Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Female Privileges List

I came across this Male Privilege Checklist on Alas, a Blog. It is a list of privileges that men have in our society, and the very last privilege in the list summarizes the primary point: We, as men, don't realize how easy many things are for us. Some privileges are so ingrained, so wired into our social system that we don't even see them.

Here is the beginning of their list:

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.
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. The odds of my encountering sexual harassment on the job are so low as to be negligible.
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 so low as to be negligible.
8. I am not taught to fear walking alone after dark in average public spaces.
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.
12. If I have children and pursue 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. Chances are my elected representatives are mostly people of my own sex. The more prestigious and powerful the elected position, the more likely this is to be true.
15. I can be somewhat sure that if I ask to see "the person in charge," I will face a person of my own sex. The higher-up in the organization the person is, the surer I can be.

. . .

Well, I had some fun putting together my counterpoint: The Female Privileges Checklist.

Female Privilege List
Privileges I have as a woman, that "others" - mostly men - don't have.

1. I’m under less pressure than others to engage in risky, dangerous and unhealthy behaviors - one of the reasons I get to live longer than others do.
2. I can choose professions that are less lucrative, and not be called a loser.
3. If I don’t rise to the top of my profession, it’s OK – people won’t judge me the less for it.
4. I’m entitled to the benefits of a safe, orderly society, but no one expects me to risk my personal safety to maintain it.
5. I have the right to have the overwhelming majority of personal risk suffered in defense of my country handled by others.
6. I’m allowed to avoid violence, and even run from it, without the risk I’ll be laughed at.
7. If I see someone else in danger, I’m allowed to stop and think carefully about my personal risk before saving them, without my courage being called into question.
8. I have the right to avoid risky, dangerous challenges, and not be called a coward.
9. I’m allowed to cry as a child and tell my parents I’m scared of something - my parents won't be disappointed with me.
10. I have the right to have most of the really dangerous professions handled by others.
11. If I commit a crime, I get less jail time than others would get for the exact same crime.
12. When I find myself with others in a terrifying, life-threatening situation, I have the right to be evacuated first, once the children are safe. Others can wait.
13. If I get slaughtered as part of some atrocity, people will be especially outraged and will call particular attention to the fact I was slaughtered. When others are slaughtered, it isn't quite as upsetting.
14. I have the right to give my child up for adoption, and thus totally repudiate any personal and financial responsibilities I might otherwise have.
15. I can choose whether I want to be a parent or not, knowing that society will compel the other parent to meet their financial responsibilities - whether they want to or not.
16. If I am personally attacked, I expect otherwise safe, otherwise uninvolved people to come to my defense.
17. If I see someone else being attacked, I’m not expected to risk my own safety to defend them. It's OK for me to wait for others to intervene, and it’s also OK for me to criticize others if they don’t.
18. In any dispute involving custody, I’m granted the presumption that I am the better, safer parent.
19. I have the right to interact with children not my own, and not have people look at me suspiciously.
20. If I choose to become a parent, people understand if I want to focus entirely on the personal, day-to-day care and nurturing of my children. Society expects my spouse to make enough money to make this choice possible.
21. I can get real nasty when someone makes me mad, and call them ugly, a loser, a nerd, a geek, a disgusting creep, a revolting little worm, a worthless piece of garbage, a scum bag, a wimp, a pervert, a jerk-off, an old fart, or a fat slob. After all, I have the right not to be treated meanly at work, and the right not to hear harsh things that might make me uncomfortable. I have legal recourse if that right is not respected, and I have the right to make this perfectly clear on my job interview.
22. I’m allowed to embrace and cultivate my spiritual qualities, and adopt a more elevated and more refined view of life - because other people handle all the "dirty work" like: yard work, garbage hauling, construction, fishing, mining, sewage disposal, street cleaning, long distance trucking, baggage handling, painting, sandblasting, and cement work.
23. If I fail at something, I can go to college and study the historical forces and social constructs that make it harder for people like me. If others fail, it’s because they just don’t have what it takes.
24. If I fail at almost everything, I can always teach college courses that explain why people like me fail a lot.

Please acknowledge http://sweatingthroughfog.blogspot.com/ when forwarding or copying this list

What do you think? I'm not saying anybody has it objectively easier or harder - life is pretty hard for everybody. But I guess you can tell which side I'm naturally more sensitive to.

Update: Pete Patriarch did a similar list.


Pete Patriarch said...

Nice work dude, I like it. Our lists complement each other.

hazmatix said...

Hey: I was looking for this exact sort of thing, but your list, which is most necessary considering how white females have lumped all white men into the same discarded female napkin bin,is a nice starting point and much overdue.
I will use your list as a reference in a paper that I am submitting--it is the only one that came up, but then, only because you link to another blog (Alas!)
Note: it might help get your word out there if you use the term "white female priviledge" and or spell the word *privilege* correctly in your link;-)
your spelling is ye Olde English

CMF said...

I left this list over at Pete Patriarch too..BTW, you forgot a few key privileges of these women and particularly white women:

1)Not being seen as pedophiles or rapists of children and boys, because they have spent so much time creating the smokescreen (projection) that men are pervs (when the novel Sybil hit the bigscreen, http://www.amazon.com/Sybil-Two-Disc-Special-Joanne-Woodward/dp/B000EHQU0S/ref=pd_sim_b_shvl_img_2/105-1952734-2914820
it was like thirty or so years of cover-up for female/maternal sex abuse afterwards, and is still ongoing)
2) not being seen as responsible for the race/class oppressions that they willingly, knowingly fomented throughout the years by projecting their rape fears/fantasies onto black men
3)turning the paradigm around so that now it is white men who are evil–another way to maintain that priviledge
4) getting into Hip Hop shows for free, cuz they are the coveted and entitled *white girl*, “victim of oppression, just like black people”
5) benefit of using the tired paradigm that women earn————blankety blank less than men, despite the fact that if we take ONE Bill Gates, or ONE Warren Buffet out of that equation, it is total b.s.
6) benefit of propagandizing the next generation, via children, into being pro-woman, anti-man
7)they live TEN YEARS longer than American men!!!!(can you say” better living/working conditions/health care than men?) Cuban men and women, however, die relatively close to each other.

