Barry Deutsch at Atlas offers “The Male Privilege Checklist“, a list of privileges that men automatically enjoy in modern US culture. Here are some that resonate with me:
12. If I have children and pursue a career, no one will think I’m selfish for not staying at home.
14. Chances are my elected representatives are mostly people of my own sex. The more prestigious and powerful the elected position, the more likely this is to be true.
I would add that unfortunately, my elected representatives are mostly useless. I guess no system of hierarchical oppression is perfect
16. As a child, chances are I was encouraged to be more active and outgoing than my sisters.
17. As a child, I could choose from an almost infinite variety of children’s media featuring positive, active, non-stereotyped heroes of my own sex. I never had to look for it; male protagonists were (and are) the default.
18. As a child, chances are I got more teacher attention than girls who raised their hands just as often.
I worry about all of these for Ryan Marie. We’ve already instituted a Disney ban, but finding appropriate female role models will be an uphill battle, I fear.
25. I do not have to worry about the message my wardrobe sends about my sexual availability or my gender conformity.
27. The grooming regimen expected of me is relatively cheap and consumes little time.
It is difficult to adequately convey how little male engineers worry about gender and sexual messaging generated by their clothing, or pay much attention to grooming. We should all be thankful they, for the most part, reliably cover all essential portions of their body at all.
30. I can be loud with no fear of being called a shrew. I can be aggressive with no fear of being called a bitch.
In fact, as far as I can tell, being able to yell louder than others is often (unfortunately) an advantage in my line of work.
32. I can be confident that the ordinary language of day-to-day existence will always include my sex. “All men are created equal,” mailman, chairman, freshman, he.
34. I will never be expected to change my name upon marriage or questioned if I don’t change my name.
Laura and I discussed who, if anyone, was going to change their name when we got married. We had a similar discussion about Ryan’s last name when she was born. In the end, both Laura and I kept our own names, and Ryan has my last name. My defense is that my last name is fairly rare, and I am from a very small family, so I was particularly unwilling to part with it. Laura, on the other hand, frequently has trouble naming all her (50+) cousins.
I remain bothered that Ryan and Laura don’t share a last name, though.
37. Most major religions argue that I should be the head of my household, while my wife and children should be subservient to me.
38. If I have a wife or live-in girlfriend, chances are we’ll divide up household chores so that she does most of the labor, and in particular the most repetitive and unrewarding tasks.
Would that it were so
39. If I have children with a wife or girlfriend, chances are she’ll do most of the childrearing, and in particular the most dirty, repetitive and unrewarding parts of childrearing.
OK, maybe things balance out, after all. Although I do all the diapering whenever I’m around. Still, breastfeeding doesn’t look too fun.
44. Complete strangers generally do not walk up to me on the street and tell me to “smile.”
Apparently, this actually happens.
And, of course:
46. I have the privilege of being unaware of my male privilege.