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.”

971 Responses to The Male Privilege Checklist

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  5. 205
    Virginia Whitney says:

    How about how it is more socially acceptable for men to abandon their children, such as in cases of divorce, unwanted preganancy, etc.

    I have had to deal with a lot of that in my life.

    Also, when it comes to custody, women’s sanity is questioned to an extreme… my mother had to deal with a lot of that.

    I sure do have anger. What about the fact that if I have anger, it usually means that I want to take over the world?

    What about the fact that women have to concern themselves with “not being to much” or “not being to little”? Do you know what I mean?

  6. 206
    Stefan says:

    What about the fact that women have to concern themselves with “not being to much” or “not being to little”? Do you know what I mean?

    I don’t.Please explain.

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  8. 207
    Virginia Whitney says:

    What I mean is that women are constantly given messages, by society around them. Conflicting messages, and if they break out of one or another it is unacceptable in a sense that they haven’t met up to what a “good woman” is.

    You need to be skinny, but you need to have big breasts and a big but. (Which doesn’t always accompany one another.)
    You need to be the life of the party, but you need to not talk to much.
    You need to not to say your opinions to much… its a war between forcing your opinions on others and just saying them.
    You need to dress to please men, but you need to not dress to revealing.
    You need to like sex, but you need to not be open about your sexuality, enjoy your sexuality to extent men do.
    You need to be smart, but allow men to do there “things” separately. (Obviously a superiority, inferiority issue). For instance a woman tries to work and contribute ideas…. a man says “Leave us alone, the men are at work.”

    Just things like that that I believe exist. There are cases where women just can’t be themselves, they have to be somewhere between. It is sometimes an impossible war, when you can only be one or the other. Or both.

  9. 208
    2ndnin says:

    Virginia, who tells you all these things? Placing the blame on ‘society’, ‘patriarchy’, or some other non-existent entity (in that there is not an evil moustache twirling set of people out there controlling everything) seems like a cop out that we can’t do anything to change.

    Personally I haven’t told a woman any of those things, and from what I have seen neither have any of my friends. Most of the social group and work area I am in would encourage the opposite (and even most mainstream geek society seems to want the opposite to what you suggest even if it comes with a lump of misogyny). A certain subset of society does feel that way, but then a subset says that men have to be unemotional beefcakes who like abusing women and I don’t feel pressured to hit that target.

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  14. 209
    mike says:

    #36 paganism, buddhism, sikhism, and baha’i would dissagree

  15. 210
    Harry T. says:

    For a lot of these, I think of them less as privileges, and more as human rights that not everyone is granted in practice yet. I feel like there’s some kind of a distinction between items like “if I am never promoted, it’s not because of my sex” and “if I buy a new car, chances are I’ll be offered a better price than a woman buying the same car.”

    @162: Depends on which version of Buddhism. Traditional Theravada Buddhism teaches that women have to reincarnate as men before they can break the cycle of suffering.

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  20. 211
    Sky says:

    As a man, if I am single, I am more likely to be seen as desirable, whereas a single woman is often more likely to be seen as ‘pathetic’ or ‘desperate’.

  21. 212
    Cross Cultural Comparisons says:

    “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.”

    “#36 paganism, buddhism, sikhism, and baha’i would dissagree”

    Can’t speak for Paganism, but in Buddhism, Sikhism and Baha’i, they are led primarily by males. Hinduism as well, even though it recognizes God as female.

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  23. 213
    Harry T. says:

    @164: Eh, that’s kind of stretching it. In Western culture, it’s generally the other way around–compare connotations of male vs. female virginity, for instance.

    Note that I’m not saying that women necessarily have it better, just that this isn’t a great example of male privilege.

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  31. 214
    Frank Lucchese says:

    You forgot some: I know if I’m convicted of a crime, I’ll get a more lenient sentence compared to a woman. I know divorce court and child custody is biased in my favor. I know a woman will be treated more harshly when it comes to statutory rape. I know domestic violence towards a man is never tolerated. I know they’re are many government agencies dedicated to my health but none for women. I know I don’t have to register for the selective service but women do. I know I’m entitled to special small business loans but women aren’t. I know my gender makes up only six percent of work related deaths. Finally, I know my comment is awaiting moderation and will never be posted.

  32. 215
    David says:

    Re: 17 – Who/what do you mean? And I’m asking that as a real question, not as a challenge. Maybe this is a generation thing? Growing up in the 90s, I don’t think I can remember a single hero that I could happily identify with, at least looking back now.. I was uncomfortable with all violence and the patronizing way most heroes treated others, and it wasn’t until my teenage years that I found characters whose “weaknesses” mirrored mine. Even then they tended to be stereotyped and unrealistic. This is part of the enforced patriarchy that (I would argue) affects women more negatively than men, but also effectively disempowers boys/men who might change the stereotype.

