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A list of the feminist man priveleges

ספטמבר 4, 2012

I was asked three times to translate, and as anyone who knows me know, three times is my cue to act so here goes.

In hebrew we have different ways to address men and women, this list in hebrew is written in men's voice as it speaks of the faminist man privileges, there are (according to an application of Ozy's law) corresponding priveleges for women and if anyone would put that list together it could be grand, but this list is for the man's side.

I read other privelege lists in both Hebrew and english (my first was the list of male priveleges as translated in radicalbi [hebversion]) and although they had a judging tone to them it seemed like having those priveleges as listed could only be good, so why would I call myself "feminist" and give all that up?

With time I realised in my mind that I am passing from slogans and announcements to a different way of seeing the world. That my previous life state was replaced by a new form of vision that has its own advantages and also comes with certain priveleges over others who were not sharing this state of mind with me, those priveleges did not promise material wealth, or outstanding success in all aspects of life (got those from being a man and gave a lot of them up). But the differences are what is making the effort of giving up old priveleges worth it for me.

There are people who would think the list below is redundant, given automatically and freely with the statement of "I be feminist now". Those thinking that way are wrong the way I see it. It took a lot of hard work to ripen these priveleges into fruition, and to even realize they existed was surprising. First I had to understand the previous condition with all its abundant priveleges was insufferable, not through some idealism or a hedonistic point of view, but because parasiting on the lives and work of others became intolerable to me. Almost all manly privelege in the patriarchy, or white, jewish (in a jewish state), cisgenderd, monosexual and others are driven by persecution, violence and fear, a lot of fear.

So my first step was to stop being so afraid all the time. When the fear lessend so did the level of violence in my life and with it became the realization I did not have to patronize everyone around me to advance my own goals.

All the listed priveleges are tightly connected to the way I choose to experience the world. Because they are not driven by fear, violence and persecution they create a place where a new reality can be created and a new dialog not based on them can exist.

After saying all that, these are priveleges I see, and after this list comes a shortend list of things that are not a privelege to men who want to be feminist, even if some may want them to be.

  1. I can give up old priveleges without apology or bad feeling about it.
  2. I don’t have to feel my manhood is weakend or being doubted over every action I take or word I say.
  3. I don’t have to be afraid of women.
  4. I can talk with women about things their interests without diverting the conversation to my interest and not have to feel my manhood is weakend or being doubted.
  5. I don’t have to "win" in every argument or conversation to prove my manlyness
  6. I don’t have to say the last word in every conversation to prove my manlyness
  7. I can stop a conversation that bothers me because of violent or sexual content without feeling my manhood weakend or being doubted.
  8. I can wear whatever I want without feeling my manhood weakend or being doubted
  9. I can enjoy a harassment free enviroment and even help create one where I am without feeling my manhood weakend or being doubted.
  10. I don’t have to analyze every human interaction by the possibility of sex.
  11. I can have women friends and not have to want to sleep with every one of them or apologize for it.
  12. I can talk about sex and sexuality with men and women without the conversation dropping into a contest or violent jokes and without belittling my partners to a list of genitals that happen to be attached to a person.
  13. I can live with strong women around me without being threatened by everything they do.
  14. I don’t have to think, talk or act sex in everything I do on every breathing moment.
  15. I can listen to or read a conversation between women withouth commenting and without feeling im being silenced or have my manly priveleges trampled.
  16. I don’t have to laugh from a joke that degenerate women or other groups only to belong.

And the list of things that are not a privelege granted by being a feminist man, even though some people would like to believe they are.

  1. I can't tell a joke that is violent or degenarative to women and expect forgiveness based on my awareness to the violence or degenerative nature of the joke.
  2. I can't attack or harass women in the street or on the web and expect forgiveness because I call myself "ally" or "feminist".
  3. I can't assume my every word will be reverred as given truth only because I am a man and I address women.
  4. I can't demand acceptance and forgiveness from women around me just untill I develope my "feminist conciousness" because "you need everyone for this struggle".
  5. I can't decide for other men or women what is feminism and what should be the topic of the conversation.
  6. I can't divert the conversation to my hurt feelings after I expressed a violent opinion and was called for it.
  7. I cant apologise in advance and then do the thing I apologised for
  8. I cant deny a whole argument because of or by using false rhetorics and expect my opinion to be accepted in reverence.
  9. I cant duplicate the patriarchy into the feminist space and call myself "feminist".

There are probably a lot more notes to add to the list and I will add them when I can distinct them or when they are more significant to my experience and will probably edit this list again and again through infinity.

Happy days.

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