patriarchy puts on us, so we, in turn, can work to advance feminist principles.

    The author provides the most important point of all:
    “The first big privilege which whites, males, people in upper economic classes, the able bodied, the straight (I think one or two of those will cover most of us) can work to alleviate is the privilege to be oblivious to privilege.”

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  53. 132
    Felidaeus says:

    This list has been around for ages, and has been destroyed multiple times. It is an insult to yourself and your readers to post it again.

    http://www.reddit.com/r/MensRights/comments/9a2hc/help_me_tear_this_fucking_list_to_shreds/

  54. 133
    Ampersand says:

    It’s interesting that — even though the list clearly identifies the author (me) as male — the folks at that link often assume I’m female. Here’s the final comment from the link you provide, for instance:

    I just read the list and wow, SHE REALLY JUST NEEDS TO GET LAID.

    Yes, that’s very persuasive — thanks for providing that link, reader.

    (Admittedly, there were more intelligent arguments than that there — but few of them amounted to more than saying “nu-uh!” with an attitude of contempt.)

  55. 134
    Felidaeus says:

    I would argue that most of them don’t amount to saying anything more than “nu-uh” with an attitude of contempt as the list is little less than a bunch of “uh-huh”s with an attitude of contempt.

    It’s very much in the spirit of the article, unfortunately.

  56. 135
    Myca says:

    Felidaeus -

    I think that the privilege terminology is problematic in some ways. It tends to conflate things that are ‘extra goodies men get that nobody should be getting’ (like gender-preferential promotions) and ‘extra goodies men get that everybody should be getting’ (like freedom from fear of rape), so that when a list like this is made and men are told “give up your privilege,” it might be read as “you should fear rape too!” Which is a stupid reading, but there it is.

    If you read privilege lists as “extra goodies that X group gets that other groups don’t,” it makes more sense. Maybe the other groups shouldn’t be getting those goodies. Maybe everyone should be getting those goodies. Regardless, these are goodies that men generally get and women generally do not. And I think taken that way, the list works.

    If you disagree and want to discuss specific items, do so! Please don’t link to a reddit page, shrug, and be all like, “Your list sux lol.” You want to discuss? Discuss.

    —Myca

  57. 136
    Felidaeus says:

    Myca, the problem is that there is a problem with every point, and other people in other locations have fully addressed every point. For me to do so would be completely redundant. I can start it quite easily as a point by point list ala:

    1. My odds of being hired for a job, when competing against female applicants, are probably skewed in my favor. The more prestigious the job, the larger the odds are skewed. (Actually not true, with affirmative action programs, it is almost guaranteed that when competing against female applicants I probably won’t get hired. In fact, more women are currently employed then men, and in higher paying jobs. See the reddit link for the sources)

    2. I can be confident that my co-workers won’t think I got my job because of my sex – even though that might be true. (Maybe because my co-workers won’t think I got the job because of an affirmative action lobbyist instead of my abilities, see point 1. I’m in engineering and don’t doubt this exists. I’ve met female engineers who HATE the fact they are guaranteed work due to quotas, making everyone everyone doubt their abilities, and also met some that were very vocal about how great it was that they were guaranteed work without having to be very good. Only one bad apple ruins the bunch.)

    3. If I am never promoted, it’s not because of my sex (What? Citations? Anything? This means nothing, really. It sounds like whining about not getting promoted. Men have been documented to be more likely to be promoted because they DEMAND it more).

    4. If I fail in my job or career, I can feel sure this won’t be seen as a black mark against my entire sex’s capabilities (Citation? It isn’t even supportable).

    5. I am far less likely to face sexual harassment at work than my female co-workers are. (Sure, I’ll concede a point. Men also think about sex more, making it more likely. Yay for “less likely”; you just aggravated all the men who have been sexually harassed).

    6. If I do the same task as a woman, and if the measurement is at all subjective, chances are people will think I did a better job. (Citation? Most people taking university will tell you the opposite is true. People are MORE likely to trust work from a female.)

    7. If I’m a teen or adult, and if I can stay out of prison, my odds of being raped are relatively low. (Men are more likely to be a victim of violent crime. Love the qualifier too. Let’s just ignore those guys. Good thing men are also more likely to be jailed for the same crime as a woman, and are more likely to be in prison in general).

