That’s the quote that repeatedly went through my mind when viewing the comments section of Mark Saunders’ “18 Things Females Seem To Not Understand (Because, Female Privilege)” article a few days ago. For daring to point out that women might have a few privileges that men don’t Saunders was met with scorn and vitriol, dragged out over 3,400 comments as of this writing. It didn’t end there either; Thought Catalog published a few responses to it, including one by Walker Hansen, filled with such petty insults and ad hominem attacks that most schoolchildren would think it was childish (yet was blaming Saunders for being immature, completely without irony).
Perhaps Saunders’ article didn’t deal with many men’s issues head-on. That would be a fine reason to criticise the article but that was not the reason why most people did. Instead, people took issue with the content itself, despite the fact that it was clearly a response to the many variations of the Male Privilege Checklists that exists online, complete with just as many questionable, biased and petty “privileges”.
Turning the tables and shining the spotlight on women, rather than on men, was all it took to stir up the anger of the more entitled readers.
All of this got me thinking; I believe that women are equal to men, are as strong and capable as I am and I have too much respect for women to constantly think of them as victims. So why, when Saunders came along to mention some areas where men are victims, did so many people crawl out of the woodwork to say “no, you’re wrong, women are victims!” How dare you talk about men as if they are too?” I’m sorry but I just don’t think so little of women that I have to consider them worse off in every walk of life. Nor, incidentally, am I so sexist that I think men don’t need help on occasion.
Instead of privilege checklists, let’s deal with a few facts; it’s 2014. These aren’t the days when first — and second-wave feminists were fighting to have their voices heard in a public forum and fought for issues like the right to vote, equal pay and the right to bodily autonomy; these are the days when feminists are given $158,000 dollars to make a video series on Youtube about the negative portrayals of women in video games, of all things.
Meanwhile, some issues that affect men include:
- Much less funding for men’s health – In Australia, women’s health research has received $833 million in funding compared to $200 million for men’s health research.
- Fewer resources for male victims of domestic violence – In the UK, men make up more than 40% of domestic violence victims but there are only 78 spaces in domestic violence shelters for men, compared to 4,000 for women (according to an article from April 2013).
- Less likely to gain sole custody of children following divorce – According to the U.S. Census Bureau in 2007 – the most recent statistics I could find on the subject – only 17.4% of custodial parents were fathers.
- More likely to be the victims of violent crime – “Men don’t have to fear walking alone at night” shouldn’t be appearing on any male privilege checklists after finding out 46.1% of men are more likely to face any kind of assault compared to 38.8% of women.
- More likely to be homeless – “Single men comprise 44 percent of the homeless” compared to 13% being comprised of single women.
Oh, and while we’re on the subject, there are many logical, non-sexist reasons why the wage gap exists, just to respond to one of the many recurring statements that cropped up in the comments section of Saunders’ article. According to equity feminist Christina Hoff Sommers, all but one of the top ten college majors that lead to the highest-paying jobs are predominately male. The exact opposite is true for the ten least profitable, with all but one being predominately female. Even taking all of this into account, young, single women, on average, earned more than young, single men in 2008.
Maybe before remarking “not enough women are on the Fortune 500 list”, you’ll consider saying “too many men are homeless”.
There will always be parties so terrified of the idea of men being victims that they will write oh-so-mature responses like “Female Privilege Isn’t Real You Crying Diaper Man-Baby” by Walker Hansen. However, as George R.R. Martin wrote, all that these insulting articles do is “tell the world that you fear what he might say”.
In short, let’s start being a bit more grown up. Start focusing on fixing a few problems and stop blaming everything on the “patriarchy”. I don’t know about you but I think I’m a little old to be blaming my imaginary friend whenever I break a vase. While I’m sure this article will face the same kind of “but women have it worse, you misogynist neckbeard shitlord!” comments that Saunders’ had, I’ll just leave one response to that in advance:
Check your privilege.