Reader Request Week 2012 #3: Why I’m Glad I’m Male

The entry on Whatever immediately previous to this one makes this next Reader Request question all the more relevant. It’s from Sarah, who asks:

Why are you glad to have been born male? What do women get to do that you envy? I’ve really enjoyed your discussions of male privilege, so if you have more to say on the topic, I’d be thrilled to read it. That said, there are several ways you could address my question without touching upon privilege: peeing standing up vs. wearing skirts; freedom from menstrual cramps vs. gestating, birthing and nursing a baby, etc. etc.

Are you kidding? I’m glad to be male because no one fucking cares what I do with or to my body. And we’re not just talking about politicians and their nonsense, although they are the most obvious examples of this recently. I’m talking about everyone, in almost every circumstance. No one cares what I wear. No one cares what I weigh or what I eat. No one cares whether I brushed my hair or shaved when I came out of the house. No one cares that I’m having sex, or how much sex I’m having, or what I do with my body as a consequence of having sex. No one cares. And if they do care, they keep it to themselves because I’m a guy and it’s not their fucking business anyway.

And, you know, there’s all the other stuff too: Don’t have to deal with people sexually harassing me because I’m a guy, my chance of being raped or sexually assaulted is spectacularly low, I get paid more because I’m a guy and don’t even have to ask (and when I do ask to be paid more I’m not thought to be out of line), I get to express my opinion and not be classified as an mentally unreasonable person because of it, people default to listening to what I have to say, and so on.

I’ll just come right out and say it: being male is easy. Being male, white, educated, able-bodied, well-off and attracted to women? Shit, man. Easier still. It’s perfect for me, you know, because I’m lazy. All these unearned credits and passes and wave-offs from ridiculous shit are perfect for someone like me. Why would I want to be anything else? Anything else is work.

This is all, obviously, horribly unfair in my favor. I am not opposed to — indeed, actively encourage and work toward — things becoming less negatively unfair for everyone else. Unfortunately, this idea makes many people of my kind twitchy, I suppose because they assume that making things less unfair for everyone else means that things get worse for them. The idea that everyone having the same rights and privileges isn’t a zero-sum game where someone has to lose apparently doesn’t compute. It makes me sad that a class of people who have so many advantages can still be in aggregate that completely stupid.

What do I envy women? I don’t know that I envy women anything, short of the ability to give birth, and I’m not sure “envy” is the right word there, since the idea of growing another human in my body scares the crap out of me for all sorts of reasons. That said, I would like to know what it’s like to be a woman, because — for all the reasons noted above and lots of others that I have not touched on — I don’t really know what it’s like, and it means that despite my efforts toward empathy, there’s a lot I just don’t get. I wish there were a way for me to know, and while I’m at it, I wish there were a way for other men to know, too.

Actually, if I had a choice there, I’d rather some particular other men would spend time as a woman. I have a list. I don’t know if it would actually do any good. But in their cases, it certainly couldn’t hurt.

140 thoughts on “Reader Request Week 2012 #3: Why I’m Glad I’m Male

  1. I never really thought that being attracted to women was a sign of laziness, but I guess it fits.

  2. Despite all the advantages inherent to being a man, I have to say, I still prefer being a woman and have never envied a man his “manness”. I wonder if we that’s why we find the idea of a trans-sexual people so extraordinary. Or maybe lots of people have an envy of the other sex. I’ve never actually researched that idea.

  3. I’ve never thought of it in terms of being glad or sad to be male — it’s just what I am.

    Incidentally, John, the increased competition that more rights for women has produced -does- harm males; you have to work harder to get the same income and/or status because the talent pool has expanded, there’s less unpaid/underpaid support available from women, and so forth.

    That’s what gender conservatives mean when they say life has become “harsher” over the past thirty or forty years.

    (There’s a classic feminist essay titled “I want a wife” by Judy Brady from 1971 in the first issue of “Ms.” magazine, outlining exactly how marriage worked that way.)

    That’s not a reason to not extend more equality of rights to women, and it certainly makes things better -overall-; I’m just recognizing that it does impact men in general negatively in some ways.

    Positively in others, too, and it’s just the right thing to do, of course, but let’s not kid ourselves. In some respects life -is- a zero-sum game, particularly for positional goods like social status.

    If a men were getting 90% of the pot, going down to 50% means a 40% cut. Even if the pot in general gets bigger, it’s still probably a hit.

    This is particularly so for males who were marginal competitors for, say, professional success. Doubling the number of really smart people who are going to elbow their way to the head of the line can mean the difference between getting by and outright failure for those further to the left of the bleeding edge of the bell curve.

    Competitive meritocracy is wonderful if you’re one of the achievers; you even get to feel that you ‘deserve’ everything you get. For others, not so much.

    Abolishing slavery hurt the interests of a lot of white people, too. We did it anyway.

  4. S.M. Stirling:

    “Incidentally, John, the increased competition that more rights for women has produced -does- harm males; you have to work harder to get the same income and/or status because the talent pool has expanded, there’s less unpaid/underpaid support available from women, and so forth”

    I think that’s a reductive way of looking at it, however. Among other things having two adults earning incomes in a household allows for additional income stability, allows for more job flexibility, allows one partner to invest time learning skills and/or in a career that might be slow starting, etc. Which is to say in the long run the “harm” can be minimal or non-existent.

    Certainly it’s worked that way in my circumstance — my wife has been the stable income in which we’ve budgeted, which has allowed me as a writer to pursue longer-term opportunities freed of immediate economic pressures. And that in turn has paid off rather handsomely, economically speaking.

    So, no. I’m not sure I buy that framing.

  5. As a writer of Science Fiction, and the consciousness transfer technology as described in Old Man’s War, you have a way to write an exploration of this issue. Say you have a survivor of those 10 years of service. An 85-year old man now eligible to get back into a normal body and colonize. Imagine that over those ten years he starts thinking: “You know, I’ve been a man for 85 years. I wonder if they can give me a female body instead when my enlistment ends.”

  6. S. M. Sterling:

    The medium- and long-term benefits for everybody of equal rights far outweigh any such short-term harm to some, whether or not the person being harmed in the short term recognizes that fact. Of course, the previously-advantaged may choose to not take advantage of the medium- and long-term benefits because they’d rather bitch and moan about their short-term loss, but I have very little sympathy for them. Approximately none, in fact.

  7. That’s not a reason to not extend more equality of rights to women, and it certainly makes things better -overall-; I’m just recognizing that it does impact men in general negatively in some ways.

    And it’s an argument that’s so often made by ignoring other inconvenient data points, or just making shit up. Every so often in SF fandom you’ll get another spasm of “the bitches and their politically correct emasculated eunuchs are getting their estrogen all over our nice manly genre” foofy tosh. Never mind there’s still a substantial gender gap in senior editorial/management in the media. Never mind that in Hollywood the number of women directors, showrunners and senior writers has actually declined. Never mind that in a recession publishers are cutting lists and laying off staff all over; which just makes getting into print (let alone staying there) that much harder for everyone, regardless of the configuration of their genitals.

    Women just seem to end up as awfully convenient scapegoats too much of the time.

  8. I agree with both John and S.M. Stirling. Long term, it will be better for everyone. In the short term, the reduction in the percentage of the pot that males are getting is part of what’s driving this woman-bashing GOP movement. I work at the last bastion of white maleness – a bank. As my 50ish white male coworkers watch women and minorities encroaching on them, they are upset, confused, and terrified. This is not how it’s supposed to be. How did we get here? And, most importantly, how can we can go back to the way things were? Enter Rick Santorum trying to get women back into the kitchen, Limbaugh calling birth control enablement for sluts, and, well, the entirety of Ron Paul’s campaign – at least he wants everyone to get in the Wayback machine, not just the ladies and their ladyparts.

