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simple description of "privilege"

Post  rEvolutionist on Sun Oct 28, 2012 4:16 pm

Hi. Can someone give me a real simple idiots guide description of how 'privilege' is used (and misused, if appropriate) in the feminist movement. I've read lots and lots of words on the issue for the past week or so, but find myself pretty confused now. I'd prefer a discussion about it here, rather than having to chase links. Cheers.

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Re: simple description of "privilege"

Post  Dar on Sun Oct 28, 2012 4:30 pm

wikipedia: Privilege (social inequality)

I think this link may be a decent starting point for the discussion. Even so, recent experience with this concept seems to suggest privilege is more of an ad hominen than a concept that should be taken seriously. That could simply be misuse of the concept though.

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Re: simple description of "privilege"

Post  rEvolutionist on Sun Oct 28, 2012 4:56 pm

Hmm, I guess I'm confused about how the concept of 'privilege' relates to cases of advantage and disadvantage in specific cases/contexts. Essentially how is 'privilege' useful as a society wide concept when at more detailed levels of assessment, advantage flows variously to both minorities and majorities.

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Re: simple description of "privilege"

Post  Skep tickle on Sun Oct 28, 2012 5:12 pm

rEvolutionist wrote:Hi. Can someone give me a real simple idiots guide description of how 'privilege' is used (and misused, if appropriate) in the feminist movement. I've read lots and lots of words on the issue for the past week or so, but find myself pretty confused now. I'd prefer a discussion about it here, rather than having to chase links. Cheers.
Dar wrote:wikipedia: Privilege (social inequality)

I think this link may be a decent starting point for the discussion. Even so, recent experience with this concept seems to suggest privilege is more of an ad hominen than a concept that should be taken seriously. That could simply be misuse of the concept though.
Laughing re the 2 lines I've bolded above.

First, rEvolutionist, thanks for starting this. That was one of my questions over there; it was one of several examples in which a word was being used in a different way than I learned it.

Second, I'll bring some info from links into the thread as seed for discussion. Here's some of the key stuff from the intro at that Wiki page (bolding added):
Privilege is a way of framing issues surrounding social inequality, focusing as much on the advantages that one group accrues from society as on the disadvantages that another group experiences.

...

Privilege differs from conditions of overt prejudice, in which a dominant group actively seeks to oppress or suppress another group for its own advantage. Instead, theories of privilege suggest that the privileged group views its social, cultural, and economic experiences as a norm that everyone should experience, rather than as an advantaged position that must be maintained at the expense of others.

"Of Dogs and Lizards: A Parable of Privilege" is linked in various 101 threads over at A+safe; I found it to be interesting & fairly useful in describing the concept, though not in the nearly constant admonishment to "check your privilege" (apparently meaning, "check it at the door", not "check it to see whether it's an issue in this conversation"). This is the page that I'd seen linked, & it links to the parable (& discussion) here. The parable is about a gecko & big furry dog who live together in house in a cold climate; the gecko, which is cold-blooded of course, can't get warm, but can't operate the thermostat. The dog feels plenty warm and keeps turning the thermostat down further. From the middle of the page at the second link:
So one day, [the gecko] sees the dog messing with the A/C again, and she says, “hey. Dog. Listen, it makes me really cold when you do that.”

The dog kind of looks at her, and shrugs, and keeps turning the dial.

This is not because the dog is a jerk.

This is because the dog has no fucking clue what the lizard even just said.

Consider: he’s a nordic dog in a temperate climate. The word “cold” is completely meaningless to him. He’s never been cold in his entire life. He lives in an environment that is perfectly suited to him, completely aligned with his comfort level, a world he grew up with the tools to survive and control, built right in to the way he was born.

So the lizard tries to explain it to him.

... [But] he doesn’t get what she’s saying to him, and keeps hurting her.

Most privilege is like this.

A straight cisgendered male American, because of who he is and the culture he lives in, does not and cannot feel the stress, creepiness, and outright threat behind a catcall the way a woman can. His upbringing has given him fur and paws big enough to turn the dials and plopped him down in temperate Ohio. When she says “you don’t have to put up with being leered at,” what she means is, “you don’t ever have to be wary of sexual interest.” That’s male privilege. Not so much that something doesn’t happen to men, but that it will never carry the same weight, even if it does.

So what does this mean? And what are we asking you to do, when we say “check your privilege” or “your privilege is showing”?

