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Any advice/links to educate dh who is defensive when I highlight male privelege?

90 replies

buckeejit · 01/09/2021 20:18

Was complaining to a nurse friend yest about my 3 brothers not cooking or helping with personal care for dm who is end of life. All their wives do it instead, (they aren't totally shit & are present a lot but just could be helping more in these practical ways Imo). I made a throwaway comment about men & their powerful penis not having to do the donkey work. Relayed it all to dh & was complaining in general about male privilege when he started with some whatabouttery totally moving the conversation away from this. He feels defensive & thinks I make sweeping statements & feels personally attacked.

I've told him today I felt really unsupported by his diversion & he's not a good ally as he's part of the problem if he's not part of the solution. He says he feels attacked by my 'sweeping statements'.

Walls are up & Id really like him to change his attitudes. So any articles/podcasts that might not offend his manliness?Hmm

Thank you

OP posts:

tootingbeclido · 01/09/2021 20:21

mention the word privilege and you are on to a loser.


BlackForestCake · 01/09/2021 21:07

Perhaps accusing your life partner to his face of being part of the problem is not the best way to go about it. Most people get defensive when you do that.

Ask him to imagine he were a woman and explain in detail the shit he'd have to put up with. He's probably never given it any real thought.


LobsterNapkin · 01/09/2021 22:04

It's one thing to complain about this, and make the observation that often women get stuck with this stuff rather than men - there's a good chance your husband would agree and might even have some thoughts.

It's another thing to go about about "educating" someone who is your spouse and your equal, or talking about their privilege which is a rather imprecise concept at best and seems to imply that they are somehow complicit or in fact the same. If it were turned around and about some common foible of wives, you might also feel defensive.


Aquamarine1029 · 01/09/2021 22:08

He feels defensive & thinks I make sweeping statements & feels personally attacked.

He's right.


Palavah · 01/09/2021 22:09

Ask him to read some Helen Lewis (Difficult Women) some Caroline Criado Perez (Invisible Women)


Narutocrazyfox · 01/09/2021 22:11

Stop using the word privilege for a start. As I once read somewhere 'injustice can never be solved by accusing others of advantage.' I'd be pissed off if I were your other half tbh. Ask yourself, how would you feel if he started banging on about your 'female privilege'?


Changemusthappen · 01/09/2021 22:14

The problem with your example, and many like this, is that the women are enabling this behaviour. Don’t get me wrong in many situations there is male privilege however women do have an option to say ‘no’,

In a way your DH is right, it’s too sweeping. Would he expect you to look after his mother?


LobsterNapkin · 01/09/2021 22:15

I find it a good approach when I want to talk to my husband about something like this to say "It seems like men do this more than women - what do you think that's about?"


Haggisfish3 · 01/09/2021 22:20

Op I’m totally with you. And I freely acknowledge that sometimes I do benefit from ‘female privilege’. My dh is the same. I point out inequalities and back it up with data and research.


buckeejit · 01/09/2021 23:13

Dh is grand & would do the personal care for my mum at a push, really at this stage that involves seeing her breasts when putting a nightdress on. I have told the brothers that I think they shouldn't shy away from personal care. They don't even empty the catheter. Their wives aren't making much of it either way from what I see.

It was after a lot of dh saying 'there's loads of other problems out there, it's not just women who have issues' or similar, many times that I found infuriating. The fact that he diverted the conversation at a time I needed support & really wanted my entirety reasonable point of view validated, really disappointed me. I didn't directly say this about male privilege until we were discussing it today & still don't think what I said was wrong, he agreed with me, (and has known me long enough to know I don't sugarcoat my opinions to him).

Consensus is that it's too challenging language to use the term privilege. Fine, thank you for that, I won't do that again. I don't have any issues acknowledging that I have white/female privilege though, but I accept that some people will be triggered by this. Thank you for the links - I will look them up.

I think he would expect me to do care for his mum. I would gladly, particularly because I love her dearly, but he would be expected to help. Fil probably would insist/request that the wimmen do it. He is traditional man-we went on a lovely extravagant holiday with lots of people - paid for by him, when he declared daily after dinner, now the men will go to the library for whisky & the ladies can retire to the reading room!

I've read invisible women & it's great. He rarely reads so would never spend time reading or listening to a whole book Confused

OP posts:

LobsterNapkin · 01/09/2021 23:38

Intimate care is tricky. In my experience quite a few people would prefer a stranger who is a nurse or care worker to help with those things rather than a family member, and a daughter-in-law rather than a son. Even a lot of men prefer female intimate care helpers. Some people get over this easily enough once they try but for others, it really feels like an indignity.