    Once all this hashes itself out and we’re splitting the pie relatively equally, all of this rhetoric and drama will seem foolish. But I imagine for the next couple of decades the panic and the drive to suppress women by any (and every) means they can get their hands on will get worse before it gets better. As a woman who’s working in a male-dominated field, I’m feeling the burn – but I’m also seeing the rewards. Watching smug entitlement turn to confused astonishment is kind of great. ;)

  9. “As my 50ish white male coworkers watch women and minorities encroaching on them, they are upset, confused, and terrified. This is not how it’s supposed to be. How did we get here?”

    Eridani- I know this isn’t the way you meant this but consider those two questions not as examples of what the coworkers are thinking but as a question for concern for those coworkers.

    I don’t think enough effort has been made in thinking how to bring those 50ish white male coworkers into a more equal society in such a way as to not leave them “upset, confused, and terrified.” The damage we do to our society in this way will cause longer term harm. Especially if nothing is done to mitigate it.

  10. This is the most succinct statement about white male privilege I have ever read. I am a 61 year old woman lawyer who worked in the corporate world for my career…all you have said so wittily constitutes the ground rules, although never (or rarely) articulated. Well done!

  11. Don’t forget that the short-term economic data when women entered the general workforce is also corrupted by the broad-scale entrance of robotics and computers. You can’t separate out the two effects. If we wanted to follow that argument of “the labor pool” to its final potential, we need to get rid of all robotics and machines – “full employment” isn’t a problem in a subsistence society.

    Economically, the benefit of having more skilled workers increases the productivity of a society as a whole, simply by having the labor pool to draw upon. We essentially spent the last quarter of the 20th finally bothering to do human capital investment in half our population, while automating huge chunks of the nasty, repetitive, and dangerous stuff. As a result, we get both temporary structural displacement *and* the ability to move to the “information economy” and beyond. Without that, economic growth is slowed, if not reversed entirely.

  12. Socrates, I think it’s just a matter of time and education. Time so that the 50ish white males who can’t be converted to seeing women and minorities as not encroaching but rather picking up the torch and running with it after they leave, and education so that the ones who can learn, do. I do find it heartening that not every while male over 50 is like that, my father being a prime example of someone who never seemed to have any issues working with minorities or women.

    Over the last few years I’ve become more and more aware of the advantages I have been given for the simple fact of my gender and skin color, and while I’m thankful for them I would like to live in a world where it didn’t matter, where people were judged by the content of their character and their ability to do a job rather than the shade of their exterior. I’ve seen far to many people of real ability held back for no good reason.

  13. “no one cares what I do with my body”.

    Absolute BS. If you’re a woman, have sex and get pregnant. You have the right to become a parent or not. If you’re a guy that “choice” is left up to a woman or the state. And that means monthly payment for 18 years for a child you might not even want to be a father to all because you: didn’t have adequate contraceptives or you’re really not the father but the state decides to stick you with the responsibility for some other man’s child due to some weird loophole in the law.

    And try having a vasectomy. Glenn pointed me to this and I started asking men in my life about it. What I refer to is in the lead-up to the procedure they ask a man “do you have a wife or gf?” and then “does she consent to a procedure which will deny her future reproductive possibilities?” ALL of the men I’ve asked (and they are many) have said they have had to ask their wife or gf to sign a consent form for the procedure before the doctor would even lift a knife.

    And finally marriage. Even though women achieved pay equity with men over a decade ago. Even though there are more women than men at college. And even though this long recession has hit men a lot harder women still are the “winners” in divorce. Take a look at the stats, I have. Women are awarded alimony and child support even if: they make more money than their husbands, have much more assests, don’t ask for alimony, and even if the child lives with the man.

    Yes, society very much cares what you do with your body if you’re a man. Society just expects a man to “shut up and take it’”.

  14. Ooooooh, can I help add to your list? :)

    As usual, well said. But I have to disagree with you on one point: as a wife, I’m willing to bet you that Krissy cares what you eat, how much you weigh, etc. I have this argument with my husband semi-regularly. It’s one he’s never going to win.

  15. Actually a fair number do care what you do with or to your body if you do it in the company of another man.

    Do you need a reason to be glad beyond being a male in the first place? I doubt that It’s a Thought’s position is rare.

  16. Eridani,

    As a 50-ish woman (actually darn near 60-ish), I have little sympathy for your ’50ish white male coworkers’ They and I were probably in college at the same time, and unless they lived under a rock for a decade, they had to have seen this coming. I don’t make any allowance for having attended an all male college. Those were frequently invaded by women from ‘sister’ schools all through the 70′s. And we were in the news, too.

    Maybe they thought they could ignore women, and we’d go away, but they can’t claim they weren’t warned.

  17. Don’t have to deal with people sexually harassing me because I’m a guy, my chance of being raped or sexually assaulted is spectacularly low, I get paid more because I’m a guy and don’t even have to ask

    A recent statistic I read says that one in three girls is sexually abused before her 18th birthday. I have two daughters, and I find the prevalence of this genuinely terrifying. It says nothing good about our society and its view of women.

  18. Oh, how those benefiting from unearned privilege cry foul when forced to compete with others upon a level playing field.

    Of course, there are also those who argue that their privilege is actually earned. They, themselves may not have earned it, but they argue that, as products of ancestors who “won” those advantages, they’re entitled to them. Or, in other words, every trust fund kid is entitled to not have to work, ever, because their daddies were oh, so good at exploiting the working class in order to get rich.

  19. Im happy to be a man because I don’t have to know the names of colors beyond the basics. Red, blue, green, brown, yellow, white and black is all I really need.

    It feel…free

  20. ALL of the men I’ve asked (and they are many) have said they have had to ask their wife or gf to sign a consent form for the procedure before the doctor would even lift a knife.

    I’m not sure what type of medical practices they are visiting, but at the risk of over-sharing, I just had a vasectomy a month ago and I was the only person who had to put pen to paper to approve the procedure. I can’t think of a single medical consent form that someone other than the adult undergoing the procedure has to sign. The only consent form I’ve signed on behalf of another person is for my kids. The only time I can think this sort of thing actually happens is when the patient is mentally or physically unable to make the decision on their own.

  21. [Deleted because it's off topic. Here's a hint: If you feel you need to apologize for going off topic, then you probably shouldn't go off topic -- JS]

  22. I work in what is still a traditionally male dominated field –IT. And I can tell you that everyday, I am aware in a thousand little ways of that fact. The IT culture is still a predominantly male culture. Lots of sports discussion happens at conferences, vendor presentations are held at the ball field (I like baseball so I don’t mind that), etc.

  23. [Deleted for garden variety misogyny and, also, ignorance of my work history which makes the assumptions incorrect -- JS]

  24. Socrates, I really do think the plain math of things means that some large number of guys like me (and John S and Steve Stirling and many others here) will just have to suck it up and face the combined effect of doubling the population at all points on the bell curve: there are now or will be soon about twice as many competitors at every level of performance. Less of a difference in some of the arts that were relatively open to women. More of a difference in some fields where it was hard to get training if you were a woman, because it will take a while, maybe more than a generation, for trained women to come through the pipeline in numbers. But overall, about twice as many. This is no big deal over on the right tip of the curve; as the saying goes, there’s always room at the top. But it does mean that, assuming most of us guys hit that curve about where our fathers did (again, the way to bet, with many exceptions) that a very large number of us won’t do as well in relative competition as our fathers did. Many men are going to feel like failures, absent some unimaginably huge expansion of demand for people at lower talent levels (and following a mule around a field is NOT a growth area at the moment, nor is being a Shovel Operator Second Class). Disproportionately, it will be the ones who aren’t disabled but also aren’t very smart or particularly articulate/motivated/etc.

    “Is it a problem?” is probably the wrong question. A better question is “Will they be a problem?” and the answer would be … have you listened to talk radio or seen a campaign commercial lately?

    The problem will eventually solve, but the idea that it will involve no pain to anyone, or pain only to the most blameworthy, is halluctination, not policy. We just need to keep a fairly gentle lid (as gentle as will work …) on it until living memory loses its awareness of the old days when a stupid, lazy straight white man could get a good job, and a smart ambitious anything-else couldn’t get that same job.

