Male Privilege

Paul F. Davis | Photo Editor

As an upper middle class white cis-male living in the 21st century, I am probably one the most privileged people to ever walk this earth, and this privilege has allowed me live in something of a bubble. This bubble helps me be awfully unaware of some the worst parts of our culture: fearing being shot in the back because a police officer thought my phone was a gun — I don’t even think about the police — or walking through the world expecting the worst — I expect the best — and especially I don’t have to deal with any of the problems most women have experienced or experience every day.

So I asked a few of my closest female friends and family about their least favorite things they have experienced related to being a female to illuminate what an average woman may go through that I never would.

“When I go parties or the bar I feel as if I can never fully relax … because I have to keep a lookout for anything that could happen to me or my friends. And when I see certain men at those parties I take my girl friends and we leave because I know they are trouble and I don’t want anything to happen to me or my friends,” said Rachel, a current student.

“In the past when I was running an LA Fitness, there would be times when people would come up to me and ask for the manager and I would respond with ‘I’m the manger, how can I help you’ and they would talk down to me as if I wasn’t qualified to be the manager, even though I was being professional and polite,” said Kelly, a graduate of Western.

“It’s not that he touched me or said anything extreme it was just the way he singled me out sometimes in class and looked at me that made me feel super uncomfortable,” said Abby about a former professor she had while attending Oregon State University.

“I have large breasts and I love them, but there are points when I hate them just because of how often they are stared at. So I wear clothes that don’t emphasize them so I don’t have to deal with it,” said Lauren a current student at Oregon State University.

After hearing about these experiences from some of people who I love the most in this world, I feel nothing less than thankful that I don’t have to deal being made to feel as less or feeling uncomfortable or feeling being stared at, but I have to demand that we change our actions as a society because if we do nothing, nothing will change and our future women will experience these moments time and time again. Which is something I don’t want any female person to experience.

I’m not going to sit by passively because change starts in one person and spreads so I’m going to actively work to prevent these things by changing my own behavior and by being responsive when my female counterparts experience something sexist. And lastly, I am going to ask you to do the same because no woman deserves to feel less or experience less just because they are female.

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Photo by: Paul F. Davis