Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Enlighten Yourself

It is not our responsibility, as bloggers, to take time to explain details of subject matter to people who come to read our writing. If readers want to engage in discussion in the comment threads, they should make sure they are educated on the topic before making inflammatory remarks.

The idea of privilege, however, I think needs to be discussed. It is often hard to know that one has privilege without being made aware of it. That is how I came to know many of my own privileges. So, because of that, and because I understand that sometimes it can be difficult to know where to go for information about an unfamiliar topic, I am compiling a list of links about male privilege. If you are a male reader of this blog who is inclined to be wary of feminism (and all males, really), please check out the links and enlighten yourself.

1) What is Male Privilege? (Finally, A Feminism 101 Blog)
- An excellent beginning reading on privilege in general, and male privilege more specifically.

2) The Male Privilege Checklist (Alas! A Blog)
- A list of examples of what having male privilege entails.

3) Privilege-Colored Glasses
- A blog post I wrote to call out men I had interacted with whose male privilege shone through brilliantly, probably without their knowledge.

4) A fan-video for the song "Privilege" by Incubus.

This page, and the links contained on it, will be updated from time to time. If you know of any other links to add to this list, leave them in comments.


The Great American said...

Thank you Amelia, I finally understand. I finally get it. Male Privilege is just your way of trying to make men feel guilty because they are superior to women. I appreciate the clarification....

The Great American said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Amelia said...

And then, you know, there is this.

Amelia said...

And yes, he did just claim that males are superior to females.


You can lead a horse to water...

Lindsay said...

Great collection of links.

Whenever someone doesn't get their own privilege, I ask, "Would you say that x group [Black Americans] are disadvantaged in society?" They most likely say yes, and then ask, "If x group is disadvantaged, wouldn't that mean someone has an advantage? Most likely people who are not in x group [White Americans]?"

ShamelessFeminist said...

nice blog!....many people choose to ignore male privilege, white privilege, class privilege, etc. because it's the pink elephant in the room that no one wants to acknowledge since it's so controversial

Renee said...

I so agree with you. Discussing privilege is so very important. I have been trying to do that quite a bit on my blog but find that there is so much resistance to the concept. It is especially tough when I talk about white privilege because of course I get the standard you are just an ABW.
A great blog for white privilege discussion is Professor What If. I highly recommend her work.
Notice that the very first comment on this post was all about the men again. Not only are people dedicated to denying privilege they are intent to make every single post about their issues.

Anonymous said...

I love the first paragraph of this post. I agree with it entirely, yet I find myself feeling responsible for explaining subject matter... Perhaps I am unable to turn the teacher in me off...

I wish I could ignore the inflammatory remarks and trolling, but I tend to feel obligated to answer, to feel "oh, maybe there is a chance this person could change their ways..."

To get over this, I may have to post your first paragraph in big bold text above my monitor!

I have written a few posts about white privilege recently that garnered trolling. It seems my white privilege posts always create the most ire amongst MRA's, anti-feminists, and white privilege deniers.

If anyone can enlighten me as to why trolls troll, I would be thankful. Is it hubris? Do they really think their ire and attacks will change us into non-feminists, that we will go, oh, yes, you are right, talking about white privilege is so dumb? I don't know whether to just ignore them, or to try and get them to open their minds a bit...

And, thanks Renee, for recommending my blog for posts on white privilege. Right back at you.

I wish I knew how to hyperlink in comment threads, but as I don't, here are the URLs for three specific posts I have written on white privilege:

Amelia said...

Professorwhatif: It took me a long time to learn to ignore trolls because I, too, often hoped that there was a chance to open their eyes. But once I did learn that ignoring them was best, I became a lot happier and less stressed. I am glad, though, that my first paragraph was meaningful to you. :)

I will definitely link your posts later today...when I am done with all my homework.

Michael said...

Having trolled internet arguments from time to time, I feel I might be slightly equipped to answer professorwhatif's question.

Most of my exercises into trolling have been for the purposes of making one side of an argument look ridiculous; for example, I've taken the position of a creationist in arguments about creationism or intelligent design in schools with the intent of presenting the argument in a way that makes it seem ridiculous (although that isn't particularly difficult...).

However, there have been instances of me trolling just to get a rise out of someone. I rarely do this during arguments about important topics that I care about, but if I find people having an intense, serious argument about something that is (in my opinion) fairly unimportant or lighthearted, I often make an attempt to inject some levity into the situation by trolling the living crap out of both sides. Finding a proper balance between insane nonsense and reasonable-sounding opinions is the most difficult part about this particular brand of trolling, and when I can pull it off well, I actually feel very rewarded. I mean, my words, usually very few words, grabbed the attention of people on BOTH sides of an argument and made them start screaming or CAPS LOCK TYPING at ME, instead of each other. It's sort of a power trip, to be honest.