    We’re probably in the worst of Old White Poop backlash right about now, allowing for sizes and dates of birth cohorts, and if I’m right that the Millennials are the first mostly-poop-free generation. Stirling, Scalzi and I will probably croak sometime during the years when the backlash is fading out for good.

    Progress by funerals is slow.

    But very, very sure.

  25. Guys:

    You know what I love? The appalling misogyny that typically accompanies “men’s rights”-ish types of mallet. It makes an especially squishy sound when I mallet it.

    Consider this a challenge to discuss your points without reeking of hatred of women. If you can manage it, swell. If not, hey, I’ve got a mallet.

  26. “Progress by funerals is slow.

    But very, very sure.”

    You know I am not sure about that – look at the amount of misogyny and poopishness that exists amongst young males. You could say they will grow out of it but evidence seems to beg to differ.

    I have met some angry older men who just don’t get it and lash out in confused fear, and I have met some angry young men who almost get it and lash out in misplaced fear. We are obviously failing here.

  27. @ John [Deleted for garden variety misogyny and, also, ignorance of my work history which makes the assumptions incorrect -- JS]

    That’s fine John…You seem to be at your most brilliant when debating those who agree with every word you say. I’ve also noticed that you pull this stunt whenever someone calls you out on your BS with a point you can’t readily answer.

    And for the record, your original post is “garden-variety PC”….college sophomore stuff.

  28. @Todd,

    How can you debate a person who agrees with you? That doesn’t even . . . wait, am I feeding the trolls?

  29. socrates:

    As a 50-ish white male myself, I am completely unsympathetic to any of my fellows who have trouble adapting to a society that is far-too-slowly becoming somewhat less biased in their favor. I am, in fact, contemptuous of them. I really don’t give a shit about their hurt fee-fees.

  30. @Herbie: That is my point, exactly….Notice that just about every comment in every comment thread more or less parrots Scalzi’s opinions. When someone does disagree with him, one of two things happens:

    1.) The like-thinking peanut gallery drives him/her away

    2.) Scalzi deletes the comment for some spurious reason (as in the case of my deleted comment).

  31. “Even though women achieved pay equity with men over a decade ago.”

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA!!!!

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-16/shining-shoes-best-way-wall-street-women-outearn-men.html

    “Female doctors made 63 cents for every $1 earned by male physicians and surgeons, the data show. Female chief executives earned 74 cents for every $1 made by male counterparts.”

    “While the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression initially hit women less severely, their median earnings still trailed men in 505 of 525 occupations tracked by the federal government.”

    But please, do explain how this is pay equality.

  32. Also, I *highly* recommend the book “Privilege, Power, and Difference” by Allan G. Johnson. It does a good job of clarifying the structural impact of the “isms” without anyone’s *intent*, but with *everyone’s* consent. Great example from the book (paraphrased):

    “I’m a good dad to my kids, and I’m nice to them. And then I started playing Monopoly. The game inherently requires that I take things from the other players – my children – and force them to lose in order for me to win. I realized that, without my *intent*, the rules of the game meant that I ended up acting in ways that were indistinguishable from being mean to my kids. There was no way to get around it.

    So I stopped playing Monopoly.”

  33. Todd:

    “1.) The like-thinking peanut gallery drives him/her away”

    Which is why, of course, certain conservative and/or Republican posters have been commenting here for years.

    “2.) Scalzi deletes the comment for some spurious reason (as in the case of my deleted comment).”

    Well, no. It was deleted because it was appallingly misogynistic. That you don’t recognize it as such is neither here nor there to that fact.

    If you can make your point without looking like an unregenerate troll, then by all means do so. However, as you don’t appear to understand why your post was deleted, this may be a problem for you.

  34. I think – or maybe just hope – my generation (X) was the tipping point for leaving racism behind. Along those lines, I’m pretty sure the Millennials will be the tipping point for sexism – women, LGBT, et al.

    Note – I said tipping point, not eradication. Tipping point as in critical momentum beyond which there is return.

  35. Todd – care to explain why scorpius’ post, that Scalzi clearly disagrees with, is still up if Scalzi’s so intent on suppressing dissent? His playground, his rules. Either play by them or play somewhere else.

  36. Cranapia: love this… “the bitches and their politically correct emasculated eunuchs are getting their estrogen all over our nice manly genre”

    adelheid_p: I’ve worked in IT since 1981. I still, on occasion, get over-talked and my ideas ignored or “borrowed” but it’s much better than it was. Though it’s odd working with guys who are young enough to be my kid; I keep wanting to bake them cookies.

    Scorpius: On the issue of alimony and support. When I divorced my husband, we had shared custody and no one paid alimony or child support. I paid the legal fees for the separation and divorce and then spent 5 years paying off his debts. Sometimes the man does not get screwed in divorce.

  37. @ Steven Saus – that’s a really great analogy, actually, I’ll have to remember it. I find I often have to explain that privilege isn’t something you intend to use, it’s a result of the way the rules of the game are structured. Alas, the book is not available for Kindle yet, but maybe I’ll luck out in finding it at the library.

    @John – apologies.

  38. @Steven Saus, @The Pint: Boardgames are a huge part of our treasured “family time”. As a parent, I have no qualms about teaching my kids how to be a good gamer: winning and losing graciously, understanding rules and structures, “what happens at the table stays at the table”, strategic and tactical planning, wit, banter, socializing, debating.

    It baffles me that anyone (without an Education Administration degree) would consciously and explicitly choose not to embrace these life lessons because they require “being mean”.

  39. It takes a real winner to paint gestating a fetus, at great risk to one’s personal health, as a privilege. Yes, biology has given women one additional decision point in the process of creating a new human life. Fortunately, the development of technology for artificial wombs is not that far off–I read an article recently that predicted successful gestation of human fetuses outside the human (female) body would be possibly anywhere from 20 to 60 years from now. What a relief for the MRA types: rather than facing the prospect of their sex partners aborting pregnancies that they themselves want, they can convince the women in their lives to transfer the embryos to an artificial uterus, whereupon they can be 100% responsible for childcare, while the woman who donated the XX gametes only contributes a percentage of her paycheck. Of course, this would also require that the man also pay for the upkeep of the artificial uterus during gestation, would would (hopefully) forever kill the myth that gestating a fetus is not WORK.

  40. @scorpius, That is false information and while I ought to know better than to engage you I feel obligated to refute it for the sake of others. When my husband got his vasectomy I had no involvement whatsoever (other than moral support) including signing a consent form. The doctor who performed the procedure spoke with him for a few minutes in advance to ensure he understood what would happen and the consequences thereof which included asking him whether he had discussed it with his spouse but there was no indication that even if he hadn’t discussed it with me that the doctor wouldn’t have proceeded.

  41. @sallystrange, You are certainly entitled to your opinion that being able to bear a child is not a privilege, however many women consider it to be one. It isn’t insulting for a man to wish that he could partake in that. While artificial wombs would be awesome for women who don’t wish to internally gestate a child (and gay couples) there are still many women who could financially afford to that will choose to carry their child personally because that is what they prefer.

  42. A privilege? A privilege is a special advantage. Bearing children may be fulfilling and emotionally rewarding, but it does nothing to help women get ahead in the world.

  43. If our society didn’t penalize women financially for bearing and raising children, then maybe the ability to gestate fetuses would be a privilege. As it stands however, the mere fact that (cis) women can do it and (cis) men can’t does not make it a privilege.

  44. I do envy guys a lot of what you’ve written. In fact I play a thirty year old Asian-American guy in an RPG and I play him totally cocky, in every sense of the word. It’s a blast, but I sometimes wonder if I’m overplaying that angle. I mean, the western guys I know don’t act like that, though the local Korean guys sometimes do.

