Die Theorie, nach der Männer bestimmte Privilegien haben (Frauen aber nicht) war schon wiederholt Thema in diesem Blog:
- Männliche Privilegien und weibliche Privilegien: Argumentationsstrukturen
- Tipps für Diskussionen auf feministischen Blogs
- Männliche Privilegien, weibliche Privilegien und wohlwollender Sexismus
- Ein männlicher Feminist und sein Kampf mit dem männlichen Privileg
1) It’s antagonistic.
I know, I know, it’s not supposed to be. Everyone is supposed to recognize their privilege and go “oh, okay, I checked my privilege, I’m good now.” Privilege, as generally defined in feminist circles, is something you’re born with, and therefore something you can’t be blamed for.
But frequently, “privileged” is used as an insult. Or it feels that way when it lands–and as we’re fond of saying in feminist circles, “intent is not fucking magic.” Telling someone that they’re privileged sounds a lot like “shut up, rich boy,” and the fact that it wasn’t intended to mean this doesn’t make it sting any less.
2) It’s misleading.
About that “shut up, rich boy.” Very often, someone who’s been called “privileged” in a feminist discussion will retort that they’re shit poor, they work a shit job and live in a shit house eating shit food, and they sure don’t feel like they have a lot of privileges. And besides, they don’t hate or discriminate against this group they’re supposedly “privileged” over.
At this point in the conversation, the feminists are obliged to explain that “privileged” doesn’t mean your life is guaranteed awesome, just that there are certain things that a white male doesn’t have to worry about that other groups can, and it doesn’t mean that you’re deliberately causing oppression, but you’re sort of a participant in oppression, or you’re sort of benefiting from oppression, and you just didn’t understand exactly what “privilege” means.
Any word that requires this much explaining to not be insulting and untrue is not an awesome word. It shouldn’t take three pages and a bibliography to explain why you didn’t just say “shut up, rich boy” to someone who’s actually quite poor.
3) It silences people.
This one is often intentional. “Your opinion is coming from a place of privilege” really does mean “shut up.” It means “shut up” on the basis of the speaker’s ethnicity and sexuality and other things beyond their control. I’m not okay with that.
It’s okay to tell someone “your opinion is wrong because you aren’t accounting for how difficult it is to face [oppression], possibly because you don’t encounter it in your daily life the way [oppressed group] do.” This is a sensible statement. But it cannot be shortened to “you think that because of your privilege.”
4) It ignores oppressions against “privileged” groups.
This is where things get relevant to Teh Menz.
Where the word “privilege” is used, it’s generally assumed that a rich, straight, white, male, cisgendered, able-bodied, educated, full citizen of the country they live in is the most privileged person out there, and all other people are less privileged on the basis of how far they are from this model. So a rich straight white female cisgendered able-bodied citizen is still pretty privileged, and a rich straight black female cisgendered able-bodied citizen is a bit less privileged, and so on.
The problem with this little hierarchy of oppression is that there are certain problems–society-wide, deeply ingrained problems, and not trivial ones–that “more privileged” groups have and “less privileged” groups don’t.
When I was a little girl, I could hug and kiss my friends, hold their hands and share a bed with them. Because I was female, I didn’t have to worry that I would be bullied or physically attacked for showing nonsexual affection to kids of the same gender. Little boys are not so lucky–by middle school at the oldest, boys are socially forbidden any physical closeness more intimate than a backslappy bro-hug.
According to “privilege” doctrine, there can be no such thing as “female privilege”–men are always more privileged. (…)
I think the only language solution is to write out long-form what you mean–”girls get to do some things boys can’t, and that sucks, and boys get to do some things girls can’t, and that sucks.”
In our society both men and women deal with unfair shit, and characterizing this all as unidirectional “privilege” oversimplifies the problem, antagonizes potential allies, and marginalizes nominally “privileged” people who still experience oppression.
1. I, as a straight white male, am being what feminists called “othered” – that is, consigned to a category of the threateningly alien that justifies misbehavior ranging from verbal assault all the way up to actual violence and organized political coercion.
Auch hier stört also die Zuordnung zu einer Gruppe, der bestimmte Eigenschaften zugeschrieben werden, die üblicherweise schlecht sind. Ein klassischer Weg ein Feindbild aufzubauen.
2. The speaker is uninterested in (or outright incapable of) seeing beyond race/gender/ascriptive-identity labels to the individual reality of individuals in the “privileged” category.
Obwohl im Genderfeminimus eigentlich kein wirkliches Geschlecht bestehen soll und alles fließend ist, werden die Charakteristika einer Person an seinem Geschlecht festgemacht. Eine individuelle Betrachtung scheidet also aus. Jeder Mann ist privilegiert. Dagegen kann er nichts tun.
3. The speaker is stuck in an epistemically-closed belief system, and will interpret logical or fact-based criticism of it as a power-seeking maneuver. Reasoned argument with this person is thus essentially impossible.
Das ist wieder die Folge der drei Grundannahmen des Feminismus (siehe Link oben):
- Das Geschlecht ist sozial konstruiert
- Das Motiv des Menschen für seine Handlungen ist Macht
- Menschliche Interaktionen sind von Gruppeninteressen bestimmt, nicht von Einzelinteressen
4. The speaker has failed to apply power-relations analysis to her (or his) own behavior, and so does not realize that use of the term “privilege” passes all that theory’s tests for a power-seeking maneuver intended to suppress thought under the pretense of provoking it.
Eben. Es ist als Mittel, gegen das die Privilegierten nichts sagen können, weil die Theorie ja bereits sagt, dass sie es nicht verstehen können, perfekt, um Macht in einem Diskurs zu erhalten. „Denk mal drüber nach, aber nur in die Richtung, die wir gut finden und erkenne dann, dass du privilegiert bist“
5. If the speaker has not already attempted to kafkatrap me, such an attempt is near certain within the next few minutes.