What Privileges Do Men Get from 'Male Privilege'?

Other than perhaps "white privilege," nothing merits more derision than so-called "male privilege."  Yet is "privilege" really the word to describe men in the West – at least those outside the top 10 percent – these days?

Feminists have gone about making checklists of such privileges, some accurate, some exaggerated.  For example, "I am far less likely to face sexual harassment at work than my female co-workers are," which is certainly true.  But others have made such lists for women, again some true and some exaggerated.  Obvious examples would include not having to sign up for the Selective Service, disproportionate amounts of money spent on breast cancer research as compared to prostate cancer research, and things like not being presumed to be a pedophile if you're taking pictures of your kids at the beach.

There's simply no objective way to compare such privileges.  Instead, feminists tend to look at who is in charge and, lo and behold, it's usually men.  Any advantages women have are due to "benevolent sexism," which doesn't count because women hold little or no political power and thereby never chose to have such benefits.

Aside from the fact, at least in democracies, that most voters are women and I've never heard a politician say anything directly about men's issues, this argument still fails.  Few individuals of either sex hold any political power.  Men and women are not collective beings, and the average man and woman have equal power to change society – virtually none.  Any "benevolent" or "malevolent" sexism we face is simply the hand we were dealt. 

Indeed, even if you take for granted what feminists say, it doesn't imply that men have privilege.  Even if you grant that men have all the power and have used it to oppress women and, furthermore, that this dreaded patriarchy has infected men with "toxic masculinity," it's still not enough.  Sure, it's not hard to find examples of male avarice.  After all, men make up 75 percent of those convicted for any crime, 90 percent of those convicted for violent crimes, and virtually all mass shooters.  But those things are beside the point.

Even if you additionally argued that virtually all domestic violence is committed by men (which is false), or almost all child abuse is committed by men (which is false), or the wage gap between men and women is completely due to discrimination (which is false), or if women were in charge, there would be no war (which is false), you are still arguing about the wrong question.  If you went so far as to blame men for every societal wrong, it still wouldn't imply privilege – only culpability.

The correct question is, "What are the fruits of this so-called male privilege?"  Well, on the one side, you have some definite positives:

From this list, it would seem men have all the power and a sizeable amount of privilege.  But on the other hand, you find this:

Would you consider it a privilege to join a club with the second list's outcomes?

One could argue that men are still privileged but simply do all these bad things to themselves (or each other).  But that's quite the assumption, given that all of men's positive outcomes are assumed to be because of discrimination.  After all, does a male CEO become a CEO simply by pulling out some male privilege?  It seems that if men do something bad, they have "toxic masculinity."  But if men do something good, (say, win the majority of Nobel Prizes), then they're "oppressive."  And even if men just do nothing, well, then, they're deadbeats or something like that.

Women are not to blame for men's dismal outcomes.  But it seems odd simply to blame men for, say, women being underrepresented in Congress or the STEM fields.  If men and women are different, we should expect different outcomes even absent discrimination.  If they're not, then how exactly can being among the group with the outcomes listed above be thought of as a "privilege"?

If I were to boil down all the advantages and disadvantages that men and women respectively have, men's greatest privilege is probably that of perceived competence.  This doesn't apply to everything; for example, it doesn't apply to childcare.  But more often than not, a man will be considered more competent as a leader, doer, or thinker than an equivalent woman.

Women's greatest privilege is being considered more worthy of empathy.  Namely, people care more about women's well-being than men.  Feminists themselves implicitly recognize this (when not exploiting it) by discussing how harmful it is for men to be told to "man up" and "real men don't cry" and the like.  Men are expected to take care of themselves.  Women can more easily ask for help.

This has now been scientifically proven.  A recent spate of five studies found "consistent support for our hypothesis that third parties more easily typecast women than men as victims of harm, and that this categorization results in greater concern for women's than men's suffering."  Men and women alike were more likely to sacrifice men than women in the runaway trolley car experiment (which asks if you would switch the track of a runaway trolley car so it would kill one person instead of simply letting it kill two or more).  And Alice Eagly and Antonio Mladinic coined the "Women Are Wonderful Effect" after looking at a myriad of studies showing that people tend to think more highly of and care more about women.

So, if we already generally care more about women than men, what positive effects can be expected by such ideas as "male privilege"?  After all, who puts much effort into empathizing with those who are toxic and those who are privileged?