    I think it would be fun to live as a man for about a week, anatomy and all, just to see what it’s like. Alas, there’s no way I’d pass for a male with my build, nevermind a fit young Asian male. :,(

  45. @Beth – I think that when Sally says that bearing children isn’t a privilege, she’s not using the word in the same way that Scalzi is when he’s talking about “male privilege.” The latter is a form of societal benefits conferred simply because one is male. Male privilege doesn’t have to be exercised consciously by a man for a man to benefit from it. The former is something that (cis) women have the ability to do physically – it’s not a “societal privilege” in the same sense.

    @lancewebber – Sure, games can be an excellent way to teach kids about how to be good players – abide by the rules, win/lose gracefully, etc. However, I think you missed the point of the analogy. It’s not saying that one shouldn’t play Monopoly because the rules can be “mean” – the author wasn’t talking about stopping playing Monopoly the game, the author was talking about Monopoly as an analogy for how privilege works. The point is that due to the way the rules are set up in the game, the way they are exercised can be indistinguishable from “being mean” – in other words, privilege (resulting from the way the rules have been set up) can often function to give benefits to some at the expense of others in a way that is virtually identical to “being mean” without any *intent* to be mean necessary. This was brought home to the author because he realized that in playing to win at Monopoly, the rules meant he his actions toward his opponents – in this case, his kids – were “mean” even though he did not wish or intend to be “mean” to them in any way. In that regard, Monopoly (and other games with similar set ups) can be excellent teaching tools for how privilege works. At least that’s how I read Steve Saus’ paraphrase of the quote from the book, which I am very curious to read.

  46. Among other things having two adults earning incomes in a household allows for additional income stability

    As someone whose wife just got a job after an extended period out of the workforce (over the course of which I lost my job twice, we had a child and the world financial system collapsed), I feel this keenly.

  47. @The Pint: I remember once in elementary school playing a simulation game that I think was explicitly designed to be an exploration of the mechanisms of privilege. I don’t remember much about how it worked, but it was some kind of trading game in which people started out with unequal resources at the outset, and if they played things right, the lucky people could parlay their accidental wins into even bigger wins (the rules included some kind of snarky aside about them being rewarded “because they worked so hard”). I think it was this one:

    http://www.stsintl.com/schools-charities/star_power.html

    Only I don’t think it worked that well: instead of taking any kind of social message away from the game, we just thought it was a poorly designed game. We may have been too young to really get it.

  48. I believe this just might be the most profanity laden post I have read on this site, just saying. Not offended, but just stand out in a way.

  49. As a 50ish white male married to a nonwhite woman, with whom I raised two daughters I would have to be a total dick if I did not want to see the end of white male privilege even though I certainly benefited from it. Also, it is just lame. As for vasectomies, they are a rare chance for guys to take one for the team (not of the same magnitude as child bearing). My urologist carefully consented me, because reversing vasectomies is a much more hazardous procedure than the vasectomy itself. My wife did not meet the urologist nor sign a consent.

  50. One place that you expect everything to be good and pure and true that really just isn’t…the arts. (I can really only address theater and film specifically.) The theater where I work? They’ve had TWO women directors in the past SEVEN years. There are an average of five plays per season, for a grand total of hiring 5% women to 95% men in positions of artistic power. I mention this and most people look blank. Then they tell me that that’s reflective of trends on Broadway. Film and TV, the places where people almost expect this, is actually slightly better at hiring women. Not GOOD, you understand. Just not quite as terrible.

    My governmentally employed husband is horrified over this. Most people outside the arts are horrified over this. But you can’t mention it IN theater or film if you don’t have power (Meryl Streep doesn’t count) because suing is tantamount to career suicide and most arts organizations are small enough to skate under the employment law radar.

    I’m getting really damned sick of pointing out sexism. It’s exhausting. It’s irritating. I feel like a dogmatic broken record and I quite honestly have more important things to think about. But equally, I’m really damned tired of men not even seeing that there’s a problem there. I don’t think that men making artistic hiring decisions are malicious: I think they’re oblivious. And in some ways, that’s a lot worse.

  51. I used to teach Intercultural Communications in a predominantly white community college. There was always the self-righteous white male who insisted that he was not the recipient of any special treatment due to his being white and male. It took the full 10 weeks of a quarter, spending an hour a day, and sometimes, just sometimes, I could get them to look at things a little bit differently. I certainly made them uncomfortable, whether they ‘moved’ or not.
    I think you are probably one of the most self-aware males I have come across. It’s like a breath of fresh air blasting through the mausoleum current events is trying to drag us into.

  52. I can’t believe no one has said it. As a guy I envy woman’s ability to have multiple orgasms. I know it is base, but what guy hasn’t thought it?

  53. “No one cares what I wear. No one cares what I weigh or what I eat. No one cares whether I brushed my hair or shaved when I came out of the house”

    Uhhh John……aren’t you, like …married? Unless you live in some sort of utopia you have two fashionistas who are quite interested in how presentable you are when you leave the house.

  54. Regarding male & female sterilization
    from:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2492586/

    A few states have special consents for all women seeking sterilization. Medicaid-funded sterilizations require a 30-day waiting period between consent and the procedure (except in the special circumstances of premature delivery or emergency abdominal surgery in the setting of prior consent) and that the patient be at least 21 years old and mentally competent.57 There are no such restrictions for male sterilization. Arbitrary denial of patient sterilization by health care professionals has been ruled in US courts to violate a man’s or woman’s basic rights.

  55. FWIW, my husband had a vasectomy, and though the doctor did ask him if I was on board with it, I never signed anything. I have never heard of anyone having to sign off on their husband’s vasectomy. Not in the U.S., anyway.

    I like being a girl, but sometimes I wish I could lift heavier stuff. That would be handy!

  56. Thinking about the little list. I definitely agree on the straight white male part and all the benefits that come from it. I definitely don’t know or realize what it means to be a woman. I know that it is definitely appears harder, and I wouldn’t want to be on the other end of many of those statistics. I know some of my privilege though I am sure I will always be blind to some of it.

    But on temporarily making people women, I know people who have spent time in third world countries who think they understand what it is like to live in those countries. Sometimes that added knowledge is a benefit. Often though the ability to come back to the USA blinds them to the reality that they were still just an outsider looking in. It is like the rich person who waited tables for a summer and someone who does it year in and year out for a living- one might gain something in knowledge of the job but not really the life of the other person. This limited knowledge often leads to just greater prejudice, is a mistaken belief that one truly understands based on limited knowledge when one truly doesn’t.

    Would I like to walk in other people’s shoes without this restriction. Yes, but the ability to come back and be me forever changes that. That lack of permanence itself changes the knowledge. I think it is important to realize and deal with that limitation and how humbling it is.

    In the past you talk about listening and hopefully not showing your ass too much. I’ll try and stick to that (and still fail at times). The only people who will ever truly understand what it is like to be a woman, as far as I can tell, are women. If I want to know more about what it’s like I’ll just ask them.

  57. …people default to listening to what I have to say….

    Sorry, John, but that’s not male privilege, that’s personality. You’re a man who relishes public conflict, and enjoys being outspoken and quick. Men who are quieter, more cooperative, dislike conflict, or just take longer to decide how they want to respond – they don’t experience that aspect of male privilege. Other people happily ignore, talk over, and forget them just as readily as they ignore female colleagues with the same traits.

    One characteristic of male privilege is that it comes attached to a stereotypical male persona. Men who deviate too far (and it’s not all that far) from that stereotype lose the privilege in the eyes of the rest of society, and they pay for it – just ask gay men how much male privilege they enjoyed historically. The straight ones don’t have the backstop of belonging to a recognized social group that we’re trying very hard to treat better. The variation of social status among men as a whole is much larger today than the difference in social status between an average man and an average woman. That doesn’t mean there’s no male privilege – it does mean that a significant number of men don’t get anything out of it. They deserve better than to be simply ignored when we talk about how great it is to be a guy.

  58. “peeing standing up vs. wearing skirts”

    As a kilt-wearer, I gotta say skirts are no impediment to peeing standing up.