    By the time kids become teenagers, I think society accepts greater heterogeneity in females than in males. That’s not to say that men suffer more from patriarchy, just that we are perhaps less free to move within it, i.e. if we don’t want to play the dominance-enforcing roles we’re given? And I guess I assumed that came in part from what we’re taught and shown as children, but I would say you’re right that boys have a better range of heroes to identify with. Still, then, how do we get from infinite variety to homogeneous?

  33. 216
    John says:

    About number 25, men are assumed to be always sexually available so it doesn’t matter what your wardrobe is. I don’t know that it constitutes privilege.

  34. 217
    John says:

    Number 17 might have been true in the past, but it is reversing to a large extent if not having pulled a complete 180. You’ve never seen Kim Possible, Hanna Montana, Dora the Explorer, I Carly. I’m not sure if Swiper is supposed to be a guy, but these girls are not only competent and talented, but they succeed despite having idiotic male friends messing things up.

  35. 218
    John says:

    31. True, you’d just be seen as a pussy.

  36. 219
    John says:

    32. Has been changing. You still have negative things end with man like gunman, manslaughter, manhunt etc., but now the trend for positive images tends to shift towards the gender neutral police officer, fire fighter etc., even though most police officers and fire fighters are men.

  37. 220
    Harry T. says:

    @217, it’s still pretty disproportionate. It is getting better, but most people (children included!) would still feel a need to define those characters as “female” heroes, because they’re still in the minority as characters go. There are positive role models, don’t get me wrong, but they’re not nearly as infinite or default as male characters (yet).

    To give a hypothetical example, if you ask most people to describe the main characters of Seinfeld, they might start by saying “Well, it’s about a comedian,” etc., while if you asked them about 30 Rock, they would probably say “There’s this woman who’s a writer for a TV show…”

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  40. 221
    Arcadia says:

    @217 – Its interesting you mentioned Kim Possible, considering the ending of the series has Ron Stoppable – the erstwhile “loser male” stereotype – as the one that ultimately saves the world and becomes more powerful than Kim in the finale, completely ursurping her position as the hero and making her the damsel needing rescuing. Just to show how face-palm worthy it was, it left SHEGO with her jaw dropping in awe. The story was never about Kim and her journey, but Ron’s Hero Journey to become “worthy” enough of a girlfriend like Kim, which of course means he must become better than her in combat and spying skills.

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  42. 222
    tactfactory says:

    It’s certainly true that there are some systematic disadvantages for males, as well, and it’s worth bringing those to a conscious level as well. But that doesn’t mean that systematic disadvantages for females should be ignored.

    It’s tempting to think of gender as a zero-sum game, where advantages one gender gains are taken at the cost of disadvantages for the other gender, and many programs such as affirmative action which try to balance certain scales are seen as examples. But there are many areas where nobody loses, even when the “loss” is a lost inequity. For example, women won’t lose anything if we all agree to recognize that men have the right to express their feelings openly (in fact many of us might consider that a huge gain). Men won’t lose anything if we encourage women to study math.

    As another example, studies have shown both men and women are happier in egalitarian marriages than in hierarchical ones- an area which might have seemed to be zero-sum actually turns out to be win-win.

    I also think 208 is unfairly detracting from 207′s (in my opinion EXTREMELY valid) point- in fact it seems to be ignoring the main thrust of this article and the “Invisible Knapsack” article being referenced. Racism, sexism, etc aren’t about individual people doing distinctly malevolent things, and the fact that some people don’t consciously endorse the expectations on 207′s list (or even endorse them at all) doesn’t mean those expectations aren’t part of the system as a whole. They’re not even perpetrated by the male gender as a whole, but by society, which includes all of us.

    This article isn’t accusing you, 208, or anyone specific of “liking abusing women”, and I sincerely believe your claim that you don’t. But why was your response so defensive? Why is 207′s complaint still invisible to you? Why can’t you look at it without feeling as though you are personally being criticized? I promise she was not trying to criticize YOU. I imagine there’s no reason you should take it personally. So maybe you can think about what she’s experiencing, consider where it does come from, how it affects people, and maybe just maybe how we can address it, without taking it personally? As a woman I read her concerns and knew that in some ways I contribute to them, even though I agree with her wholeheartedly and wish we could abolish those concerns.

    I can guarantee you they are a real concerns that women consider daily, and the few stinkers who DO say things like “she asked for it by dressing that way” are just a really crappy symptom, not the disease itself.

  43. 223
    Traian says:

    So, let me dissect that list.

