Archives for posts with tag: privilege

Today I want to talk about Allies. Specifically LGBTQPIA+ allies. Let me note now that this acronym stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Pansexual, Intersex, Asexual (and others). The ‘A’ does not and will never stand for Allies.

Allow me to explain it in a different way. When the ‘A’ in a acronym is used to mean ‘Allies’, rather than ‘Asexual’, you are erasing a term representing marginalized people and inserting yourself (as an ally, you would be heterosexual) into a space where you do not belong. In other terms, if people who fall under the LGBTQ+ umbrella term are seen as a soccer team (or any other sports team), the allies are meant to be the supportive crowd of the team. They do not play the game. They do not try to be the coach. They do not gather with the team for the team picture. They are supportive, and that is all.

Allies are supposed to be the crowd at a sporting event. And yet.

Obviously this is not always the case. For some reason, heterosexual “allies” (and I put that in quotation marks because they are not allies) think that they should be the center of the LGBTQPIA+ movement and that their voices should be heard over everyone and that they are above any critique from LGBTQPIA+ persons.

In my post about Macklemore and the problems with his song “Same Love”, there was a comment that I had to reply to. I usually [almost always, except in this one case] do not reply to comments on my posts, regardless of whether or not I agree with them or they agree with me. Honestly, this comment is what spurned this post [though, it’s not the only thing, as this type of idea is rather widespread throughout people who think they are allies.]

The comment-er said, at the very end:

“If we’re going to get to a society where gay people can be accepted by everyone, you’re not going to claw it into existence all by yourself. You need us, the straights, to get in on the plan too. And I’m glad Macklemore is throwing his hat in the ring. Because he, and I, and the rest of us are going to keep going with or without the approval of the gay community. Because it’s the right thing to do.”

This is revolting.

People who believe this -that they do not need “the approval” of the “gay community” [a phrase which is disgustingly limiting and erasing of other identities] and that they can do whatever they want -and even further, that we should be happy because they are so supportive and any critique is a horrible offense -are not allies. I repeat, people like this are not allies. They are only people who want to feel good about themselves, and they are selfish and narrow minded. They only want to help themselves, not anyone else. They do not truly support the cause, because they don’t even understand it.

This is a show of privilege.

This is also tone policing.

The tone policing bit comes in when they [I’m using this pronoun in favor of he or she] write “You need us, the straights, to get in on the plan too” -it is implied, then, that the LGBTQPIA+ Community must ‘be nice’ to the heterosexual people in order for them to “get in on the plan”.

Let me be clear: No marginalized group owes their oppressors ‘niceness’. If you require someone to be nice to you in order to support their cause, you are not an ally, and you do not believe in the cause, you just want to feel good about yourself.

If you want to be a true ally -or, the phrase I like much better, a person who is “currently operating in solidarity with” LGBTQPIA+ people -maybe just consider how you benefit from a system and culture that systematically discriminates against LGBTQPIA+ people. Maybe you could educate yourself by looking at online resources written by LGBTQPIA+ people, by people of color, by disabled people, and not immediately jump to the defensive “WELL NOT ALL (insert privileged group here) ARE LIKE THAT!”

The post from Black Girl Dangerous linked above (and here too, because it’s just that good) has a wonderful list of what you can do as a person who wants to act in solidarity with marginalized groups.

Meanwhile, if anyone wants to talk about this post or has questions or ideas, I will gladly respond to the comments under this topic, as this is a very important topic to me. If we want to do better and make this a better world, we need to have a base understanding for what it means to be supportive of other people who’s lives are different from us.

I do not know how to start this post. I am angry. I am tired. I am tired of being angry.

There is often a lot of discussion surrounding ‘privilege’, at least there is on the Tumblr community. Privilege is what people in positions of power have in society. So, there is male privilege, which allows men to access things (capital, in the Marxist/Bourdieu-ian sense)  more easily than women. There is also white privilege, which allows white people to access better capital than people of color. There is cis privilege over trans* people; heterosexual privilege over LGBT*Q; and so on and so forth.

For examples of male privilege, see here or here.

Now, it has been my absolute honor to come across an article claiming female privilege.

Let me now explain how this article is complete and utter bullshit.

1. I’m allowed to be far more open about my sexuality than a man is. In fact, if I’m bisexual, it’s encouraged (both male and females encourage it funnily enough). If I’m hetero, I’m allowed to make comments about how hot men are, compliment men without others thinking it’s harassment and generally can make lewd comments about any person, be them male or female, and it’s considered ok. I can say “I fancy him so much I’d  even rape him” or “I need to pull him into the storeroom and show him I mean it” or “He is mega hot” about any male whether  he is seventeen (I am forty) or seventy. I can sit in a Twilight movie and drool at Jacob (for instance), and not be seen as a dirty old woman.

Women can only be open about their sexuality when it is approved of BY MEN. If you didn’t notice, she did not mention lesbianism, which only involves women. If a woman identifies as a lesbian, she will be told that she only likes women because she hasn’t had a good dick or a good fucking yet. In fact, even porn with “lesbians” in it is made for the men who watch it, and not for actual lesbians, which can be shown by the heavy emphasis on vaginal penetration. Bisexuality is only acceptable when she eventually settles down with a man, because then she will be seen as “really heterosexual”.

