Michael Eriksson
A Swede in Germany
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The myth of white male privilege


A staple of politically correct rhetoric is “privilege”, be it male privilege (among feminists) or white privilege (in the US). Additional variations referring to Christianity, “hetero-normity”, and similar are common—often compounded so that the resulting privileged-because-they-are-the-norm group is often a small non-norm minority... Below, I will discuss several aspects of this issue, with the conclusion that references to “privilege” in such contexts are either misguided or intellectually dishonest. In either case, they are harmful, best avoided, not valid arguments, and say more about their users than about their targets.


This is a very large topic, well-deserving of an even larger article. As is, I have written a bit here and a bit there over several months without every actually sitting down to do some serious work. To avoid further delays, I publish what I have in a shorter version of suboptimal quality. I will probably revisit it to straighten out the structure, improve the quality, and to expand in relevant areas over time, however.

A particular complication not dealt with is that the alleged cause of the alleged privilege can vary strongly from user to user, sometimes even being contradictory. Some points of the below discussion might need a corresponding enlargement to deal with several alleged causes or to at least be specific about which alleged cause is addressed. Of course, these differences in understanding and use even between, e.g., individual feminists is, itself, a major problem with claims of white male privilege.


An increasing issue with this text, especially after repeated extensions, especially in 2023, is a lack of references. This is, in general, an issue with my writings, as digging up references makes the time for writing explode and I rarely have that time. It might be particularly bad in this text, however, and I do plan to provide better references as time goes by.

Shit happens

In the end, we all have problems and disadvantages of various kinds, and for the most part we have to suck them up, roll with the punches, and do the best of a bad deal. Those of us who try usually succeed; those who blame others usually do not. Yes, there are real injustices that should be fought; no, a blanket advantage for white men is not one of them. Even the question whether white men would have an unfair advantage on average is far from clear—with the current pressure of affirmative action and similar issues, it could even be the other way around in at least some countries and compared to some groups.


The original version of this page was written in 2011. Revisiting it in 2023, it seems quite clear that white men are outright disadvantaged in e.g. the U.S. and Sweden. Consider e.g. how distorted the education system is in favor of girls and how the U.S. college admissions often deliberately try to admit more “non-Asian minorities” at the cost of whites and Asians. (The topic is worthy of a page of its own, but is not one of my top priorities.)

Various issues

  1. Even if some group is objectively given unfair advantages, it does not in any way, shape, or form follow that all members of that group are advantaged, let alone privileged. It does not even follow that most members are... Indeed, if I go out on the streets of Cologne, I can easily find examples of “privileged” white men who are homeless and have to beg for money to get something to eat. The number of women is noticeably smaller...

  2. The evidence generally cited to prove claims about privilege is typically outdated (even including finger-pointing to the US slavery era; BTW, do the names Will Smith, Barack Obama, Oprah, and Tiger Woods ring a bell?), misleading (including the 77 cents on the dollar fraud), or outright faulty. A recurring issue is the confusion of unequal outcomes with unequal opportunities.

  3. Even if someone is privileged, it does absolutely not follow that his arguments are invalid—yet, this is the typical reason why privilege is dragged into the discussion: You are privileged; ergo, you do not know what you are talking about.

  4. Many claims go along the lines of “You are privileged! You are just too used to it to notice!”, something which (in the case of feminists) amounts to a gigantic hypocrisy, seeing that feminists appear entirely blind to the many advantages that women have. (The situation for e.g. US blacks might be different. I will not presume to judge that. However, even if so, this has no bearing on European discussions and is not a legitimate argument to discredit anyone in the first place. Cf. the previous item.)


    By 2023, I have done considerable additional reading on the U.S. situation, and said situation might well have changed further in the interim. Today, it is quite clear to me that more and more significant “legs up” than “legs down” are given to blacks, e.g., again, in college admissions.

    Obviously, this is something that the accuser has to prove, not merely claim. So far, I have never seen the claim followed by any form of proof.

  5. The more specific complaints that I have encountered (e.g. “My boss did X. It must be because I am Y.”) have very often been things that happen to everyone now and then. In effect, a behavior that is independent of race, sex, whatnot, is misconstrued as dependent.

    In these instances, it is also common that one’s own behavior is left out of consideration: Before raising accusations, one should always review ones own actions to see whether they are the true cause. If, e.g., a woman of thirty behaves as were she thirteen, she should not complain about not being taken seriously—she should behave like an adult. Even behavior which is not negative in it self can have negative consequences irrespective of sex: For instance, I have for a sizable part of my life spoken relatively silently, given way to the other party when the two of us spoke up at the same time, etc. (Albeit, in light of poor experiences, less so over time.) Just like the women who do the same, I have found myself often interrupted or having problems getting a word in—despite being a man. This is simply a matter of behavior—not sex.


    However, the common feminist claim that men constantly interrupt women (and its many variations) does not match my experiences beyond what is explained by the above. On average, interruptions appear to happen in roughly the same proportions. I suspect that this is simply a myth that has arisen because many of the “silent” women incorrectly attribute interruptions to their being women and then unduly extrapolate. “Silent” men do not have the privilege of that excuse.


    An interesting angle of “giving way” in such a manner is that the motivation can be misinterpreted. I do/did it mostly because I consider it the polite and considerate thing to do (and expect reciprocation). However, this could be, and likely has been, misinterpreted as e.g. an acknowledgment of “right of way” in favor of the counterpart, a lack of assertiveness, or similar. In a next step, this could lead to the counterpart taking such “right of way” for granted or to misperceive himself as higher in some informal hierarchy, with ensuing disadvantages for me (and, as a result of missing reciprocation, my opinion that the counterpart is rude and ill-mannered).

