The Myth of Female Privilege, or, Mark Saunders Is an Idiot
Over the last weekend a new name in the Men's Right's movement emerged in the form of columnist Mark Saunders at Thought Catalog. The self-described Denver yuppie debuted on the site with his article "18 Things Females Seem To Not Understand (Because, Female Privilege)". The thing is, Saunders is completely right. Women don't understand his bullet points for the exact same reason I don't understand the government's plans to sterilize us with chemtrails; they aren't freakin' true.
And Saunders doesn't understand why he's wrong because he's an idiot.
I'm not likely to change the hearts and minds of any MRAs any time soon, but I would still like to go through his bullet points to try and slide some actual reason into the conversation.
1. Female privilege is being able to walk down the street at night without people crossing the street because they're automatically afraid of you.
2. Female privilege is being able to approach someone and ask them out without being labeled "creepy."
3. Female privilege is being able to get drunk and have sex without being considered a rapist. Female privilege is being able to engage in the same action as another person but be considered the innocent party by default.
Let's bunch some of the rape-y points together and get them over with. Yes, it sucks when a woman on the street clearly feels safer on the other side of the street than you. However, if you think for a second that her fear is somehow a privilege then I'm going to have to assume someone once touched you inappropriately with a dictionary. Yes, her fear is a greater cause for alarm than your hurt feelings.
As for being able to ask someone out without being labeled creepy, look around you. The world is full of married and dating heterosexual couples. Clearly there's a whole lot of non-creepy asking out a-going on. Maybe you could ask some living people for tips instead of the sock puppets you fashioned out of your masturbatory aids.
The drunk thing... as a writer I am intimately aware of the different stages of inebriation. Let me draw a line for people for whom this problem seems to come up an alarming number of times. If a women is sober enough to argue with you coherently while standing unassisted on her own two feet then she is probably sober enough to consent. If she's unconscious, unresponsive, incoherent, or unable to stand because the room is spinning, that's a good point to call it a night and try again when she's not hammered. This is not rocket science.
4. Female privilege is being able to turn on the TV and see yourself represented in a positive way. Female privilege is shows like King of Queens and Everybody Loves Raymond where women are portrayed as attractive, competent people while men are shown as ugly, lazy slobs.
Hey, I wish there were a few less "clueless dads" in commercials, but sometimes I comfort myself with the fact that nearly every protagonist in film and television is a chisel-jawed white male. If two examples are all that are needed to establish a premise then I present Don Draper, Sherlock Holmes, and The Doctor. Your move.
This story continues on the next page.
5. Female privilege is the idea that women and children should be the first rescued from any sort of emergency situation. Female privilege is saving yourself before you save others and not being viewed as a monster.
A) This is actually of a symptom of treating women like children, meaning unable to help themselves. B) It's pretty much a moot point once we started having female emergency service members. C) All you have to do is look up the survivor manifest of the Titanic to see how the "women and children first" thing actually played out when used.
6. Female privilege is being able to decide not to have a child.
I must have missed a draft pick or something. Also, as a person who spent three years and $10,000 on fertility treatments I invite you to kiss my hobbit hole. When you're listing "being able to get an abortion" among the superpowers then I really hope that the government has you on a list.
7. Female privilege is not having to support a child financially for 18 years when you didn't want to have it in the first place.
Right... because if a single woman has a child and is receiving child support she never has to spend a dime of her own money on the kid.
8. Female privilege is never being told to "take it like a man" or "man up."
Frankly, I always took "man up" to mean "take care of business", not as a command to ignore my pain, but if it bothers you so much I'll cede you this one.
9. Female privilege is knowing that people would take it as a gravely serious issue if someone raped you. Female privilege is being able to laugh at a "prison rape" joke.
If you think men don't laugh at prison rape jokes then you must see a very different Yahoo News comment section than I do. Regardless, wishing rape on anyone, even criminals, is wrong.
10. Female privilege is being able to divorce your spouse when your marriage is no longer working because you know you will most likely be granted custody of your children.
There is still an unmistakable bias toward awarding women custody of children over men, though since I found this in a list that also bitches about child support I have to wonder more about the quality of the man petitioning custody in this case.
11. Female privilege is being able to call the police in a domestic dispute knowing they will take your side. Female privilege is not having your gender work against where police are involved.
Men's domestic abuse complaints are indeed not taken serious enough. On the other hand, the police response in the Steubenville rape case should be adequate enough to show that the police are not automatically going to believe a woman.
12. Female privilege is being able to be caring or empathetic without people being surprised.
Wait... it bothers you that people are surprised you're not an asshole?
13. Female privilege is not having to take your career seriously because you can depend on marrying someone who makes more money than you do. Female privilege is being able to be a "stay at home mom" and not seem like a loser.
Apparently the answer to the wage gap is to wed the guys taking home 30 percent more than you for the same job. And yes, it would be nice to have "stay at home dad" be a little less stigmatized. Maybe if we let the women make the same amount of money as the men more men could afford to be those.
14. Female privilege is being able to cry your way out of a speeding ticket.
Maybe they're crying because they can't afford the same ticket a man could?
15. Female privilege is being favored by teachers in elementary, middle and high school. Female privilege is graduating high school more often, being accepted to more colleges, and generally being encouraged and supported along the way.
There are some alarming statistics about how boys are faring in schools as opposed to girls, but they are usually misread. Objectively, boys are actually performing better than ever except in a few key areas. The reason for the widening gap is that girls managed to close it and then pulled ahead. By the way, you could close that gap considerably for the boys by focusing on helping low income minority boys get better access to education, but I realize that sounds a lot more like actual work.
16. Female privilege being able to have an opinion without someone tell you you're just "a butthurt fedora-wearing neckbeard who can't get any."
Male privilege is being able to have an opinion and not be told you're a cunt that should be raped.
17. Female privilege is being able to talk about sexism without appearing self-serving.
As opposed to a man writing a MRA talking points menu?
18. Female privilege is arrogantly believing that sexism only applies to women.
A privilege is not something you believe, it's something you have. No matter what your crotch-dangle is if you don't believe that there's sexism on both sides you're an idiot. Likewise, if you believe even half the list Saunders has written you're also an idiot.
Get the Theater and Arts Newsletter
Exclusive discounts and announcements to Houston theater shows and art events