There is an entity as old as civilization that keeps rearing its head. It’s privilege. It is bestowed upon people at birth to those in position to wield power over anyone who they deem a target for subjugation. It comes in many shapes and sizes. There’s white privilege, male privilege, rich privilege, religious privilege, etc. There is a huge Venn diagram that one can imagine. In North America, the white able-bodied straight affluent Protestant Christian man has the biggest Priv on the block. The poor black lesbian Jewish woman with scoliosis is very sad.
For the most part, people are unaware of their Privs. They walk around, fly unzipped, with their Privs just flopping around in the breeze, unaware that they’re waving it in everyone’s face who are sitting around minding their own business. Indirect effects are everywhere. Privs are why for a long time the first thing some detectives asked a victim of an assault was what she was wearing. It is also why a lot of teenage girls are sent home from school for wearing “distracting” clothes, when it should be on the onus of the boys to control themselves and keep their Privs in their pants. Indirectly, the fact that women are a little over 50% of the US population, but only 18.5% of the Congressional representative population is a result of general societal Priv waving. It is also why women’s health is such a big issue in legislatures, yet erection pills are in high quantity and covered by nearly every health insurance company. Sometimes Privs cross streams. I’m sure a white Priv is why Jenji Kohan had to anchor her show about life in a women’s prison to a pretty white lady star in order to get it on the air, but a male Priv is why some awards and critics categorize it as a comedy instead of a drama, or at least comedy-drama. In Nerdertainment, People’s Privs are the reason why in the last 37 years, there have been 7 Batman films, 6 Superman films, 5 Spider-Man films, 3 Iron Man films, 3 Captain America films, and not one damn Wonder Woman film. Floppy Privs are also the reason an excuse for that oversight is that she’s too strong...but Hulk, twice. Or her origin story is too complicated...but Wolverine, twice. Or people won’t relate to her origins in ancient mythology...but Thor, twice. Or her story just generally won’t make sense to the general public...but a film with a talking tree man and a RACCOON with a MACHINE GUN.*
And don't get me started on straight privilege (Straightitlement?)! Straight people wave their Privs around like they're going to fall off in 24 hours! People go CRAZY if two guys so much as give each other a small peck on the lips in public. Straight Privs may people say things like, "How am i going to explain your marriage to my kids?" What they should be explaining to their kids is how much of idiots their parents are.
The Nice Guy™ and the Pickup Artist® are results of male privilege. The former whines about why they can’t have a human for being so nice, unaware that the idea that you get a human for being nice is disgusting and also illegal thanks to the 13th Amendment. The latter doesn’t even see women as humans. He sees them as gazelles, and his only goal is to attack the weakest gazelle in a herd. Both think that they are great guys, but they are completely oblivious that the chill they are feeling is their Privs hanging out in the open air.
I was born with male privilege, of which I try to be aware, lest I gain a sense of entitlement. Male Priv is likely the most powerful Priv in the world. Regardless of religion, race, or what have you, you cannot deny that men have laid waste to the world whipping their Privs around. So many wars; so many fights...Over the years, we men have successfully found 1000 ways to oppress women and people who look or speak differently from us, so much so that we actually convinced them to oppress themselves in some instances! That is hardcore! If you don’t believe me, look up Judge Jeanine Howard. She gave a rapist a light sentence and community service in a RAPE CRISIS CENTER, because the victim didn’t cry, and she wasn’t a virgin. That is some powerful Priv!
Some with privilege know they have it, whether they call it that or not. In the past, cognizant entitlement led to things like selling daughters into marriage and witch hunts and genocide of entire cities/countries and various justifications for slavery, including the concoction of the a race/class system that had lasted for 500+ years and still residually poisons many people’s minds in their attitudes toward people who may be lighter or darker than your average paper bag. These are all examples of people pulling their Privs out and loudly slapping them on the table. George Will, professional horrible human being. said in an op-ed for the Washington Post that in regards to college sexual assault, it is a “coveted status” to be victim of sexual assault. His Priv was WAY out. Only someone from a place of entitlement would even think such a thing. It’s the type of thing that keeps victims in the shadows, as they have been doing for years. That’s the type of attitude that gets people killed. It fosters an environment where it is always the victim, woman or man, is forever at fault for what happened.
It is about time we start calling people on their Priv exposure. I don’t mean just typing away in your journal about it or talking amongst your friends about people’s oblivious offences. When someone says something with his/her Priv hanging out, tell them, “Hey, your Priv is showing”. If you’re brown and well dressed and someone says you look like a pimp, ask why not a banker? If you’re a man and someone lauds you on your sexual conquests yet calls the woman who is dating two men a slut, ask him the difference between her and you. When people say things like, “Why is there a [Black/Hispanic/LGBT/Women’s/Asian/Jewish] History Month, but no [White/Men’s/Straight/Christian] History Month?”, slap their Privs out of their hands. When you see Family Guy and yet another rape joke is aired, turn it off. If someone asks you why they can't say the word "nigger" even though black people say it all the time, tell them, "Slavery", and then look at them sternly and silently until they shrink away. If you hear George Will or Pat Robertson speak...try to resist the urge to jump across the table. If someone offends you and you call them on it and they demand an explanation as to why what they said was offensive, that's their Priv. Don't humour it unless they apologize first. The onus is not on you to explain why a person in blackface or calling someone slutty when she's just in a tank top and shorts on a hot day is offensive. They can Google their own ignorance.
We need a more civil society. That won’t happen with everyone’s Priv hanging out in the wind.
*In Marvel's defense, they DID come out with Elektra, and DC/WB and Marvel/Disney are more competitors than comrades, but the fact stands that there are no mainstream female superhero movies out of wither camp beyond animated features.