The term ‘male privilege’ might ring unfamiliar in your ears. Is it really possible that four syllables could singlehandedly explain why you got interrupted midway through a sentence, why the pockets on your pants are miniature “pockettes”, why you couldn’t drink alone at a bar without having to deal with inebriated lacklustre small talk?
Male privilege is that guy who bummed a smoke off toxic masculinity, swiped right on misogyny, shared a flat with patriarchy and thought feminism was ‘so cute’. ‘Male privilege’ is a misleading term; the privilege is only enjoyed by men who fit into a very narrow mould of what a man is expected to be: strong (physically), loud (but never about his feelings) and confident of his sexuality (but only if he’s cisgender and heterosexual). Any other kind of man can wait in line, with trans men, gay men, women and anyone in between. Lady-like behaviour, the wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing of all feminine norms, empowers anyone but said ladies: dainty portions of food, equating submissiveness with good etiquette, keeping your achievements a secret only raises easily-cowed women, accommodating unto a fault, alongside men who are confident, brash and overly secure in their mediocrity.
How do you evade requests to smile more and talk less, sit with your legs crossed and never spread, work earnestly but never dare break the metaphorical glass ceiling?
Not by changing ‘mankind’ to ‘peoplekind’ or even by making the ‘mom bod’ as socially acceptable as its paternal equivalent. Listen, with ears unfettered by naïveté and testosterone, to the women around you when they tell you about bosses who underpay and overwork them, peers who dismiss them as unfunny and men who follow them down dimly-lit alleys, all because of one extra pesky x chromosome.
Erase male privilege, one chauvinistic norm at a time, and create a world where female gamers, female athletes, promiscuous women, women who choose to keep their body hair, can stand toe-to-toe, privileges matched, with their male counterparts.
After all, men aren’t better than women in any area- except for a sperm count.
–Written by Mihika Antonia Dean