I've never trolled on this blog or any blog, though. I reserve my trolling for Fark and other general discussion forums.

Hope this helps!

Samuel Tinianow said...

This post has inspired me. I think that for my next blog post I'm going to write about accepting feminism as a man. Because all men should be knowledgeable and accepting of feminism, but I also remember that it was extremely hard to come to terms with the idea that I had spent my entire life unknowingly participating in an oppressive system that victimized more than half the people I knew.

Smirking Cat said...

Privilege isn't really that difficult a concept to understand, unless you truly just don't want to. Just asking yourself (if you are a man) "How may my life be different if I was a woman?", or if you are white, "How may my life be different if I were another race?" can raise awareness of how things could be different based on your race or gender. It's not a declaration that "You're white or male, so your life is easy and wonderful with no worries." But it is: your life is very different because males and Caucasians are generally more highly validated and respected in our society. Refusal to even consider opening your mind is such a sad thing to see, and a guarantee of handing today's kids the legacy of oppression, stereotypes, inequality, and straight-up stupidity.

Jason said...

Thank you for the post.
Having thought about issue of social equality, here's my take on this issue.

As an ethnic minority, I am certainly sympathetic with you and many feminists about societal structure favouring Male because I also have experience unequal treatment to some extent. The privilege White Male get is undeniable, and the debate usually plays out on the issue of to what extent this privilege really matters in reality. I think that it over-emphasized by feminists and scholars in African American studies and under-emphasized by mainstream media and the public. In my experience, I found it hard to articulate clearly how discrimination has occurred to me because in Western society (such discrimination usually isn’t explicit, but rather vague). I think this is where feminist scholars and African American scholars help greatly in analyzing with hard data where such discriminations occur.

With that said, I have a great respect for the scholars working towards social equality.

But recently, I have been rethinking whether some assumptions feminists have are correct.

Do people have duty to treat others equally?

I think feminists would say yes because they are certainly seeking for social equality for women. But in my opinion, we don’t have duty to treat other equally. As long as I do not infringe others rights, I can treat people the way I desire. I think the best example is of families. I greatly discriminate others and favour my own family members. This discrimination I hold to be justified could come as a nightmarish case to many feminists because I favour my own family members just for being my family. They often do not have distinguishably attractive qualities, and they are rather normal, and yet I treat them very differently from others. This notion extends greatly for everyone. People have friends for certain traits they have and hate someone for certain traits they have. People treat their friends nicely and discriminate people they do not like as people do not have duty to treat people equally.

Let’s apply this to a real world example of affirmative action.
Here is my argument.
1. People have rights.
2. Companies cannot infringe other people’s rights.
3. Companies have rights.
4. People cannot infringe the companies’ rights.
5. Companies have rights to act in anyway they desire to fulfill their interests as long as they don’t infringe the rights of others.
6. Companies have rights to hire people they think are the best for a position.
7. Companies do not have duty to hire people.
8. Companies do not have duty to hire people of certain background.
9. Affirmative action infringes the rights of the companies.

Please let me know of flaws in my argument. I wanted to demonstrate that people do not have duty to treat people equally with a more relevant example.

I personally do wish that people would treat other as people and judge people based on their attributes and skills. In that respects, I sympathize with feminists. However, I value freedom more than my desire to be treated in certain way.

Thank you for taking time to read my comment.

And if you are a libertarian feminist, I was probably preaching to the choir. Keep up the good fight!

Anonymous said...

I find that when you talk about privilege on whatever subject Gender, race its usually to make some one feel guilty. You really can't help if you are born white, black, male, female, rich, poor, just make the best of the talents you have, towards improving yourself. Sure someone is always going to have it better or easier but to say, well someone has priviliges is to play the victim card. I look at it this way, If you are Born in the US the richest and best country out there you can make it happen for yourself, it might not be easy but it can be done.

Don't worry about what you can't do worry about improving yourself

Dave said...

I don't think it's about making someone feel guilty here (although I suppose talking about privilege could be depending on circumstances).

This post is obviously intended to do something proactive about a social problem, namely male privilege.

In other words, the post isn't about "worrying what you can't do" as much as it is worrying about improving SOCIETY.

I know it's been ages since that comment, but I felt the need to add something for the next guy that comes along.

And thanks, this is an awesome post. Now if only someone would write about what a man can do to help create change...