A young, new MRA recently spent days on Reddit asking feminists to explain to him what the term “privilege-blind” means. Many self-proclaimed feminists are fond of this term, but seem quite averse to anyone who ever suggests that they themselves are blind to their own privilege. Eventually, after watching the endless circular arguments that go on among privileged women talking about how oppressed they are, Girl Writes What wrote a missive to this young man that everyone should read. We reprint it here proudly with her permission and slight modification.–Dean Esmay
What does “privilege-blind” mean?
It means that in the culture, each gender has/had both obligations and entitlements or benefits. When you live your whole life with certain entitlements, you usually don’t realize that you have them, or the ways you benefit from them, or that the other doesn’t have them and cannot benefit from them.
Most feminists call traditional male entitlements “privilege.” They call traditional female entitlements “benevolent sexism” (because, like most people who benefit from their entitlements, they can’t really see they have them). They call traditional female obligations “oppression.” They call traditional male obligations “rights” (i.e: the right to earn income, the right to be self-sufficient, which was actually an obligation men complied with or else–and still is) or “patriarchy hurts men too.”
What feminism has really done in the advancement of women’s interests is take men’s patriarchal obligations, apply them to women, and cast them as “rights” that women can choose or not as they see fit. It–with the help of advancements like the pill–has also toiled to free women from their patriarchal obligations while holding onto as many entitlements as they can. Like removing the obligation to marry for life or provide their husband with children that are his in a meaningful way, while keeping the entitlement to his financial support.
And please don’t get me wrong. I’m not a traditionalist in any way shape or form. But I do live in reality, and I know what’s been happening over the last 40 years.
The problem with what’s going on now is that as women are released from their obligations (to men and to society), without giving up corresponding entitlements. Things are getting unbalanced. The system we had before sucked for a lot of people, but it was at least equitable for both genders–it afforded enough entitlements to offset each member’s obligations. When you remove obligation from one member while holding onto the entitlement, this places more obligation (and less entitlement) on the opposing member.
A great deal of women’s traditional benefits used to be provided by men on an individual basis (financial support, partnership, protection, etc), but now men have been kicked out of the house, so to speak. Because women have so much more choice now–because they claimed things like earning income as rights rather than obligations–and because they owe nothing to anything other than personal fulfillment… well, choices cost. They cost economically, socially and politically.
Men aren’t being allowed to fulfill those benefits on reasonable terms anymore. Women have broken the old social contract, and when we took away men’s benefits without replacing them with others, we soured the terms of the deal for men. Now we need more government, more social and legal enforcement and corporate structures to provide women with help, support and protection, or to extract those things from unwilling men. None of those structures are “non-profit”. They take a huge cut before what’s left trickles back down. They’re a very resource-hungry middleman, so we need more productivity on the ground in order to feed that. Most of that productivity comes from men, one way or another, even though their few remaining benefits no longer make it worthwhile to them.
That means we’re trying to chain men even more inexorably to their old obligations. There’s a reason everyone in the media is in a tizzy over men not “manning up.” Men have always either provided for women and children, or been economic generators for government and corporate coffers. They’ve always put more in than they’ve taken out–women drive 80% of consumer spending. Now young men are being asked to put even more in, and get less out.
Let me put it this way: Women make up about 60% of medical students right now. Very progressive. The government spends millions of dollars to train her, because paying to train doctors is a wise investment. Doctors earn out the wazoo. This generates tax revenue and economic activity, which helps recoup the cost, and doctors provide a valuable service to society that helps keep everything stable. Spots in medical school are finite because of the cost of training, and the woman beats out several male candidates for that spot in school.
But what’s this? She sees that career as a right rather than an obligation. She has virtually unlimited choice as to what she wants her life to look like. So, like about half of all female doctors, within ten years of getting her MD, she will be working part time or not at all. Her male colleagues saw their career as an obligation, and expected to be working 50-70 hours/week for at least 30 years, providing valuable service to society and generating all kinds of economic benefit.
That female doctor has just taken out of society more than she’s put in. Someone not only has to pay for that, and take up the slack. We all pay, with our tax revenue, and by having to wait to see a doctor, and her male colleagues pay in the longer hours many will choose to work to fill the gap she left in her wake. And because women represent more than half of all doctors, the fewer males ones will have to take on even more burden in order to ensure you and I can get an appointment.
And I’m not saying that women shouldn’t be doctors–hell, my sister is one. But I AM saying that though women have made inroads into the male roles, they haven’t embraced them in any meaningful away, because it actually sucks to work 70 hours a week and barely see your family, whether you’re a man or a woman, and society doesn’t enforce this role with women the way it does with men.
You won’t find a single feminist wanting to talk about this stuff. They won’t even accept that women have, and have always had, female privilege. All those spots on the lifeboats while the men went down with the ship? That was just another form of oppression to them.
You’re young. You seem exceptionally bright and well-spoken. You have every right to feel dismissed and disregarded by the people on the AskFeminists subReddit, because those people are writers of revisionist history and revisionist reality–emotional reasoners who form narratives to explain their emotions, instead of living in reality. Please don’t get sucked in by them.
There are women’s issues, but feminism seems to mostly work at cross-purposes to those issues. How can you complain that women are not trusted in positions of political power–how even women won’t vote for them–and then in the next breath cast women in this role of needing perpetual help and support just to survive their own lives, all the while whining that their purses are oppressive? I’m a woman, and one of the biggest problems I have with feminism is that it does not give women any credit.
Anyway, I thought I would reach out to you away from the Reddit AskFeminists thread, because I don’t want to cause another shitstorm right now. I’m a mother of three kids, two of them boys. My oldest is 17, and I worry about the world he and his brother are growing up in. I know my daughter will be just fine. That’s gotta tell you something.
GirlWritesWhat currently has the most popular video on feminism on YouTube here: Feminism and the disposable male. You can subscribe to her channel right here. Please do not sexually assault her Paypal tipjar, she really hates it when you do that. –DE
- Why MRAs attack feminism - July 18, 2015
- On nerds and “entitlement”: An open letter to The Two Scotts - January 4, 2015
- “Ban Bossy?” Or would “Ban Feminist” be more appropriate? - November 26, 2014
- Email from a new viewer and reader - August 31, 2014
- On generalizations about women (and men) - August 24, 2014