  59. Elgion, It’s uncommon but some guys do get that or at least the repeat cascade of sensations overload part and some claim it can be learned.

  60. Thank you, John. This is the best explanation of male privilege I’ve ever read, and it will henceforth be the first thing I’ll be pointing people to when it’s time for Privilege101.

    Oh, and @scorpius: I don’t care if your facts/stats are right or wrong (although I harbour serious doubts regarding your “pay equity” assertion) because I don’t live where you live and I haven’t done the homework, but! Your comment is a classic “but what about the men?” whinge, and I can’t tell you how frustrating that is. Your kind of argument does NOT negate the fact that male privilege is alive and well today, even if (even if!) your facts were, indeed, factual.

  61. Hey, guys, there’s a male sterilization procedure currently being tested in India that is just as effective as a vasectomy but less invasive and more easily reversible.

    http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/04/ff_vasectomy/all/1

    Find an American company to sell it and then maybe men can stop whining about having to pay for the kids they left behind. (Not that it’s anything I’ve had to deal with. Lately.)

  62. “And finally marriage … women still are the “winners” in divorce. Take a look at the stats, I have. Women are awarded alimony and child support even if: they make more money than their husbands, have much more [sic] assests, don’t ask for alimony, and even if the child lives with the man.”

    The checks I have to write my ex-husband who never worked a day of our 15 year marriage respectfully disagree.

  63. Sorry, John, but that’s not male privilege, that’s personality.

    @TooShyForAName – that’s the point. A male has the choice of being outspoken or quiet, to have that outspoken personality indulged and admired. An outspoken woman is a bitch (and proud of it, but that doesn’t mean I don’t meet with society’s censure).

    When a guy spoke up in my high school class to disagree with the teacher, he was praised. When a girl did the same, she was told it wasn’t ladylike.

  64. Even though I was the only income in our home for many years while my husband attended university, I once had a salesman tell me to “come back with my husband” when I was car shopping. Was there ever a man who experienced that? Another thing I’ve found interesting about this post and its thread is the lack of comment on how misogyny is often a product of religious thinking and upbringing. The bible tells them so. Women with power? Women who own land? Let’s label them witches, torture and burn them! This issue is ancient.

    What I like to think is that the fearful group of males will eventually realize (perhaps through the example of their more enlightened brothers) that the end of misogyny will create a better world for everyone. I’ve often wondered just what is it that men are afraid of when it comes to equality for women, or women in positions of power. Why are we scary?

  65. This is terrible. How is it easy being a man? Easy for Trayvon Martin and Oscar Grant? Easy for the 9/11 first responders and soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan? Had these people been born female they would still be alive right now. Just because John is a lazy S.O.B doesn’t mean it’s easy being a man. Let’s set the record straight, there is one race on this planet; the human race(skin color is a trait not a race). Most of the dangers we face as a race come from other humans. Therefore, being human at all is hard. Being a human male is even harder. Being a human male of color, harder still for cultural reasons. Being a human female hard but not as hard as being a man. Why? Many women will never have to face the dangers in her lifetime that a man will face in his. Example, a woman would not be perceived as a threat when walking down a city street. And because of plummeting rates of violent crimes in the US it is safer than it has ever been for her to walk those streets. Largely thanks to LEOs who are overwhelmingly male. Males and females are different. So what? We survived while other species of Homo didn’t. Males are awesome and contribute more than their share to a healthy and vibrant society. Females are awesome too and contribute their fair share in their own way. You are here, be thankful for that. Stop apologizing for being a man, work hard, and be nice to other humans.

  66. @ Well That Was Different:

    “I like being a girl, but sometimes I wish I could lift heavier stuff. That would be handy!”

    I’m a petite woman (barely 5’1″ and I cling to that 1″) and when I was in the best shape of my life 3 years ago, I was regularly working with weights as heavy or heavier than other men at the gym and I can still benchpress and legpress more than my husband – I’m not hugely muscular or anything though, we’re just built differently. He’s tall and lanky and I’m more compact and broad-shouldered (my trainer once pointed out that gives me an advantage because when either bench pressing or leg pressing weight, my arms and legs aren’t as long so I don’t have as far to push the weights), so shape/build have a lot to do with strength capacity. Being female doesn’t automatically mean you can’t lift the heavy stuff. ;)

  67. fo_shizzle:

    “Many women will never have to face the dangers in her lifetime that a man will face in his.”

    (rolls eyes)

    Sure. And some women will face all sorts of dangers men also face in their lifetimes, plus all sorts that men don’t. Your point doesn’t have much of a point.

    Incidentally, thousands of women served, hundreds were seriously wounded and dozens of women soldiers were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and there were women first responders on 9/11. Your ignorance of these facts doesn’t exactly make a good case for your “argument.”

  68. @fo_shizzle

    Since we no longer have a draft and don’t have a compulsory law enforcement service, the men in the majority of your examples made the choice to face those additional dangers, as John pointed out there are women who have made the same choice. And there are more women who might have made the choice were it not for discrimination. The heroism of some doesn’t make the case for the extension of privilege to the rest.

  69. Why are you rolling your eyes? You agreed with me! I never said no women were part of these groups only that it is hazardous and overwhelmingly male. Hundreds of male first responders were killed during 9-11 and thousands of men have been killed or injured in Iraq and Afghanistan, how is that not a good case for the argument that it is not easy being a man? The chances of a woman soldier being killed on a battlefield or as a first responder is spectacularly(your word) low therefore insignificant according to your post, just like male rape victims and male victims of sexual harassment. Humans, male and female face all sorts of dangers, Male humans face more than women. Prove otherwise. Again, ask Trayvon Martin and Oscar Grant their opinion.

  70. @Court I call BS. The post argues that it is easy being a man. It is not. It is also not easy being a woman but it is much harder to be a man. And not only for heroes, it’s hard for average joes too. I never mentioned privilege.

  71. fo_shizzle:

    “I never said no women were part of these groups only that it is hazardous and overwhelmingly male.”

    Well, no. What you said was

    “Easy for the 9/11 first responders and soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan? Had these people been born female they would still be alive right now.”

    So either you believed that the first responders and soldiers were all male, or that women first responders and soldiers, by virtue of being born women, have mystical shields that keep them from death. One of these is a more reasonable assumption than the other.

    Not being able to keep track of your own argument, and/or thinking that I’m too stupid not to call you on shifting the goalposts, is no way to get through life.

    “The chances of a woman soldier being killed on a battlefield or as a first responder is spectacularly(your word) low therefore insignificant according to your post”

    Someone needs to learn about the concept of per capita, I think.

    fo_shizzle, you’re not impressing me.

  72. @fo_shizzle

    1. *sigh*
    2. Every woman on the battlefield faces the exact same danger as every man on the battlefield.
    3. Every female first responder faces the exact same danger as every male first responder.
    4. Think on that for a moment.
    5. Nobody here is saying that it’s easy for all men on the planet everywhere. Look again, see? Nobody is saying that. At all.

  73. SuzanneZurFreiheit:

    To be fair to fo_shizzle, I did explicitly say that being male is easy in the entry.

    I’d note that in saying that I expected most people would understand the framing of the statement. Fo_shizzle is arguing against that frame, although in my opinion, he’s not doing a particularly good job of it.

  74. @John why do I have to impress you? It’s your terrible post not mine. This is actually what was said “How is it easy being a man? Easy for Trayvon Martin and Oscar Grant? Easy for the 9/11 first responders and soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan? Had these people been born female they would still be alive right now.” Clearly I’m speaking about males only, I mention 2 by name. If I knew every name of the 9/11 first responders and soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan I would have said them. It wasn’t necessary, it’s understood in the sentence.
    What does per capita have to do with anything? As a percentage of the population more men are killed as first responders, LEO’s, and soldiers than women. Period. Again, insignificant according to your post just like male victims of rape and sexual harassment. Your post was poorly written and worded don’t blame me blame the editor.

