Turns Out Being Born a Woman Is a Major Financial Mistake
As if being a woman wasn’t difficult enough—what with all the not having control over important decisions about our own bodies, making less money than our male colleagues, and, yes, let’s play the childbirth card—we are also routinely hit with financial penalties just for having the balls to be born with a vagina.
A study done at the University of Central Florida found that on average, women’s deodorant costs 30 cents more per ounce than men’s, even when the only difference between the products was the smell. The study’s coauthor, Megan Duesterhaus said, “These companies have us convinced that men and women are so biologically different that we need completely different products, as though we are a different species.”
The Male Privilege Checklist
This is a wonderful list borrowed, with permission, from Barry Deutsch, modeled on Peggy McIntosh’s 1990 essay on white privilege. I’d added some muslim/south asian Men privilege items at the bottom. Feel free to expand.
The Male Privilege Checklist
1. My odds of being hired for a job, when competing against female applicants, are probably skewed in my favor. The more prestigious the job, the larger the odds are skewed.
2. I can be confident that my co-workers won’t think I got my job because of my sex – even though that might be true. (More).
3. If I am never promoted, it’s not because of my sex.
4. If I fail in my job or career, I can feel sure this won’t be seen as a black mark against my entire sex’s capabilities.
5. I am far less likely to face sexual harassment at work than my female co-workers are. (More).
6. If I do the same task as a woman, and if the measurement is at all subjective, chances are people will think I did a better job.
7. If I’m a teen or adult, and if I can stay out of prison, my odds of being raped are relatively low. (More).
8. On average, I am taught to fear walking alone after dark in average public spaces much less than my female counterparts are.
9. If I choose not to have children, my masculinity will not be called into question.
10. If I have children but do not provide primary care for them, my masculinity will not be called into question.
11. If I have children and provide primary care for them, I’ll be praised for extraordinary parenting if I’m even marginally competent. (More).
12. If I have children and a career, no one will think I’m selfish for not staying at home.
13. If I seek political office, my relationship with my children, or who I hire to take care of them, will probably not be scrutinized by the press.
14. My elected representatives are mostly people of my own sex. The more prestigious and powerful the elected position, the more this is true.
15. When I ask to see “the person in charge,” odds are I will face a person of my own sex. The higher-up in the organization the person is, the surer I can be.
16. As a child, chances are I was encouraged to be more active and outgoing than my sisters. (More).
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. (More).
19. If my day, week or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether or not it has sexist overtones.
20. I can turn on the television or glance at the front page of the newspaper and see people of my own sex widely represented.
21. If I’m careless with my financial affairs it won’t be attributed to my sex.
22. If I’m careless with my driving it won’t be attributed to my sex.
23. I can speak in public to a large group without putting my sex on trial.
24. Even if I sleep with a lot of women, there is no chance that I will be seriously labeled a “slut,” nor is there any male counterpart to “slut-bashing.” (More).
25. I do not have to worry about the message my wardrobe sends about my sexual availability. (More).
26. My clothing is typically less expensive and better-constructed than women’s clothing for the same social status. While I have fewer options, my clothes will probably fit better than a woman’s without tailoring. (More).
27. The grooming regimen expected of me is relatively cheap and consumes little time. (More).
28. If I buy a new car, chances are I’ll be offered a better price than a woman buying the same car. (More).
29. If I’m not conventionally attractive, the disadvantages are relatively small and easy to ignore.
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.
31. I can ask for legal protection from violence that happens mostly to men without being seen as a selfish special interest, since that kind of violence is called “crime” and is a general social concern. (Violence that happens mostly to women is usually called “domestic violence” or “acquaintance rape,” and is seen as a special interest issue.)
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.
33. My ability to make important decisions and my capability in general will never be questioned depending on what time of the month it is.
34. I will never be expected to change my name upon marriage or questioned if I don’t change my name.
35. The decision to hire me will not be based on assumptions about whether or not I might choose to have a family sometime soon.
36. Every major religion in the world is led primarily by people of my own sex. Even God, in most major religions, is pictured as male.
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. (More).
39. If I have children with my girlfriend or wife, I can expect her to do most of the basic childcare such as changing diapers and feeding.