    1. Nope, most big businesses around here have started a trend to hire preferentially (or only) women. I doubt it’s motivated by egalitarianism or even feminism, but it’s there nonetheless.
    2. Not when most of my co-workers are women. See above.
    3. Not when also my boss, and most of the chain of command right up to the owner of the restaurant chain, are all females.
    4. Not if I want to be, for example, a professional cook.
    5. Would you say that a woman trying to seduce her way out of a fine doesn’t constitute sexual harassment towards the policeman? It almost never happens the other way.
    6. In my experience it’s always happened the other way.
    7. Only as long as rape is legally defined as man-on-woman.
    8. Nope, quite the reverse is true in my family.
    9. Agreed, but instead my sexual orientation will be called into question.
    10. Not sure of what you mean by “primary care”.
    11. See above.
    12. Actually the wife and the family will think that.
    13. Agreed, but it’s hardly a male-only privilege around here.
    14. Agreed, but it’s hardly a privilege for me.
    15. See above.
    16. Chances might be, but it surely didn’t happen to me.
    17. Agreed.
    18. Chances might be, but it surely didn’t happen to me. Indeed quite the reverse happens when most teachers are female (which seems to almost always be the case in elementary school).
    19. I don’t ask it, but that doesn’t mean I don’t need to, or that females need to either.
    20. I can turn on the television or glance at the front page of the newspaper and see people of both genders widely represented.
    21. It is quite often that I hear, of some man who wasn’t careful with his money, that obviously because he’s a man he must have been spending all his money on lovers or booze.
    22. Agreed, but that’s changing – for the worse.
    23. Agreed, but so can women.
    24. Perhaps not in English, but in Spanish we have this funny little term – “perro” (literally “male dog”).
    25. Agreed, but I do have to worry about the message that my (involuntary, and often wrong) body language sends.
    26. Not sure about that because I almost never pay for my clothes. But I will tell you that finding shoes that fit is a pain in the backside for me and a small handful of males. Never met a woman with that problem (oh, there might be, I’m just saying they are even rarer).
    27. Then I will be told that I don’t bathe well enough or something like that.
    28. Never bought a car, but I have seen, first-hand, that salespeople around here offer the exact same price regardless of the buyer’s gender. Besides the cars have price tags.
    29. Completely false. If I’m not conventionally attractive not even those of my own gender will hang around me, making socialisation almost impossible.
    30. I can’t be loud with no fear of being called bad-tempered. I can’t be aggressive with no fear of being called a bully, or even worse, a male chauvinist pig.
    31. “Crime” happens to both genders alike, or mostly to women in some cases. And I can’t ask for legal protection from domestic violence or rape (which by the way is considered crime, too) that happens to me, even when women already have that protection, special interests or not.
    32. Also gunmen, manslaughter, and so on. But then again, that’s hardly a privilege for me.
    33. Agreed, but it will be questioned depending on whether I’m courting someone. “He’s just horny”, everyone says.
    34. Not a male-only privilege around here.
    35. Agreed, but it’s just because paternity (or rather maternity) leave is only granted to women around here.
    36. Don’t care, religions are oppressive towards everyone alike. That’s why I’m an atheist.
    37. See above. Also most religious households I personally know either ignore that commandment or invert it completely.
    38. Chances are I do most of the physical labour, and in particular the most exerting and demanding tasks.
    39. Not true anymore, especially if the child is male.
    40. Ah, sure, that’s the stereotype, but I’ve only ever known families where this was either averted (both partners making sacrifices) or inverted (only the male making them). The latter has actually been grounds for wanting a divorce.
    41. Agreed, but I’m not heterosexual so I don’t care. Besides, by the same logic lesbians have it easier.
    42. See my answer above about being unattractive.
    43. It’s incredibly unlikely that I report it if it happens, or that my report is taken seriously. But again, I’m not heterosexual, and I guess this is the only point where that gives me the advantage over my fellow males. Not because I’m unlikely to be abused, mind you, but because I can defend myself without fear of legal action.
    44. Never seen that happen to anyone.
    45. Agreed (for me at least), but I suspect being unattractive is a part of that.
    45. On average, I am constantly interrupted by women (and men) who will get angry and start yelling at me if I interrupt them back.
    46. Judging from this list, and the rebuttals which have already been posted, that’s hardly a male-only privilege.

    It is likely that my message will be lost forever in the moderation queue, but what the heck, I had to try posting it.

  44. 224
    tactfactory says:

    Holy Crap 223.

    I will respond to one thing: #44. Every woman I know (including me obviously) has been approached on the street and asked to smile by complete strangers. I have seen, I think, dozens of threads on the internet where women I don’t know talk about how ubiquitous and dehumanizing the practice is.

    So while women certainly don’t have a monopoly on unfair treatment, maybe you’re not giving the assertions in this article a fair chance.

    AGAIN, no one is accusing you specifically, or even the male half of society specifically, of being to blame.

  45. 225
    Danny says:

    tactfactory:
    AGAIN, no one is accusing you specifically, or even the male half of society specifically, of being to blame.
    I can’t speak for 223 specifically but I’ll say this.

    While it may not be the intention of the one(s) that made this list over time its been used in just that manner. Trying to disagree with a woman (bonus points of she’s a feminist)? Its because you denying male privilege. Trying to show how there are things that systematically harm men? Its because you’re denying male privilege. Sharing your traumatic experiences as a male? You’re just denying your male privilege. Trying to explain the concept of female privilege? Its because you’re denying your male privilege.