    The same applies to women who show a similar behavior, but, again, it is the behavior of the “victim” that is the trigger of the behavior of the “perpetrator”—not the sex of the “victim”.

  6. Privilege is typically alleged to stem from having all the power, being the norm, or similar. However, if we actually remove all groups that tend to claim that they are disadvantaged, then the remaining group of “privileged” persons is comparatively small and not that impressive in terms of power. For that matter, the nearest place where I can buy groceries is Eigelstein—a part of Cologne where there are as many stores with Turkish signs as German and where being a German, Swedish, British white could actually imply that one deviates from the norm...

In addition, I note the absurd attitude that shines through in many of the “privilege-blaming” groups: If you are a white Christian hetero whatnot whatnot male, you are inferior. If you have a union card (by being black, gay, a woman, ...) you are one of us—the enlightened elite.

False justifications

Comparison of current conditions

Claims of “privilege” often base on the premise that certain groups have certain automatic advantages or disadvantages. However, these differences are often imagined or base in faulty interpretations; in particular, the highly naive beliefs that equality of opportunity automatically leads to equality of outcome and that group dominance “at the top” is representative for the group as a whole (“apex fallacy”). In modern Western nations, the differences that do exist between conditions/treatment/whatnot of groups are small (smaller than individual variations) and do not apply to all individual group members.

Unfair cherry-picking of statistics and outright distortion of the truth is a particular problem, leading to absurdities like Swedish feminists complaining that Swedish women would still be disadvantaged, while the reality is that they are clearly favoured over Swedish men—and have it better than both men and women in almost every other country in the world. (While I have often pointed to such cherry-picking and/or given counterexamples below, notably for The Male Privilege Checklist, I have not done so consistently. As is usually the case, the number of potential cherry-picks in either direction is almost limitless.)

Cf. e.g. [1] [2].


A related argument with some justification is that a previous privilege can carry over into at least the next generation. Even here, however, it is more important to keep an eye on the “now” than the “then”: These carry-over effects are of limited impact and attenuate considerably with each passing generation. Even in 1954, it was possible for a US black woman to be born into poverty and still, as an adult, become a billionaire of world-wide fame and immense public influence—if Oprahw could do that, why should a black woman born in 1975 (my year of birth) or 2011 (the time of writing) be unable to lead a good and successful life? She might or might not have a harder road than a white man, but her own abilities have far more to do with her outcomes than any (real or imagined) privilege issues.

For that matter, there are some instances of 19th century blacks, even actual (former) slaves, gaining accomplishment and recognition far beyond what the vast majority of White contemporaries managed. The most notable example is, likely, Fredrick Douglassw—a man whose obstacles make the disadvantages associated with e.g. inner-city schooling look like speed-bumps next to a moat.

Or to quote the Swedish women’s rights fighter (and woman) Ellen Key:

(See a longer discussion for details.)

Och dock är det ofta just ur underklassen, världens »övermänniskor» framträtt, sedan de genombrutit mycket svårare hinder än dem, den snillrika kvinnan i överklassen samtidigt hade måst besegra för att få följa sin väsensbestämmelse. Även dessa manliga snillen ha saknat arvet från »flera generationers utveckling i frihet». Men de ha dock nått den högsta andliga höjden i sin samtid.

(And still it is often just from the lower class that the worlds’ “Übermenschen” have appeared, after breaking through much more difficult obstacles than those that brilliant women in the upper class have had to conquer in order to follow their destiny of being. These male geniuses too have lacked the heritage of “several generations of development in freedom”. Still they have reached the highest mental heights in their time.)

Historically worse conditions for blacks/women

A common argument is that in historical society, e.g. the US slavery era, one group has been severely disadvantaged, which would magically create an advantage or an obligation for the “privileged” today. This is patent nonsense and a true non sequitur: The Catholics might believe in inherited sin, but in the non-religious world there is no place for such superstitions.

To make matters worse, the overall conditions of life and work for the typical white man are usually swept under the carpet, leading to a highly unfair comparison: The US field slaves might have had it worse than the contemporaneous European groups; however, many of the latter had it very bad, including extreme working hours and conditions. It is, in particular, greatly ignorant to imagine that a 16 hour working day was the realm of slaves, while everyone else had a modern 8 hour day. Consider, further, periods of utter poverty and lack of food, the earlier feudal system, or actual slavery among whites. The typical house slave actually had it better than e.g. many British contemporaries. Pick up a Dickens novel...


Since the time of original writing, I have re-read the “Hornblower” books and read parts of the “Aubrey–Maturin” series. While I have yet to make any in-depth reading of relevant naval history (as opposed to historical fiction), there is a fair chance that life in the British Navy was even worse than in the cotton fields: Someone could be picked up off the street at a moments notice and against his will, be forced to work hard on a ship on a very sub-par diet and with little protection against weather and wind, be whipped half to death for bad behavior, suffer actual death for e.g. attempts at mutiny, even failure to obey orders, and stand a considerable risk of death or mutilation during battles. Of course, an insufficient willingness to fight during such battles could equally lead to death—by execution for cowardice or whatnot.

Similarly, Swedish feminists regularly complain about how long it took for women to get the right to vote—when, in fact, most men received this right at the same time as the women did... Indeed, since the male right to vote was, in the early days of the right, tied to having completed the mandatory military service, men actually received a truly equal and general right to vote at a later date than women.

Privilege and yours truly

How does the accusation of privilege apply to me?

Do I have an advantage over African-Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics, ... ? No: I was raised in Sweden at a time and a place where more or less everyone else was also white. Even the odd white immigrant was considered exotic. For that matter, looking at factors like SES, my family did not fare well compared to the average. Today, in Germany, I might have an advantage over the few percent non-white immigrants, but, then again, I am myself disadvantaged through not being a native speaker.

