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Male Privilege.

(27 Posts)
Daddelion Fri 30-Nov-12 21:02:46

I've been hearing a bit about male privilege, that men are inherently better off than a woman of the same social standing.

But I worry more about my son than my daughter. Going on my experiences I think he's far more likely to be physically assaulted or be offered drugs.

Men are more likely to be murdered, assaulted, commit suicide, be homeless, lose contact with their children after a relationship break up, be alcoholics, drug addicts and die younger.

And aren't boys doing worse at school than girls?

So under a patriarchal society, I just don't see the privilege, perhaps my privilege is getting in my way.

Xenia Sat 01-Dec-12 13:36:51

Men own 99% of the world's wealth and 70% of its income. That seems pretty privileged to me. in the UK 4 in 5 men earn more than their wives. Women get saddled with dull childcare stuff and cleaning. Men have about 80% of positions on most boards, the cabinet and just about any institutino you care to mention.

Only up to age 26 do girls earn more than boys and then boys continue for 50 years more in the ascendancy.

Women cannot even walk down a street often without being subject to male abuse. The male privilege is noticeable almost every step of a day by some women and obviously as your post shows totally unknown by many men.

Whenon the whole men earn less than most women and the cabinet is about 80% female we might suggest male privilege is disappearing in the UK.

Also far too many fathers terat sons and daughters differently - happy for teenage boys to have sex but not girls, wanting to protect a girl in a way they don';t a boy. That is also damaging for girls. So if you are a nice rare exception would you be content your daughter went out ni the dark at night but be protective of your son more than her? if so well done you.

StarlightMcKenzie Sat 01-Dec-12 13:40:35

If girls are doing better than boys in school, why are men higher earners?

Xenia Sat 01-Dec-12 13:44:12

The answer to that is largely because women marry up. So the graduate woman in her 20s marries the higher earning man in his 30s so when it comes to babies she gives up work. if she married the gardener without a degree (what men often do - interested in looks but not earning capacity of women) then the gardener might give up work and Mrs graduate might be putting her all into money making once babies come along.

blueshoes Sat 01-Dec-12 14:21:13

Men are disproportionately represented at the top and bottom ends of the social spectrum. You are only citing those at the bottom conveniently forgetting the economically and politically significant males at the top.

As a female working in an industry that is dominated by males at senior levels, I am reminded of the patriarchy every single day and hour. OP, do you think about your lack of privilege every single day and hour?

My dh, who was appraising some of the more junior women in his team, had very little idea of the difficulties women face at work once they have children. You think it would be obvious but I still had to point it out to him.

GrrrArghZzzzYaayforall8nights Sat 01-Dec-12 15:13:11

Yes, your privilege is getting in the way. I suggest you find some sources to read. Aboutmaleprivilege and whatpriviledge may be good places to start though I'm sure others may have more ideas.

Men are far more likely to physically assault (over 90% of those reported last year were by men) and men assaulted are mostly by other men in aggressive situations. Women are mostly assaulted and murdered by men they have a relationship with. As the quote goes - Men are worried women are going to laugh at them. Women are worried about men killing them.

Men are offered drugs by other men for profit. Women are more commonly given drugs to get them hooked so that they can be controlled.

Girls are doing better school, but the old boys network and sexist society we live in means men are doing better economically and are far more often the far more economically stable partner after a relationship breakup. Childcare is seen as a women's issue rather than a family issue.

Men and boys are also negatively affected by it (though obviously not as much) as it restricts them having a full human experience when things which are considered feminine are looked down upon. Male is held as the standard and one who has it and chooses else is considered less than.

3littlefrogs Sat 01-Dec-12 15:26:09

Let's not forget that women usually end up as the carers at both ends of life.

How many carers of elderly, sick, demented relatives are male?

How many women end up losing their careers when a family member needs care?

I firmly believe that one of the reasons carer's allowance is so pitiful is because the majority of carers are women.

Xenia Sat 01-Dec-12 16:16:22

I c ertainly it is great to debate these things with men and like most feminists I actively lobby for things like 50% care rights post divorce and the right for men to do loads more cleaning and childcare after divorce rather than just 2 hours in a wimpy bar playing at being a parent. However women's disadvantage is huge both at work and even just out and about on the street - they are subjected to much more unwanted male attention than men are from women.

I am often the only woman at work things (although sometimes that is not so - we had no men the other week but that is terribly rare). One is presented with male advantage all the time. If I go into London early it is all men there because women are saddled with childcare and pin money jobs and domestic service at home so tend not to commute early.

