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  • Cynthia Fortlage

Male Privilege, A View from Both Sides


The Band U2 has a great song I like called, Where The Streets Have No Name (watch the video clip)


But every street has a name that I know as safety. I had this realisation as the first loss of male privilege that I encountered, my safety.


Questions began to permeate my thinking every time I was going to be walking down a street:

What streets am I walking down?

Where in the city am I walking?

What side of the street should I walk down?

Who's on the street that I will be walking down?

Where can I cross the street safely to avoid anyone if I wish?

What time of day is it that I am walking down the street?


I watch who is in an elevator and will wait to take another if the lone male in an elevator makes me uneasy.


I also began to consider and question myself and in discussions with friends, How do I defend myself?


I have learnt how to use my heels as weapons if required, I certainly haven't been a fighter before, and it wasn't about to start now.  I have had to consider how I run in heels. Would I be OK with losing a heel as I kick them off and run (I do love my heels)?


Losing safety was the first obvious sign of loss of "male privilege", so when male friends tell me, there is no such thing as male privilege, the fact you say that you are enjoying male privilege at that moment.


Other observations on the loss of male privilege I have seen/experienced include;


Conversations between men and women in the mixed company versus the same gender individuals are very different (Trans has nothing to do with it). Men say things to each other that would never be said in mixed company, and conversations generally can be much more misogynistic. Women I find are more intellectual together, even over a glass of wine.


I won't even go into too much detail as I think it is well documented by women who are paid less on average, pay more for goods and services when targeted specifically to women. Even services like haircuts, spa services differ between men and women on average, although they may get the same service.


As a man, I could be strong, affirmative, in control, and as a woman, I will most likely be seen as a bitch if I act the same way. Therefore I have to learn to be a leader in a different way.


I guess it is easier to take a good idea from a guy rather than a woman. I am not one for credit for an idea, so when a good idea that was the same as my idea is re-stated by a guy and accepted, I support a good idea and not seek credit.


I find that I am working harder to maintain the same effort pre-transition. I have checked with several women friends, and the extra effort they find compared to male peers seems to be normal.


Women are the largest oppressed group, yet we account for the larger percentage of the voting population. The future is feminine!


Cheers from the UK,

Cynthia

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