Do I have an advantage over women? I might have had, had I been born even ten or twenty years earlier. As is, Sweden is a country where men have the worse deal, while Germany is more-or-less equal. As for my childhood, I was mostly raised by my mother and grand-mother, with no true male role-models—and in a society that even then was dripping with feminist prejudice. Any chance of being raised with a privileged mind-set (or actual objective advantages) was slim to nil.


In both countries, the balance has continually shifted further to the advantage of women, and/or towards a Feminist and anti-equality mindset, since the original writing.

Do I have an advantage over gays? Even ten years ago, I might have had it easier with regard to issues like sexuality and public behavior. Today, in Cologne, even this is not the case. More importantly: With regard to issues like career, wealth gathering, and other typically cited proofs of privilege, homosexuality is uninteresting. If nothing else, there was never a need to tell the boss or the HR department. For that matter, I did go through a period of “sexual confusion” in my late teens. Now: Why would my credibility have sky-rocketed had I left this period “on the other team”?


And by 2023, the general attitudes towards gays is such that, just like in the U.S., even failing to voice whole-hearted support can be seen as a black mark.

The mention of Cologne (the city, not the perfume) was based on the dual fact that I lived in Cologne and that Cologne has or had a reputation as a particularly “gay” city within Germany (similar to San Francisco in the U.S.). By now, I live in Wuppertal and might be happy never again to set foot in Cologne. I had nothing against the gays—but the sheer number of bicyclists who violated each and every traffic rule, illegally drove on the sidewalks, and seemed to take offense at pedestrians daring to use said sidewalks, was horrifying.

Do I have an advantage over non-Christians? No—starting with the fact that I am myself a non-Christian. Further, my childhood faith (I come from a highly religious family) was a definite disadvantage and a source of disparagement during my school-years. I can, among other incidents, recall being called a “Christian devil” (“kristen djävel”) on a number of occasions.

Underprivileged me

Now let us have a look at some areas where I am or have been disadvantaged:

I had the misfortune of going through the Swedish one-size-barely-fits-anyone school system, which (with hindsight) wasted a lot of time and motivation, was more of a hindrance than a help to my intellectual growth, and which did nothing to help in those areas where I needed help. By not being sufficiently average, I had a major disadvantage.

My parents divorced when I was six, which not only had an impact on my living conditions, but also up-rooted me from a group of friends and left me with emotional issues (cf. below).

Prior to that they worked in the Salvation Army (very low paying); after that I lived with my often unemployed mother and my sister.

My childhood was unhappy, with emotional problems caused by the divorce, a sister who was emotionally abusive (likely also as a reaction to the divorce), and a school rife with mobbing. (On the positive side, I was unusually tall, which saved me from almost all attempts at physical mobbing.)

I spoke with a noticeable lisp into my late teens. (Indeed, I still slip up occasionally.)

I am very highly introverted, possibly even an Aspie, which has strongly contributed to making me a misfit or my often being considered weird during my younger years—and which has certainly hampered my career as an adult. Trust me: Being strongly introverted is a far greater disadvantage in the modern world than being gay is. Indeed, most are not even aware that they implicitly treat and estimate others in a manner that is detrimental to the introverted, while books like those by Daniel Golemanw turn extroversion into a must-have trait.

I am unusually intelligent—with much the same effects as the introversion. (For those who find this paradoxical, I recommend H.G. Wells The Country of the Blindw. However, obviously, intelligence has many advantages too.)

As already mentioned, I have disadvantages through being a non-native speaker. While these are comparatively small nowadays, they were once large.

In addition, I grew bald early, wear strong glasses (nowadays, contacts), could stand to lose a few pounds, have a fear of heights, have a gay father (who by being, per definition, unprivileged, was not able to confer privilege onto me), and cannot play the piano.

Now, the point of the above is not to say that (specifically) I have had a tough deal, but to point to the misfortunes, mistreatments, and disadvantages that we all have. A very sizable minority of all white men can provide a list of equal negative impact, many have had worse, and the vast majority has no reason to think of themselves as privileged, when compared to those of a similar age in the same country (but of another race, sex, or creed).

Am I privileged?

Yes—but for very different reasons than the politically correct want us to believe. I had the great luck of being born in a rich country, of never having had any major health problems (so far, knock on wood), of living in a time where information and entertainment can easily be found at low cost with new technologies, of having a head that has allowed me a satisfying journey to gain knowledge and understanding, ...

In this, I am privileged over a large part of the current world population and most of the generations preceding us. However, this privilege has nothing whatsoever to do with my being a white man—had I, all other factors equal, been a black woman, I would still have had the same privileges.

Politically correct hypocrisy

To add injury to insult, one of the strongest norms of today (in particular, in political and academical contexts) is political correctness it self–and those who are not politically correct can lose far more than those who are, for instance, non-Christian. Cf e.g. the Website of FIREe. In effect: The politically correct form a privileged group...


By 2023, terms like “political correctness” are rarely heard, while e.g. “woke” and, if in partially different contexts, “social justice warrior” serve a similar role. The effect is the same—and has increased in strength, year for year.

The Male Privilege Checklist

Following up on search hits on this page, I found a self-proclaimed Male Privilege Checkliste. Finding it highly misguided, prejudiced, and one-sided, I analyze it below. Repeatedly occurring errors include simply having the facts wrong, confusing equality of outcome with equality of opportunity, having a very distorted image of what men actually think and feel, (implicitly) blaming men for something that is done to women by other women, and the ever-present cherry-picking.