  75. peeing standing up

    Right now, I’m a little jealous of that ability- having returned to the gym after a few weeks off. (squats after 2-3 weeks off = pain!)

  76. One realization comes to mind: the societal advantages that come from being a man will be fairly constant in your life (barring relocation, massive societal change or gender reassignment procedures). In my case, it was one of the few “invisible priviliges” that didn’t take at least a partial hit when I became an expat. (Being a foreigner in a land that is starting to see some serious xenophobia issues? It can be tricky at times, and it’s a bit of an education to see how many of the “invisible priviliges” on that list don’t apply to you unless you’re an American in America.)

    If anything, the gender imbalance is worse here in Greece than it is in the US, and it seems to be indoctrinated into the youth, based on my observations during my army conscription term. Some conscripts mentioned to me, the lone Yankee in the regiment, that by their lights, the U.S. army was an entirely mercenary outfit (because there’s no conscription back home, just voluntary enlistment, and the enlistees get paid for their service), while the Greek army was a true national army because everyone was conscripted.

    What about the women in the army? I asked. (There are women in the army – there were women serving as drill instructors, even – but conscription is limited to men.)

    “They don’t count as soldiers,” was the instant, instinctive answer. And it was said with as much certainty as “The sky is blue”, or “Summer is hot”.

    And this came from kids, mind you, few of them over twenty years old. Goes to show just how deep you have to go to change the societal mindset on such things.

  77. Your post was poorly written and worded don’t blame me blame the editor.

    The foundational grammar irony of the Internet strikes again.

  78. @John

    Noted. You’re right, and I retract my (5).

    I hope I didn’t come across as jumping down anyone’s throat. I don’t have that much patience with the Disadvantage Competition that always seems to start when privilege is discussed.

  79. The fact is it is pretty damn easy to be a white, straight male. The straight while male’s opinion is valued and you don’t get discriminated against by society. I find it irritating when certain folks start whining about how whilte males are being discriminated against, and how “minorities” get all the benefits. Because even if you count things like affirmative action or benefits focused on particular groups, our society is still in a position where it caters and favours the white straight male. We (I fall under the white straight male category) have several issues, worries, and inconvieniences that we never ever have to worry about or think about that countless others have as a daily occurence. Even as a parent, I get a much sweeter deal than my wife, and the societal expectation are much heavier on my wife than on myself. It is unfair. I’d love to change it. The reality is it is a world that still favours the white straight male, no matter how much a particular group may moan and try to convince us otherwise.

  80. fo_shizzle:

    “why do I have to impress you?”

    Because if you don’t you don’t get to comment here, that’s why.

    “Clearly I’m speaking about males only, I mention 2 by name. If I knew every name of the 9/11 first responders and soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan I would have said them. It wasn’t necessary, it’s understood in the sentence.”

    You know, fo_shizzle, just because you use the word “clearly” does mean you were, in fact, clear. As, for “it’s understood in the sentence,” well. If it were understandable, you probably wouldn’t have to assert such a thing after you’ve been called on it.

    At this point I’m pretty sure you have no idea what you are actually saying and that you’re currently spinning a very wordy equivalent of “nuh-UH, you’re wrong.”

    I suspect it’s time for you to move along, fo_shizzle.

  81. I envy white men the ability to go anywhere, especially while walking, without having to be aware that maybe their actions will leave them open to being attacked or sexually assaulted. I also envy the fact that, if their actions did happen to result in their being attacked, they wouldn’t automatically be blamed for it because they wore the wrong outfit, or happened to be carrying a can of coke and a bag of Skittles.

  82. [Deleted because fo_shizzle apparently did not read the comment policy, or if he did, did not understand what "move on" meant. Also, he did not earn the disaffected flounce he just attempted, or for that matter, achieve it -- JS]

  83. My parents began dating when they were 17 and while my father attended University and later completed his PhD, my mum did her nurses training (this was in the UK in the late 70s and 80s) and worked as a nurse to support him and help pay for his studies. Now, he is the VP of a global R&D department for a major industrial firm, and my mother hasn’t worked for years. (and she loves it)

    My boyfriend and I have, funnily enough, followed in the same footprints (we met at 17 also) only for us it is reversed. I am the achiever out of the two of us. I enjoy overcoming challenges and excelling in the things I attempt. It fuels me. He is much more easygoing. While I concentrate on my studies and do freelance design and web work, he is working and also takes care of those little things like cooking, cleaning, laundry which takes an amazing load of stress of my back. I can come home after a long day to a clean house and dinner cooking. It makes me understand the benefits of the traditional 1950s societal norms. It’s give and take. Only the difference is, being a housewife was always looked down upon as being inferior to the “man’s” role of being the provider. I don’t see it that way, and I certainly don’t see it as a man’s role and women’s role.

    For us, it is a matter of differences in our personalities that makes me more suited to a role as a provider/achiever, and him in a supportive role. I do not see him as inferior to me in any sense because of this. I could never do the things he does. He absolutely amazes me. I can provide him with a comfortable life and he can provide me the support I need to live my life the way I want to.
    I’ll also add that I fully support the idea of two-income households as well. If there are two compatible personalities who both enjoy working then by all means, go for it. Or for financial reasons, of course, I get it. I also know lots of people who are achievers and prefer to do it independently, as well as many who would rather be stay-at-home wives/moms/dads/husbands and are looking for a partner that can support them in that. There’s all kinds of people, and we have the freedom to pursue the kind of life that we want, and I see nothing wrong in pursuing a partner (or not) who can support us in achieving that kind of life. And nobody should be looked down upon for the life they choose to lead.

    What I’m trying to get across is why define roles based on gender at all. Some women are natural mothers, some are not. Some men are natural fathers (it’s true). The roles that we take on in a spousal partnership should be assigned by the individual in communication with their partner not by some expectation of adhering to a social norm or over-defined ideas of acceptable male and female roles.

  84. “No one cares that I’m having sex, or how much sex I’m having, or what I do with my body as a consequence of having sex.”

    I didn’t see anyone else mention it above, but I may have missed it – I have to quibble with the quoted sentence. That no one cares has more to do with the fact that you’re having sex with a woman and not that you, as a man, don’t get your sexual choices questioned. This is straight privilege, not male privilege.

    (Still a good post, though.)

  85. @protectedstatic

    I think it’s both? Men aren’t subjected to half as much slut-shaming as women are, where I come from at least. The ability to have lots of sex with many different partners without being called names for it is very much a male privilege.

  86. @Edward Brennan

    “Would I like to walk in other people’s shoes without this restriction. Yes, but the ability to come back and be me forever changes that. That lack of permanence itself changes the knowledge. ”

    Such an excellent and important point. Bravo.

  87. @SusanneZurFreiheit It’s only both if you’re a heterosexual man.

    “[Y]ou, as a man, don’t get your sexual choices questioned.” You do if you’re a gay man. There are lots of people (generally the same panty-sniffers who are up in arms about Those Slutty Slut Sluts Having Teh Sex For Fun) who care very much about non-heterosexual sex.

  88. @SusanneZurFreiheit
    I think most men would be happy to have all the “slut-shaming” removed from women. The ability for women to have lots of sex with many different partners would really benefit men. My guess is that most “slut-shaming” comes from other women.

  89. Yup. Outside of the few hardcore Puritans who think all pleasure is inherently sinful, there’s a huge gap in what pleasures people assume men and women are entitled to.

    Perfect case in point: the fact that *koff* “marital aids” *koff* are illegal in some places. Generally speaking, men can get themselves off on their own, and while many women can do that, too, some need a bit of a buzz to help. Restricting devices that are primarily designed to help women achieve orgasm is a de facto denial of their right to pleasure.

    And it’s not just sex, either. Women are shamed for seeking the pleasures/benefits of eating, of leisure, of being physically cared for, of having “pointless” hobbies, etc. Whatever hardcore work-til-you-die moral is applied to men is doubled for women. Hell, men are even supposed to be entitled to retirement, yet women never are. I’ve also even met women whose cultures/religions had conditioned them so thoroughly to subvert their needs and desires for others that they don’t even seek medical care until they absolutely have to, feeling it’s self-indulgent to care for their own health. My Mormon mother-in-law, for instance, avoided regular medical checkups until full-blown kidney disease had set in. She was so busy dedicating herself to her children and husband that her own pain wasn’t considered important. Gross.

