Since I've been slacking in blog responsibilities, my feminist Alex decided to step up and and contribute an awesome piece. If you tire of people asking why feminism is still relevant, this post is for you. If you really hate when anyone argues that women are privileged, then this piece is really for you! Let's thank Alex for his post!
In the article, “I Have Female Privilege” (http://goodmenproject.com/men-and-feminism/i-have-female-privilege/), Rachel Goodchild argues that, in America at least, feminism has been so successful in gaining women rights that women are now the privileged gender in American society. She gives five examples of privileges that women now supposedly enjoy.
Personally, I’m not buying the whole ‘Feminism was great and all, but we don’t need it anymore, women have the privilege now’ argument. Here’s why, point by point, with her arguments in quotes:
1. “I’m allowed to be far more open about my sexuality than a man is.”
First off, that’s not true in most religious contexts. Second, to be more precise, women are generally pressured to be more exhibitionistic and open about their sexuality in order to gratify men. Third, if they are sexually assaulted, this sexual openness that women are pressured into will be used to blame them for the attack and keep them from getting justice.
2. “If my partner and I were in a domestic dispute and both violent, or both shouting, and I hit him … if the police were called, my male partner would still be the one far more likely to be taken into custody for the night.”
While this may be true, it reflects the fact that some laws (such as ones requiring the larger of two people involved in a domestic dispute to be the one arrested, regardless of who started the fight), while imperfect, have been passed because women typically suffer far more severe injuries in domestic disputes, regardless of who the aggressor was. Also, the trouble of a physically smaller person being intimidated into silence by a much stronger partner often makes it more difficult to protect women from their abusers – which is another reason why these laws were passed.
3. “If my relationship with the father of my children was to break up, I’m far more likely to get the kids.”
Yeah, but guess what? If your relationship doesn’t break up, you’re still more likely to get the kids – many men are unwilling to put their careers on hold to help raise children, or even meaningfully contribute to that work, so women usually get stuck doing most or all of the childcare.
“I get to choose whether I have the baby or not”
Given the recent attacks on birth control/abortion rights, this statement deserves a gigantic asterisk.
“I get to choose whether the father’s name is on the birth certificate or not (and if he queries it, he’s the one who has to pay for the DNA test)”
It would be kind of stupid to require the woman to pay for a DNA test. Maternity is not in doubt, while paternity often is. You know why maternity is not in doubt? Because the woman gave birth to the child, which I hear tell is a mighty painful process. I’d say shelling out some money for a DNA test is a pretty good bargain in exchange for not having to go through that much pain.
4. “I’m allowed to be as education- and career-driven as I want to be, and push for the top, seeking equity and equality in everything.”
Except if you want to have kids, in which case, you’ll typically have to spend too much time on childcare (which many men aren’t willing to help with) to focus on your career.
“But when it comes to dating and relationships, I’ll want the dates paid for, the doors opened, the bling bought.”
Given the difference in pay between women and men doing the same jobs, men can typically afford to pay for dinners and bling and still end up with more money left over than the equally hardworking women they date.
“And if I want to choose to not be career-driven, and be instead at home, and not work, then I can far more readily choose that option too than a male partner could.”
Yes, if your desires perfectly align with the expectations of a misogynistic, patriarchal society, you can get what you want, more or less. ‘I’m so privileged, I get to do exactly what countless other women are pressured to do, only I actually enjoy it! Woo Girl Power!’ While there’s nothing wrong with choosing a home life instead of a career, it hardly counts as a privilege when most of our society considers it mandatory for women anyway.
5. “If I write an inflammatory comment, or a blog, or article, and a man questions anything in it, all I need to do to shut the conversation down is call him a bully, or say he’s a privileged male.”
Frankly, I don’t think this tactic works quite as well as she claims it does. Still, to the extent that it does work, it’s only because most of the time, when a woman writes a controversial comment/blog/article, or does pretty much anything other than toe the patriarchal party line, she’s met with relentless, sexist criticism from privileged men who really are trying to bully her into silence.
Thanks again Alex!
It always bothers me when I hear arguments against feminism. Being anti-feminist is anti-women, not to mention feminism covers more than women's issues. Everyone likes to ignore that and create an image of feminists as man hating lesbians who want to destroy everything that is not like them. Obviously, that's not the case, especially with all these awesome male feminists we have! But what bothers me the most about the woman who wrote this piece was she confuses being taken care of with privilege. Having a door opened for you is not privilege. Getting a free dinner (which is really an expected trade for sex in some cases) is not privilege, especially since men's "masculinity" won't allow them to accept a meal from a woman. Saying that women are privileged because people are "nice" to them, regardless of the motives, just shows how happy women are when they are treated well since we are treated like shit most of the time. Secondly, I hate how she completely ignores all the oppression which women face. Unequal pay, rape, victim blaming, abuse, "slut" shaming, "prude" shaming, restrictive gender roles, issues of body image and ownership... Do these and the other forms of oppression become excused because a man buys a woman dinner? No! So next time someone roles her/his eyes when you say you're a feminist, educate them!