An earlier version of this page, in part, used more cautious formulations than the current does. This is based on my increased understanding of what goes on. (Unlike many on the Left, I try to stick to what I reasonably know, not what I merely imagine. This can lead to changes in formulation over time, e.g. in that a “might” turns into an “is”.)

List and analysis:

1. My odds of being hired for a job, when competing against female applicants, are probably skewed in my favor. The more prestigious the job, the larger the odds are skewed.

Probably not: This is a myth that is not born out by any statistics that I am familiar with. On the contrary, there are strong indications that women are often given an undeserved edge (at least in Sweden), so that companies can demonstrate how “equal” they are—in Swedish politics, all other factors equal, it is a major advantage to be a woman. The fact that men get more prestigious jobs more often has other explanations, including different priorities in life. Cf. e.g. my discussion of the 77 cents on the dollar fraud).


There are strong signs that the Swedish disease is spreading in the rest of the world. Certainly, something similar applies to the U.S. with regard to both sex and race.

2. I can be confident that my co-workers won’t think I got my job because of my sex – even though that might be true.

On the contrary, with the stubborn myth of 1., there is no reason to have this confidence at all—and the probability that “that might be true” is decidedly lower for men: Many of today’s companies (let alone political parties) deliberately use being a woman as a strong positive criterion for promotion. (In order to show that they are sufficiently PC by having sufficiently many women sufficiently high up.) In contrast, if a particular “promoter” had an aversion against women, the eventually promoted would still (typically) have to beat a number of other men. (On the outside making his maleness an advantage—but not the main determinant, which is what the above claim amounts to.)

3. If I am never promoted, it’s not because of my sex.

As with 1. and 2., this is wrong. Further, the implicit assumption that women would often not be promoted because of their sex is faulty. Note, further, that items 1–3 are just variations on a single theme.

4. If I fail in my job or career, I can feel sure this won’t be seen as a black mark against my entire sex’s capabilities.

The same applies to women, so why drag it up where men are concerned? As with a number of other entries and much of feminist rhetoric, a faulty assumption of how men tend to think is (explicitly or implicitly) taken to be true, with a resulting incorrect conclusion.

In my experience, the reverse problem is far more common: A man criticizes an individual woman for something that she has done or said—and she interprets this as a criticism directed at women in general, instead of her personally. (I am, however, not certain whether this is a sign of stupidity/self-centeredness/whatnot or a deliberate intellectual dishonesty. Notably, most of the offending women tend to be self-declared feminists.)


In all fairness, the proportion of prominent women who have, one way or another, failed, proved to be idiots or liabilities, whatnot, seems to be considerably higher than for men—and such a higher proportion, as opposed to an individual woman, can have a similar effect. Ditto my personal experiences with women in e.g. middle-management positions.

However, while it is wrong to go from “women as a group” to “any individual woman”, seeing such a higher proportion of failure and developing suspicions about “women as a group” is perfectly legitimate.


A related-but-off-topic issue is that many a woman fails to differ between e.g. opinions of her work and opinions of her as a person. In the childish eyes of such a woman, the only conceivable explanation for criticism is that the other party dislikes her, personally and specifically. That her work might be shoddy does not seem to enter as a conceivable explanation.

5. I am far less likely to face sexual harassment at work than my female co-workers are.

Disputable. I am not aware of statistics on the issue, but sexual harassment of men is not that uncommon, women often engage in non-sexual harassment, and many women see harassment where there is none. See also my discussion of feminism, fear, and misperception.

6. If I do the same task as a woman, and if the measurement is at all subjective, chances are people will think I did a better job.

I am aware of no reason to believe this to be the case. What might be true is that men are better at creating the impression of having done a good job or that self-presentation is affected by self-confidence. More likely, this item is just wishful thinking by a Feminist.

This, of course, with a reading that implies a comparably strong performance or a performance where little objective quality difference can be found. Otherwise, it might simply be that the man performed better on the “objective” parts... Note that there is no mention of what happens when the measurement is objective, which would have been crucial as a “control group”: would men be or not be ahead there too? (Anecdotally: in my personal experiences, there is a fair chance that they, on average, would be. Reasonably: Is there any measurement of job performance that is not to some part subjective, making the original claim, de facto, about all work performance?)

7. If I’m a teen or adult, and if I can stay out of prison, my odds of being raped are relatively low.

The odds of a woman being raped are relatively low. In fact, they are absolutely low, the incidence of rape being far lower that what feminist propaganda claims. Further, we can easily counter with items like “If I am a woman, my odds of staying out of prison are relatively low.”—here, as elsewhere, items (allegedly) favouring men have been cherry-picked without consideration for items where women are favoured.

8. On average, I am taught to fear walking alone after dark in average public spaces much less than my female counterparts are.

This is true, but the ones teaching women this fear are feminists and their ilk—and this teaching is often done to paint men as evil or to get further support for the rape hysteria. Who then is truly the victim? And: Why should it count against men that (mostly) feminist women spread a lie? (See also the above link.)

9. If I choose not to have children, my masculinity will not be called into question.

And who questions the femininity of women without children? Mostly other women... Further, a woman can e.g. chose to wear a skirt or a pair of trousers without having her femininity questioned. How about men?


By 2023, I am 48, without children, and unmarried. On quite a few occasions, others have thought me gay, considered me weird, seen me as having my priorities wrong, or similar for not having a greater interest in founding a family—even as a man. There have also been several instances when someone has simply assumed that I was married and/or had children based on my age.

But, yes, by all means, I cannot recall anyone questioning specifically my masculinity...

10. If I have children but do not provide primary care for them, my masculinity will not be called into question.

Just a variation of the preceding item.

11. If I have children and provide primary care for them, I’ll be praised for extraordinary parenting if I’m even marginally competent.