    Some religious traditions instill a belief that all sin originated with Eve and the apple, and therefore women are bound to eternal earthly suffering as penance for what she did. The pain of childbirth, for instance, is considered by some to be that penance. They also believe that Adam would not have been tempted to sin on his own, but for her persuasion, and therefore any man who sins in a way that’s related to women isn’t as responsible for his actions as she is for luring him to them. (See: Susannah and the Elders. And, of course, the horrific tests women rape victims must endure to prove their moral worthiness.)

  90. It’s way better to be born male than female. Since early childhood I’ve wished I’d been fortunate enough to get a Y chromosome instead of that second X–I could see early on that girls got a lousy deal compared to boys, and unfortunately that has remained true all my life, although life is slowly improving for women (with the exception, perhaps, of this recent political craziness).

    For the same reason, I was not disappointed when both my children happened to be boys. When I became pregnant with the second boy and people asked if I was disappointed I wasn’t having a girl (since they knew I was stopping at two), I said nope! I’d have been happy to raise a girl, but boys have easier lives, and our particular genetic endowment is better for boys anyhow (we’re longer on brains than on looks, and I know from sad personal experience that brainy girls who aren’t lookers are undervalued in the marriage market, whereas that is not so true for boys).

    Thinking about it, I can count up a few advantages of being female. They pale in comparison to the advantages of being male, but here they are:

    1. Romance novels! They rock! If I’d been born male, I would probably look on them with scorn instead of enjoying their awesomeness.

    2. You know absolutely for certain that your children are yours, because you see them come out of your body. Of course, nowadays a guy can get this information from a DNA test.

    3. If you are faithful to your husband, you also know absolutely for certain that your children are your husband’s. Whereas he can’t know that for certain without a DNA test.

    Sadly, I can’t come up with much else.

  91. “My guess is that most “slut-shaming” comes from other women.”

    Hmm, been following the news the past couple of weeks?

  92. Elgion: Um. No. The men you describe believe women are entitled to sexual pleasure only if:

    1. She’s attractive.

    2. She’s having sex with a man.

    3. Preferably him.

    I’ve seen men argue that it’s somehow morally wrong for me to even get myself off because I don’t look like a supermodel. I don’t argue that women do a lot of moral gatekeeping for each other (mainly because we’re taught to compete with each other for social approval) but men are hardly gung-ho about women’s sexual autonomy.

  93. @A Mediated Life
    I don’t think you can throw all the men I describe into those categories.
    The men you describe are sad and dumb.

  94. @protectedstatic
    Point taken.

    @Elgion
    “The ability for women to have lots of sex with many different partners would really benefit men.” Oh, I’m not suggesting we don’t have that ability. But we get called names for doing that. Men (heterosexual man) usually don’t.

    “My guess is that most “slut-shaming” comes from other women.” Personal experience tells me you’re wrong, but I have no data, so I won’t argue.

  95. @Todd who is probably long gone:
    @Herbie: That is my point, exactly….Notice that just about every comment in every comment thread more or less parrots Scalzi’s opinions. When someone does disagree with him, one of two things happens:

    1.) The like-thinking peanut gallery drives him/her away

    Oddly enough, I have never yet seen a bunch of Whatever commenters leap through my computer screen (or anyone else’s) and force me to leave. I don’t think it happens. Seriously.

    2.) Scalzi deletes the comment for some spurious reason (as in the case of my deleted comment).
    Scalzi’s posts are usually well thought out, and take good, solid reasoning to debunk if they are wrong. (He is on rare occasions wrong.) Trotting out strawmen and other artifacts of sloppy reasoning aren’t going to do it, and no one wants to read what amounts to bad propaganda, which is why probably why it gets deleted. You want to disagree with Scalzi, take lessons from S.M. Stirling, who frequently does, and does NOT sound like “Yet Another Astroturfer Mindlessly Repeating Stock Talking Points”.

    I apologize if my comments step over the line, Mr. Scalzi, but this particular flavor of entitled whining annoys me.

  96. I think you left one out:

    Average guys can achieve rather large celebrity status (and the paychecks that come with them). If you’re an average or less than average looking woman? You could have the greatest voice or be the best actress in the history of the world, and good luck finding a record contract or lead movie/TV role.

  97. Excellent post, thank you. The one big perk of being a woman that I think men miss out on is that we get more chances to snuggle or be physically non-sexually affectionate with each other regardless of either woman’s orientation without worrying about either woman’s orientation or her thinking about our orientation or whatever keeps you guys from snuggling with your buddies. It doesn’t make up for the having to deal with everyone’s opinions about our looks, sex life, etc. or the wage disparity, but it is nice and you guys should totally try it.
    One perk of being a guy that nobody has mentioned is that people don’t randomly walk up to men and tell them to smile. When I was younger, any time I was in a less than stellar mood, some guy would come up to me and tell me I was too cute to be sad or a pretty girl should smile or some other passive aggressive bullshit about how I wasn’t allowed to be unhappy. On a particularly bad day (I had to drop out of school for financial reasons due to a computer error by the state tax board resulting in my college money being taken out of my account to pay for somebody else’s back taxes and fees accrued and this resulted in my losing my student housing and job at the student union so I was being denied schooling, housing and a way to earn money to pay for a deposit on a new place to live while looking for a new job…. so sorry, boys I wasn’t perky and smiling for you all) I screamed at some old guy, “Exactly how ugly do I need to be to be allowed to be unhappy?” One of the benefits of getting older is strangers seem less invested in my constant cheerfulness. Also I give even less of a shit about it if they are.

  98. romsfuulynn said
    “Medicaid-funded sterilizations require a 30-day waiting period between consent and the procedure … and that the patient be at least 21 years old and mentally competent. There are no such restrictions for male sterilization.”

    Er, no. The Federal requirements for Sterilization Consent when the procedure will be paid for by Medicaid funds are the same for men or women. There’s no male privilege there.

    (The only difference being that if the woman has requested sterilization within 30 days of her expected due date, she may still be sterilized if the delivery is premature (though 72 hours must still pass between consent and procedure). This is to prevent her having to have surgery twice if she has an early delivery.)

  99. Elgion – in my experience most slut shaming comes from guys who are mad that a woman who has sex, isn’t having sex with them. Slut seems to translate roughly to “obviously has poor taste in men because she doesn’t want me.” Sure women can and do slut shame as well, but the men certainly aren’t lagging.

    I’ve been accused of slutdom by guys because I wasn’t interested because I’m married! How could I stand there being attractive, and not consider myself there for their exclusive entertainment?

  100. Standing up to pee is not always brilliant. It’s occasionally difficult to do whilst drunk, also if you have pulled down the waistband of underwear with no fly (or just bypass the fly) and that waistband is particularly elastic and you let it slip – OUCH!

  101. @Jamie:

    “I think you left one out:

    Average guys can achieve rather large celebrity status (and the paychecks that come with them). If you’re an average or less than average looking woman? You could have the greatest voice or be the best actress in the history of the world, and good luck finding a record contract or lead movie/TV role.”

    Susan Boyle? Kathy Bates? There are some exceptions. Not enough, but some.

    And I challenge the notion that “average” guys can do any such thing. Average-looking guys, perhaps: if they have some talent. Or you have the opposite, sometimes: pretty guys with a good agent, a better recording engineer and marginal talent.

    In this regard, the music business fares better than film/TV, where lead roles are pretty much about the looks.

