Please let’s discuss privilege. Please. I’m begging you.

I’m still really pretty new to this internet feminism thing. So sometimes I throw around words that are attached to very specific concepts and I assume everyone will know exactly what I’m talking about, and you know what happens when you assume. I also made the tyro error of commenting on a blog without reading the rest of it, so I won’t do THAT again.

To be clear, when I suggested that a dude who did not believe other dudes were participating in rape apology for a specific series of acts that minimized the existence of rape culture and rape victims had the privilege to do so, I was referring to a specific kind of social privilege, not the “your life is nothing but cupcakes and butterflies” kind of privilege. Betty has a great summary here, but this is the short answer:

Privilege is: About how society accommodates you. It’s about advantages you have that you think are normal. It’s about you being normal, and others being the deviation from normal. It’s about fate dealing from the bottom of the deck on your behalf.

So when I use the word privilege, this is the context. Yes, commenter whose reply to me was approved after comments were closed so I can’t reply directly, when you presented as a man, you had male privilege. Because the other thing about privilege is this, also from Betty’s summary:

Privilege is not: About you. Privilege is not your fault. Privilege is not anything you’ve done, or thought, or said. It may have allowed you to do, or think, or say things, but it’s not those things, and it’s not because of those things. Privilege is not about taking advantage, or cheating, although privilege may make this easier. Privilege is not negated. I can’t balance my white privilege against my female disadvantage and come out neutral. Privilege is not something you can be exempt from by having had a difficult life. Privilege is not inherently bad. It really isn’t.

I also highly recommend this cached copy of a primer on white privilege and this post on male privilege. See also this piece about straight privilege, one about able-bodied privilege, and one on Christian privilege. I’m happy to answer questions or help you search for more information; I got most of these links by googling.


*When I get upset I talk like T-Rex. It makes me feel better.