I have seen no signs of this. What I have seen on a few occasions is women lauding a man for the effort. Of course, if we apply the same low level of proof as the author of the list does, we could also argue e.g. that a man who does provide primary care could have his masculinity questioned.

12. If I have children and a career, no one will think I’m selfish for not staying at home.

Yet another issue where the criticism stems mostly from other women. In reverse, a woman can chose to stay home with the children without working, and no-one will think her a slacker or a sissy.

13. If I seek political office, my relationship with my children, or who I hire to take care of them, will probably not be scrutinized by the press.

Hardly true: Look at Obama. For that matter, try to become a male president without having the “right” wife...

14. My elected representatives are mostly people of my own sex. The more prestigious and powerful the elected position, the more this is true.

This is not an automatic privilege—note e.g. the problem with undue chivalry towards women or how many allegedly “Patriarchal” societies have gone out of their way to give women various advantages. See also the discussion about promotions. Further, should not competence, compatibility of opinions and priorities, and similar be more important criteria than sex?

15. When I ask to see “the person in charge,” odds are I will face a person of my own sex. The higher-up in the organization the person is, the surer I can be.

Just a variation of the preceding item.


From another angle, in light of the “Karen” debates in the years leading up to 2023, what are the implications of asking to see “the person in charge”?

For instance, might the author of the list be a “Karen”? (The inclusion on the list could point to this being a far more common occurrence for her than for e.g. me.)

For instance, might the item have a natural counterpart relating to women being more or far more likely to ask than men? (Respectively, to ask in situations where it is not warranted?)

Of course, if this list had been written today, chances are that it would include an item of “Your risk of being called a ‘Karen’ is negligible.” or some such. (To which the answer “Well, if the shoe fits...” would have offered it self.)


Looking back at my own experiences (mileages might vary), even the correctness of the claim seems dubious, at least for lower levels.

With the hierarchies that I have seen “from the inside” in the world of IT, the number of female middle-managers, project managers, and similar has been disproportionate relative their share of the overall staff. (Still a minority, but a larger minority than for the overall staff. What, then, happens in a company where women have equal or superior numbers in the overall staff?)

Similarly, hierarchies seen “from the outside”, e.g. in hotels and restaurants, seem to have more women than men on (at least) lower supervisory levels. True, this might be an artifact of these hierarchies being disproportionately in service fields; however, if someone does ask for “the person in charge”, the chances are disproportionate that it is in a service field.

16. As a child, chances are I was encouraged to be more active and outgoing than my sisters.

This might or might not be true, but it is not a privilege. I certainly did not appreciate being pestered about reading less, playing more, and making friends with Tom, Dick, and Harry as a child. In addition, I doubt that the typical man is more naturally outgoing than the typical woman—and might not any such encouragement, as was the case for me, be a result of not being sufficiently naturally outgoing in the eyes of close relatives?

17. As a child, I could choose from an almost infinite variety of children’s media featuring positive, active, non-stereotyped heroes of my own sex. I never had to look for it; male protagonists were (and are) the default.

Partially true where heroic characters (but not protagonists) are concerned; minus-points are given for the incorrect claim that the heroes are not stereotyped. However, this is not an automatic privilege. Further, at least in Sweden, today’s girls are taught from the go that they can succeed with anything—Swedish boys are more likely to receive a negative image from media and schools. My impressions from the US debate point in a similar direction. Besides what is the chance of having a teacher of the same sex for boys?


By 2023, female heroes seem to dominate in fiction—to the point that existing male characters have been recast as women. (Note e.g. Dr. Who and how there are even clamors for a female James Bond...)

18. As a child, chances are I got more teacher attention than girls who raised their hands just as often.

Speculative; might or might not have been true in the past. Today, the school systems as a whole are increasingly geared towards girls in the western world. What are the relative chances of a boy and a girl of receiving a Ritalin prescription?


Then there are questions like “What type of attention?” and “How did behavior affect the attention level?”. For instance, what if the girl shyly and half-hearted lifted a hand, while the boy jumped up and down with a “Me! Me!”? What if the attention consisted of a “Sit down and shut up before I send you to the principal!”?

Both illustrate the common and distorting over-simplifications so common among Feminist: It is implied that the behaviors were equivalent, while they might not have been, and that the attention was positive, which it might not have been.

(Of course, some seem to see attention of any form as a positive, and the author of the list could conceivably be one of them. However, if so, that is her priority, which many others, including yours truly, do not share.)

19. If my day, week or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether or not it has sexist overtones.

Neither does a woman. The fact that many women incorrectly do, in turn, is something that ultimately does more damage to men than women. Cf. the link above and e.g. my discussion of gender glasses and the associated problem that those who search for signs of X often find them—even when X is not actually present.

20. I can turn on the television or glance at the front page of the newspaper and see people of my own sex widely represented.

Certainly not an automatic privilege. Further, in at least Sweden, the newspapers often actively pick photos, sometimes even stories, to include more women—implying that a woman’s chance at publicity for the same actions are far higher. (Note that this only applies to positive stories.)

Or pick up a brochure, a college textbook, or similar, and note the usually considerably lower proportion of white men relative white women resp. non-white men. (Why college textbooks are filled with photos of humans instead of facts, arguments, and other relevant material, is another question—and it might well have something to do with the increasingly female college demographics.)

21. If I’m careless with my financial affairs it won’t be attributed to my sex.

Firstly, this is not necessarily true. Secondly, the implication that the reverse applies to women on a larger scale is dubious. Thirdly, it could well be that there are sex differences in this area—and then this attribution is actually a privilege, because the woman has a perfect excuse.


