I think many would agree with me in saying that men have the greatest privilege of all, don’t they? For example, they are allowed to age. Men are allowed to age like a fine wine – have you noticed that? Men are allowed to get gray, hairy, fat and old, and we all think ‘Oh, isn’t he rugged and sexy.’ He probably hasn’t seen his dick in about five years but oh isn’t he sexy.
Meanwhile, women are constantly on this unachievable mission to look younger and younger by laminating our faces, covering the grays and squeezing into the Spanx. Botoxing everything – why do we do that? You always see actresses doing that, why would you numb an essential part of you as an actress? Oh, I’m happy, I’m sad… well tell your face honey bun because no one can tell! Could you imagine a boxer getting botox in his arms? He’d be pretty shit!
A statement I hear from the older ladies on placement quite a lot is “Nicky you won’t understand this you’re too young, but as you get older you become invisible, you feel completely ignored by the opposite sex and unattractive to them.” The men they probably find repulsive, arrogant and completely unattractive do not acknowledge them so therefore they feel forgotten. “A man that makes my skin crawl, but if he doesn’t grunt at me in a pervy and predatory way, I question how sexy and attractive I am.”
You turn on the TV, and it is not uncommon to see a wrinkly gray man hosting a breakfast TV show with beautiful glowing middle aged women as their sidekick. In fact, it’s like Moira Stewart. She was a gorgeous woman, but as soon as she hit 50, the BBC just went “Be gone witch, you have no power here, your aged face doth offend us now.” Where as Trevor MacDonald is still running around!
I was trying to think of a way to explain male privilege, and the best I could think of was running water. Anyone who has gone an amount of time without the right to a hot shower knows that because you have been entitled to that all your life you ring the council if your water shuts off. Next day it is still off you phone a bit pissed off, male privilege to me is a bit like that. You have had it all your life, so you become entitled to it to the point you do not even notice it. It is a wee bit like asking a fish what they think of a lake; they are surrounded by it, so they become unaware of its presence until it gets taken away. I mean the fish would die which is the difference here, a man would just think he is dying.
The response to women is often, you should be more confident. Any women reading this has probably been told “You should be more confident.” or been told generally as women we should be more confident. What fails to be understood here, is that confidence is the product of our own experience. I think as women we have often been excluded from particular situations or we have been ‘tentatively’ included. Like “what are you bringing, are you bringing anything good into this boardroom? Are you bringing sex appeal into boardroom? If so come in.”
“Are you bringing a kind of whimsical humour that I might enjoy once every fifteen minutes because if so get in.” But you have to be bringing something in that I value so as women we get that sort of tentative inclusion into rooms.
That’s why we walk into rooms wondering if there is going to be any kind of integration there, because it is the product of our own experiences walking into rooms like that. So we constantly get told we should be more confident as a result of that. We should be walking into rooms confidently whether inclusion is there or not, like “All the men in here will be pleased to hear from me! I’ll speak first!” Men are assuming inclusion and it is about time that we just did the bloody same and behave the same way when men are not granted inclusion. Which is angrily demand it.
Have you ever been a member of a women’s group or tried to start one in your college, uni or workplace? I have and what did the men say? *Assumes very deep husky man voice* Why can’t we come? Where is international men’s day? Why is there not hot and cold privilege coming out of my taps?!