  102. Where is Susan Boyle today? Kathy Bates is distilled awesome, so yeah, good call there. For the men I offer up Stephen Tyler, Keith Richards, Ringo Starr, Rick Okasic (sp?), large numbers of any of the four major professional sports leagues (fine, soccer too for you people outside the US; oh whatever, you can have tennis and golf too), Toby Macguire, Shia Lebeouf, and J. K. Simmons. This list is obviously not all inclusive, and looks are a matter of taste, but there are lots of rather average to considerably less so men out there who are famous in spite of their looks. Female sports stars don’t even get noticed unless they also look like a supermodel. It’s unfortunate and stupid, but I stand by my original post.

  103. “My guess is that most “slut-shaming” comes from other women.” Personal experience tells me you’re wrong, but I have no data, so I won’t argue.

    It strikes me as a little odd to say that “my guess” is proof unless refuted by hard data.

    Certainly plenty of women slut-shame and engage in gender policing of other women, just as plenty of men “fag-shame” and engage in gender policing of other men. But as Tapetum alluded to, “slut” is a term aimed entirely at women. (You know the old joke: a bitch is a woman who won’t sleep with you, a slut is a woman who will sleep with anyone but you.)

  104. Thinking men are better than women is akin to dumping loads of carbon into the atmosphere: whatever your opinion — it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t matter, we can’t tell, what have you — we will soon find out the effects of both.

    Modern tech is burning a lot of carbon and modern tech has also allowed women to abort children of the “wrong gender” (and you know what I mean by that) in the millions in many nations across this planet.

    Within the next twenty years – if not sooner — we will be seeing the effect of all the carbon and of all the massive sex imbalances, both of which reflect the choices made by millions of citizens in our 20th-21st century civilization.

    So stay tuned, everyone.

  105. @ A Mediated Life

    And, of course, the horrific tests women rape victims must endure to prove their moral worthiness.

    If you’re referring rape kits used by medical personnel, the evidence gathered from these has been instrumental in increasing the conviction rate for rape. In a he said, she said case, there is no substitute for material evidence. I advocate harsher penalties for rape, specifically life in prison without possibility of parole. I don’t see how rape kits are a social negative if they help put predators behind bars.

    @ Alpha Lyra

    1. Romance novels! They rock! If I’d been born male, I would probably look on them with scorn instead of enjoying their awesomeness.

    As a man who subscribes to Romantic Times, I question the universality of this female advantage. It’s the only genre where men are routinely recognized for physical beauty. As someone who, despite my ingrained shyness, works hard for my body – and I do so for the same reason I care about how I dress, I want to be aesthetically pleasing to myself – it’s refreshing to read stories where men don’t simply get a pass for looking like trolls one taco from a heart attack. In my utopia, men and women would be admired for physical beauty and intelligence and compassion, without being considered a failure because they don’t score high in any one of the three. In other words: admire beauty, just don’t make it the gold standard.

  106. This post is just a dodge by John. Who said he could go around being fat, bald, ugly and unwashed? Won’t somebody think of the children?

  107. Sort of a fun statistic I ran across a few years ago: since about 1600, the odds of a man’s dying during one day in actual combat (i.e. being at a battle in the part where actual killing is happening) have been just about the same as the odds of a woman’s dying in childbirth. This is not terribly surprising; the actual causes of death in both are surprisingly similar (blood loss, shock, subsequent infection, internal injuries) and the technology available at the childbed has tended to be about the same available on the battlefield (in the earlier days neither battles nor births happened in hospitals; mobile ambulances developed in similar ways for both; nowadays transportation to a well-equipped hospital facility tends to be roughly equally available).

    The difference is that only a very small fraction of men saw actual combat — sometimes as little as 1%, never as much as 10%, of a given age cohort. Whereas something over 50% of women gave birth at least once, for most of that period.

  108. I wonder how much of this debate is relevant in Europa, it seems so very centered on the situation in the U.S.

    p.s. I am a male, wich i sometimes enjoy, and sometimes not, depending on my mood.
    p.p.s My girlfriend pointed me to this discussion/tread, liked reading it.

  109. As a woman, I would love less scrutiny on me about the things that just don’t matter, why waste the time? But for the most part, if you don’t like how I dress, eat, keep my home, work, or interact, if you think I am a bitch for asserting power I have worked to gain, I will ignore you or write you off, period. I refuse to waste time on people who rather judge than get to know me, and I have enough empathy to give others the same courtesy, and be mindful of my thoughts and actions. I have never wished to change my sex, but the double standards are staggering, and embarrassing for our nation (good god am I ashamed of the current political debates, holy shit). It seems to me that soon there will be no middle class, we are going back to paupers and kings. The majority of us left to scrape by on the dregs left to us by the one percent, and I am more concerned with that (and idiots trying to legislate my bits and pieces). Yea, being a woman is probably harder, but bitches, grow a pair, arguments about how difficult it is to be a woman do nothing, getting fucking angry and doing something will effect change. And yea, white guys, we may take the power back, but equality is better. And all races need to join this fight, because minorities are more disenfranchised than ever. I for one (as a white woman) welcome the competition of all.

  110. “If you’re referring rape kits used by medical personnel,”

    I don’t think s/he is, actually. I was raped when I was ten by a much older man, and he was taken to trial and convicted when I was thirteen. There was one thing that stood out in my mind at the trial, and that was the prosecution and defense’s response to the accused’s defense. You see, he tried to convince everyone that I was “a very sexual little girl” and had come on to him while he was drunk. He ended up pleading guilty since everyeone could see that this was completely transparent nonsense, but when I read the documentation of his questioning, both the prosecution and defense said something along the lines of, “If she was the age she is now [thirteen], we might believe you. But she was ten.” So if it had happened a few years later, I would have had to go through the rigmarole, go on the witness stand, sacrifice my reputation in school even further (there were still rumors that I had AIDS that went around), etc. It was already a horiffic nightmare to turn him in at all.

    Regarding privileges that women have that men don’t have, nobody bats and eyelid when women stay home to take care of the kids–at least not in Arkansas, where we live. But everybody was on my husband’s case when he decided to quit hunting for a job that wasn’t there and enjoy me being the breadwinner for once. Also irritating is the fact that my grandparents think that he is absolutely bollocks with our daughter. He’s actually great with her, better than me most of the time (I think), but they assume he just lets her run crazy and doesn’t take care of her when she’s under his care. It’s true that he doesn’t hover as much as I do, but I consider this a good thing; he’s better at letting her get into the scrapes that two-year-olds ought to get into. But he gets no credit for this, or for his excellent handling of our home business while he was unemployed, and that bothers both of us.

  111. [Deleted because I can't even grasp how what was being said here having relation to the post above; it just seemed like cue-card MRA whining. Sorry, Chris. Dudes of Reddit's "Men's Rights" subreddit, if this one gives you tsuris, then this one will cause you to seize up in rage. But otherwise, yeah, if you're going to comment here, please try to make an argument that is more than "but WE have problems too!" Yes, life will kick you in the balls sometimes. And? - JS]

  112. [Deleted for apparently thinking the rank and ridiculous sexism of the comment is a reasonable observation - JS]

  113. [Deleted unread because Chris apparently hasn't read the site's moderation policy and doesn't appear to understand what it means when I tell people to run along - JS]

  114. I’ll note Chris Smith’s modus operandi appears to be to write something not especially coherent here and when it’s deleted, run back to the Men’s Rights subreddit to whine about being deleted, thus encouraging more whining from the group members in general about how their life is hard and everyone is against them (and that I’m mean). It’s adorable, for definitions of “adorable” that mean “vaguely pathetic.”

    Gentlemen: the moderation and comment policy. Please understand it before posting. Chris, if you are able to write a comment that makes any sort of sense, you are welcome to attempt to comment on other threads. Not this one, however. Three deleted posts in a row is enough.

  115. [Deleted for sad chest-puffery. Dude, one, clearly you did not read the comment rules; two, there is irony in attempting to play the "I grew up poor" card with me.

    On a more general note, Reddit Men's Rights dudes, save us both the trouble of me deleting your angry posturing, please. It's really not as impressive as you think, and I don't actually care what you think about me. Thanks - JS]

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