Indeed, statistics seem to show that women are more likely to spend and less likely to save than men. Anecdotally, I once encountered a blog post or comment that spoke of investment advice in magazines, with the core idea that magazines targeting men spoke of how to invest, while those targeting women spoke of the importance to save/invest, at all.

22. If I’m careless with my driving it won’t be attributed to my sex.

Variation of the previous item. The reply is the same, except that the likelihood of actual sex differences is very large.


To boot, the statistics here seem to go in the opposite direction, that women are less careless than men, which would make the attribution quite odd. (The trend seems to be that men are better drivers from a technical point of view, but that women might be safer drivers through taking fewer risks, exceeding speed limits more rarely, etc.)

23. I can speak in public to a large group without putting my sex on trial.

So can women.

24. Even if I sleep with a lot of women, there is no chance that I will be seriously labeled a “slut,” nor is there any male counterpart to “slut-bashing.”

Again, an item where the criticism typically comes from other women. Why should men receive complaints when women hack on other women?

25. I do not have to worry about the message my wardrobe sends about my sexual availability.

If women would dress more sensibly, neither would they; if men dressed less sensibly, they very well might. Further, there seems to be an odd default assumption that a man (with reservations for the seriousness of any current relationship) is always sexually available—which, I suspect, the typical woman would like even less.

26. My clothing is typically less expensive and better-constructed than women’s clothing for the same social status. While I have fewer options, my clothes will probably fit better than a woman’s without tailoring.

Is it a privilege to recognize the advantages of dressing sensibly? Possibly, but not one that belongs on a list of this type. Cheaper and more practical clothes are available to the women who are smart enough to wear them.


More generally, what is offered on the market to a large part reflects what the consumers are willing to buy. Anyone with even a “101” level of knowledge of business and economics should realize the effect of buying patterns on what is offered. If women are offered more expensive, worse-constructed, whatnot, clothes than men, this reflects what priorities women and men have when buying clothes—not some conspiracy of cigar-smoking men, trying to oppress women.

If women consistently preferred the less expensive and more practical, the offers would change. Ditto, in the other direction, for men.

The same applies to female privileges like having most of the ground floor of a department store (and most of the rest of the store) dedicated to female interests, while men have to travel several floors up to find what interests them—women spend more and are, therefore, given priority.

Also note e.g. the below item on car sales: while it is not inconceivable that a salesman would give a higher starting price to a woman than to a man, he would only do so in the hope that the woman would be a less informed customer (or one more likely to buy without negotiation, or whatnot). His interest is in making as large a commission as possible, by selling as many cars at as high prices as he can—not in giving men good deals because they are men and women bad deals because they are women. Of course, if he entertains such hopes, it is likely because of previous experiences with female customers...

(This in as far as negotiations are allowed at all. Going by rumor, the room to negotiate the visible-to-all-regardless-of-sex “sticker price” is smaller today than in the past.)

Similar claims might apply elsewhere in this list, e.g. concerning the billboards with “scantily-clad women”. If there are more such than of scantily-clad men, this is because that is what brings (or is perceived to bring) the most profit.

27. The grooming regimen expected of me is relatively cheap and consumes little time.

Expected by whom? Mostly other women or, specifically, men considering a romantic/sexual involvement. It does not take longer for a woman to make herself suitably presentable—that she chooses to spend the extra time, well, that is her problem. Notably, many men would be quite happy if their women spent less time before the mirror...


Here I might be partially in error through having underestimated the needed effort for e.g. shaving legs. Then again, this underestimation is rooted in how women try to pretend that they are naturally hairless or whatnot, while men are open about shaving their faces and that a smooth face is not the natural state of a grown man.

However, my general objection is often true, e.g. in that a woman can need far longer than a man to get dressed, fix her hair, whatnot, in order to gain an advantage that might only be noticed by other women (if at all).

(As a counterpoint, to give yet another illustration of cherry-picking, the physical training “expected” of men to be attractive is usually well above what is “expected” of women and/or involves greater expenses in form of e.g. equipment.)

28. If I buy a new car, chances are I’ll be offered a better price than a woman buying the same car.

This might (or might not) be true based on the assumption that women know less about cars or are more likely to fold easily. However, a woman who has read up and has the confidence will eventually have the same outcome: No-one forces her to buy and the salesman wants to do the sale. As a bonus, an attractive woman might manage to sweet-talk a male salesman in a way that is not open to men.

29. If I’m not conventionally attractive, the disadvantages are relatively small and easy to ignore.

This is only true in as far as any female privilege stemming from sexual attraction is nullified. Otherwise, it is more-or-less the same for everyone. Notably, highly successful men often need to be exactly conventionally attractive.

30. I can be loud with no fear of being called a shrew. I can be aggressive with no fear of being called a bitch.

Apart from loud and aggressive men often being criticized (if typically behind their backs), what women do to deserve these names is usually more than being loud and aggressive: There is often a difference present in terms of e.g. meanness, often manifested in choice of words or a particular tone of voice that a man in the same place would be unlikely to use.

31. I can ask for legal protection from violence that happens mostly to men without being seen as a selfish special interest, since that kind of violence is called “crime” and is a general social concern. (Violence that happens mostly to women is usually called “domestic violence” or “acquaintance rape,” and is seen as a special interest issue.)

This seems to be a prime example of reversing the accusation. Women have a major privilege in that their “special interests” are given corresponding special treatment—often to the severe disadvantage of men, who see their problems neglected or are implicitly painted as the brutes who do all these horrible things to the poor innocent little women. In effect, this item is the advantaged party (women) complaining that the disadvantaged party (men) would be advantaged...

In addition, bear in mind that true rape statistics shows it to be comparatively rare, false accusations to be disproportionally common, and that men are the main victims (!) of domestic violence. Cf e.g. [3], [4]e.

