Field of Science

Re: The Male Privilege Checklist

In our modern society men clearly have many privileges over women. See The Male Privilege Checklist at some blog, and on Pharyngula.

As a man - one of those who are not happy that people are treated badly in any way because of their gender - I find that I want to highlight some of the disadvantages there are to being a man.

Here's is my list with immediate reactions to some of the points made on The Male Privilege Checklist. The fact that I react to them in this way does emphatically not mean that I disagree that men have many privileges over women. We obviously do. But women have some, too, and some of those I am quite honestly very envious of, particularly in regards to children. The numbers refer to points in the original list.

3. If I am never promoted, I cannot blame it on my sex.
4. If I fail in my job or career, it is more likely that it will disrupt my family.
5. I am far more likely to be sued for sexual harassment than my female co-workers are.
7. If I’m a teen or adult, it is less likely that I can stay out of prison (where my odds of getting raped increase dramatically).
9. If I choose to be a housespouse, my masculinity will be called into question.
10. If I have children but am not the breadwinner, my masculinity will be called into question.
11. If I have children and provide primary care for them, in public people will often ask where their mother is.
17. As a child, if I chose a hero of the opposite sex, I could be sure other children and adults would worry about me.
19. I need to worry more than the opposite sex whether my behavior can be construed as sexual harassment.
21. If I’m careless with my financial affairs, I am more likely to be blamed harder by my spouse.
29. If I am not rich or powerful, chances are I will have a harder time attracting the opposite sex.
30. If I am loud or aggressive, people are more likely to call the police on me.
32. I can be confident that the fact that ordinary language of day-to-day existence will always include my sex will sometimes be brought up against me, even though I had no part of making it so.
33. I am more likely to be treated unreasonably by my spouse depending on what time of the month it is.
40. If I have children with my wife or girlfriend, and she decides to make career sacrifices to raise the kids, chances are people will assume I am the one who wanted it that way.
41. Assuming I am heterosexual, magazines, billboards, television, movies, pornography, and virtually all of media is filled with images of scantily-clad women intended to appeal to me sexually. People will assume I like that, and that I am a sexist because I like it.
42. I am much more likely to suffer health consequences from being fat.
43. If I am heterosexual, and beaten up by a spouse or lover, it is much less likely that people would believe me.
46. I have the disadvantage of being blamed for my male privilege.
101. On average, my life is shorter than that of the opposite sex.
102. It will always be assumed that I am not as close to my children as my spouse.
103. I can be confident that if I complain about the disadvantages of my sex, most people will think of me as a loser.
104. If I go through a divorce and we cannot retain joint custody, it is most likely that I will not be the one getting custody of our children.
105. It is always assumed that my spouse is more important to my children.
106. I can be confident that people will assume that I am on the side of my own sex.
107. If I write a list with some of the disadvantages of my sex, chances are that people will call me a whiner and a misogynist.

Notice that a few of these points (e.g., 42 and 101) are directly biological, and have nothing to do with gender roles. The other points can all be said to be imposed by the society that we live in. However, I do believe that many of the points on both lists have a biological basis. This comment is not in any way intended as an endorsement of the gender privileges and disadvantages, but is an encouragement to find the real reasons for the cause of these differences, rather than "men are evil, and if you don't see it, you're evil, too."


  1. You are a whiner, and a misogynist, and a mainsplainer, and a d00d. You are also a raper of things. How *dare* you suggest that being male is not an unmitigated hegemony.

  2. Yeah but, you're a phisolopher (sic), which I far, far worse.

  3. I'd like to see your evidence for #42

  4. @Dorid

    I don't know you, and I under no circumstance want to insult you, this is no way ment to be personal, but the joke has to be made, and I appologize in case you don't understand the humor:

    Having a "headache" doesn't count as a health issue resulting from being fat. Once you do that, 42 becomes true.

    Cheers Arend

  5. Dorid, are you kidding? You never heard that the pear-shape is less dangerous than the apple-shape? Women store fat more on the butt and legs, while men store it mainly on the stomach.

    Belinda Linden, of the British Heart Foundation said: "It has been widely reported that if you are apple-shaped, your risk of developing cardiovascular disease is likely to be greater than if you are pear-shaped. (Source.)

    While most women have retained a traditional "pear-shaped" figure, a growing number are joining the rotund ranks of the men. Little Ms Average in Northern Ireland, north-east England, East Anglia and Wales has also swelled into an apple shape.(Source.)

