This post is in response to the anon’s question regarding what I think about Alexander Ryking’s “List of Female Privilege”. If you’re in need of a good eye roll, you can find it here. For those of you who are unaware like I was, Ryking is the #politics editor here on tumblr. Keep that in mind while you read this post and the screenshot from his twitter account. Before I begin with my critique of the text itself, I would like to mention that another reader suggested at the mere mention of a potential female privilege list, that the author would actually be referring to things along the lines of beauty privilege, youth privilege, and many other privileges that do not speak to the full spectrum of female experience. It does, as you will see, only refer to a small pool of cisgender females, and the list’s logic is not stable or sound in the regard either.
I would also like to suggest Ryking look at this post long and hard, and inform me if I am making any personal attacks; any misdandric comments; or accuse him of being a misogynist. Frankly, I don’t think I have to. And I accept your challenge of solely speaking factually, and engaging the “substance” of your article for the remainder of this post. Consider the photo I have accompanied to this post as a means of better answering the question, “Who exactly is Alexander Ryker?”, and “What is he all about?” Moving on to the aforementioned “substance”.
After reading through your list several times, Ryking, I’ve noticed a pattern. The things you claim under the title of [cis] female privilege are not really privileges. Most are a stretch at best, and at worst, they appear to be assumptions you’ve made I order to misdirect and provide others with misinformation. This is not an attack in the slightest. My blood is not boiling, and I imagine my heart is beating and whatever speed it might whilst knitting and drinking a delectable hot cocoa. This is purely fact. Look back over it yourself if you don’t believe me.
Originally, I was going to go through your list item by item, and explain why each was either incorrect or inaccurate, but if you’d like to discuss this further, I’m sure you’ll find me. Until then though, I do not want to waste the time doing that when I can just as well deliver the same result by addressing the piece as a whole.
Aside from the aforementioned patterns, if we are still keeping things analytical, I would like to acknowledge your arguments as one-sided exclamations, what they really are. I MIT agree that some of the statements made could prove true for some cis females, however, they are not privilege for two reasons: even if they did apply to all females in general, I think you misunderstand what privilege is for us. Being confined to certain things like being chaste for example. This is number twenty-two on your list though you have wored it differently. The sentiment is the same in hat you are correct being sexually inactive is half of the lovely virgin/whore dichotomy that many cisgender females experience, but as you can probably tell by where I’m headed with this, that is no more privilege than you feeling like you need an iv filled its Gatorade in order to meet society’s expectation of required sexual conquests. Both are forms of oppression. Both are a result of this patriarchal society we are living in, and lists like the one you’ve assembled aren’t doing anything to rid either of us of those chains.
As I think about this more and more, so many aspects of this list just don’t make any parallels to privilege at all. Like number two for example: “I have a much lower chance of being driven to successfully commit suicide than a man.” What is that? And number twenty: “If I interact with other people’s children — particularly people I don’t know very well — I do not have to worry much about the interaction being misinterpreted”? And number twenty-three: “From my late teens through menopause, for most levels of sexual attractiveness, it is easier for me to find a sex partner at my attractiveness level than it is for a man”?
If you are looking at some statistic about more males committing suicide than females, I don’t see the correlation between being “driven to do it”, as you say, and privilege. Next, what do you mean by your choice to interracial with children to be “misinterpreted”? I’m hoping you don’t mean something like the misinterpretation that you are some sort of child molester, because if that’s the case, I have to question the validity of your whole list. The only misinterpretation I can think of that might actually be fitting would be that you like children when in reality, you don’t. That’s it. And your item about finding a sex partner who is at the same level of attractiveness, by that logic, the man would also be gaining a partner at his level of attractiveness. But you also claimed that this female privilege exists because he is not likely to do this. And if that’s the case, then the female can’t by default either. Just adopting your logic so everything stays congruent here.
I just have to mention a few more specific items, because, well, I just have to. number thirteen: “If I was born in North America since WWII, I can be almost certain that my genitals were not mutilated soon after birth, without anesthesia”. You are being real specific there. Is that because if you left off those contingencies, you might have to include females as well, because I’m pretty sure female genital mutilation is thriving a lot of places, and if we are talking just penises, I like them uncircumcised. Perhaps you should take this quip not to women, but to some parent or medical organization and argue your case. That would be more productive then getting mad at those of us have our clits fully in tact. Privilege? That should be a fucking right everywhere. And damnit, I’m working on stopping it, why don’t you help me?
And as far as number six and twenty-one our concerned, be grateful that it is accepted and encouraged you rise up in the “hierarchy”. If there is something I don’t think we have enough of in this country, it’s male politicians and CEOs. Thank goodness for that one female president… Oh, wait…. And if females have the long straw in terms of accommodations for not meeting gender expectations, then I must be smoking something crazy. What color is the sky again? Seriously though, really? Have you not noticed the billboards and magazines filled with airbrushed and Photoshoped images of what used to be a female? Maybe you have forgotten what they look like from being immersed in a pornified culture, filled with male privilege, in fact, where you can rest assure that you aren’t aren’t going to be verbally harassed, abused, and threatened over the Internet for speaking out these very injustices, and moreso, heaven forbid, speaking your mind. How unladylike of me.