Imagine walking into a restaurant and being refused service because you have blonde hair. Sounds ridiculous, right? Well, even though this is an extreme example of discrimination, behavior like this is still pervasive in our culture… even if no one wants to admit it.
And by now you’re probably thinking, “But look how far we’ve come! Women can vote, they are CEOs of companies, and we have equal rights!” True. However, the worst kind of discrimination is the kind that is covert… the kind you don’t even know exists.
For example, let’s say that your name is Jung-Soo Yi. You were born in America, but your parents are from Korea, hence, your foreign name. If you send in a resume for a job and never get an interview, how do you know someone on the other end didn’t see your resume and say to themselves, “I don’t want any foreigners working here!”
Sounds silly, but it happens. And it sucks. [Read: How to be less critical of the people around you]
Origins of male privilege
We still live in a patriarchal society. In other words, men still have more power than women do. In fact, only about 3% of the CEOs of major companies are women. That means 97% are men! Whoa. Still think equality exists?
And what about sports? When was the last time that the whole world tuned in to watch the finals of the WNBA or women’s soccer? Ummm, never.
Why do men still dominate?
Now don’t get me wrong, there are some societies that did/do have a matriarchal system *women had the power*. But they are pretty rare. [Read: Relationship power plays – what men need to know]
The origins of male privilege go way back to the cave man days. How did humans know who had more power? Not by how much money they had. But rather, from the physical strength they possessed. Think about it. Anyone who has a physical advantage over another had ALL advantages back then. And to some extent, even now.
So, humans have just sort of transferred this physical advantage into other areas of society. Who makes more money, who gets more opportunities, who gets treated better, etc.
Examples of male privilege
Just like the unknown reason you might not get called for a job interview *invisible discrimination*, you probably don’t even notice male privilege around you. It’s so pervasive in our society that most people are blind to it. But to enlighten you, here are some common examples of male privilege.
#1 Men can be assertive, or even aggressive, and it’s fine. This is especially true in the workplace. If your boss or CEO yells and is direct and aggressive, it’s kind of normal *think Donald Trump*. But if a woman does the same thing, then she is considered a bitch. [Read: Why men feel emasculated – 3 big reasons]
#2 Men can sleep around and be a stud, but women who do the same are tramps. While this isn’t as true as it was decades ago, the ol’ double standard still exists. And don’t even pretend that it doesn’t!
#3 Men don’t need to change their name when they get married. Whether you know this or not, this tradition of women changing their names is because they used to be property of men. She was her father’s property until she got married, and the she was her husband’s property. Why can’t men change their names? If they do, it’s considered weird. That’s not fair. [Read: What does it mean when a man takes his wife’s last name?]
#4 Most of us use masculine language. The “generic he” is how most people write and speak. In other words, they use masculine words to describe things *except for boats and cars, which is weird*. But if you don’t know the sex of a dog, you usually call it “he.” Or a teddy bear is “he.” It’s just ingrained into us.
#5 Men can buy a car or get theirs repaired without fearing getting ripped off. They did a study regarding race, and it was proven that white people get a financial advantage when they buy cars because of “white privilege.” The same holds true for men over women. Sad, but true. And if you need some repairs, they may think that a blond-haired blue-eyed woman has no clue about cars, and thus, rip her off. [Read: 9 Signs you’re dating a radical feminist]
#6 When a man is a good dad, he gets praised for it. He allows his wife to go out for girls’ night out? Wow! What a great guy! He changes diapers? Whoa! Man of the year! But when women do that, it’s just “normal,” and they don’t get praised.
#7 It’s okay for men to be older and fatter. An older man is “distinguished,” but an older woman is just old. If a guy gains a beer gut, hey, no big deal. But if a woman gains 20 pounds after giving birth, it’s a tragedy! The beauty ideals for men and women are wildly different… and unfair. [Read: Misconceptions of dating a feminist that all men must know]
#8 You can be a single as a 45-year-old man and not be considered weird. Nah, he’s just “independent” or “picky.” But if a woman of the same age isn’t married with children *or at least divorced… that means at least someone actually did marry her* then she’s a crazy cat lady. Fair? I think not! Who’s to say that all women want to get married and have children? But we get judged for it regardless of whether it’s by choice or not.
#9 Men are less likely to be a victim of a crime or abuse. When is the last time you heard of a man being raped? Exactly. And when have you ever heard of a woman in a relationship being the abuser? I’m sure it happens, but let’s face it – it’s usually the man who is the abuser.
#10 There are more male characters on TV and in the movies. Research has proven that. There are more men than women in the media, and they occupy more powerful roles *including the title roles*. Also, when men grow older in Hollywood, they don’t have problems getting roles like the women do. [Read: The opposite of feminist – a new generation of women?]
#11 It’s not shocking or unusual when a man runs for president. No, this is not a political statement. But when Hillary Clinton became the first major party candidate for President of the United States, she made history. People, listen up. The U.S. is 240 years old, and we are just NOW getting to the point where a woman was taken seriously for president. And now we still have to wait for one to actually get elected.
#12 Men are paid more for their work. Women earn approximately 78 cents to a man’s dollar. And that’s for white women. African American women make 64 cents, Native American women make 59 cents, and Latina women make 54 cents. Discriminatory? Yep. And male privilege. [Read: Types of feminism – can’t we all agree to disagree?]
#13 It’s an insult if male “throws like a girl.” Or cries like a girl. Can you believe that it’s actually a common insult when males are compared to a female? That automatically assumes that women are “less than,” and if a male is like a female, then they are not to be respected. Yeah, I’d like to see a man give birth… then we’d see which sex is stronger and superior. Just sayin!
#14 People assume that having a job outside home is superior. If any parent stays at home with the kids, it’s usually the mom. And most people think it’s “easy,” and that the man has to work hard to support the family.
Trust me, any woman who has kids would probably agree with me that being a stay at home parent is the toughest job there is! You do it 24/7 with no pay. And that doesn’t get rewarded. What’s wrong with the world?
#15 When a woman with a terminal degree is married, she gets addressed as “Mrs.” not “Doctor.” I know this one from personal experience. When a male has an M.D. or Ph.D. and is married, people still call him Dr. So-and-So. But when a women holding the same degree and profession is married, she’s “Mrs. So-and-So.” Why is it that a man retains his professional title regardless of marital status, but not a woman? It’s male privilege.
Kind of makes you go hmmmm, huh?
[Read: Hypergamy – Motivation for perfection or sexist stupidity?]
Although male privilege still exists, it is up to all of us to raise awareness. And above all, don’t be discriminatory, and fight for equal rights for all people.
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