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Wellness

Standing United Against Male Privilege

Before starting this article I want to be clear that these are my experiences with male privilege. Male privilege takes different formats for everyone and will be different depending on where you live around the world. All female perspectives are valid, and important. No matter how small or how big the barriers we need to overcome are, we as women are all in this together. 

We, as women, face fear everyday. This is our reality. 

We step outside late at night and wonder what precautions we need to take to be safe. 

During the day we wonder if someone will hit on us, and why the fuck men won’t take no for an answer when they ask for our numbers. 

When stepping out the door in the morning, I have to consider every item of clothing I’m wearing, access the risk and decide whether it’s worth it or not to feel gorgeous that day. If I’m wearing a short dress with over the knee tights, I have to decide if it’s worth getting asked out three times while simply trying to get to school. Whether it’s worth getting glares from older women, and several once-overs from my next door neighbour as he says “I love your outfit…It’s a guy thing. We notice this stuff” while escorting me to the end of my road.  

The thing is, he’s right – it is a guy thing. Guys are the only people with the privilege to look at someone and compliment them inappropriately because of the way they’re dressing and see it as a genuine compliment . In addition to this, the older women, by judging other women, are only solidifying and corroborating this idea of male privilege.

 I have gone on a date where a guy wears sweatpants, hasn’t taken a shower and still comments on the fact that I don’t look as good as my photo because I’m not wearing makeup, or asks me to take off my glasses because I look better without them. I am expected to look my best in makeup and wearing contact lenses in order to please him, and yet he does nothing to make himself look good for the date, and expects a second date after. This highlights the double standards that male privilege gives males. 

We all have stories like this. We all have moments of men being shitty to us and expecting to get away with it, simply because they’re men.

A year ago I had a debate with my sister’s boyfriend. It started as a discussion about politics, specifically Brett Kavanaugh. He argued that the women that were accusing Kavanaugh of sexual assault were probably lying for political purposes, and somehow we descended into a debate about the existence of male privilege. His main argument was that since he hadn’t seen male privilege, it couldn’t exist. In the two years he dated my sister, he never gave up that argument. Clearly men don’t see a problem with the reality that we as women face daily. Instead they chose to ignore our voices, demanding that we prove our stories valid before accepting them as truth.

Today women face lower incomes than men, are less likely to be hired even with a better resume, and are overlooked for promotions. In the United States a woman will make 72-82% of that that a man makes, and yet people still refuse to see male privilege as a reality that we as women face everyday.

As a result, I propose a different approach to fighting against male privilege. One that is not solely focused on education.It is time that we as women support each other, and stood together.  

Feminism today largely takes place online in forums and other forms of outreach, and, especially with President Trump’s impact, the world is a scary place for women, and we have a very long road ahead of us to reach equality. 

 I think it’s time we go beyond fighting digitally to standing together, even in small ways, even if it’s showing other women self-defence moves or complementing each other on our badass outfits so that the only compliments we get aren’t just sexist, demeaning cat-calls. I propose that for once, without question, we choose to love each other and maybe, just maybe, we can begin to fight for equality more strongly as a truly united force. 

If we can love ourselves and love each other we are walking away from the ideals and self hatred that society instills in us everyday. If we can value each-other, and value ourselves we take away society’s control over our actions, and as a result we can create opportunities for ourselves and other women.

Bridget Heuvel

UWindsor '22

Bridget is a writer for Her Campus Windsor. She's an English Language and Literature student at the University of Windsor who has a love of chocolate, wandering at night, and all things literature.
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