I am old enough not to bother about these things but the other night I was on the tube giong to something, early evening and got some man saying things, then walking back , not very late, about 3 minute walk in London first 2 young men started shouting things at me nad before they had even finished a 30 stone Arab man walked over thrusting his crotch out (trousers still on) and rubbing the outside of his penis. Imagine those 3 things at my age and if I were the age of my daughters how much worse it can be. Obviously i could have gone over and kicked them in the penis or shouted at them all but I just walked on. That is just one tiny tiny example. I doubt many men walking that 3 minute walk would have had that.

There is a good book by someone in the US who dressed as a man for a good few months - first she became a salesman in an all male door to door selling team; then a monk in an all male group. I forget the name now but it did show the differences and not all one sided -she wrote about what the original poster here mentions - the need for men to fit in with other men and not be seen as week or out of kilter with them although she also wrote about how differently she was treated just walking down streets - men sizing up if the other man were a physical threat rather than sizing up whether he was likely to be able to have her etc.

Daddelion Sat 01-Dec-12 19:24:26

The book is by Norah Vincent, and very good it is too.
I can never understand what it is like to be a woman, and I have never claimed to.

But also women (unless they do what Vincent did) can never know what it's like to be a man.

The ones who own the wealth and have the top jobs are the minority of men.

I look back now at the incredibly aggressive and violent part of my life from about 10 to 30,

'What you fookin luckin at?' Being a commonly heard phrase. I've been threatened with a knife twice, been attacked by gangs a few times. And numerous other instances that were just taken as part of growing up.

And I know it was mainly males (three times females were involved) but as I was either running away, getting a kick-in or fighting back I suppose I could have had a discussion with them about the Patriarchy and Privilege but you know I don't think they'd have got it.

And who the bugger really wants to be the main bread winner?
That's societal indoctrination.
I never did, most men I know expect it, it's ingrained into them that it's their job.

The sad bit is they don't know what their missing.

Daddelion Sat 01-Dec-12 20:25:02

And here's a good quote from Vincent.

'Vincent says she's healed now and glad to be rid of Ned. But her views about men have changed forever.

"Men are suffering. They have different problems than women have, but they don't have it better," she said. "They need our sympathy. They need our love, and maybe they need each other more than anything else. They need to be together."

Ironically, Vincent said, it took experiencing life as a man for her to appreciate being a woman. "I really like being a woman. ... I like it more now because I think it's more of a privilege."'

Xenia Sat 01-Dec-12 20:28:23

I have been the main bread winner. I preferred it to being a housewife. It gives you money and power. I love it.

I think girls can be attacked in rough comprehensives as well as boys although I agree that violence on men is more common. I suppose I have bought my children (of both sexes) out of some of those risks or reduced them.

I don't think you'd need to talk about boys attacking another boy about privilege. That is more a discussion about moral principle - that it tends to be best to treat others as you want to be treated or more a question of trying to move out of that kind of violent world into a different section of society where there is less obvious or no violence. I don't think most of the men I've work with over 20 years in profsesional jobs really have that kind of violence ni their lives. I am sure some of them because it massages their precious little egos to marry a leech type woman who expects to be kept would have trouble getting their other half to work full time whilst they stayed home but some of them have. Plenty earn the same as their spouse and both do as much at home.

GetAllTheThings Sat 01-Dec-12 21:15:25


I know what you're saying.

I think it's not a straight forward expression. I often get the impression it is to some a blanket expression that has the purpose of re-inforcing 'the other' , men, in negative term.

I can't really look at my life and see a privalage, or an advantage rather, over female peers that's an effortless byproduct of my gender. But I do understand it does exist in areas. 

I do see a privalage of certain moneyed classes that I can certainly get animated about. And I think it's far more damaging. Our current cabinet for instance does seem to have a fair few trustfund benificiaries in it, and it's easy to see how that privalage can squew things. 

I digress !

I suppose the male privalage is one of those things that is and isn't relevant.

For instance, I can't see there would have been a great amount of support from feminist movements to have equal representation down a pit. Or in the trenches. But then I'm sure they'd be equal periferal misery suffered by women.

It's a weird one. Ive got to be honest, it makes me wince when I hear it, as like I said, it's often deployed as a be all and end all expression that serves to divide. But there is some truth there.

One could point to equal pay issues of course, but then one could mention men getting two weeks paternity leave. It's a complicated issue I think.

GrrrArghZzzzYaayforall8nights Sun 02-Dec-12 11:48:08

But being thought of as the breadwinner gives men privileges...

CVs and everything else equal, a man is far more likely to get the interview than a woman.
He is far more likely to get the job than a woman.
He is far more likely to get a higher salary and to get more bonuses and raises than a woman.
A woman will more likely be fired first, even when everything else is equal.

