Although I do not personally own my own little jolly man, from what I have observed in the last three decades of research is that there are definitely some observable perks from possessing this little piece of real estate, some fun, some not so fun.
However, what we are talking about today are the unconscious beliefs and practices of socialisation that support this male privilege - and which fly in the face of merit, rules of play, and management of misdemeanours. This privilege has become so ingrained in the psyche of our communities that we often take it as scientific truth, as fact, as well… that’s just the way it is - with little questioning what is so significant about this little knobgoblin that grants men special abilities, special rewards, and special leniency/double standards? By presenting this pseudoscience as immutable truth - as opposed to the social fabrication that it is - the unfortunate irony is that it ends up really not serving anyone well in the end. Let me explain…
* Now a little footnote here is that certain obligations must be met to reap the full rewards from the coupon book of male privilege - that being white/western, cisgenedered, heterosexual (If you want the VIP special, go for Christian as well)
* Footnote 2.0. if you are the above ideal- don’t worry- you are not the villain in this story- you may/should keep reading.
This pseudoscience is actioned at a very young age as boys are encouraged to behave more actively, outgoing and risk-taking than their female counterparts. Boys grow up with toys and media that not only portrays most heroes in a sex akin to their own, but also anti-heroes- where men can behave outside or above the rules, and yet still get the girl, win the day and get a nice pat on the back at the end of all.
Growing up, the adage that girls just mature quicker than boys is cloaked by the fact that girls are just more readily held to account for their social misdemeanours, whereas you know... boys will be boys. High-school and university reaffirms this idea and locker room talk is part and parcel of the masculine bonding that comes with the territory. “Grab em by the pussy” is not just something that old white/orange dudes with a combover and an inferiority complex say. Locker room talk of all shades is still a natural byproduct of a culture which perpetuates the thinking that if you have your own personal pocket rocket, by consequence you also have unmerited rights to pretty much everything else (from plonking your name onto anything you marry to sexualising, objectifying and having opinions over other peoples bodies and what they should be doing with them).
Enter into the adult world and now this belief appears - to varying degrees - to permeate every part of our social interactions, from who we elect to public office to the reality of getting a job, a promotion, and fair pay.
However, this obviable positive male privilege is slowly beginning to be unpicked as efforts are mounting to make them more visible and to overcome these subconscious biases (efforts which are being made on all sides of the spectrum).
On the flip side, the negative privilege - the ability to be mediocre, or to mess up - and still succeed is as yet, a privilege which lies squarely in the court of the John Johnson’s of the world. This can be seen on both a public/professional level, as well in the private sphere, where misdemeanours and mistakes are visibly weighted differently between the sexes.
In particular, the socialisation that comes with owning a dick invariably gives you a lot more licence and a lot less responsibility when it comes to sexual relations. The problem with this pseudoscience is that it (subconsciously) holds men to lesser standards than women through this long history of conditioning women to be accountable and behave within acceptable social standards, and men to be go-getters/active risk-takers (with much less consequence).
This social fabrication that women are the gatekeepers of sex is funneled by the absurd belief still today that they hold, by “nature”, more of the responsibility for social consequences and sexual adventures- cause you know, women should only want sex to procreate. This belief that women hold the power in sex is an illusion, which is true only for women at a particular time in thier lives, as they live up to and satisfy a very particular standard set by the male gaze. This power dynamic is clearer yet as women are still governed in a way which continues to deny them sexual agency - both in widely held practices of slut-shaming, and the constant onslaught against women’s reproductive rights.
Somehow we’ve convinced ourselves that men are much less responsible for actions of sexual deviancy because of that frisky little disco-stick that has a mind if it’s own- as if women don’t know what it is like to have hormones or a sex drive. What if we decided to hold equally the female and male species to account in their behaviour from day one… what if we taught men that they were just as responsible in the decision making process and social consequences as women? Or allow women the luxury of the same adventures, excuses and forgivenesses? Because when women are accused of letting their hormones dominate, they are not only criticised in the moment, but their entire character and ability to make rational decisions are altogether brought into question. As a society we can’t have it both ways- we can’t argue that it’s permissible to let things go cause you know- hormones, and then at the same time say, well because of hormones we can’t trust you to make rational choices and be in positions of power. This double standard serves no one and is a recipe for mistrust, misunderstanding and resentment within society.
I think we are already well on our way to destroying this pseudoscience, this subconscious acceptance that having a plum tree shaker grants you special powers to not only be paid more, lead better and have more important things to say, but the privilege of being held to lesser account. This is no personal attack to the individuals owning this fine (and fun) piece of furniture, but rather to the social structures which have socialised the bodies so differently- disproportionately responsibilizing one whilst stroking the ego/hero complex of the other. Both of which are really of zero advantage for being a fully functioning, whole and capable human being.
Im not saying girls go out and have more sex and take more risks, boys go sit down, and chill out for a little bit, but if I were to say that, would the world really be a worse off place? I'm just joking… I would never say that…
Everyone go have more sex, and take some risks.. and then sit down, and chill out. Rinse and then repeat.