Title in reference to this meme.
For those who argue that there is no need for feminism, or who think that there is no such thing as privilege, read this.
Go to the movies, watch a political debate, open a newspaper. You won’t be surprised to see that the majority of people you see are white or male. This isn’t because white males are better than every one else, but because they’re the ones who set the status quo, who shape our social reality. A study done in 2014 shows that 73% of characters in movies are white and even in movies with female leads, males do most of the talking. Think this isn’t real? Check out this chart below showcasing research on 2,000+ high-grossing films by Hannah Anderson and Matt Daniels.
The root of this problem is that women and minorities are not given opportunities to be in positions of power, especially regarding the film industry. This isn’t because they are “lazy” or “underachievers” but rather that white, cisgender males are given more odds in their favor. These odds are called privilege.
If this is confusing, think about getting a bag full of red beads. Everyone else has a bag that is full of orange, yellow, white, green, blue, purple, and pink beads. Some of those bags have red beads. But not as many. And you cannot swap out these beads. In America, if you have a bag full of red beads, you are more likely to get away with things or get what you want. Red beads (privilege) are equivalent to white, male, cisgender, upper-class, heterosexual individuals, while the other beads are what make up minorities. But in other cultures, the different colored beads might relate to privilege. It is all based on how those in power use their power to shape our social realities. Crazy, right?
Self-edited version of Michael Vadon’s image, CC
Like how Trump has the privilege to use whatever language he chooses, in a political setting, yet is still taken seriously. Note his word choice below, “failing” “crooked” “nuts” “disgusting” “badly” “irresponsible” “laughingstock” “wacky” “neurotic” and “boring.” His language is both offensive and brings controversial (ableist) terms into use. Rather than taking criticism in stride like an adult or making effort to debunk the claims, Trump gets to throw youthful insults around without media criticism.
Notice how Trump gets to make points without evidence. Does he even link the instances he is referring to? No. Pretty credible, right? Meanwhile, those who use rhetorical strategies and critical reasoning are getting ridiculed and, get this, people reading those tweets believe it without a second thought because of Trump’s privilege. And you can’t blame Americans, it’s not our fault, really. We’re born into society with these structures already in place, and when people like Trump have power, they use all the strategies their grubby hands can reach to keep that power.
Anyway, my point is, think twice before you say something. Think about how your position in society gives you power over others, and how that power might negatively effect their lives. Sure, maybe your life is great – but is it really worth the subordination of other individuals?
Don’t let your privilege poop on others! Image by mslavick on Flickr, CC
And to wrap this up, I want to talk about some word choice I regret in my last post on Transface. I would like to redact the comparison of blackface to transface because race and gender identity are separate matters and these are two separate movements. I would also like to change the term from transface to ciswashing, which better depicts the idea of priviliged cisgender individuals erasing the reality of trans individuals.
What are your privileges or your experiences with them? Comment below!