In a sexual harassment situation, if a man is accused of harassing a woman, she is far more likely to be told keep it quiet, to get over it, moved elsewhere, or fired. Going to tribunal over it is a very difficult step that will most likely lose her her job and everyone knows it. If a woman is accused of harassing a man, she is still more likely to be moved or fired than the man. Woman are by far far more likely to be harassed and sexually intimidated in the workplace

Women who do make to the higher ranks will have their abilities far more likely attributed to having slept with someone to get there than their actual capabilities.

GetAll you are discussing Wealth Privilege, which far more men have than women. Xenia gave those stats already. These things are intertwined which is why intersectionality is so important (the equal pay situation gets worse once you begin adding other elements, the commonly touted numbers are only for white women, it's even lower for other people).

And women are fighting very hard to be seen as equal in the armed forces - where a woman is far more likely to be raped by her own people than to take any damage from an enemy.

And less than 40% of men take that 2 weeks paternity leave. The male privilege of seeing caring as a feminine, unworthy thing that is a woman's duty (part of the caring issues brought up before by 3littlefrongs) is part of the problem.

One should feel uncomfortable and wince when realizing that the world is unfair. You could continue to make excuses or you could find someway of using your privilege to make the world a better place for those who were not born with it.

Xenia Sun 02-Dec-12 11:52:42

Ths is why I don't think housewives do women much good as they entrenched male wealth privilege. Even if it is just Doris serving in Tescos full time whilst her husband drives a cab and they both earn about the same Doris maintains her equal position with her husband because she earns as much as he does and ensures employers do not think - ah female, not worth having as will give up work when babies come along.

GrrrArghZzzzYaayforall8nights Sun 02-Dec-12 15:10:00

Xenia, that is a part of it, but I find that's just another step in a chain women are set into from early age.

Girls are told they don't need to worry about certain subjects as those are for boys - subjects essential for good jobs like maths. Career planning for girls is horrible - many are told just to find something they can do until they get married/caring for babies and little is given on how to practically plan these things, child care being for women is taken as given and real planning looking at all the options considered needed as the woman can always stop to look after them. Along with less female mentors and role models in jobs as well as less given in basic skills like assertiveness and negotiation. Even with these skills, young, inexperienced women will have trouble using them as they have to balance a tight rope that men do not have to - a man being assertive is normal, women who do the same thing will often be called bitchy, whiny, and difficult to work with which can be hard for those still building the thick skin needed. Even in job seeking, men with children are more likely to be given practical help while women with children are given advise on childcare and have their qualifications ignored/disregarded.

As well, there is society's idea that men "need" it more because they're suppose to provide while women don't as much because someone else will be looking after them as well as "meant" to be looking after others. Men who do caring are looked down upon because it is viewed as feminine as such inherently unworthy of a man's time. This is still part of Male Privilege - if it's associated with women then it is "bad" in the eyes of society if a man does it because he is meant to be doing something better than what women do. Men are seen as less/having something wrong with them than if they take what is seen as a women.

Fortyshadesofgreen Tue 04-Dec-12 13:04:21

Sorry I have come to this a bit late !

Grrrargh - do you have stats and sources for all the comments about the workplace and harrassment, promotions, payrises etc ? I saw you did have the one about less than 40% of men take up the full 2 week maternity. Some really interesting points in there. Especially the one that a female soldier is more likley to be raped by her own colleagues than killed by the enemy.

Xenia - you said that you preferred to be the main breadwinner rather than a housewife as it gave you 'power'. What do you mean by 'power' ? Sorry just a little confused thats all.

Daddelion Tue 04-Dec-12 18:09:20

Here's an interesting statistic:

'In 2010, there were 4,532 suicides recorded in England and Wales alone, of which 3,421 (75%) were males. For men between the ages of 15 and 34 there were 868 deaths by suicide, more than three times the number of women in the same age group, and there are fears that the worsening recession will trigger a sharp rise in men taking their own lives.'

I regularly read on MN about the DV statistic of two women killed every week by their partner.

65 men a week are committing suicide.

Why isn't this front page news?

GetAllTheThings Wed 05-Dec-12 10:12:07

Twice as many men are murdered each year also.

40% of reported DV is female on male.

FamilyGuy2 Wed 19-Dec-12 22:15:39


Whilst you have a totally valid point I think you're wrong to imply that this is a blanket phenomena. In my industry it is male dominated because engineering isn't an attractive profession for women, however, those that decide to become engineers are in no way disadvantaged in the workplace. Not at my level anyway.

I have girls and I don't believe that maths is discouraged and do not feel that they are led down certain employment avenues. Not from what I've seen at schools in my area. I've also spent half of my career attending career events at schools and openly encourage engineering to both sexes. In fact, positive discrimination seems to operate a lot nowadays to compensate for the under-representation of both women and minority races. TBH I'm not a fan of positive discrimination as I would rather do well on my own merit. Fortunately I built my reputation before this became the norm but you cannot deny that the tide has turned the other way. It'd be interesting to hear your views on this.