Well, quite simply, we want you to understand when you have fur. And, by extension, when that means you should listen. See, the dog’s not an asshole just for turning down the temperature. As far as he knows, that’s fine, right? He genuinely cannot feel the pain it causes, he doesn’t even know about it. No one thinks he’s a bad person for totally accidentally doing harm.

Here’s where he becomes an asshole: the minute the gecko says, “look, you’re hurting me,” and he says, “what? No, I’m not. This ‘cold’ stuff doesn’t even exist, I should know, I’ve never felt it. You’re imagining it. It’s not there. It’s fine because of fur, because of paws, because look, you can curl up around this lamp, because sometimes my water dish is too tepid and I just shut up and cope, obviously temperature isn’t this big deal you make it, and you’ve never had to deal with mange anyway, my life is just as hard.”

And then the dog just ignores it. Because he can. That’s the privilege that comes with having fur, with being a dog in Ohio. He doesn’t have to think about it. He doesn’t have to live daily with the cold. He has no idea what he’s talking about, and he will never, ever be forced to learn.

So, as (presumably) an example, in the Schrodinger's Rapist discussion, when men say "women are over-reacting, there's no way the actual level of threat warrants that degree of vigilance", yet (a) they've never themselves experienced being a woman and facing unwanted advances on a relatively frequent basis as many women indeed feel they do, and (b) perhaps many of the men wouldn't find it threatening if the same degree of 'interest' were shown to them. (Not rape, but interest or advances.)

This then would presumably be an example in which the "SR-deniers" are "letting their privilege show" and a person so inclined might say they "should check their privilege" and instead listen to the concern being expressed, without judging it, so that they can better understand that the concern does exist and is very real and in fact pervasive for the gecko, or in this case for many women.

Editing to add the links, somehow they fell out; first is the one I'd seen at A+safe & opens with an intro to privilege; 2nd one opens with the parable:
https://sindeloke.wordpress.com/2010/01/13/37/
http://redheadbouquet.tumblr.com/post/7477579641/on-the-difference-between-good-dogs-and-dogs-that-need

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Re: simple description of "privilege"

Post  rEvolutionist on Sun Oct 28, 2012 5:53 pm

Ok, so relating to the parable, we/they are talking about a specific axis of marginalisation (that being 'temperature marginalisation'). I kind of want to know how this gets extended to a society-wide context. The prevailing view, and I'd probably agree with it, is that when it all comes out of the wash, Males have it over Females. So, if we did the 'marginalisation calculus' we'd wind up finding that women have more marginalisation than men overall.

So, that informs us in some way. But I'm just not sure how much that really informs us past noting 'on average'. Isn't that too simplistic an analysis to draw on when talking about more specific problems in society? How is that relevant when we get down to assessments of situations like black men vs white women? Or poor men vs rich women? And furthermore, what does it tell us about cases where social structure, rules and norms favour the 'on average' (society-wide) marginalised demographic?

A member, Nicko, who got banned over at A+, posted a link at RationalSkepticism to some really good examples of cases where females were clearly advantaged over men by the current social framework. How does the concept of 'privilege' take account of, or inform us about, these sorts of cases? To preempt slightly the discussion on this, I have seen this (men's disadvantage) described as an effect of the 'patriarchy'. In a sense that seems to be a rhetorical device to 'explain away' men's disadvantage as, conveniently, a problem of men. So men get 'blamed' for both female and male disadvantage.

That's probably a naive way of looking at it, and I guess the answer might be that talking of 'the patriarchy' isn't necessarily blaming men for anything, it's just a description about the state of the world. But that's not how it was manifesting over at the other A+ forum. There seemed to be a lot of hate and anger and even some blame being directed towards men (or who they assumed were men or their apologists).

Ok, I'm starting to veer off into "patriarchy", so might stop there.

EDIT: Just to add... The parable talks about "privilege" on a particular axis, but when it gets used at A+, it is often used in the sense of the society wide 'average'. Essentially used to discount anything a man says that a female disagrees with. But if it's ok to frame 'privilege' on a specific axis or axes, as the parable above does, then why does framing it in a context where females come out privileged compared to males meet with such aggression and dismissal?

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Re: simple description of "privilege"

Post  Skep tickle on Sun Oct 28, 2012 6:16 pm

Since I haven't been properly educated about all this, I'm not the right person to tackle your questions; I'd just be guessing. But I'm going to go ahead & guess that there are paradigms that are challenged when one brings up other examples, & people who are vested in that paradigm feel their beliefs threatened (& maybe also some key aspect of their self-identification, based on how intense the resistance can be). (I think I'd seen the response go something like: those are isolated examples and still in the big picture men have all the privilege...or something like that.)