32. I can be confident that the ordinary language of day-to-day existence will always include my sex. “All men are created equal,” mailman, chairman, freshman, he.

This misguided claim has been dealt with extensively in my discussion of gender-neutral language.

33. My ability to make important decisions and my capability in general will never be questioned depending on what time of the month it is.

Such questioning is rare even for women—and it is often well-founded when it does happen: The time of month does have a considerable effect on many women. Now, not having a period—that I would recognize as a male privilege.

34. I will never be expected to change my name upon marriage or questioned if I don’t change my name.

While once true, this item is increasingly becoming outdated—and it is a mere detail compared to some disadvantages that men have from marriage (at least in the US): Compare e.g. changing or not changing a name with paying or receiving alimony.

35. The decision to hire me will not be based on assumptions about whether or not I might choose to have a family sometime soon.

True, but this aspect of a hiring decision happens to be valid—and with less legislation intended to privilege women (in e.g. Germany) it would be a less important aspect.

36. Every major religion in the world is led primarily by people of my own sex. Even God, in most major religions, is pictured as male.

After 35 items, most of which have been hogwash, comes one that I can concur with.


And even here, looking back from 2023, I am not so certain.

For instance, looking at the Judeo-Christian God, he is usually depicted (and, as here, “pronouned”) as male, but extrapolating maleness or a sex division to God (unlike, say, Odin) is dubious to begin with, and feeling privileged or unprivileged in accordance might tell us more about the feeler than the facts at hand. Within Catholicism, from a popular view, the most important figure and first helper is often Mary, Mother of God—not God himself. To this might be added a great number of female saints. My native Sweden, e.g., has one single person, Birgitta (Bridget), officially counting as a saint—and she was certainly a woman. (Note that the Swedish Church separated from the Catholic Church in the 16th century.)

Polytheistic religions might be slightly male heavy, but usually still contain a great number of female figures, often of great importance. For instance, it can be argued that Isis was the most important divine figure in Egyptian religion for some stretches of time, while ancient Athens had Athena as its special protector and the Romans drew heavily on Venus as the mother of the proto-Roman Aeneas, as the ancestor of his descendant and Rome-founder Romulus, and as the ancestor of e.g. Julius Caesar. (If the religious and pseudo-historical claims are taken at face value, which most Romans likely would have. I draw on ancient religions because I am less familiar with the polytheistic religions of today.)

Looking at hierarchies in religious organisations, the mileage can vary considerably, but I note that the current incarnation of the Swedish Church has more women than men among the priests and has had at least one female head (the Archbishop of Uppsala). To boot, I have heard claims, but have not investigated their correctness, that it has fallen prey to “Feminist theology”.

From another point of view, what is the relatively likelihood that a Feminist (or someone else who actually cares about “privilege”) is e.g. Christian and would stand any risk of being “underprivileged” through a male God? More likely she is an atheist, an agnostic, a goes-to-church-twice-a-year “Christian”, or a believer in some New Age and woman-centric religion of recent invention, where a “Mother Goddess”, a misappropriated Gaea, or similar is the central figure.

37. Most major religions argue that I should be the head of my household, while my wife and children should be subservient to me.

I have no statistics on this, but it is true for at least some religions. If we look at the West, however, this item is increasingly unimportant. In fact, today, it is often religion that adapts its message to fit society’s expectations rather than the opposite. Certainly, arguing male superiority based on the Bible would not lead anywhere with a Western court or most Western women...


Since the original writing, I have also developed the strong suspicion that many allegedly patriarchal societies are/were so more in name than in fact, as there might be more of a division of responsibilities than a master–servant relationship. This notably in the form that the husband represents the family outwards and makes external decisions, while the wife rules the household. As the joke goes: In my family, I make all the important big-picture decisions, like what party we should vote for; my wife makes all the unimportant every-day decisions, like what car we should buy.

38. If I have a wife or live-in girlfriend, chances are we’ll divide up household chores so that she does most of the labor, and in particular the most repetitive and unrewarding tasks.

Disputable and/or misleading, considering statistics on various forms of house work (not limited just cleaning and the like) and overall hours worked. (See e.g. [5].) Further, if “we’ll divide up”, this is a mutual decision—not a privilege. In contrast, “I can dictate the division” would be a privilege. More often, likely, the woman simply chooses to do a certain task now, because she feels a need to have it done here and now, while the man does not, because he feels that it can wait another two days.

39. If I have children with my girlfriend or wife, I can expect her to do most of the basic childcare such as changing diapers and feeding.

Yes, she will likely be more interested in voluntarily doing this... Further, chances are that she will take most of any parental vacation or quit her job while I remain bored at the office. Work is rarely something done for pleasure, but a necessary evil done to bring in money to the household.

40. If I have children with my wife or girlfriend, and it turns out that one of us needs to make career sacrifices to raise the kids, chances are we’ll both assume the career sacrificed should be hers.

See the previous item. Note, further, that if the woman’s career is the more advanced this need not hold true—but that women tend to fall for men who are more successful, capable, and/or older (with the implication that his career will typically be further along).

41. Assuming I am heterosexual, magazines, billboards, television, movies, pornography, and virtually all of media is filled with images of scantily-clad women intended to appeal to me sexually. Such images of men exist, but are rarer.

While this is something that I appreciate, it is not a privilege: Men simply like to look at scantily-clad women more than women like to look at scantily-clad men. For that matter, I have heard claimed that many (heterosexual) women prefer to look at other women (but do not vouch for this being true). Then we have issues like whether women might be more likely to find a non-naked man sexually appealing than men a non-naked woman, in which case undressing the man might be pointless or even detrimental. Looking specifically at pornography, the amount of nakedness, for natural reasons, lands at roughly 50–50, making the inclusion dubious.