    Now like I say it may not be the intent of the folks that made this list to have it around to be used in those manners but at the same time I can kinda understand why people who have had it used against them like that would come here itching for a fight.

    So how exactly does one go about diffusing this hostility (and its going to be tricky because its not one sided)?

  46. 226
    rick says:

    I can’t stand how the dehumanization of the male is so widespread yet so ignored.
    Men are the chattle of our society. We’re used and sacrificed like worthless pawns, yet receive none of societies protections or concerns.
    If people witness a man slapping a woman, they’ll rush to her aid and restrain the man. But if they see a large man beating up a small man, they won’t do anything to protect him.
    Men are exposed to violence and expected to take it “like a man.”

  47. 227
    Old-School Feminist says:

    I’m having trouble figuring out who exactly that list is more sexist towards: woman against woman, or woman against men. Not to mention the fact that the list is compiled of hypothetical situations, what a woman might “think” someone else might think of them or neutral situations with no or little basis in truth outside of this blogger’s words. In addition, the very first “fact” of this list is not true as supported by the US Department of Labor’s statistics for some years now.

    Every year the gap between feminism and blatant sexism grows smaller. It’s rather difficult to be part of a movement that claims to promote equality when so much of the literature/blogs/groups are clearly anti-heterosexual men, and not pro-equality for all peoples. A sexist is a sexist regardless of their sex.

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  49. 228
    Gretchen says:

    how about:

    47. It is okay for me to get angry. If I express anger, my sanity will not be called into question.

  50. 229
    Gretchen says:

    48. I am fully able, without shame, actively encouraged and facilitated in consuming women as sexual commodities through pornography, strip clubs, prostitution, “bride buying” etc. Mass media reinforces this behaviour.

    49. I have the privilege to do the above without consequences, questioning the lives of the women I use or seeing them as human beings, and can easily avoid or ignore the stories and statistics telling me a large proportion of the women I “consume” are coerced, abused, on drugs, raped and/or trafficked.

  51. 230
    Danny says:

    47. It is okay for me to get angry. If I express anger, my sanity will not be called into question.
    Its not okay its expected almost demanded. “If I don’t get angry, or don’t express it in an approved manner (like getting physically violent) my masculinity will called into question.”

    48. I am fully able, without shame, actively encouraged and facilitated in consuming women as sexual commodities through pornography, strip clubs, prostitution, “bride buying” etc. Mass media reinforces this behaviour.
    Again not okay but expected. “If I do not consume women as sexual commodities regardless of the reason my masculinity is called into question. Mass media reinforces this behavior.”

  52. 231
    Raz says:

    Oh my god, could the comments be any more sexist? Males have always, throughout history, enjoyed more privileges than females ever did in any civilisation. it’s a simple fact; stop arguing against it and making a fool out of yourselves while doing so.

    To the writer of this article: this is absolutely, tragically true, especially the points about politics, rape and sexual harassment. Nice, well-organised article, by the way.

  53. 232
    Harry S. says:

    Raz, even though that’s true, that doesn’t mean that any list of privileges is automatically 100% accurate and immune from criticism. It’s not going to help the equality movement if we mix points that aren’t very good in with the true ones, just because the overall theme is the same.

  54. 233
    sadfulness says:

    The list is pretty awesome, even though it was less eye-opening for me than the original (since I have plenty of experience with female unprivilege, but not really any with racially-based unprivilege). It still is useful to mean in providing a concrete set of things I couldn’t easily pin down before.
    On a semi-unrelated note, the webcomic A Softer World just put up the perfect strip for #44 at http://www.asofterworld.com/index.php?id=759

  55. 234
    Danny says:

    Raz:
    Oh my god, could the comments be any more sexist? Males have always, throughout history, enjoyed more privileges than females ever did in any civilisation. it’s a simple fact; stop arguing against it and making a fool out of yourselves while doing so.
    Or you could actually respond to the criticism instead of trying to make a flat declaration to make yourself feel better.

    Is the privilege there? Yes. Does that mean that we are supposed to pretend its all sunshine and rainbows? Never.

  56. 235
    Felix says:

    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.

    Agreed, but there’s a different disadvantage for men: We (sometimes) cannot freely express anger around females without being feared. I don’t think this is a cultural thing; we’re just physically bigger. When a bigger animal makes loud, aggressive noises, it’s scary.

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

    I suspect this one varies wildly now. Among 90% of the people I know (and a weaker majority, but still a majority, of people in my geographic region — Victoria & Vancouver, BC), a woman taking her husband’s last name would be seen as strange and old-fashioned. A woman keeping her own name probably wouldn’t be questioned; a woman taking her husband’s name would be. It’s undoubtedly still true in a lot of places, though.

    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.