40. If I have children with my wife or girlfriend, and it turns out that one of us needs to make career sacrifices to raise the kids, chances are we’ll both assume the career sacrificed should be hers.
41. Assuming I am heterosexual, magazines, billboards, television, movies, pornography, and virtually all of media is filled with images of scantily-clad women intended to appeal to me sexually. Such images of men exist, but are rarer.
42. In general, I am under much less pressure to be thin than my female counterparts are. (More). If I am fat, I probably suffer fewer social and economic consequences for being fat than fat women do. (More).
43. If I am heterosexual, it’s incredibly unlikely that I’ll ever be beaten up by a spouse or lover. (More).
45. Sexual harassment on the street virtually never happens to me. I do not need to plot my movements through public space in order to avoid being sexually harassed, or to mitigate sexual harassment. (More.)
45. On average, I am not interrupted by women as often as women are interrupted by men.
46. I have the privilege of being unaware of my male privilege.
47. In mosque, my prayer is treated as more important than the women’s prayer. I generally pray in a room that is larger, cleaner, nicer, and less crowded by screaming children than women.
48. I am not considered ‘unclean’ and ‘unworthy of prayer’ for my reproductive functions. I can pray at any time. It is socially acceptable for me to pray without needing to find something to cover my head.
49. If I wear revealing clothing, it is unlikely that I will be called out on the religious rules I’ve broken.
50. It is highly unlikely someone will perceive me as insolent for talking.
51. I have not been raised to believe that the most important event in my life will be my marriage.
52. If I do have sex before marriage and others find out, the negative consequences I receive from it will be much less severe than if I was a woman. My worth is accepted to lie more with my abilities, my personality, and my achievements than with my virginity.
53. If I ever want to educate myself about my religion by studying the religious opinions different imams, they will all be people of my gender. All my religious authorities will be male.
54. My masjid leadership will most likely be male. Most of the time, my decisions and opinions regarding the masjid will be more highly regarded than a woman’s would.
55. If I have a sister and live in and Islamic country, I will get more inheritance than her, even if she was born first.
56. If I am the closest male relative of a distant uncle who has several daughters, I will inherit all of their property.
57. In my native land, I am allowed to dress in whatever clothes I feel comfortable in. It is socially acceptable for me to wear western clothing, wheras it is not for most women.
58. If I live in a hot climate, no one will think badly of me if I wear shorts.
59. If I sexually force myself onto a woman, many Islamic courts will find the woman equally if not more guilty. In contrast, most courts would harshly prosecute a woman who had even consensual sex.
60. From my birth, I will be given more importance and more faith in my potential to succeed.
61. In Muslim countries, I can go out to eat with friends, go to the grocery store, take a walk alone, go to the park, go to the gym, go to a party, stay late at my university etc. without the fear of being sexually assaulted and without people accusing me of ‘being careless’ and inviting sexual assault.
62. If I beat, abuse, rape, or otherwise mistreat my spouse, I can find religious authorities that tell me there is justification in the Quaran for my actions.
Pointing out that men are privileged in no way denies that bad things happen to men. Being privileged does not mean men are given everything in life for free; being privileged does not mean that men do not work hard, do not suffer. In many cases – from a boy being bullied in school, to a soldier dying in war – the sexist society that maintains male privilege also does great harm to boys and men.
In the end, however, it is men and not women who make the most money; men and not women who dominate the government and the corporate boards; men and not women who dominate virtually all of the most powerful positions of society. And it is women and not men who suffer the most from intimate violence and rape; who are the most likely to be poor; who are, on the whole, given the short end of patriarchy’s stick.
True gender equality is actually perceived as inequality. A group that is made up of 50% women is perceived as being mostly women. A situation that is perfectly equal between men and women is perceived as being biased in favor of women.
And if you don’t believe me, you’ve never been a married woman who kept her family name. I have had students hold that up as proof of my “sexism.” My own brother told me that he could never marry a woman who kept her name because “everyone would know who ruled that relationship.” Perfect equality – my husband keeps his name and I keep mine – is held as a statement of superiority on my part.
--Lucy Gillam, ‘When Worlds Collide: Fandom and Male Privilege ’