About Male Privilege

Cisgender male often do not believe that there is something like male privilege in existence. Even feminists have trouble identifying it and pointing it out clearly, probably because they never experience male privilege and then experience its lack. Natal males experience it constantly so never see it missing. Natal females experience its lack constantly so have trouble identifying it.

Interestingly, this is one area where transwomen are most able to support feminists, because often transwomen can provide actual examples of male privilege. Here are some anecdotal examples, names removed to protect those other persons.

One transwoman I know spoke about buying a new car as a woman for the first time. She said the initial experience was strange because she’d never been talked “down” to while buying a new car before. This continued until they moved on to actually negotiating over the car, where the salesman saw her legal name change and credit history. Suddenly, he was treating her like a male again. She said she was not even sure if the salesman knew what he had done, his treatment of different genders being so ingrained.

Another transwoman, in dealing with a particular bank, found them to be condescending. She too had undergone legal name change but not finalized all documentation yet. When she presented her name change paperwork along with her old “male” id, the tone of the discussion shifted, almost seamlessly and she too wondered if the individual involved even knew what had just occurred.

The following video exemplifies this sort of thinking, pointing it out, and telling women to not accept it.

People who deny that male privilege exists are ignoring very real evidence that it does exist – from transwomen who have seen both sides of the same coin directly.


4 thoughts on “About Male Privilege

  1. Reblogged this on Parker Kierce and commented:
    This topic came up in conversation with a few MTF friends the other week, about how different it is being male and being female. Of course, they were commenting “how can you want to be a guy” and I’m commenting the opposite, “how can you want to be a woman”, all in good humor both knowing that we are happy because of our respective transitions. All of us having experienced life as a male and as a female spent a few minutes talking about the differences in how you’re treated when someone sees you as male and when you’re seen as female. It is REALLY weird to experience this difference, but something that makes the male privilege glaringly obvious.

  2. Oh absolutely! FTMs see it going the other direction. One FTM I know was constantly fat shamed by her family and peers and she wasn’t even significantly overweight, and definitely not obese. She transitioned and now no one says a thing. It’s just… guys are big, right?

    Trans folk, going in either direction, are going to bring unique perspectives to the debate table about male privilege. Of course there is cis-privilege too, but that’s a more complicated topic and only comes into play when someone realizes you have a trans background.

  3. *
    Do you really call what we M-F transsexual made as a ‘choice’?

    If a woman could ‘choose’ to live as a man, then there would be quite a rush on the F-M transgender clinic; M-F would cease. A female friend attempted such a feat – living as a male. She said she could not do it because her identity is female.

    This male-dominated world is paternalistic and misogynistic. M-F are not wired to live in it with a male identity.

    There is no practical reason to ‘choose’ life as female in those odds. Women face discrimination at every point in life:

    – Employers pay women at 60 cents-on-the-Dollar to male collegues (even when women have far more education and / or experience).
    – Men treat women as if we have no education (ignoring our college degree and / or post-grad professional school) or work experience.
    – Prospective employers refer women to apply for their clerical pool regardless of our education and work experience; they accept men to apply for management positions.
    – Strange men poke and pinch women on public transportation; they make wolf-calls and obscene gestures.
    – Men at the auto shop treat women as if we know nothing about cars (though it is not unusual for many M-F to have had auto shop class at high school or worked on cars as a teen during our ‘before’ life).
    – Men deride women when we present learned information to them because that is what men teach each other to do.

    Notice the Moslem / Arab world? Those male societies consider females their chattel to be bought, sold, raped, bonded, enslaved, denied an education, abused from birth to death, and subjected to ‘honour killings’ when the men offend each other. No wimpy Moslem male could endure life as a woman for the slightest moment; my absolute respect to all women who endure knowing nothing else.

    Allow my own comparison how ‘professional’ people treat others at work – male versus female.

    – a) I was employed (as a male during my transition to female) at a medium-sized federal agency’s office during the early 1980s; my position title was ‘Assistant Personnel Officer’. I have a college education in business administration, including coursework in personnel management, accounting, and finance. I accumulated a reasonable number of years personnel management experience when I was appointed to that position. My office took me as the ‘expert’. My agency managers and co-workers sought my advice for their personnel management tasks and questions. I was well-respected for my ideas and my input was always sought. I keenfully observed how higher-grade women managers acceded to me as a ‘male’ though their prospective contributions exceeded mine; I was the sole ‘male’ who invited and encouraged women participation at my federal office. My lower-grade female co-worker was amazed that I gave serious consideration when I sought her ideas for work activities.

    – b) I was last employed (as a female) at a major agency in state government in a mid-sized state; my position title was ‘Fiscal Services Specialist. I had my college education and then some – including post-graduate courses. I now brought more than 20 years of additional specialised experience to my position. I performed an exclusive assignment for state government: I was singularly responsible for accounting the insurance of billions of Dollars of state property, developing spreadsheets and databases for insuring state property, working with state insurance officers to purchase insurance on state property and business activities, and creating and managing all the applicable financial spreadsheets and databases. The men at my state employment treated me little better than a low-level clerk. Management rarely allowed me to speak at meetings; I was always expected to prepare snacks, serve them, then clean up their mess when the meeting concluded. My immediate managers demanded that I brief them in advance so that they could present my reports solely as their own. Only female co-workers accepted my guidance to train or teach them; no male ever came to me for instruction, not even lower-grade male employees. Men universally went over my head; it was common for them to fumble through their tasks, pass the blame to me for problems they created, then leave it to me to clean up their business mess (again).

    Yep, women ‘know their place’, whether at federal or state government, when it comes to ‘male privilege’.

    I worked with two women-led civics groups during the early 1980s (as a male during my transition to female); those groups were working to pass the ERA. Yes, sadly, many of the women in the more well-known international feminist group fell into that category of lack of awareness of ‘male privilege’ despite absorbed by efforts to change the system that perpetuates it.

    I challenge every male to ‘walk a mile’ in a woman’s shoes (figuratively and literally) and come from that experience un-changed.


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