From another point of view: What about the greater likelihood that a woman has of earning money from being photographed? Or the greater likelihood of being in a movie based on beauty in the absence of actual acting talent? Or the considerably larger payments that female porn actors apparently earn?

42. In general, I am under much less pressure to be thin than my female counterparts are. If I am fat, I probably suffer fewer social and economic consequences for being fat than fat women do.

And once again an item where the problem lies mostly with other women...


This item is also particularly illustrative of some other issues that can apply elsewhere, too. Consider, e.g.:

  • To what degree does this pressure come from men and to what degree from other women? Chances are that it is other women, especially when it comes to social consequences. (To re-iterate the original comment.)

  • To what degree would any negative consequences arise through an ideal pushed too hard by women, themselves? If women push a “I must look like Twiggy!” attitude, they set a baseline for men’s expectations. By being more relaxed, they would set a less ambitious baseline and be considered fat only at a higher weight. Moreover, a fat woman might now deviate more from the respective baseline than a fat man, which makes the natural perception of e.g. poor self-discipline the larger—and usually correctly.

  • There is reason to suspect that fat women do not as much have disadvantages relative men as fail to gain the advantages of a physically attractive woman.

  • If (!) fat women do have disadvantages, are those caused by fatness or merely correlated with it? Looking at my own experiences, fat men are often just regular men who happen to be fat, possibly excepting a weak negative correlation with IQ. Fat women, in contrast and in addition to the IQ issue, often fall into one of two categories, namely, (a) the grumpy and bitter, (b) the artificially cheerful and annoyingly fake—both of which are more off-putting to me than fatness, as such. Certainly, personality trumps looks when it comes to a collegial and platonic relationship.

    (Too complicate matters further, we might have to ask questions like “Is a bitter woman fat, because she is bitter and eats for comfort?” resp. “Is a bitter woman bitter because she was treated poorly for being fat?”. Of course, such nuances are lost on the likes of Feminists.)

  • Cherry-picking angle: What about the greater pressure on a man to be muscular?

    Even the issue of thinness is far from clear: I have, on some few occasions, heard women claim that men needed to be thinner than women to remain attractive and/or that more fat was tolerable in a woman than a man. This might, of course, be a matter of wishful thinking. (For instance, one of the cases was my own mother, who spent most of her life somewhere between chubby and fat.) However, it is also possible that they draw on experiences with men’s tastes—as opposed to the pressure applied on women by other women. It might also be that both sexes have an ideal weight (body-fat percentage, BMI, whatnot) below the current average and that men simply have a more relaxed attitude about it.

  • Looking at e.g. adolescents, the problems of a fat boy might well be larger. Consider being bad at sports when other boys are good and much of their lives revolve around sports. Ditto getting a girl with the added handicap of being out of shape on top of the “girls prefer older boys or young men” handicap. (In contrast, youth tends to be an advantage for the girls, often outweighing fatness, and prowess at sports is far less important.)

43. If I am heterosexual, it’s incredibly unlikely that I’ll ever be beaten up by a spouse or lover.

Incredibly untrue: Women are the main perpetrators of domestic violence and men the victims according to many investigations. Cf. [4]e. (In a twist, the claim would have been closer to the truth for homosexuals, as male–male relationships appear to be the least violent and female–female the most violent...)

44. Complete strangers generally do not walk up to me on the street and tell me to “smile.”

I have in 36 years never, ever seen this happen to anyone, irrespective of sex, in real life. (Nor can I say for certain that I have seen it in fiction.) As a counter-point, it is far rarer for men to get positive attention from strange women—let alone being asked to drink a free cup of coffee.


By 2023, age 48, I have encountered exactly one case. I, still a man, was the “victim”; the “perpetrator”, a woman. (But, true, she did not walk up to me. Rather, she remained seated by the wall with a fellow wino/beggar/whatnot.)

Besides, I would not take it for granted that most women would disapprove of the described event. At the very least, a non-trivial minority will enjoy the attention and/or the possibility to engage in a bit of small-talk or a flirt.

45. Sexual harassment on the street virtually never happens to me. I do not need to plot my movements through public space in order to avoid being sexually harassed, or to mitigate sexual harassment.

See the previous entry on sexual harassment in the office.

45. On average, I am not interrupted by women as often as women are interrupted by men.

(Double occurrence of “45.” is present in the original.)

Dubious. Further, the likelihood that a man needs to be interrupted for someone else to speak is lower, and the density of relevant information in his speech tends to be higher. It is not a privilege to be treated differently for different behavior. See also the above discussion of interruptions and my being interrupted.

In addition, a better comparison would not merely look at the interrupter–interruptee combinations man–woman and woman–man, but also include man–man and woman–woman, or even go straight to man–human, woman–human, human–man, and human–woman.

46. I have the privilege of being unaware of my male privilege.

Of all the bullshit in the above list, claim 46. is the worst. I would counter with e.g. “A woman has the privilege of believing others are privileged even when they are not.”—or simply take number 46. in reverse: The whole concept of male privilege is intimately tied to an inability to see the many, many areas where women are privileged. In many ways, it is as if a boy had a dollar in dimes and a girl a dollar in nickels—and the girl “proved” how unfairly she was being treated by pointing to his dimes and neglecting to consider her own nickels...

Besides, this combines two of the most common politically correct tricks of rhetoric: Either you admit that we are right—or your refusal, in and by it self, is proof. And: We are right about group X, but the members of group X are blind to the fact for reason Y. (“Y” being e.g. brain-washing by media or some form of “normity”.)