Other than perhaps "white privilege," nothing merits more derision than so-called "male privilege."  Yet is "privilege" really the word to describe men in the West – at least those outside the top 10 percent – these days?

Feminists have gone about making checklists of such privileges, some accurate, some exaggerated.  For example, "I am far less likely to face sexual harassment at work than my female co-workers are," which is certainly true.  But others have made such lists for women, again some true and some exaggerated.  Obvious examples would include not having to sign up for the Selective Service, disproportionate amounts of money spent on breast cancer research as compared to prostate cancer research, and things like not being presumed to be a pedophile if you're taking pictures of your kids at the beach.

There's simply no objective way to compare such privileges.  Instead, feminists tend to look at who is in charge and, lo and behold, it's usually men.  Any advantages women have are due to "benevolent sexism," which doesn't count because women hold little or no political power and thereby never chose to have such benefits.

Aside from the fact, at least in democracies, that most voters are women and I've never heard a politician say anything directly about men's issues, this argument still fails.  Few individuals of either sex hold any political power.  Men and women are not collective beings, and the average man and woman have equal power to change society – virtually none.  Any "benevolent" or "malevolent" sexism we face is simply the hand we were dealt. 

Indeed, even if you take for granted what feminists say, it doesn't imply that men have privilege.  Even if you grant that men have all the power and have used it to oppress women and, furthermore, that this dreaded patriarchy has infected men with "toxic masculinity," it's still not enough.  Sure, it's not hard to find examples of male avarice.  After all, men make up 75 percent of those convicted for any crime, 90 percent of those convicted for violent crimes, and virtually all mass shooters.  But those things are beside the point.

Even if you additionally argued that virtually all domestic violence is committed by men (which is false), or almost all child abuse is committed by men (which is false), or the wage gap between men and women is completely due to discrimination (which is false), or if women were in charge, there would be no war (which is false), you are still arguing about the wrong question.  If you went so far as to blame men for every societal wrong, it still wouldn't imply privilege – only culpability.

The correct question is, "What are the fruits of this so-called male privilege?"  Well, on the one side, you have some definite positives:

From this list, it would seem men have all the power and a sizeable amount of privilege.  But on the other hand, you find this:

Would you consider it a privilege to join a club with the second list's outcomes?

One could argue that men are still privileged but simply do all these bad things to themselves (or each other).  But that's quite the assumption, given that all of men's positive outcomes are assumed to be because of discrimination.  After all, does a male CEO become a CEO simply by pulling out some male privilege?  It seems that if men do something bad, they have "toxic masculinity."  But if men do something good, (say, win the majority of Nobel Prizes), then they're "oppressive."  And even if men just do nothing, well, then, they're deadbeats or something like that.

Women are not to blame for men's dismal outcomes.  But it seems odd simply to blame men for, say, women being underrepresented in Congress or the STEM fields.  If men and women are different, we should expect different outcomes even absent discrimination.  If they're not, then how exactly can being among the group with the outcomes listed above be thought of as a "privilege"?

If I were to boil down all the advantages and disadvantages that men and women respectively have, men's greatest privilege is probably that of perceived competence.  This doesn't apply to everything; for example, it doesn't apply to childcare.  But more often than not, a man will be considered more competent as a leader, doer, or thinker than an equivalent woman.

Women's greatest privilege is being considered more worthy of empathy.  Namely, people care more about women's well-being than men.  Feminists themselves implicitly recognize this (when not exploiting it) by discussing how harmful it is for men to be told to "man up" and "real men don't cry" and the like.  Men are expected to take care of themselves.  Women can more easily ask for help.

This has now been scientifically proven.  A recent spate of five studies found "consistent support for our hypothesis that third parties more easily typecast women than men as victims of harm, and that this categorization results in greater concern for women's than men's suffering."  Men and women alike were more likely to sacrifice men than women in the runaway trolley car experiment (which asks if you would switch the track of a runaway trolley car so it would kill one person instead of simply letting it kill two or more).  And Alice Eagly and Antonio Mladinic coined the "Women Are Wonderful Effect" after looking at a myriad of studies showing that people tend to think more highly of and care more about women.

So, if we already generally care more about women than men, what positive effects can be expected by such ideas as "male privilege"?  After all, who puts much effort into empathizing with those who are toxic and those who are privileged?