Sweating Through fog said...


Thanks for the spelling correction.


I wasn't trying to grasp for every possible privilege, but decided to focus on relatively noncontroversial ones that a reasonable, non-feminist women could read and understand.

Matty said...


Holli said...

I would like to ask, respectfully, why it is that I am not held to these standards? Why I am given these privileges that you list? Is it because I am not good enough to be held to the same standard and be required to do the same tasks as you are? I would honestly like to know.

Sweating Through fog said...


Thanks for stopping by.

I'm not sure how to answer. It seems to me that a combination of natural and cultural evolution over time has created different patterns of expectations for men and women. I don't see it as a question of "why privileges are granted" I don't ask why baseball closers are granted the "privilege" of always pitching in the ninth inning, or why quarterbacks are granted the "privilege" of having some offensive linesman to protect them. A set of roles have evolved over time.

So I can't answer the "why" question in a moral sense, if that wss how you intended it.

Erin said...

Well, both lists indicate there is more blatant sexism against women (not saying men do not experience it) because the male privilege list shows out and out instances where women are discriminated against, and almost all of the "privileges" women have, exist around the idea that they are weaker and less capable.

Britt said...

5. The odds of my encountering sexual harassment on the job are so low as to be negligible.

Not true. Sexual harassment directed at men is on the rise. The reason, of course, is that sexual harassment is about power. Female executives are just as likely to sexually harass their male subordinates as males are to harass females.

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

Ah yes, let's not forget that great hero of society, the Deadbeat Dad. Because fathers who don't care for their children face absolutely no social stigma.

Of course, the writer refers to "primary care" as the hugs and supervision the homemaker gives out, rather then the shelter and sustenance provided by the breadwinner. Which is of course absolutely moronic. Either one parent performs each role or they work out some kind of system, but children need to be taken care of physically and emotionally.

Many feminists are hypocritical, in that they call for equality but do not actually want equality. Feminists argue that there are things that everyone can do and things that women can do, but no things that only men can do. At the very least, they argue that either women are better at any given thing, or that both men and women can perform equally. In other words, everyone can be a firefighter or an astronaut, but women are still better at childcare. In fact, men are naturally aggressive and overbearing and thus are physically incapable of loving better then women. However, anyone who makes the argument that men might be better at math or science (for example) is called a chauvinist and a Neanderthal (and forced to resign as the head of Harvard).

Anonymous said...

What frustrates me about this subject is that feminist groups will under no circumstances debate it. The list is not for questioning. Their attitude is that if such debate is required, it will have to take place elsewhere. Or, in other words, somewhere that they don't have to respond.

All engaging debate, or democracy, on the matter is thus avoided.

Solaris said...

There is another version of the female privilege checklist here: http://www.the-niceguy.com/articles/Checklist.html. It was written some time in 2002 I think. It's worth a read.

Anonymous said...

This is a pretty good list! And I applaud you for showing, very well, how the patriarchy (uh oh, feminist term!) hurts everyone, not just women, and that it is most certainly not men who are the perpetrators of discrimination and social stigma.

I do have a problem with one leeeetle article, though.
"15. I can choose whether I want to be a parent or not, knowing that society will compel the other parent to meet their financial responsibilities - whether they want to or not."

Pretty much wrong. It's fairly easy to not support a child you helped create, in spite of stigma you may face. Also, women still have to defend and fight tooth and nail for their "right" not to have children (abortion, anyone? discriminating physicians who won't prescribe birth control? it's a big problem)

It's definitely a shame that women aren't held to as high standards as men are in a lot of areas. I wonder why that is? Could be they're still seen as less competent, or have other things to worry about (babies, homemaking)

Other than that, well done!

Hayden said...

This is so insulting. Thanks for allowing women to have less lucrative jobs? And stay at home with the kids? But oh, I forgot, women can always put their kids up for adoption. What an advantage.

And being exempted from important, noble work isn't a privilege. It's an insult.

Radditz said...

At the risk of interjecting race into the topic, that's kind of like a list touting the "privileges" of black slaves because their white owners pay for their room and board. Clueless whites go "wow it must be nice to have free room & board" and the enslaved people go "bitch, it's not much of a trade-off for our freedom!"

Yes, the standards of masculinity are rigid, unfair, and problematic to society at large. Most certainly they can be stressful to try to live up to, and no one should have to do so. I think they ought to change and personally I challenge them often. Men should absolutely be able to show emotion, be nurturing parents, play dress-up to feel pretty and shy away from violence (etc.) without sacrificing social status.

But most of this list stems from the social caveat that to be anything other than male is degrading, and women get a "pass" because we're "just women."

Ah yes, how easy it is to be a woman, we're not expected to stand up for our freedoms or get into fights because after all we're just women. We can be cowardly and weak and cry because that's just how we are. We're expected to meet a "lower" standard because we are naturally inferior.

Do you really think that dehumanizing "trade-off" is somehow equitable or worth it?