    I could go on for every point. Most of them are unsupportable, and often false in light of recent events. It doesn’t incite discussion, just a pissing contest.

  58. 137
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Any list like this will fall on a spectrum:

    On the one side, you have lists that use highly generalized and yet black/white specific descriptions. Sort of a “sound bite” list. Those can be good to use as rallying points, and can be good to spark conversation. But they’re subject to a lot of real life exceptions not mentioned in the list because, duh, you can’t easily sum up a lot of complex problems in a sound bite. So they’re not really accurate, though they aren’t really INaccurate either.

    One the other side, you have lists that are really detailed, and which try to hit real life, and which contain the appropriate quantities of “usually,” “not always, of course,” “in general, with some actually reasonably common exceptions,” and so on. Those are longer. We usually refer to them as “books.”

    These lists used to annoy me because they were WRONG, dammit, can’t you SEE that this statement needs more qualifiers, etc. But now I just accept them as they are: nonspecific general statements which are made for political effect, just like all the other ones out there.

    try that perspective; maybe they won’t bother you any more.

  59. 138
    mythago says:

    Felidaeus, “because I said so” and “most people will tell you” and other unsupported statements are not refutations; some of them don’t even make sense. Men think about sex more (?) making what more likely?

  60. 139
    Jen says:

    Men do not have random strangers coming up and rubbing their stomachs without permission, either. Something which seems to happen to a lot of pregnant women.

  61. I would add that as a man, if I choose to apply eye mascara while driving 80 mph, I will not be labeled as a bad female driver; I will simply be considered a mentally deranged lunatic that needs to be institutionalized as a matter of public safety.

  62. 141
    Leopold says:

    As a trans guy, I find the references to “my sex” pretty grating. I don’t see a reason not to do a mass s/sex/gender/ over the list; it’s not like “Does this politician have a penis?” is relevant once you know he’s a man.

    Most of the list is about being recognized as male by everyone, so it’s more about cis male privilege than about male privilege, but I guess that’s unavoidable. There are interesting items that apply out of this intersection, though, like role models.

  63. 142
    Fernando says:

    what is people’s opinion here on this TED talk on the rise of women?:

    does it contradict the male privilege checklist that women are graduating college, working and making more money than men?

  64. 143
    Anon says:

    What about “I will be required to pay more for my car insurance based on my gender” for the female privilege check? Women are far more likely to be called “crazy woman driver” but men are the one with the bigger tab for it at the end of the day.

  65. 144
    Anonymous says:

    Felidaeus-

    That link of ‘rebuttals’ means nothing since the entire thing itself is filled with sexist commentary and privileged mindsets.

    Since when did ”rape” turn into “general violent crime”? 1 in 4 women in the US alone are raped and you turning a blind eye to it to once again bring the attention to hardships males face is once again you asserting your male privilege over us lesser humans.

    As for the sexual harrassment you lose on every point you made. When 1 in 4 women will be raped at some point in their lives there’s a problem. That problem is that we are constantly faced with strong male sexuality which has no regard for us and that rape is written off by men so much that sexual harassment in any capacity is ignored and brushed under the table as if it doesn’t matter.

    What it comes down to is that we’re usually the ones who have to look over our shoulders to make sure we’re not being followed. We’re the ones who have to keep pepper spray with us and clutch it in fear when we walk to our cars. When you get hit on you never feel a fear that the woman talking to you will take it further. At work you never have to fear that if you don’t reciprocate the feelings and desire that you might lose your job or lose out on a promotion.

    Again you are taking the focus that this is something that oppresses women and keeps us as sub-human to you and you’re shifting it to what you face as a man. I understand that men go through hardships as well but disregarding every day occurrences which keep us as less than you. And your entire argument reeks of male privilege that you don’t even attempt to see or fix.

    Though I’m sure you’ll just say that I’m a bitch (which is sexist) or that I’m too emotionally handicapped and therefor not capable of thinking rationally (also sexist) or maybe like the man in the last comment said, I just need to get laid! (still sexist)

    But if you continue to ignore it nothing will be fixed and this insane patriarchy that women and men are stuck in will never end. Though you seem to like you how you benefit from it so I suppose it won’t matter much to you.