    I’m confused about how this is a one-sided privilege — are you saying that females wish there were more images of scantily clad men in advertising, but that they aren’t being served that by the industry? I haven’t really heard too many calls for that. I’d be surprised if the advertising industry is holding out on a desire that way.

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  59. 236
    Grim says:

    Agreed, but there’s a different disadvantage for men: We (sometimes) cannot freely express anger around females without being feared. I don’t think this is a cultural thing; we’re just physically bigger. When a bigger animal makes loud, aggressive noises, it’s scary.

    I’m going to use an example to address this.
    I used to have pet rats. I could make loud aggressive noises around my rats. I could wave my arms and jump up and down and just seem generally scary. My rats weren’t afraid, despite the fact that I was physically bigger than they were. The reason for this was because I never hurt them. I never harmed them in any way–they didn’t have reason to be afraid of me.

    However, I later adopted a rat who had been through some rough stuff. She was afraid. I had never personally hurt her, but she was still afraid of me because someone had hurt her in the past. Her fear manifested itself as aggression, and I had to wear heavy leather gloves when reaching into the cage because otherwise she would bite viciously. All this seemed terribly unfair to me. I had never hurt this rat, why should she lash out at me? But her past told her that people bigger than her would hurt her, and so she had fear, and that fear was how she survived.

    Just because I was a nice person and everyone I knew was a nice person and were all very kind to animals didn’t change a thing. There were people out there who made this rat scared and just because I wasn’t one of them and neither was anyone I knew didn’t make them not exist.

    It just made me want to fix the real problem–not the rat’s aggression towards me, but the fact that there was reason she was like this to begin with.

  60. 237
    LW says:

    There should definitely be something about ageing in there..

  61. 238
    Danny says:

    Grim:
    Just because I was a nice person and everyone I knew was a nice person and were all very kind to animals didn’t change a thing. There were people out there who made this rat scared and just because I wasn’t one of them and neither was anyone I knew didn’t make them not exist.

    It just made me want to fix the real problem–not the rat’s aggression towards me, but the fact that there was reason she was like this to begin with.
    While in your example with the pet rat you know for sure that it suffered abuse in its past. However what (I think) Felix is talking about is when that female fear of males could be based on past abuse, sexist hatred, etc…

    With that rat you know the whole story but when average Joe can’t express anger around average Jane chances are he has no idea what the basis of that fear of his anger is. Does that mean that Joe is supposed to somehow fix the “real problem” when he doesn’t even know what it is? Much less if its a valid “real problem”? Its like he’s being expected to just accept that Jane is afraid of him for a valid reason that has to do with him being a man and that its on him to fix the problem for her. Which of course will probably leave Joe thinking that he is being told that his original anger that he was not able to express around Jane somehow is less important than Jane’s fear and its basis.

    And also:
    Person A abuses Rat
    Rat attacks Person B

    Person B is expected to do something to assuage Rat’s reasons for attacking. I’m sure you don’t mean to sound like it but the idea that B should be working to calm Rat’s fears instead of responding in some other way comes off to a lot of people as saying that Rat was justified in attacking B. Its like there is a cycle of distrust, violence, etc… going on and B is being left holding the bag (ie “Why do I have to clean up someone else’s mess?”)

  62. 239
    Grim says:

    @238
    I’m not saying Average Joe needs to magically understand Average Jane’s situation. I’m saying that when Average Jane is trying to explain her situation (as seen in the comments), Average Joe needs to shut up, quit whining about how he’s a good guy and she shouldn’t be afraid of him, and actually listen to what she’s saying.

    We are trying very hard to help you help us not to have these problems anymore.

    And as for “Its like there is a cycle of distrust, violence, etc… going on and B is being left holding the bag,” yes, it sucks to be B. But if we fix the problem, if we break that cycle of distrust, then the world gets to be a little better place and B isn’t seen as a villain anymore. That’s why if guys actually listened to what women are saying, instead of shutting them down by saying things like “That never happens to me!” or “I’m a good guy!” or “I have never personally witnessed that so I think you’re lying,” things would get better.

    When women try to open up about their problems and men shut them down, you are only furthering the cycle of distrust. You’re not a “nice guy,” anymore. You lost that title. But if you listen and try to understand what they are saying and how the fear women feel every day of their lives affects them, you start to break that cycle. Depending on the situation, you might not do much more than chip it, but you still helped.

    Saying “Oh, it’s not my problem, this is unfair,” only makes the problem worse.

    I could have said the same thing about my rat. I could have just passed her on to a friend, or a rescue group, or something similar. But likely she wouldn’t even have had a chance there–she would have been put down, and no one would have stood up for her, and her abusers would have continued unchecked. By saying “Not my problem,” I would have become part of the problem.

  63. 240
    Danny says:

    Grim:
    I’m saying that when Average Jane is trying to explain her situation (as seen in the comments), Average Joe needs to shut up, quit whining about how he’s a good guy and she shouldn’t be afraid of him, and actually listen to what she’s saying.