IMHO this male priviledge thing is only founded upon the attitudes of people and if people do not posess such attitudes then the phenomena becomes invalid. Thus if a woman does an equally good job as a man in my office then she will not be considered to have done a lesser job than her peer as that attitude does not exist in my workplace.

In fact 3 female apprentices won awards in the UK this year and not one of my colleagues suggested that they had slept with the judges or their managers. To me they won because they did a great job over the past 12 months. Comparisons with male colleagues didn't even come into it.

That's not to say male privilege doesn't exist as I would be a moron to discount it but it's possibly not as rife as you suggest.

Feckthehalls Wed 19-Dec-12 22:26:03

Great discussion Daddelion. I also fear for my sons but not my daughter for the reasons you give.

Also I am the main ( only ) breadwinner and it stinks

CSSM Thu 20-Dec-12 11:47:50

Men earn and own most of the world's wealth. For whom do they do that? For themselves, or for their women and children? Most of the world's money may be earned by men, but most of it is spent by women.

Men are disproportionately represented in all 20 of the world's most dangerous jobs and more men are injured and die at work than women - considerably more.

Most violent crime is committed by men, that is true. But who are the victims of all this violence? mostly (overwhelmingly) it's men who are the victims. In fact, apart from rape, men constitute the majority of the victims in every violent crime.

Do powerful people commit violence? No - almost never. Violence and aggression are the product of power^less^ness; if not, then why are most people convicted of violent crimes poor, uneducated and unemployed?

In movies, look at the violence. 99% of the injuries and deaths on-screen will be suffered by men (usually faceless anonymous men). Women almost never die violently in films, and if they do - or even if they are injured - it almost always represents a major plot point, and it is always avenged.

As a previous poster said, most suicide is committed by men - and again, suicide is not the act of a powerful person.

Boys are socialized to be strong and brave, to never show their emotions (except anger - that one's OK), not to cry, not to ask for help, not to be vulnerable. And they are socialised this way by women as well as by men. Women, let me ask you - if your man got into a fight over you, and he lost - would that make you more attracted to him? If he got hurt protecting you and cried from the pain - would that make you more attracted to him? If some guy insulted you and instead of attacking him violently, your man took him to one side and had a word, and the man then apologized - would you respect him more for resolving the situation without violence?

Men have the privilege to go out and earn money, but not to stay home and father their children. Women have the privilege to do either, or both. A man's worth is defined by his income, and nothing more - even in these post feminist days.

So what does "privilege" actually mean, in practical terms?

- CS

Daddelion Sat 09-Feb-13 10:58:54

Latest statistics.

LordLurkin Sat 09-Feb-13 12:11:39

I can safely male privilege exists well enough, but it is a double edged sword as well. The very attitudes that give me that privilege as a male are the very attitudes that will also turn on me as soon as I step out of the accepted line in any way.

A good while ago I walked out of a reasonable well paid job in a very male dominated factory where the attitudes to women and girls was just awful. The attitude to any man who was in a caring role or at home with family was just as bad. I left that job and am now working in a primary school where I am way happier and fulfilled. However I am now pretty much looked down upon by my old peers and often get pedo jokes made about me by my old workmates. The really ironic thing is that I also get looked down on by quite a few women as I'm now earning less than my wife and that its not good for a man to be with children all the time as men are apparently not as good at it.

On the other hand it appears that I might be getting an easier run in my new job based on the fact that I am an under represented group in that area. That seems a little odd to me as I came from an industry where women were under represented and many of the men were determined to actually keep it that way. Yet in the female dominated workplace I am actively encouraged to succeed. That is a true showing of male privilege.

On the whole I have and do benefit from male privilege but have also been hurt put down and damaged by the very same thing.

Hope what I have written here makes some degree of sense.

Daddelion Sun 10-Feb-13 20:47:17

I am interested why domestic violence against men is almost as high as against women?

And no comment?

Pan Sun 10-Feb-13 21:39:50

I'd speculate a bit on this?
- women tend to be repeat victims
- I'd guess that largely on female-male assault the damage inflicted is more modest.
- similarly, the level of fear experienced is less. I've been assaulted twice in these circs but never feared serious damage or that it would be repeated.
- it is easier for the male to 'leave' the relationship than females.
- anecdotally I've met lots and lots of children who witnessed parental violence, and a miniscule proportion report that it was mum knocking 7 kinds of poo out of dad.

Overall, stats need interpreting, and the context is all-important.
But yes, the incidence of female-male violence is comparatively ignored.

As for no comment? I'm sure there is comment - just rarely on MN (when it is immediately undermined as a 'what about the menz?' issue. And no doubt there is a cultural silence as men are expected to 'just get on with it' and stop whining.

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