I'm also going to guess that not only would you need to delve into "patriarchy" next, you'd better add "intersectionality" too to address your questions above: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intersectionality:
Intersectionality is a feminist sociological theory first highlighted by Kimberlé Crenshaw (1989). Intersectionality is a methodology of studying "the relationships among multiple dimensions and modalities of social relationships and subject formations" (McCall 2005). The theory suggests—and seeks to examine how—various biological, social and cultural categories such as gender, race, class, ability, sexual orientation, and other axes of identity interact on multiple and often simultaneous levels, contributing to systematic social inequality. Intersectionality holds that the classical conceptualizations of oppression within society, such as racism, sexism, homophobia, and religion-based bigotry, do not act independently of one another; instead, these forms of oppression interrelate, creating a system of oppression that reflects the "intersection" of multiple forms of discrimination. [1]

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Re: simple description of "privilege"

Post  Dar on Sun Oct 28, 2012 6:41 pm

I suppose one of my issues with privilege is that those who use it to support their positions tend to dismiss it when they find it convenient to do so.

I've been privileged in various ways in various situations. I've also been marginalized in various ways in various situations. The issue of privilege seems to me to be highly relative.

For instance, I'm obese. When the topic comes up, I tend to get judged. That person lacks self discipline, is lazy, eats poorly, doesn't get enough exercise, deserves whatever problems that come with that situation. I also tend to get tons and tons of advice. You should eat less, get more exercise, drink lots and lots of water, go on this or that diet. Right, I'm over 30 years old. Diet and exercise you say? Dear Lordy Hallelujah! I've never tried that before! I've certainly never heard it a gazillion times. I especially never contemplated suicide after years of vigorous daily exercise and starvation failed to 'cure' my obesity. With trillions and trillions of diet books on the shelf, certainly obesity is a solved problem, and its the fat person's fault for being fat. If I claim its not as simple as that... well I'm just some stupid fat person who needs to get a clue. It's not like personal experience means anything. Yet these very same people will invoke male privilege when I disagree with them about some gender issue.

I think male abortion is an idea worth discussing. If a female can opt out of parental responsibilities through abortion, why shouldn't a male be afforded the same ability, legally at least? The most popular argument I hear against this is that the male should have kept his penis in his pants. Yet, the very same people who make this argument are mortified, as am I, when some conservative suggests that the best way for a woman to avoid the responsibilities of parenthood is to keep her legs shut. Amazingly, they fail to see the hypocrisy in this. Indeed, I must be evil to even think the subject worthy of discussion. To them, the poor female is the victim of an unwanted pregnancy and deserves every option to stop it. The evil male inflicted the unwanted pregnancy and deserves whatever consequences the female chooses for him. Once again, they choose only to see one side and one axis of the privilege equation... their own.

Privilege exists, sure. Yet, those most enamored with the idea also seem to be the ones most blind to it. They want the concept of privilege to help themselves feel better, and to use as a cudgel to make others feel bad. They certainly can't be at fault for failing to check their own privilege... can they?

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Re: simple description of "privilege"

Post  Skep tickle on Sun Oct 28, 2012 7:20 pm

You are wise, my son. Smile

I've had the same thoughts on observing some of the threads at A+safe. It seems that there's a defined, limited set of characteristics (A, B, C...) which are agreed upon by the group to confer privilege on the person with the "+" version and not on the person with the "-" version, regardless of the individuals involved & their specific situation. These include things like biological sex, gender identity, skin color, socioeconomic status ("wealth" is a shorthand term for this perhaps), educational level attained, disability of various types. There may be a few others I'm not thinking of right now.

Those are treated as legitimate axes on which privilege exists, but other characteristics upon which people may judge each other's worth, or because of which access to resources etc is limited, aren't. Your example of weight (body habitus) is certainly one.

Other aspects of appearance also affect how people get treated, though may vary more in context of the situation.

Left-handedness used to be vilified; it isn't any more, but left-handed people still find situations frequently in which right-handedness is assumed to be the norm and left-handers have trouble using the equipment or setup provided.

I'm sure there are others, including how people interact with others - extroverts vs. introverts, for example.