She is also completely erasing the Madonna/Whore complex. If a woman has sex before marriage, she is seen as a slut and a whore and deserving of any sexual assault that befalls her. Meanwhile, if she doesn’t have sex, she is a prude or a stuck up bitch or an ice queen. So tell me again how women’s sexualities are not controlled by men and how women are so free?

2. If my partner and I were in a domestic dispute and both violent, or both shouting, and I hit him … if the police were called, my male partner would still be the one far more likely to be taken into custody for the night. If my male partner tried to report domestic violence, it would be harder for him to have the charges laid, than if I did so. In fact, while there is a charge of Male assaults Woman in my country, there is no Woman assaults Male. That would be classified instead as General Assault.

Perhaps the male partner would be arrested, but let’s talk about what happens afterwards. The average prison sentence of men who kill their women partners is 2 to 6 years, while women who kill their male partners are sentenced on average to 15 years. This is despite the fact that 86% of female offenders kill in self-defense, while males are most likely to kill out of possessiveness (82%), abuse (75%) and during arguments (63%). Women are eight times more likely than men to be killed by an intimate partner.

Also, let’s talk about the fact that men are only allowed to show two emotions: anger/rage and lust. This is EXTREMELY harmful to the men in our society, and it is (one of) the reason(s) why men are disproportionally the one’s who commit assault (sexual assault, general assault, and domestic violence), have road rage, and commit murder. This is a problem and it needs to be fixed! THIS IS PART OF FEMINISM.

3. If my relationship with the father of my children was to break up, I’m far more likely to get the kids. And if I want a child, but don’t have a partner, I can do that too. I get to choose whether I have the baby or not, I get to choose whether the father’s name is on the birth certificate or not (and if he queries it, he’s the one who has to pay for the DNA test) and if he’s named as the father, he then has to pay child support, whether he was aware I was trying to have a child or not.

Yes, the reproductive rights of women are absolutely brilliant right now. No, really, it’s great.

Left out of her claims are the following facts:

1 –there are currently 31 states where a rapist can sue for custody of his child born from the rape. Also, let’s not forget that this happened

2 –the reason why women are often given custody is because of the sexist idea that women are better with children and more nurturing while men cannot be tied down that way because they have to be able to move to work

3 –working mothers lose more custody battles than they win

Also, are we just going to completely ignore the fact that if a woman does not want kids, people think there is actually something wrong with her? If a woman says that she never wants children, people will try to CONVINCE her that she actually does want kids, or that she’ll change her mind, or that kids are such a blessing. Are we just ignoring that? I guess we are.

4. I’m allowed to be as education- and career-driven as I want to be, and push for the top, seeking equity and equality in everything. But when it comes to dating and relationships, I’ll want the dates paid for, the doors opened, the bling bought. And if I want to choose to not be career-driven, and be instead at home, and not work, then I can far more readily choose that option too than a male partner could.

Women are “allowed” (by men) to be educated and career-driven, but it will cost them in many ways. Women are “allowed” to be career-driven, as long as they somehow figure out how to work and still do all of the house work and childcare. Women are “allowed” to be career-driven, as long as they are okay with never making more than their male peers and never being in a position of authority over them. Women are “allowed” to be career-driven  as long as they work above and beyond their male companions in order to even be noticed, and even then their achievements will probably be awarded to the men they work with.

Also, if women do well in academia or in the work-place, then they are immediately suspect. Claims are made that they “slept” their way to the top, because CLEARLY a woman cannot get into any position of power without having sex. This accusation has been leveled on me before, because I graduated with honors and won academic awards before moving on to date one of my previous professors.

In regards to the second part of her statement: the idea that men should pay for everything on a date is sexist and it comes from the idea that men are the breadwinners in society and women don’t/shouldn’t work, so how could they pay for anything? This is also a problem in society, and it needs to be fixed, but I’m not convinced it happens epidemically.

5. If I write an inflammatory comment, or a blog, or article, and a man questions anything in it, all I need to do to shut the conversation down is call him a bully, or say he’s a privileged male. I can also make disparaging comments about his sexuality, his economic standing, the size of his penis, and his ability to do pretty much anything in return for him disagreeing with me. I can do this, because when I do, I KNOW there will be a bunch of other women who will stick up for me. Because as a woman … I now have privilege.

Sure, a woman can try to “shut a man up” by calling him privileged or a bully. Want to know how to shut down a woman during an argument? Claim she’s on her period. Or, wait, no –just say she’s a crazy bitch who doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Or, I’ve got it, this one’s good –say that she is being a typical woman and over-reacting. These things are called “gaslighting”, and they are all a form of mental abuse that happen all the time. So, let’s be honest, it is MUCH easier to silence a woman than a man during an argument.

Any notion of “female privilege” is either bullshit or is perpetuated by different strains of sexism and patriarchy. I will accept, however, that cis women have more privilege than trans* women (also due to patriarchy and trans-phobia). I will also gladly take responsibility for and accept my white privilege, because I definitely have that.

I refuse to accept that I have any form of female privilege that is NOT directly perpetuated by sexism and/or patriarchy. Just because patriarchy and sexism can backfire and hurt men as well as women does not mean that women have any sort of dominance or privilege over men. Period.

Someday I will actually write something that is not a response to something else that is completely wrong, but today is not that day.