Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Got a Great Piece of Male Privilege A Couple Weeks Ago

Being a feminist and having worked on sites like The 3rd WWWave (, I get vitriol poured in my ear now and then (just like Hamlet's dad, only I'm not dead, although, on the Internet, can you really tell?).

A few weeks back, it was an email message addressed to "c*nts", describing all the ways in which women rule the world, topped off with the reminder that the author doesn't hate all women, just those women who think he's wrong.

Well, I'm one of those women. This person in his missive made a great many inaccurate assertions, broad sweeping statements to a one, and none of them substantiated:

1. A woman will be given a much lighter sentence than a man convicted of the same crime.

Not that I'm aware of. The federal sentencing guidelines (USSG), for example, do not distinguish by gender. Provide your data.

2. A woman can falsely accuse a man of rape or spousal abuse, and he'll be instantly presumed guilty; the law will by default take her side.

Alas, no, as first- and second-year law students get to learn. On the contrary, the woman is often unofficially placed on trial. If deemed "a slut", or otherwise "asking for it", and what c*nt isn't, you know, her attacker will go free and her life is ruined.

3. Women get everything in divorce settlements. Always.

Anything with "always" or "invariably" in a remark about the law is almost surely wrong. It's not at all uncommon these days for divorcing parties to sell the house and split the proceeds. That said, yes, women are more likely to be presumptively the proper parent for primary custody of children (and the attendant child support - and where do you think child support goes, for Mom's trips to Tahiti? No, to support the child), even though, as women, we earn between 70 and 80 cents to you masculine dollar. Both of those facts can be connected to sexist assumptions about proper child-rearing roles and a woman's "place".

4. Women are overcompensated in sexual harrassment lawsuits-an immature joke or gesture does not entitle you to a ten million dollar settlement.

Provide your data. And while you're at it, how many women don't report harrassment (or worse) because they know the system is against them?

Consider this: Rapists in the ranks: Sexual assaults are frequent, and frequently ignored, in the armed services.

5. Girls get more attention in school than boys do.

Bullshit. Boys are so used to getting the bulk of the attention, that when teachers start actually treating boys and girls equally, boys perceive the situation incorrectly, and see that equal time as unequal. See, e.g., Tanenbaum, L. (1994, July 28). Hey, Teach! The Nation, 280-284.

6. TV sitcoms stereotype men as idiots.

Yes, they do seem to. You, as a man, should do something about it. Don't expect me to clean things up for you, that's just pandering to the stereotype if you do that, isn't it? How about starting by asking yourself why the childlike male and mommy-like female is such an enduring icon. Is your mother the only woman in the world, ever? Why?

7. Violence perpetuated by women against men is seen as acceptable.

Provide your data.

If women ran the world, would we have less representation in government, less money, be told we have to hide ourselves at night to be safe, be demonized by various religions, and all the other crap we alternately fight and put up with daily?