  6. I think Bjorn is right about #42, if I recall correctly... It has to do with the fact that abdominal fat tends to increase your risk of cardiovascular disease much more than fat in other areas, and that overweight men tend to get more abdominal fat while in women it tends to be more evenly distributed. (That said, if I recall correctly, a woman with a lot of abdominal fat is screwed even worse...)

    Re: This post in general... I don't disagree with really any of the points you make -- but at the risk of subjecting you to disadvantage #107, I'm not sure exactly what you are accomplishing with this post, and whether it can do more harm than good. I am sure, like you, that many of these gender discrepancies have biological origins, but I think it's pretty clear that, today, societal rules and expectations are severely intensifying those differences which do have a biological origin, and manufacturing new ones which don't. And furthermore, nearly all of the societal intensifications/creations are to the advantage of men and the disadvantage of women.

    Under those conditions, it's very rare I feel the need to point out any of the very few and mostly trivial disadvantages I experience because of my gender.

    I do hear ya in terms of the family issues. It is actually true in my case that my wife chose to stay home to raise our children -- and that I kind of wish she hadn't! Heh, seriously, when we get together she was like, "Finally I can quit that job that I hate and stay home and be a homemaker!" and I was like, "Aw crap, I liked it when you were bringing in a second income." heh, oh well.

    But really... this doesn't come off well as a response to the other post. What point are you trying to make exactly?

    (Note I'm not calling you a whiner or a misogynist, because I know you are neither... I'm only questioning the wisdom of this post, that's all)

  7. And furthermore, nearly all of the societal intensifications/creations are to the advantage of men and the disadvantage of women.

    The point of the post was in part to suggest that not nearly all of these issues are to the advantage of men.

  8. But I think the direction societal pressure pushes things is virtually always to the advantage of men.

    For example, #43, I would argue that while this is a problem (though the scale is quite small), up until fairly recently a male victim of a physically abusive relationship would have a ZERO chance of having anybody take him seriously. I imagine it's been that way for pretty much all of human history. The societal pressure seems to be towards male advantage, i.e. minimizing natural biological impulses that could potentially disadvantage men.

    The only counter-examples I can come up with are in regards to family issues, mostly in regards to child custody and/or a single father raising children.

  9. But I think the direction societal pressure pushes things is virtually always to the advantage of men.

    And that is what I disagree with. Obviously, not all of those points in the Male Privilege Checklist are equally severe, and some are rather unimportant (and there is quite a lot of redundancy).

    I think one of the worst gender-differences imposed by society is the preference for giving mothers custody. It really, really sucks, I think. People often say that it's sad that in a divorce, the kids go to the mother, and the father gets the money. I'd much, much rather get the kids.

  10. I think Douglas Adams wrote something like that, but maybe I am wrong.

    But imagine our world would indeed be male dominated...

    There would be things like compementary sex with getting you car filled, and pay one get two would have a drastic different meaning...

    Obviously this is an exageration, but at first it shows that we are not at one extreme, but somewhere between the middle and an extreme.
    And secondly, if we are not at an extreme we see both, male and female advantages as well as disadvatages, maybe still 90/10 or 99/1 but not 100/0,

    cheers Arend

  11. There is no point 100. I assume you mean point 101?

    By what I read, we're catching up with you guys on that front, as we increasingly are involved in the stress-heavy world of Business; though it occurs to me that it may be as well interpretted as the stress-heavy world of (More-Nearly) Equal Responsibility, in general.


  12. Changed "100" to "101". Thanks.

    If it's true that women are catching up to men in terms of obesity health risks, then welcome, welcome.

  13. Re: #3, I'm not sure this is entirely accurate, though I may misunderstand the point of this list. I've come across men (or white people, or rich people, etc.) who seemed more than happy to blame their lack of promotion, or whatever, on sex/race/SES (usually by pointing to affirmative action, or something of the sort). If unclear, I do not mention this to implicate you in any respect..

  14. The original number 3. reads like this, about men:

    3. If I am never promoted, it’s not because of my sex.

    The male privilege is, supposedly, to know that if I don't get promoted, at least it is not because I was treated unfairly. I just restate that to say that it can also be seen is a privilege of women to blame their failure to be promoted on their sex. [I am, of course, not saying anything specific whatsoever.]

    Of course, the real problem that is implied is that some people - mostly women - are treated unfairly (e.g., not promoted) because of their sex. I know for a fact that it can also happen to men. Affirmative action is, as I have argued, a good thing, but it does hurt some people unfairly.


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