There are however usually lots of other things that need doing that have no such problems associated with them.


PickAChew · 01/09/2021 23:42

Stop using babble like male privilege and stick with tangible terms like sharing the load and pulling their weight. And maybe not being strategically lazy and useless.


irresistibleoverwhelm · 01/09/2021 23:44

Of course men are privileged and of course they don’t like this being pointed out. Why should women tiptoe around even the feelings of men on this being pointed out?

If one half of people are disadvantaged compared to the other half, then the others are privileged just by virtue of not being disadvantaged. I haven’t any patience with men getting huffy at the idea - just shows they don’t want to do anything about it, and why is it the job of women to coddle them by pretending this isn’t the case?


PickAChew · 01/09/2021 23:49

You can't tell anything to someone wit their fingers in their ears, though.


buckeejit · 02/09/2021 00:17

See, these widely conflicting opinions are interesting. I'm glad this isn't an echo chamber-eldest bro is a preacher & I feel very judged & spoken down to when he addresses me. Presumably there's no debate from
His usual audience. It's another layer to the male privilege as rest of family is staunch Presbyterian & I'm the spiritual black sheep with liberal views who doesn't attend church. I've had to entertain visitors to dm who I've never heard of & not our inner circle as db sent them & they're special clergy people who will pray. My opinion on this (Covid risk may mean mum in hospital at end of life where none of us can visit), was squashed as 'it was good of him to come & he travelled a long way...'

I see the point of all of the point of views but ultimately dh/people need to see it on a global scale, on a local scale, on a micro scale like ordering me an ice cream I don't want. is there a 10 commandments of feminism because I feel this is what is needed!

OP posts:

irresistibleoverwhelm · 02/09/2021 07:55

If you posted this on the Sex and Gender (GC rather than Libfem) board I think the responses would be completely different!


PearlyRising · 02/09/2021 07:58

I wouldnt empty somebody else's mother's catheter either.

Is this a reasonable think to expect?


PearlyRising · 02/09/2021 08:01

I mean, get professional help that evrybody mal3 or female has to pay for before you all fall out.
A bill can be divided equally in a way that care rarely is.

But i would change a PIL OR a MILs cathether in a mad fit. Yuck.


drwitch · 02/09/2021 08:06

I thought white fragility was an invention of the robin de Angelos of this world, until I saw how men respond to things like this. What op is describing is male fragility (the inability to see structural privilege and si assuming it's a personal attack). Now I understand male fragility, I can see that white fragility can exist to


drwitch · 02/09/2021 08:08

Perhaps the reverse might be true for your DP op?


lazylinguist · 02/09/2021 08:13

Presumably your so-called sweeping statements are not phrased to imply that no men help with these kinds of tasks, or that he personally wouldn't, but that nevertheless women predominantly bear the brunt of caring for elderly relatives, even their in-laws. If so, then he is certainly being unreasonable to be defensive and not to acknowledge this.


Concernedaboutgranny · 02/09/2021 08:13

Does the elderly woman who needs care actually want help from a man?


sashh · 02/09/2021 08:16

Simple one.

Whenever he fills in an online form with options does he ever have to scroll down the list for his title?

They ALL start with 'Mr'

Why does he think that is? It's not because they are in alphabetical order or most common title.

Next one.

How many times has he thought about being raped and how to stop it?

Start simple and build up.


saraclara · 02/09/2021 08:17

On a more fundamental level, who does your mother want to do her personal care? I'm going to have a guess that she'd prefer it to be her female relatives. And her sons probably recognise that too.

I think that if you're going to try to 'educate' your DH on this subject, it's probably best to do so when the discussion is not tied to such an emotional subject at such a stressful time.


LemonViolet · 02/09/2021 08:26

Practically though, does your elderly mother in law want her sons undressing her and attending to her catheter? My grandmother has had to have some dressings on her legs recently, she only has sons, and whilst my Dad is round there every other day helping around her house with practical stuff, it was my Mum (so her daughter-in-law) that did the personal medical stuff she needed, because she preferred my Mum to do it and wouldn’t have been comfortable for my Dad to do it. You could maybe argue that Granny’s preference for a female stems from a sexist worldview as well, but usually we are all over supporting women’s need for same-sex care when appropriate aren’t we?

It do understand a lot of your point, OP, but it sounds like you’ve taken your frustration with your brothers not pulling their weight at all out on your husband by implying he is personally responsible for all rubbish men and the patriarchy, and that’s clearly going to put his back up isn’t it.

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