    But with the context that Felix mentioned it:
    Agreed, but there’s a different disadvantage for men: We (sometimes) cannot freely express anger around females without being feared. I don’t think this is a cultural thing; we’re just physically bigger. When a bigger animal makes loud, aggressive noises, it’s scary.
    Even before getting into situations in which a given Joe or may or may not be listening to a given Jane there is still the matter that as Felix says men are presumed to be feared by expressing anger around women.

    Now what you describe may be considered a situation in which a given Jane’s fear is real or justified but in order say that the fear that Felix mentions, as Felix mentioned it, it would take the blanket presumption that every situation Felix speaks of is a case in which a given Joe is ignoring a given Jane’s fears. And that’s not always the case.

  64. 241
    Grim says:

    My point, I suppose, is that Jane’s fear surpasses Joe’s uncomfortable feelings about being feared.

    Being feared is not nearly as bad as living in fear.

    If we fix the first problem (that women have been given reasons to be afraid), then the second problem will take care of itself (that men are upset because they are feared).

    Besides, if you are expressing your anger in such a way that people are rebuking you for it (which is what Felix seemed to be implying), you probably need to find some better ways to express yourself. Don’t be a bigger animal making loud aggressive noises, be a bigger animal speaking in a reasonable tone about why you feel the way you do.

  65. 242
    Danny says:

    Grim:
    My point, I suppose, is that Jane’s fear surpasses Joe’s uncomfortable feelings about being feared.
    I can agree to that…in a situation in which Jane is actually fearful of Joe’s anger for some solid reason rather than Jane projecting fearfulness onto Joe just because Joe is male and angry.

    If we swapped this around and were talking about Joe being fearful of Jane the first thing people would want to do is determine if Joe has some sort of reason to be fearful of Jane or is Joe just projecting fearfulness onto Jane as a setup to dismiss her as a bitch (frankly I think a lot of people would accuse Joe of just trying to make Jane out to be a bitch even if he had fears similar to the Jane in the reversed scenario I mentioned or the rat you spoke of Grim).

    In fact there seems to almost be some sort of double standard at work where women are supposed to be free to be as angry as they want to be without being scolded for it while men are never supposed to be angry and when they do its okay to scold them for it. Its like justification of anger is being judged based on gender rather than reason for anger.

    Being feared is not nearly as bad as living in fear.
    Even though I’ve only been on one side of that equation I would not be so quick to make that declaration.

    Besides, if you are expressing your anger in such a way that people are rebuking you for it (which is what Felix seemed to be implying), you probably need to find some better ways to express yourself.
    This sounds a lot like, “If people are rebuking you/are afraid of you, then they are probably right about you.” As in its okay to act treat him that way. (I’m betting you don’t mean it that way but that’s how it comes off and its not as simple as, “Well if you’d shut up…” to resolve.)

    Don’t be a bigger animal making loud aggressive noises, be a bigger animal speaking in a reasonable tone about why you feel the way you do.
    The problem is when you are the bigger animal the range for “reasonable tone” becomes a lot smaller and the range for “loud aggressive noises” becomes a lot bigger to the point of unfairness to said bigger animal. All of a sudden anything said bigger animal says/does is read as aggressive, often times for no good reason at all I might add.

    And this is actually treading close to the border of stereotypes and hatred of fat people (namely men).

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  68. 243
    cr says:

    While I do agree with many of these, some are just plain wrong (#10…especially #44)

    But to me- a lot of these privileges are maintained by women themselves. I really don’t know to many men making jokes, or comments about #33. Perhaps the people who compiled this list are associating with a poor choice in man. I have and have had many female supervisors, and I am often interviewed by female recruiters, and when it is time for my quarterly review, guess who I am meeting with? I feel like this list applies 20-30 years ago, but is a little offside in 2012.

    Net point I wanted to make is that Women being more aware is important, and this list will surely shrink the more that happens. Women (many whom I know) who refer to themselves as ‘pro-hoes’ or ones that think that they shouldn’t work simply because of their sex is preposterous, and even aggravating as a male.

  69. 244
    Joe says:

    1. False. Other way around.
    2. True
    3. True
    4. True only for male-dominated careers. Reverse is true for female-dominated.
    5. True
    6. See #4
    7. True
    8. How is this a privilege?
    9. True
    10. True
    11. True, but being a stay-at-home dad is looked down on by many
    12. True
    13. Iffy. Remember the controversy about George Bush’s daughters?
    14. True
    15. True
    16. Didn’t have any sisters, so can’t say.
    17. True
    18. I really don’t know
    19. True, but neither do women. They choose to.
    20. So can women
    21. True
    22. False!!!
    23. True-ish
    24. True, but the reverse is true for virgins
    25. True
    26. Don’t really know
    27. True
    28. Can’t judge, but wouldn’t be surprised
    29. Generally true, but not as much as they may think
    30. I guess
    31. This may be true, but women can seek the same whereas it is often harder for men to seek protection for crime mostly happening to women.
    32. Who cares?
    33. True
    34. True
    35. True
    36. True
    37. What is this, the middle ages?
    38. True, but men do the harder work.
    39. True
    40. True
    41. True
    42. I guess so
    43. This has been proven false for about a decade. Not to mention the stigma that comes with this and that sometimes it’s even blamed on the guy.
    44. Wtf
    45. They said this already.
    46. Meh…I mean I’m aware both sexes have their pluses and minuses.

