40 (“Female Privilege?”)

August 24, 2011

I use the question mark and quotes because it doesn’t actually exist, but i’ve been seeing some interesting articles (like the previous blog that i linked to) that show sexism toward men in a weird kind of way. I wouldn’t say that any of it amounts to actual female privilege (maybe in a thousand years?), but in fact, the backlash of MALE privilege and sexism against women.

For example, a few weeks ago, i went to a club for a fetish/kink night. This was a swingers’ club and as such they have rules in place with the intention of making women more comfortable, which is a perfectly valid intention, however in doing so, men of certain persuasions (admittedly, in the minority), get fucked over.

Basically it caters to couples (defined as one cis-man and one cis-woman). Any other type of couple has to pay more to get in, and they ignore people’s possible gender identities and/or coerce people to deny their own to save money (depending on a person’s convictions). So they’re very cis-focused, plus when it comes to men, to discourage single guys from possibly showing up and trolling and being overall creepy, there are all kinds of rules, like how men are not allowed to wander without a female counterpart. The online application for membership is for couples (as defined above) and single (cis) women only. Single men cannot even apply for membership, they have to be vetted and sponsored. The dress code is “dress to impress,” but that is skewed as well, and shows how much male privilege and the male gaze play a part in this, because while men are scrutinized for how they dress (at least until they get into the club, as far as i can tell), women are allowed to wear just about anything as long as it is “sexy.” Now on the one hand, it would appear that women have more freedom in this department, but as “sexy” is very subjective, and requires conformity to a hetero-normative and cis-sexual ideal, as seen typically in various forms of corporate media, it’s not very freeing at all as it doesn’t allow for personal expression that DOESN’T conform to said ideal.

The night I went was my first night experimenting with my gender expression in public. While i personally felt very sexy and the kink crowd there appreciated it, within the more typical crowd present there I got a lot of side-eye, and men looking at me like i was a weirdo. Also, there was a male pole dancer who, while i and the rest of us kinky folks thought he was awesome, got a lot of strange looks as well. In the end, neither of us felt very welcome. Certainly i didn’t.

So, does any of this, or issues addressed in the other blog i linked to, actually indicate the existence of female privilege?

NO. Don’t be silly.

The issues I and the dancer faced didn’t come about because women suddenly have more rights or privilege. It’s because men have dominated the scene and controlled the gender conversation for so long, that when other men want to break out of prescribed gender roles in the interest of simply being themselves, they get ostracized. Since pole-dancing was designed with the intent of the (het) male gaze, when a man is doing the dancing, it flies in the face of that. Because in cis/hetero-normative society, only women do the sexy stuff. And only what women do is considered sexy.

So now some men, who feel oppressed, have been claiming “female privilege.” it’s totally not that at all. The fact is that our society, while claiming not to hate women anymore, still hates just about everything associated with women. Of course the hatred of the association cannot exist without the original hatred, and we haven’t really moved on from that yet.

There’s a line i heard in a movie trailer. This guy said: “The battle of the sexes is over. We [men] won; you know why? Women do pole dancing for exercise.”

So yeah. While i hate the roles i feel forced to conform to in most circles, and am working to circumvent them at least in my own life, the notion of “female privilege” is bullshit. Thanks to classical sexism, men as a whole have fucked themselves (or at least some of us) over.

4 Responses to “40 (“Female Privilege?”)”

  1. I think the issue is more cis-privilege, and heteronormativism. Despite the fact that it was a swinger’s club (one would think it’s organizers might be more open to thinking outside binary gender norms) I doubt the organizers even thought to include gay couples or anyone trans-gendered.

    I’ve participated in events that didn’t allow single men, and at the time I did feel more comfortable. I was modeling lingerie, and it seemed like the only sensible way to protect those involved. Looking back though, that view point seems slightly ridiculous, and a very ciscentric way of looking at things.

  2. R. Taylor said

    I had a great definition for gender in one of my classes the other year, but I can’t find it now. Something like a classification system that sorts all human bodies and all human traits into one and only one of two discrete, rigid, dichotomous, complementary, mutually exclusive categories, and one of those categories (and its contents) is accorded more status/worth than the other. Any one of having a vagina, being a woman, acting femininely, inhabiting women’s gender roles, partnering with and only with men, and having less status necessarily implies all the others.

    Buck the system and you lose; this much is fairly obvious. But you don’t really win for conforming either. Each category is constrictive and damaging. Privilege is a con to keep everyone bought into a broken system.

  3. […] do not in anyway result in “female privilege.” I blogged about this a little while ago here […]

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