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Re: simple description of "privilege"

Post  rEvolutionist on Sun Oct 28, 2012 7:23 pm

@Dar... Yeah, that last paragraph of yours is how I perceive it to have been applied over at the other place.

On that issue of male abortion, I must admit I've never actually considered that (despite being a male and a parent). Without having given it much thought, I would imagine it's just one of those things that is worth taking some freedoms away for the benefit of society. Essentially, the positive benefit of freedom to men, is probably heavily outweighed by the social negatives of a lot of single mothers struggling while guys just freely shag anything that moves.

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Re: simple description of "privilege"

Post  rEvolutionist on Sun Oct 28, 2012 7:28 pm

Good post, Skep Tickle.

I'm really enthused by the excellent discussions that are going on over here free of all the censorship and aggression of the other place. If an advanced visitor from outer space drop in now and only saw that other forum, I think they might think humans were the most ridiculous life form in the galaxy. Thank gawd this one contrast so positively when compared to the other one. Very Happy

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Re: simple description of "privilege"

Post  Dar on Sun Oct 28, 2012 7:35 pm

I also enjoy the discussions here, and I look forward to the time when they supersede concerns about some other forum.

I didn't want to take the focus off privilege. I simply felt that issue worked as a good demonstration of hypocritical abuse of the privilege concept.


Last edited by Dar on Sun Oct 28, 2012 7:39 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : "I didn't want to take the focus of privilege." off, not of, off!)

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Re: simple description of "privilege"

Post  Skep tickle on Sun Oct 28, 2012 7:41 pm

I agree w/ you about the hypocrisy, & the "male abortion" topic is an excellent example. (I forget the other name that topic was given; it described the situation more accurately as I recall.) Instead of "what's good for the goose is good for the gander" it's more like "More good for the goose; to hell with the gander" (unless the gander is appropriately deferential, in some cases). Rolling Eyes

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Re: simple description of "privilege"

Post  Dar on Sun Oct 28, 2012 7:50 pm

So... privilege... do you think its a topic that men tend to have trouble with?

One could argue that "the patriarchy", or whatever you want to call the memes pervading our culture, has conditioned men to "get up and walk it off", "don't cry like some baby", "tough it out", and "don't complain". Admitting instances where a male feels marginalized or dismissed due to privilege seems to run counter to this cultural conditioning. As such, even when a man can empathize with privilege, it could be seen as a sign of weakness to admit it.

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Re: simple description of "privilege"

Post  Skep tickle on Sun Oct 28, 2012 8:30 pm

Dar wrote:So... privilege... do you think its a topic that men tend to have trouble with?

One could argue that "the patriarchy", or whatever you want to call the memes pervading our culture, has conditioned men to "get up and walk it off", "don't cry like some baby", "tough it out", and "don't complain". Admitting instances where a male feels marginalized or dismissed due to privilege seems to run counter to this cultural conditioning. As such, even when a man can empathize with privilege, it could be seen as a sign of weakness to admit it.
Heh - someone else will have to weigh in on your question here. I'm not a man, and I have trouble with the concept, so presumably I'm either defective...or an honorary man...or something?

Actually, I think one "problem" I have is wanting to examine the specific situation under discussion, feeling that broad generalizations only get you so far and can be misleading.

But in terms of your "men-should-be-tough" example above, presumably part of the message is that a man who doesn't conform to cultural expectations of emotional toughness have shown a feminine or weaker side, thus have taken on characteristics of women or of gay men, and are sometimes compared with either group in a denigrating fashion. For example "sissy", which arose from 'sister' and is used as a slur for men or boys seen as fearful or effeminate. (....what other slurs? there must be more my tired brain just isn't thinking of now)

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Re: simple description of "privilege"

Post  uncrystal on Mon Oct 29, 2012 1:18 am

There are several great comments here. Thank you all.

I just have a general comment/question about the "Of Dogs and Lizards"parable..

The dog kind of looks at her, and shrugs, and keeps turning the dial.

This is not because the dog is a jerk.

This is because the dog has no fucking clue what the lizard even just said.

Consider: he’s a nordic dog in a temperate climate. The word “cold” is completely meaningless to him. He’s never been cold in his entire life. He lives in an environment that is perfectly suited to him, completely aligned with his comfort level, a world he grew up with the tools to survive and control, built right in to the way he was born.

This implies that anyone who is privileged (on whatever axis you choose) is complete INCAPABLE of having empathy for someone who is not at their level of privileged. So someone who has never been hungry can neither have sympathy for the hungry or imagine what is like to be hungry. Someone who has never been raped can neither care for rape victims or imagine what is like to be raped etc.

