Once something has been shared by at least three of my Facebook friends, I sort of feel like I have to click on it, even when I know it will make me angry. In the case of a Thought Catalog list by Mark Saunders titled "18 Things Females Seem To Not Understand (Because, Female Privilege)", the only thing that made me angrier than the content and the title was the fact that it's apparently been liked 27,000 times.
I really hope that most of those are people liking the snarky things their friends said when they posted it. Please, let this be the case.
(If you haven't seen this thing yet, you can find it here. I'll wait.)
This essay has somehow started popping up everywhere I turn on the Interwebs. There's already been one rebuttal article on Thought Catalog trying to explain why the idea of female privilege is ludicrous, but to me the issue here runs even deeper. Because while this "Female Privilege" piece claims to be an explanation of why female privilege exists, in reality it's more like a truly spectacular demonstration of male privilege. Which is either tragic or hilarious, depending on your mood.
And so in that spirit. I give you:
18 Things The Author of "Female Privilege" Essay Doesn't Understand
1. Male privilege is complaining that women are "able to walk down the street at night without people crossing the street because they’re automatically afraid of you." Male privilege is the ability to be offended by safety precautions women take to protect themselves from violent crime. Male privilege is thinking it's less important that a woman try not to be raped and more important that she not hurt a man's feelings.
2. Male privilege is complaining about women calling your attention "creepy" while not having to acknowledge how threatening it can be to receive sexual attention from a member of the opposite sex in a society where one in four members of your gender is sexually assaulted in their lifetime. Male privilege is seeing a woman's rejection as mean and cruel as opposed to accepting that she's a person, and her response to attention is valid even if you don't like it.
3. Male privilege is showing more concern about being "considered a rapist" than being a rapist. Male privilege is being able to talk about rape that involves alcohol like it's a collision between two drunk drivers, rather than an act of violence perpetrated on one person by another, because society gives you the luxury of thinking it's unlikely someone could be coerced into sex they didn't want.
4. Male privilege is thinking it's a problem women on TV are "represented in a positive way," completely ignoring the true status of women's representation in television and media. Male privilege is actually thinking some positive female characters juxtaposed against a few slovenly male characters mean women are dominating film and television — conveniently ignoring the fact that women have only 30 percent of all speaking roles and are four times more likely to be shown in sexually revealing clothing. But male anecdotal evidence trumps these numbers, because male privilege.
5. Male privilege is feeling like you can just claim that women are "the first rescued from any sort of emergency situation" and not back that up with evidence, even though it isn't true and wasn't true even in the 19th century.
6. Male privilege feeling so entitled that you find it unfair women are "able to decide not to have a child," when men can't. Male privilege is thinking it's a problem a woman has sole control over what medical procedures, like abortion, are performed on her body. Because men should totally get to make women's medical decisions for them.
7. Male privilege is thinking that women have children men "didn’t want to have it in the first place" just to be mean and make men pay child support. Male privilege is not having any sense of what it's like to be unintentionally pregnant or to have to make a decision regarding a pregnancy that is happening in your body. Or to try to support a child, that, given the state of abortion coverage in this country, maybe you would rather not have had either. And male privilege is being so convinced the world revolves around you that even once you have children, it's still all about you and the fact you are unfairly required to pay child support for the benefit of your own children.
8. Male privilege is thinking that "take it like a man" is the worst thing someone could ever tell you when you're having problems. It's a stupid thing to say, sure, but it's not like someone told you that you were making a big deal out of nothing when you talked about being raped.
9. Male privilege gives someone the audacity to tell women that everyone "would take it as a gravely serious issue if someone raped you" in a post that makes light of rape in points 1, 2, and 3.
10. Male privilege is complaining about women being more likely to receive custody of their kids in a divorce while not realizing that this fact is still part of a patriarchal system that acts as though women are natural caretakers who belong at home. Male privilege is thinking that the few instances in which patriarchy is disadvantageous to men are somehow evidence that women aren't oppressed more often and in more ways.
11. Male privilege is living in a country where a woman was sentenced to twenty years in prison for firing a warning shot at her abusive husband in her own home, and yet still thinking that the law enforcement and the criminal justice system "will take [the] side" of women automatically. Male privilege is thinking a criminal justice system which fails to prosecute on 70 percent of domestic violence reports is set up to protect women. Male privilege is not considering the fact that 97 percent of rapists never spend a day in prison. Male privilege is not having to face those realities.
12. Male privilege is complaining men aren't "able to be caring or empathetic without people being surprised" in a post that shows no empathy to anyone who is not exactly like you. So, really no empathy.
13. Male privilege is patronizingly telling women they don't have "to take [their] career seriously because [they] can depend on marrying someone who makes more money than [they] do," ignoring the fact that this is a sexist attitude right out of the 1950s. Male privilege is thinking women are "privileged" to get to have people treat their careers like they don't matter.
14. Male privilege is thinking most women "can cry [their] way out of a speeding ticket," and thinking that somehow this is one of the 18 most unfair things about belonging to your gender. Male privilege is having speeding ticket injustice be a major problem.
15. Male privilege is claiming women have a blanket advantage in education when it's been shown that the picture is far more complicated. Girls have higher graduation rates, sure, but boys are more often funneled into more lucrative majors. And boys may be medicated more often in elementary school, but teachers still call on boys more and give them more personalized attention. Male privilege is thinking it's okay to cherry pick your evidence to your advantage, because shouldn't everything be to your advantage?
16. Male privilege is thinking that when someone makes fun of you for having a stupid opinion it's not because it's stupid (after all, you are a smart, smarty-pants man), but because they must be prejudiced. Male privilege is thinking that women who speak their minds don't face actual gendered threats and verbal abuse.
18. Male privilege is being able to completely misunderstand what sexism is, but not have it matter because you'll benefit from it either way.
And just for the hell of it, I'm adding one of my own.
19. Male privilege is being able to stereotype and scapegoat half the world's population in a Thought Catalog essay and sleep just fine at night.
Mark Saunders, I hope you have nightmares of feminists lecturing you on Audre Lorde. On second thought, I hope you are haunted by the ghost of Audre Lorde. Though I guess Audre Lorde has better things to do, like be awesome. The End.