For International Women’s Day 2019 we thought we could look deeper into just exactly what male privilege is and how we can deal with it in an empowering manner.
Male privilege whilst a fairly new concept has stemmed from the subjugation of the feminine divine such as goddesses and the sacred feminine prior to the rise of religions such as Christianity and other religions where the ‘superior being’ is heralded as male.
If we look back at Greek mythology gods and goddesses were both male and female and equal in their power and reverence. Females were celebrated as the life-givers and sacred. Examples of this can be seen in Egypt and many other ancient religions. If we fast forward to around the time of the birth of Christ, the subjugation of females began to increase with the uprising of male dominated religions and once again fast forward to the modern day industrial revolution woman had no rights at all. Men even had the rights to the children the women bore as late as the early 1900’s.
In modern day terms it’s a concept within sociology for examining social, economic, and political advantages or rights that are available to men solely on the basis of their gender.
Male Privilege is an emotive subject with many males still refusing to accept its existence or arguing that females also have ‘privilege’.
In employment situations within most industries the ratio of pay from female to male is considerably different. The UK government equality office have data to show that 74% of firms still pay males more than their females counterparts with only 15% of businesses with over 250 employees paying women more. Only 11% of firms said there was no difference in pay between the genders.
The ‘Gender pay gap’ and ‘Pay inequality’ are 2 sides of the same coin, however gender pay gap is not illegal, although could still be deemed as discriminatory. It could be argued that within each sector pay reflects the dominance of male or females, for example in predominantly female sectors such as teaching or nursing. The pay gap will be significantly less.
Male privilege in a patriarchal society gives special privileges to males over females, and whilst over the past few decades these had been diminishing there is still many laws in place that degrade and subjugate women. An example would be ‘upskirting’ which is the act of taking and image of a women under her skirt. This particular law was introduced in Scotland in 2010 and later in Wales and the England in 2018. Unbelievably this offence was actually blocked by Sir Christopher Chope before being reinstated shortly after. In some states in the US it is still perfectly legal. In countries where is it illegal it is very hard to prove and basically means unless you have substantial proof the perpetrators may get away with the act! There are many laws that still exist that show complete disrespect to females rights and anonymity. The ones we do have often leave us with a futile job of proving discrimination or at worst criminal behaviours.
Another example of Male Privilege is the stigma surrounding being a single mother. It’s often frowned upon and you can even be labelled as a ‘slut’ or that somehow you are being unfair to the father. Yet a male single father is often commended. Females are often assumed to be the main caregiver and more often than not will be expected to forgo their career or job to raise children. Then further subject to the stigma surrounding receipt of government benefits and low income. Even in co-parenting relationships where a father insists on 50% share of the child custody, the female will still be expected to do more for the child and in cases where the father is financially recompensing the mother, there will be an expectation that this somehow absolves the male of all the duties or that the mother should give up her time, job or beliefs in favour of the male. Whether this is attending school plays, doctors appointments or days off when the child is sick or on holiday, it’s predominately the female who will be burdened with these tasks.
For further example of Male Privilege that will get you thinking more deeply on the subject visit Everyday Feminism.
It’s worth adding that by no way am i suggesting that those unaware of their privilege are ‘bad’ or ‘lesser’. Male Privilege is what it is and its through discussing and becoming aware of it, that we can find a way to address and abolish it once and for all.
How To Deal With Male Privilege?
When you encounter Male Privilege the chances are the male involved is unconscious to their behaviours, or in denial of the privilege they hold through years of social conditioning.
If you were to meet this with aggression you will invariably be met with similar aggression or defensiveness. No one wants to admit they are unconscious to it or to accept the collective enslavement that women have undergone and still to a certain extent do. Denial and anger are likely to rule the male thought process.
You could bring it to their attention, suggest an alternative way and hopefully be met with a level of integrity. Or you could just accept that this is the way the situation is for this person and the behaviours are a reflection of them and not you. Or you could place a loving boundary by not accepting the behaviours and outlining your expectations. In which you could say thank you for your input/service or time and walk away from the situation or you could ask for a compromise that suits you both.
It’s worth remembering that you do not have to react to Male Privilege but rather observe, accept any feelings it may bring up within you and either shine a light on it (if you feel this will be received in the loving manner intended) or let go of the other persons unwillingness to be conscious to their behaviours.
Empowerment comes from knowing. Knowing that Male Privilege exists and that you can choose to react, choose to help enlighten or choose to accept what is and nothing more. Though accepting can feel like we are doing nothing to remedy Male Privilege, on a vibrational level we are aligning with truth and love and that can be felt by everyone without words being needed. There is no need for polarity or opposition, acceptance can be experienced by both.
However if you choose to raise male privilege, do so in a loving manner, without blaming or shaming, using some of the ways to resolve conflict written about in one of our other articles which can be found here. This way you can be authentic in your want to diminish Male Privilege, but do so in a manner that is more likely going to have a positive outcome for all.
Do you have some examples of Male Privilege that you have experienced? We would love to hear about these in the comments.