  66. 145
    Chris says:

    Just a quick note to say: I *think* #44 belongs on the privilege list for living anywhere but the USA, or being a man in the USA. If someone approached a girl on the street and told her to “smile” I’d assume they knew her; I’m practically certain it would never happen otherwise. Which is not to say that lecherous types wouldn’t occasionally wolf whilstle a stranger or similar — but they’d certainly never tell you to “smile”.

  67. 146
    Anonymous says:

    Wrong actually. I live in the USA and I’ve been told to smile several times by complete strangers, usually accompanied by lewd remarks or some kind of ‘compliment’ like “You’re too pretty to look so sad. Smile for me.”

    I’ve also been followed for blocks, been slapped on the ass, had someone try to pick me up and then call me a cunt, a bitch, a prude, stuck-up etc because I turned them down.

    You’d be shocked at how often it happens. Note all of that has happened over the past 5 years but that’s far more than should have taken place.

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  75. 147
    Lola says:

    Just so you know, there are currently two 45s.

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  80. 148
    Loba Art says:

    Please consider rewriting #17 to include adults and adult-oriented media as well as media for children. It is comparatively difficult to find a film, for instance, with a strong female protagonist who isn’t “strong” simply because she has big guns and a big rack, and who isn’t “strong” until she’s been properly subdued by a man.

    It is extremely frustrating and disheartening for women to be so rarely depicted as capable, strong, independent, or heroic. A majority of depictions of women in art and entertainment media send rather belittling and damaging messages.

  81. 149
    Cat says:

    Leonard: Regarding women allegedly not being thought of as strange if they’re bisexual – consider why that is. We’ve been taught that two women making out is hot, especially if they’re bi, because there’s a chance we’ll be invited to join (according to porn). If (and it’s a big if) bisexual women do indeed get a free pass (and as a bi woman, I can assure you, I’m still highly aware of my surroundings and personal safety, because there are plenty of places I don’t feel physically safe to out myself), it’s once against based on what males want, not genuine acceptance and respect for bi women. I can tell you from experience that men have gotten pissed when they find out I’m interested in another woman and not them, because patriarchy teaches us that women’s bodies should be ready for male consumption any time.

  82. 150
    Judy says:

    I used parts of your checklist in a high school class on male privilege today. The quarter-long class is called Social Privilege, and we started last week with white privilege and Peggy McIntosh’s Invisible Knapsack. Here’s a link to the Prezi presentation that includes your work:
    http://prezi.com/hz7fmeuhnubh/male-privilege/

    While your list (and McIntosh’s) may be problematic in some ways, i find both to be useful starting points. Thanks for sharing.

  83. 151
    Ampersand says:

    Wow, I haven’t seen a Prezi before, but that’s really cool.

  84. 152
    Steff says:

    You sir, are incredibly attractive right now. And this is coming from a lesbian feminist.

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  86. I just wanted to add one very important and very obvious thing: as a man your work/opinions will be seen as more valid, be given more weight, be taken more seriously and will be seen as less biased and more objective when compared with a woman’s. This piece is so important, in fact, because a man is saying it.

  87. 154
    Elva says:

    I want you to limit the scope of “men” to “heterosexual Caucasian white collar men” because that’s the ideal candidate for your list!

  88. 155
    Xavier says:

    Here are some female privileges for comparison. I may not have came up with 45 but it isn’t all about number of privileges- I could probably easily come up with 45 little things if I wanted.

    1. You are almost never expected to fight.

    2. If you do something wrong or upset someone, people will be more lenient and nice to you. A man is more likely to be shouted at or challenged to a fight.

    3. Gender quotas and “positive discrimination” force employers to give women priority over better-qualified men.

    4. Women are treated more leniently in court. Same crime less time. People are more likely to have sympathy for a woman and want to understand why she would commit a crime. If a man commits a crime people say “he’s just a violent man, lock him up!”.

    5. Women often get away with murder (literally). Want to kill your husband and get away with it? Just say he was abusing you. Killed your baby? Just say you have the “baby blues”.

    6. Women who are assualted by their spouse are taken seriously by police. A man would face ridicule if he said his women hit him. Many battered men are suffering in silence.

    7. Women who are ill/sick/depressed are encouraged to see a doctor or get support. Men are told to “suck it up”. If a man seeks support he may be seen as weak and ridiculed (“what a wimp he must have the man flu!”.