Going by that logic. A white, heterosexual, cis gendered, non abuse survivor, able bodied, neurotypical etc etc etc man is literally incapable of empathizing with the non privileged because they "speak another language". It also implies that said man has NEVER been in a situation where he wasn't "privileged".

In the parable if the dog can literally not comprehend the meaning of the word cold then the two of them can never have a discussion about the temperature.

Does this comparison deeply disturb anyone?


Last edited by uncrystal on Mon Oct 29, 2012 1:29 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: simple description of "privilege"

Post  Dar on Mon Oct 29, 2012 1:26 am

Yeah, that dog is a complete ass. It might even be a psychopath. Even if it doesn't understand cold, it should understand discomfort and pain.

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Re: simple description of "privilege"

Post  AliRadicali on Mon Oct 29, 2012 11:54 am

What the gecko parable illustrates perfectly is that the feminists see/portray themselves as completely helpless victims, whose only recourse to solving their problems is to complain to men and have the men change to suit their needs. That seems wholly antithetical to the idea of female empowerment. If women want to be seen as agents trather than victims, it'd be nice if they could start acting a bit more tough and stoic instead of demanding men to change everything to suit women's preferences.

In the case of the gecko, it can be argued that he needs a certain temperature to remain alive. Has any woman ever died from an obscene comment being lobbed at her? So why are we treating sexism at skeptical conventions like a real issue?
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Re: simple description of "privilege"

Post  rEvolutionist on Mon Oct 29, 2012 12:45 pm

uncrystal wrote:There are several great comments here. Thank you all.

I just have a general comment/question about the "Of Dogs and Lizards"parable..

The dog kind of looks at her, and shrugs, and keeps turning the dial.

This is not because the dog is a jerk.

This is because the dog has no fucking clue what the lizard even just said.

Consider: he’s a nordic dog in a temperate climate. The word “cold” is completely meaningless to him. He’s never been cold in his entire life. He lives in an environment that is perfectly suited to him, completely aligned with his comfort level, a world he grew up with the tools to survive and control, built right in to the way he was born.

This implies that anyone who is privileged (on whatever axis you choose) is complete INCAPABLE of having empathy for someone who is not at their level of privileged. So someone who has never been hungry can neither have sympathy for the hungry or imagine what is like to be hungry. Someone who has never been raped can neither care for rape victims or imagine what is like to be raped etc.

Going by that logic. A white, heterosexual, cis gendered, non abuse survivor, able bodied, neurotypical etc etc etc man is literally incapable of empathizing with the non privileged because they "speak another language". It also implies that said man has NEVER been in a situation where he wasn't "privileged".

In the parable if the dog can literally not comprehend the meaning of the word cold then the two of them can never have a discussion about the temperature.

Does this comparison deeply disturb anyone?

Yeah, when I first read that parable, I was taken a bit aback by that part of it. It did seem to be implying that a privileged person could never understand what the unprivileged person went through, and kind of was dismissing the concept of empathy. That all seems a bit binary to me. There's no doubt another person can't know exactly what another person feels or experiences; but that's so elementary as to be effectively meaningless in this issue. The real question is - How closely can a person empathise with a victim? I figure it's a sliding scale, and it would be irrational to frame it as a false dichotomy like parts of that parable seem to have done.

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Re: simple description of "privilege"

Post  elouise on Mon Oct 29, 2012 3:57 pm

Since empathy arises from within the empathic person, it can only be based on their own thinking, which is informed by their own experiences, including how they process and respond to the experiences of others. I don't think this means that the experiences of different individuals need to be identical in order for there to be a common empathic understanding, but that an individual's life experience informs their capacity for empathy and the form it takes.



Humans are not dogs, btw .. as a species we have evolved a greater capacity for understanding others (including other species, as it happens), but it does seem to require a certain level of instilled education and awareness, which goes back to the processing and response I mentioned. I think most of that is modelled by those who influence us and/or have any kind of impact on our social development.


The more I think about it, the more it resembles a mutual individual/social feedback system .. and I suppose that's what it is.