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  72. 245
    Dylan says:

    Stereotypes are not at all this twisted sort of privilege that you believe exists.

    How about a list of hardships that men experience in life?

    1. If I’m ever in a dispute over custody of children with my wife, she will, in almost all cases win, simply because of her gender.

    2. If I am sexually harassed, I will be seen as less of a man for complaining about it.

    3. If a lady hits me, and I call the police, they will be less likely to take me seriously.

    4. Again, if a lady were to attack me, and I defended myself, police officers would be more likely to believe that I started the altercation.

    5. If a lady hits me and I complain, I will be seen as less of a man.

    6. Staying home from work to raise children is seen as taboo for a man to do.

    (some funnier ones)

    7. Things such as make-up, waxing, personal grooming, are stigmatized because of my gender.

    The list goes on, but I must sleep.

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  79. 246
    sofi says:

    This list of yours may be viewed as sexist by many females, but leaving that aside some of what you said might be true especially #5 #14 #21.
    But I disagree with some:
    #4 False, men are usually seen as bread earners.
    #9 In many cultures yes you are seen as less manly
    #31 False, if you see domestic violence and acquaintance rape as special interest for women then you must be blind to all the negativity it has on both females and MALES
    #36 False, being religious my self God is not biased only man is , most interpretations are done by males and to an extent to privilege themselves
    #38 that is your opinion you see them as boring
    #39 how is that a privilege? so a mother taking care of her child is a disadvantage to her!!
    #41 A privilege?? Wow what a mentality!
    #46 Again is that a privilege???

    I hope this gets posted

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  81. 247
    Derek says:

    Many of these are just untrue.

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  87. 248
    lobo says:

    As a male, I was unaware that I have the privilege of being interrupted by more men than women on average. But of course, I have the privilege of being unaware of my male privilege so I guess that makes sense.

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  89. 249
    Redding says:

    Largely, agree with male priviledge being an issue. While a lot of the list is a bit of a stretch, the system is in some ways still very male oriented. Not to say it is all 100% male oriented to circumvent the replies that will bemoan and cite female privilege but you can’t really argue female privilege = male privilege in it’s scope.

    Concerning how male sex offenders get stiffer sentences than female sex offenders or what have you that one guy made, and calling it female privilege, in so many words.

    While it seems like misandry to some, the fact that men get stiffer punishments for sexual crimes and statutory rape is also the blow back from male privilege. It is predicated on the view that little girls need to be protected like little unthinking jewels from sick and evil monsters but when a little boy has sex with his older teacher she is just showing him the ropes or he is lucky. If you don’t believe me, Google up some forum posts or comments section from a news story where a little boy gets sexually abused by a woman and, almost universally, the male responders are saying “What’s the big deal?” not the females.

    207: “What I mean is that women are constantly given messages, by society around them. Conflicting messages, and if they break out of one or another it is unacceptable in a sense that they haven’t met up to what a “good woman” is.”

    That isn’t an issue of male privilege since males suffer that too. Care about what you look like but not too much, be sensitive and caring but aloof and independent, make eye contact but not too much eye contact because males are supposed to be aggressive but cunning, etc. I think being told completely opposing view points on what makes you a “good woman” or a “real man” is just part and parcel for our social species. The razor thin line that no actual human being can walk and be happy.

  90. 250
    Tyrannus Evisceratus says:

    Ok sorry about those last two comments I was so confused where they were going.

    Anyway my advice /question is this.

    If you want to eliminate male privilege men there are two ways to go about it
    1. You find a reason for men to voluntarily give up their privileges (I don’t have any reasons why they would maybe you do)

    2. You take power and take our privileges away from us by force. (This is actually way easier to do even though it sounds harder) Women have the majority of the votes in this country and wealthy widows get their husband’s fortunes for 7 years to themselves statistically(cause he dead).

    Money+Votes= ultimate power in a corrupt democracy aka America

    Old school feminists totally understood this. What happened to the whole a woman for president thing? Why did Women let the democratic party stick Barrack up there instead of Hillary(John McCain was screwed either way)? Why didn’t women vote for John McCain and then kill him(or wait for him to die) so Sarah Palin could be president?(It worked for LBJ and Harry Truman allegedly)

    This bizzare make men feel bad about all the advantages they get cause baffles me.