    8. It is ok for females to cry, but not males (males are told “boys don’t cry, so suck it up”. Crying is actually very emotionally healthy for both genders.

    7. Boys are told from a young age they “shouldn’t hit women”. Girls aren’t told not to hit boys. Women can use this to their advantage and hit men and not expect retaliation.

    8. People think a woman couldn’t possibly harm a man because men are (usually) stronger. They are ignorant to the fact lack of strength can be compensated by the use of a weapon, or striking by surprise (from behind or while her husband sleeps).

    9. Women’s health funding and research receives several times more than men’s. Think about breast cancer v prostate cancer.

    10. Misogyny is taken seriously. Adverts and TV sitcoms can n longer portray a female character as stupid. Men can lose their jobs for sexist remarks against women. But not the other way round- people laugh and condone misandry. A comedian who makes a woman joke will be booed and accused of sexism, a comedian who makes a man joke will receive laughter.

    11. Want to ruin an innocent man’s life? Just hit him with the feminist silver bullet- falsely accuse him of rape. Even if he doesn’t go to prison everyone will treat him like a rapist, he will never get a job or make many friends and his life will never be the same.

    12. A woman can wear anything she wants. A hetro man’s wardrobe is very limited if he doesn’t want people suspecting he is gay.

    13. Male rape victims are often ignored. People only think rape can happen to women and are ignorant to the rape that happens in prison and same-sex relationships.

    14. In countries that still have military drafts (most of Asia, Brazil, Mexico, parts of Africa etc), only the men are forced to go fight and have their legs blown off and be shot in the face.

    15. Women will almost always have custody of a child in a divorce- even if she is more abusive or aggressive. The father will have the “privilege” of paying child support yet never being allowed to see his child.

    16. Male circumcision on newborn baby boys is legal in the UK. Female circumcision is illegal.

    17. If a woman expresses interest or cuteness in a baby or child, she doesn’t have to worry about accusations of being a pervert or pedo. A man today may not help a lone child in need of help without worrying about accusations.

    18. Brtish Airways has a new rule where single men are not allowed to sit next to children. Imagine the embarrassment being asked to move because a child was next to you?

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  96. 156
    Lexi says:

    44. Complete strangers generally do not walk up to me on the street and tell me to “smile.”

    Surprisingly out of all of them, this one got to me the most. I’ve dealt with this most of my life, so much so that I trained myself to just give an automatic grin to people as I pass them, just to avoid being told to smile. I never considered if it happened to men. I’ve had plenty of women tell me they have heard the same thing, but I just never thought to ask a man if he had. Now, I have to un-train myself. I’m not a smiley type of gal, I shouldn’t have to pretend to be either. Great blog, thank you!

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  98. 157
    Woden says:

    “1. My odds of being hired for a job, when competing against female applicants, are probably skewed in my favor. The more prestigious the job, the larger the odds are skewed.”

    Do you have any citation for this? It goes against nearly every study on the topic that I have seen in the last decade, where the only statistically-significant difference that tends to be noted is in executive genders.

    “3. If I am never promoted, it’s not because of my sex.”

    This one stands out to me as, unlike a number of the other entries, is not stated in a probabilistic manner, but as a definite. I strongly feel that this should be reworded to “most likely not” or “probably not.” However, even then, I am dubious of this one; do you have any studies backing this assertion up? I could certainly understand if this was limited to the “glass ceiling” that seperates out the upper management position, but even then, this is a bold claim to make when there is little or no support for it.

    “4. If I fail in my job or career, I can feel sure this won’t be seen as a black mark against my entire sex’s capabilities.”

    Come, now. I think we have progressed enough as a society that, for most people, this is true of both genders.

    “8. On average, I am taught to fear walking alone after dark in average public spaces much less than my female counterparts are.”

    I fail to see how simply not being *taught* to fear something can be construed to be a privilege. Given how many men are the victims of violent crime, I would, if anything, say that the lack of such teaching is a disadvantage.

    “9. If I choose not to have children, my masculinity will not be called into question.”

    As has been pointed out by others, choosing not to have children may or may not cause a man’s masculinity to be called into question, but it can certainly cause a man’s virility and sexual orientation to be called into question, and can and has been the cause for relationships ending. This seems rather odd to label as a privilege.

