To begin: I do not deny that this is a real thing. To follow, people mostly need to shut the fuck up about it. I do not think I’ve heard it more than two, maybe three, times being used as anything except a means of dismissing a valid opinion from someone who is making a valid but disliked point. Privilege doesn’t prevent a person from having valid views on poverty, sexism, abuse, rape, violence, or the level of threat presented by these or anything. Everyone has privilege over someone else, but most people also have privilege over each other.
You know how male privilege lists usually prompt a bunch of guys posting women’s privilege lists? Well, there’s some validity to that. Mostly it’s crap, but here’s the big two: I can’t present a personal problem as a gender problem to gain legitimacy, and I can’t present a universal problem as a gender problem because it never occurred to me that everyone has to deal with it.
Both of these have been coming up a lot lately. Does this look familiar? “You don’t know what it’s like, all women live in fear of potential rape at all times!” How many times do women have to say “I don’t!” before it goes away? I would guess a shit-ton more. How about this one: “You don’t know what it’s like to never leave your drink unattended, so you either take it with you or leave it and then get a new one.” News flash – most men don’t leave our drinks then come back and keep drinking them either. This isn’t new. We don’t make a big deal out of it, though, because it’s a stupid thing to bitch about. It’s a universal human concern with a simple fix, so we go about our business.
Worse, the ever-present threat of violence. Men are more at risk then women in pretty much all situations. Somehow this means that women should be more afraid… Quick, what’s the least reported crime? If you said rape, you’re stupid. It’s insane on the face of it. Vandalism. How much graffiti do you see around you? Think about the desks in your high school. Think about street signs and playground equipment with names written on it. Think about the infamous mens room wall. How many of those do you think are reported? Really? Do you actually think rape is more common than that? If you do, then you’re stupid.
Quick, which do you think is unreported more often, rape of men or rape of women? Which do you think gets taken more seriously by people in general or by law-enforcement specifically? Before you start saying that it doesn’t happen or doesn’t happen enough to be important, ask yourself what you have to go on when you come up with ideas like that. The numbers? Of reported crimes? For a crime that you have to admit is very near the top of unreported crimes? A crime that even you, progressive that you are, probably think is funny. A crime the culture we live in suggests only happens to weak and effeminate men – you know, victim blaming… but rape is a women’s problem.
So please, please, before you tell someone to check their privilege – fucking check your own.