Posted in Gender

“Check Your Privilege” is a Silencing Tactic, Nothing More

One of the largest obstacles to men being able to talk about their issues in a safe space in which they will be taken seriously, is how readily and easily we attempt to silence men for speaking out at all. Men are often shamed for attempting to discuss our difficulties, especially in public discourse, that many feel they cannot or should not.

“You’re a man, it’s easier for you” often goes hand in hand with “Be a man, grow a set”. Apparently, our Male Privilege (TM) makes it easier for us to cope with problems. The idea is that we should find it piss easy to deal with difficulties simply because of the genitals we have dangling between our legs. Those women who use these terms to silence men, or to shame men, are usually blissfully unaware of their own privileges or in denial that they have privilege over men in some areas.

There is an obstacle to men talking about their difficulties – the automatic belief that a man’s difficulties are lesser than that of any woman purely because he is a man and she is a woman. It leads to (and perhaps fuels) the belief that all men have privilege over all women which is ridiculous. If we believe that state of affairs then we are presenting the belief that the man in the image above has privilege over Emma Watson, Queen Elizabeth II, the pointless entities known as “The Kardashians”, Michelle Obama and so on.

Nobody in their right minds would suggest that a homeless man (by the way, 6 in 7 of homeless people are men) has more privilege over any of those women, but if you believe the state of affairs that all men have privilege over all women, then you simply must believe that otherwise you do not believe that all men have privilege over all women. The alternative is to accept that men can and do suffer difficulty and disadvantage – and we know how most feminists feel about that. It goes against patriarchal theory, for starters.

When the penny drops, and we wake up, we realise that there is such a thing as female privilege and male disadvantage. When we realise that, then it becomes blatantly obvious that any attempt to silence a man for talking about his difficulty is little more than a petulant silencing tactic born out of bigoty and narcissism. Being able to silence a group for distracting attention aware from your identity, is a privilege in itself.

How about we stop belittling men who are suicidal, homeless or have suffered sexual abuse at the hands of a woman? How about we stop blaming men who have been cheated on by a woman? How about we stop blaming men who have been hospitalised by a female partner? How about we stop asking “I wonder what he did to deserve it?” How about we stop belittling men who are expected to be strong for his family going through tragedy and feeling he cannot let his hurt show?

Further reading

Thought Catalog on how feminists silence men with “check your privilege”

The ever-excellent Feminist Critics has a post about female privilege in this older thread

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Author:

I go by the name of Frank Speaking. My blog "In the Mind of Men" (former name Chin Up, Chest High) started out as a chronicle of my mental health recovery. Now it is a forum where I discuss issues related to male mental health.

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