    “12. If I have children and a career, no one will think I’m selfish for not staying at home.”

    Indeed, it’s quite the opposite; if the option is even available (many workplaces do not allow paternity leave, despite allowing maternity leave), men who exercise such an option are typically considered selfish. This is but one of many examples on this list which is but two sides of a coin; it can easily be viewed as either a “privilege” or a disadvantage, depending on the perspective you look at it from, and possibly how you word it.

    “14. My elected representatives are mostly people of my own sex. The more prestigious and powerful the elected position, the more this is true.”

    And yet, according to a Gallup poll, only 11% of respondents said that they would not vote for a female presidential candidate, which was one of the lowest such responses among the set (compare with, for example, 24% of respondents saying that they would not vote for a Mormon, 43% saying they would not vote for a homosexual, or 53% saying they would not vote for an athiest).

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/26611/some-americans-reluctant-vote-mormon-72yearold-presidential-candidates.aspx

    This point is, essentially, criticizing men not because we are not voting for women, but because so few women are running. I fail to see how this is even remotely valid.

    “18. As a child, chances are I got more teacher attention than girls who raised their hands just as often.”

    It takes a bit of twisting to argue that education is geared towards males, given that women have been outperforming men in education for quite a while, now…

    “20. I can turn on the television or glance at the front page of the newspaper and see people of my own sex widely represented.”

    And this is not true for women as well? I am, quite honestly, baffled at this inclusion.

    “25. I do not have to worry about the message my wardrobe sends about my sexual availability.”

    Indeed. Men instead have to worry about the message it sends about their sexual orientation. So, no, I don’t particularly see that as being a privilege.

    The only way I could see this being valid is if you are looking at it from the perspective of men’s clothing coming in such relatively limited variety compared to women’s clothing… however, I fail to see that, in and of itself, as being a privilege. At best, it is another example of perspective.

    “30. I can be loud with no fear of being called a shrew. I can be aggressive with no fear of being called a bitch.”

    This is disingenous at best. This suggests that men who are loud and/or aggressive are not insulted in any way, when in truth they are simply called other derogatory names. Is being called “asshole” truly a privilege compared to being called “shrew” or “bitch”? I think not.

    “32. I can be confident that the ordinary language of day-to-day existence will always include my sex. “All men are created equal,” mailman, chairman, freshman, he.”

    This line is, first of all, purely arguing semantics, and secondly, is extremely narrowly focused on the United States (and possibly Britain, though from what news articles I can see, they seem to have shifted more heavily to a neutral “person” usage, such as “Congressperson,” than the U.S. has), given that this is a limitation with the English language.

    “38. If I have a wife or live-in girlfriend, chances are we’ll divide up household chores so that she does most of the labor, and in particular the most repetitive and unrewarding tasks.”

    This is false, as was highlighted in a recent article in Time Magazine, which examined a number of recent studies on the topic. The conclusion was that, on average, women in dual-income couples with children spend 20 more minutes per day between paid and unpaid labor (compared with their husbands), and men in dual-income couples without children spend 8 more minutes per day between paid and unpaid labor (compared with their wives). Those two groups were the largest in differences.

    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2084582,00.html

    “39. If I have children with my girlfriend or wife, I can expect her to do most of the basic childcare such as changing diapers and feeding.”

    While this was validated by the aforementioned article, it was also balanced by how men were putting in more hours at work.

    “43. If I am heterosexual, it’s incredibly unlikely that I’ll ever be beaten up by a spouse or lover.”

    This completely ignores:

    1) The many social stigmas resulting in men being much less likely to report abuse.

    2) All forms of abuse other than physical (in particular, emotional and psychological abuse) — this one alone would, unless I am mistaken, go a long way towards equilizing this figure out. The Wikipedia article on the subject notes a number of studies, with results ranging from equal prevalence between the genders, to women being notably more likely to use psychological abuse.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_abuse#In_intimate_relationships

    3) The ingrained prejudice against men in our law enforcement system which results in men often getting arrested in domestic abuse incidents if there is ANY doubt about who is perpetrating the abuse.

    “46. I have the privilege of being unaware of my male privilege.”

    It would seem not, given the prevalence of such lists. ;)

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