    I mean look at your message like a politician
    “You have all these awesome privileges just for being a man and you should feel guilty about them and give them up”

    Ok now you have a mixed reaction from men
    You have denial
    1. “Women have privilges too and and I don’t have any privileges”

    Self Interest(me)
    2. “pretend I don’t any privileges, so I can’t lose them”

    Look at the guys(pro male privilege) message
    1. To men in denial
    “You don’t have any privileges and you can get drafted, so you don’t have anything to feel guilty about”
    2. An inbetween the lines message to self interested men
    “If we play dumb and do the denial tactic we get to keep our privileges indefinently.”

    If you were a man what side would you be on?

  91. 251
    humanist says:

    Re: men posting against # 38
    Joe said True, but men do harder work.
    Wow, this is an old an ridiculous arguement. Some men actually do more physically demanding work than women and some women do more physically demanding work than their male partners. Either way is it fair for a woman to get up in the morning and work all day while her male ‘partner’ relaxes for the first hour and then relaes for 6-7 hours upon returning home. I have lived as the femal in this relationship and it is not fair to be a slave and then be told you are not getting enough done and also begrudged when requests to play board games etc.. are turned down because you are trying to finish the housework for the day.
    Also lets work with your sexist attitude of “They do harder work” If a man is physically capable of doing harder work then he should have the stamina to come home and help out the ‘weaker sex’ for awhile so she will have some more energy to please him in bed.
    To Sofi whi commented that the tasks were seen as boring it does not matter what they are seen as it is about fairness and honouring a persons time and effort.

  92. 252
    Jerbear says:

    I don’t know if it’s been mentioned before, but don’t women get cheaper car insurance right off the bat? I know that my sister’s insurance when she started driving was a lot cheaper than mine was and still is.

    I don’t mean for that to be some sort of discrediting of the list, just a counter to a single point. I agree for the most part.

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  94. 253
    Stephanie Andromeda says:

    #36) “Every major religion in the world is lead primarily by people of my sex…”
    This is phrased ambiguously. With sufficiently lax standards on what counts as “major”, we could include Wicca, a primarily female-lead faith. If we narrow it down to the ten most popular religions, you’re right on this part. HOWEVER…
    “Even God, in most major religions, is pictured as male.”
    This is not entirely accurate. Going through the top ten most popular religions in the world:
    Christianity: Yes. Mostly.
    Islam: While male pronouns are used to refer to God, Arabic treats masculine gender as the default*, and الله‎ is neither male nor female. So no.
    Hinduism: ब्रह्मन is, again, neither male nor female.
    Buddhism: Most Buddhists are atheists, in Japan most follow Shinto (see below), and Buddhism is not about God.
    Sikhism: God is not fully comprehensible to humans, and does not conform to our silly notions of gender.
    Judaism: Yes.
    Baha’ism: Same deal as with Sikhism, incomprehensible to humans, no gender.
    Confucianism: Is not about God
    Jainism: Explicitly excludes the concept of God.
    Shinto: Is polytheistic, and has no God-with-a-capital-G.
    Two out of ten =/= “most”.
    I agree with most of this list
    *Sex-based noun class systems (grammatical gender) are a result of sexism in and of themselves, but in this case it was sexism on the part of the speakers of Proto-Afro-Asiatic, not on the part of Islam.

  95. 254
    IrritatedFeminist says:

    How about these ones.

    Should I choose to go into the military or wish to go into a specific part of the military there are no legal boundaries that say I cannot be a part of that group or specifically take part in combat.

    People are much more likely to meet my eyes or at least look in the general direction of my face while I am talking rather than stare at my cleavage. People do not have to be reminded not to do this.

    People are not trying to take away my right to control my body as regards to reproduction.

    Film characters of my gender who are not conventionally attractive will usually gain an above-average female love interest. The reverse, as far as mainstream movies are concerned, does not happen unless a makeover has happened first.

  96. 255
    Ben Lehman says:

    @253 Yeah, the list is actually very American / euro – centric. Which is not to say male privilege doesn’t exist elsewhere! It’s just different. Claims to universalism probably weaken the argument.

  97. 256
    Tamen says:

    @254: I guess that’s not included since for a lot of men around the world going into the military is not something one chooses – it’s an obligation and duty which will get you jailed if you try to refuse to do so. I only viewed it as detriemental even though the country where I live were not involved in any armed conflicts the 12 months I served (Currently they have forces in Afghanistan). I spent 12 months learning to kill people by guns, ground-to-air missiles, mines, hand-grenades, anti-tank missiles and learning how to operate a mobile radar unit. I was told that my expected life span in an armed conflict were measured in minutes due to anti-radar missiles which would home in on the radarsignal pretty fast in an armed conflict (the chance of detecting and reacting fast enough to escape that ARM were almost theoretical we were told)).
    Also where I live women could volunteer (no repurcussions for those who don’t) and nothing (except any physical demands) prevents them from entering any branch of the army which would see action in an armed conflict. In fact two seargent in my platoon were women – each leading a team of 4-5 manning a mobile ground-to-air missile. They got to choose to be there, I did not get that privelege.

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