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

Introduction

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 user than about their targets.


Side-note:

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 it 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.


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.

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 may 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.)

    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 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 behaviour which is independent of race, sex, whatnot, is interpreted incorrectly.

    In these instances, it is also common that ones own behaviour is left out of consideration: Before raising accusations, one should always review ones own actions to see if they are the true cause. If, e.g., a woman of thirty behaves as if she was thirteen, she should not complain about not being taken seriously—she should start to behave like an adult. Even behaviour 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. 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 behaviour—not sex.


    Side-note:

    However, the common feminist claim that men constantly interrupt women and its many variations do not match my experience in general. 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 misattribute interruptions to their being women and then unduly extrapolate. “Silent” men do not have the privilege of that excuse.


  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” people 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 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.

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


Side-note:

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 may or may 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 may 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 may 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...

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 fair 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 may 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 was slim to nil.

Do I have an advantage over gays? Even ten years ago, I may have had it easier with regard to issues like sexuality and public behaviour. 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”?

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 in 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 with many mobbers. (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 people are not even aware that they implicitly treat and estimate people 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...


Side-note:

The comparison with non-Christians need not apply globally. While true in Sweden and Germany, it may be unfair in e.g. Texas.


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.

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 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 being a woman. The fact that men get more prestigious jobs more often have other explanations, including different life-style priorities. Cf. e.g. my discussion of the 77 cents on the dollar fraud).

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 likely 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 a disputable claim. 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 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.)

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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

This may or may 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 outgoing than the typical woman.

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?

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

Speculative, but may have been of importance 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?

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 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.)

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.

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.

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.

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 suitable 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...

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 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.

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 societies 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...

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.

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 that 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 it being true).

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...

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.

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.

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 behaviour. 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”.)