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Re: simple description of "privilege"

Post  Westprog on Mon Oct 29, 2012 6:01 pm

Skep tickle wrote:You are wise, my son. Smile

I've had the same thoughts on observing some of the threads at A+safe. It seems that there's a defined, limited set of characteristics (A, B, C...) which are agreed upon by the group to confer privilege on the person with the "+" version and not on the person with the "-" version, regardless of the individuals involved & their specific situation. These include things like biological sex, gender identity, skin color, socioeconomic status ("wealth" is a shorthand term for this perhaps), educational level attained, disability of various types. There may be a few others I'm not thinking of right now.

Those are treated as legitimate axes on which privilege exists, but other characteristics upon which people may judge each other's worth, or because of which access to resources etc is limited, aren't. Your example of weight (body habitus) is certainly one.

Other aspects of appearance also affect how people get treated, though may vary more in context of the situation.

Left-handedness used to be vilified; it isn't any more, but left-handed people still find situations frequently in which right-handedness is assumed to be the norm and left-handers have trouble using the equipment or setup provided.

I'm sure there are others, including how people interact with others - extroverts vs. introverts, for example.

It seems quite clear to me that while being male might be an advantage when, say, interviews are going on for a senior management position. When the police are chasing down a group of black youths after a shooting, it undoubtedly is not. The failure to confront this issue and include it in the theory is a gaping hole. There's a tendency to dismiss obvious male disadvantage as being something other than privilege, but there's no basis for this decision.

"Male privilege" is something that almost certainly exists, but to deny corresponding female privilege is an abuse of language and logic.

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Re: simple description of "privilege"

Post  rEvolutionist on Mon Oct 29, 2012 6:34 pm

What I was hoping to get to here was the issue of "benevolent sexism" as an explanation(?) of how women in some situations are more privileged than men (obvious examples might be women and custody of kids in divorce; or women vs men and military deaths). I remember seeing some good discussion of this on the Ratskep thread, so I popped over there and copied some of the points raised over there. I've pasted them below. What are people's thoughts on these?

#3289 Postby Corneel » Oct 25, 2012 6:24 pm
Varangian wrote:
Corneel wrote:What you cite (imbalance in custody) is often grouped under "ways the patriarchy hurts men too", other examples are the discrimination against men for jobs traditionnally regarded as female (eg nursing and child care). They are not the result of female privelege, they are the result or legacy of wanting to keep women in a well defined role as homemakeres and caretakers.
Couldn't it be the result of keeping men in a well defined role? Men are expected to adhere to a certain manliness, and those who don't are not seldom viewed with scorn even by women.

It's the result of keeping both genders in culturally defined roles. However, in general those roles are determined in such a way that the manly role, for all the disadvantages that it might carry, gives quite a lot more freedom of action than the female role. In most societies the female role is construed in such a way it generally keeps women in a position of dependency, even if this is not backed up by the legal system.
http://www.rationalskepticism.org/nontheism/atheism-hits-the-msm-t33705-3280.html#p1515543



#3286 Postby Mr.Samsa » Oct 25, 2012 6:15 pm

stijndeloose wrote:I think the whole idea of privilege risks oversimplifying things (at least as far as genders are concerned). Stereotypes influence both genders positively and negatively. Whereas men may often be seen as born leaders (advantage), they're often also expected to take the lead in uncomfortable and dangerous situations (disadvantageous). Whereas women may be more likely to get custody over their children after a divorce (advantage), they're often also the once who are expected to stay at home and look after the kids rather than build their own career (disadvantage). Whereas men may be more likely to end up in leading positions in businesses (advantage), they're also more likely to get the most dangerous jobs - I haven't seen a lot of female miners, for example, and no wonder, given that 98 countries have ratified the ILO Underground Work (Women) Convention (disadvantage).
It seems to me that simply calling men 'privileged' and women a 'minority' tends to blur out the finer aspects of how stereotypes influence both genders.
That is not to say that women aren't on the whole underprivileged in comparison with men. It's just to say that everything isn't as black and white as that, at least in my view.


As I think Corneel mentions above, this is a description of "How patriarchy affects men too". The point is that the advantages that women face are highly situational, rare, and often come with the huge cost of the flipside (i.e. a small percentage of women may benefit from being viewed as loving and nurturing by winning custody cases, but overall it means that women don't get managerial positions, are dissuaded from high paying careers like engineering, etc etc). With men, the disadvantages are rarely experienced and are heavily, heavily outweighed by the advantages they receive.
http://www.rationalskepticism.org/nontheism/atheism-hits-the-msm-t33705-3280.html#p1515532


Samsa wrote:You're confusing situational advantage (assuming your interpretation is correct in that the woman is better off) with privilege. The woman's privilege in this situation is actually benevolent sexism - they are assumed to be the victim because women are "weak" and "nurturing" and would never be aggressive. This isn't a privilege in the same way that saying, "Wow, that shirt detracts attention from your fucked up looking face" isn't a compliment.
http://www.rationalskepticism.org/post1515480.html#p1515480

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Re: simple description of "privilege"

Post  fossil on Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:00 pm

AliRadicali wrote:If women want to be seen as agents trather than victims, it'd be nice if they could start acting a bit more tough and stoic instead of demanding men to change everything to suit women's preferences.

"If women want to be seen as humans, they need to act like Real Men."

Think about how ignorant you sound.

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Re: simple description of "privilege"

Post  piginthecity on Mon Oct 29, 2012 9:24 pm

Once upon a time, there was a lizard who was, rather implausibly, living with a dog.

They were happy together, on the whole, and furnished their little cave with a variety of appliances, such as heater and air-conditioner as a result of both of them working hard and not wasting money.

On one particular day, they were bickering mildly about the air conditioner. The dog had, to be honest, been a little bit inconsiderate as dogs can be, but like all animals, both warm and cold-blooded he was capable of seeing reason and didn't really deliberately want to be a dick.

They were just about to reach a reasonable compromise over the temperature, when the komodo dragon, passing by, overheard. She caught the gist of the conversation. Being cold-blooded herself, she immediately assumed that the dog must be a hundred percent in the wrong. Smashing the door down with her tail, she burst in, seized the dog by the tail and flung him out of the house. There, she said to the lizard, you're now safe from all the harm that that warm-blooded creature could have done to you. The lizard was so terrified that [gender neutral pronoun] could only smile and nod. The Komodo Dragon went on her way, happy that she was helping to keep the forest safe.

The dog landed with a bump on the dusty track outside the cave. Just as he came to, a scorpion said "You could have landed on my feet doing that !, you didn't, but you could have !. You warm blooded animals just think that you can do as you please". The dog was about to apologise and say he'd been thrown there by the KD, and didn't really have agency in the matter.
" But ...".
"Mansplainer !"
interupted the scorpion and stung him on the paw.

The dog hobbled away to dip his paw into the pond to ease the pain. He knew that the friendly fish in the pond welcomed all kinds* of animals, big or small, vertebrate and invertebrate, carnovore or herbivore, wise and wonderful, pandas or people, feathers, beaks and wings. They made a special point about it. They just didn't care. Anybody was welcome. Anybody. No exceptions. Even plants. Plants couldn't get to the pond, because they can't move. But if they could they'd be welcome. Definitely.

The friendly fish welcomed the dog and chatted happily to him as he held his paw in the water.

"Why is there heat emanating from your paw ?" Asked one of the friendly fish in a friendly fashion.

"Well, I'm a warm blooded mammal" Said the dog in a gentle voice so as not to frighten the friendly fish.

"He's intruding on our safety !" Whispered one of the friendly fish to another.

"What do you want Here ?" Shouted a friendly fish.

"What do you want Here ?" Echoed all the other friendly fishes

Except for one, who was new to that part of the pond and said "Intent is not Magic !" because she hadn't yet learned which slogan was appropriate in which situation. Her sisters soon corrected her, though, and she promised to get it right next time.

A passing school of piranhas heard the commotion, pulled the dog into the water and stripped the flesh from his bones, turning the water red as his squeals of agony echoed around the friendly pool. So without the nasty dog, who caused all the trouble in the first place, to oppress them, all the cold-blooded animals lived happily ever after.

THE END

* For definition of this term see videos by R.Comfort on YouTube.



Last edited by piginthecity on Mon Oct 29, 2012 10:02 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : increased snarkiness)

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Re: simple description of "privilege"

Post  uncrystal on Tue Oct 30, 2012 12:59 am

Piginthecity, that is the greatest thing I've read in some time ha. Wonderful. Thank you.

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Re: simple description of "privilege"

Post  elouise on Tue Oct 30, 2012 1:13 am

fossil wrote:
AliRadicali wrote:If women want to be seen as agents trather than victims, it'd be nice if they could start acting a bit more tough and stoic instead of demanding men to change everything to suit women's preferences.

"If women want to be seen as humans, they need to act like Real Men."

Think about how ignorant you sound.
Being tough and stoic is solely the domain of "Real Men"? Um, no.

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