An Anthology of Privilege Checklists
August 15, 2008 9:41 AM   Subscribe

Privileges: Gender: 10 things only men can do (Askmen.com), male privilege (wiki), 21 Things Women Can Do That Guys Can't (Cosmo), female privilege (2 3 4 5). Race: white privilege (wiki). Sexual orientation: straight privilege (2) (wiki), cisgendered privilege. Body: able-bodied privilege, non-fat privilege. Money: non-poor privilege (2), class privilege (PDF). Demographics: Christian privilege, American privilege, adult privilege, black male privilege, Muslim male privilege. Combo: gamer privilege, male programmer privilege. Criticism and essays: victim privilege, "Point of Privilege", "We can't be equal while ... ", "Where's My Extra Piece of the Pie?". And, lest this become too serious: pirate privilege and lolcat privilege (the latter via). (Covered in smaller scope previously.)
posted by WCityMike (156 comments total) 58 users marked this as a favorite

 
"And I didn't even oppress you with my words!"
"You just did."
posted by Artw at 9:42 AM on August 15, 2008


the grass is always more privileged on the other side of the fence
posted by pyramid termite at 9:44 AM on August 15, 2008 [6 favorites]


That's where I have the picnic lunch I was keeping in my invisible knapsack.
posted by Artw at 9:47 AM on August 15, 2008 [5 favorites]


I think the best way to discuss this well made fpp would be for us to fight about who has it worst and whose privilege doesn't count compared to someone else's.
posted by shmegegge at 9:48 AM on August 15, 2008 [18 favorites]


#5 - Play real sports.
Be honest; which of these would you prefer to watch: WNBA or NBA? NHL or women’s hockey? NFL or women’s rugby? MLB or softball?

College Women's softball over MLB every time, to be honest. WNBA not so much though.
posted by paisley henosis at 9:48 AM on August 15, 2008


Well at least all the flaming will be together in one thread.

Not thinking twice when someone refers to an inanimate software construct as "this guy".

What's an acceptable female equivalent of the anonymous anthropomorphic "this guy"? "Gal"??
posted by DU at 9:49 AM on August 15, 2008


The Middle-Class Liberal Well-Intentioned Blues.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 9:52 AM on August 15, 2008 [4 favorites]


I am having a hard time understanding whether your links are tongue in cheek based on that askmen link to 10 bullshit, sexist statements such as "only men can play real sports."
posted by prefpara at 9:52 AM on August 15, 2008


In general, I do prefer to watch men's sports. But there are exceptions; I much prefer women's tennis to men's tennis. Professional male tennis player's have gotten so big and strong that it seems like the game has almost devolved into who can slam the ball in for an ace the most. Women's tennis seems to have longer rallies, etc.

I'd rather poke my eye with a spork than watch either MLB or women's softball, though.
posted by Justinian at 9:53 AM on August 15, 2008


which of these would you prefer to watch:...

Sports are for playing, not watching.

Also, ugh, this agaibn. I wish we could have commentless posts once in a while.
posted by GuyZero at 9:53 AM on August 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


Am I the only one who was disappointed by the lack of knap/nap sack/snack wordplay in the lolcats? What is more iconic for kittehs than nom nom nom and sleep?
posted by theclaw at 9:54 AM on August 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


From the male programmer's knapsack: Having potential romantic partners assume from your career that you're smart and well-to-do rather than unattractive and unfeeling.

Good news/bad news on that front...
posted by DU at 9:54 AM on August 15, 2008


That's where I have the picnic lunch I was keeping in my invisible knapsack.

Reading that essay (thanks, lolcats!), I was really surprised how quickly my response changed from "damn, this is some tortured writing" (re the intro) to "damn, she's got a point there" (re the list of 26 points).
posted by kittyprecious at 9:57 AM on August 15, 2008


Really this post needs more hardcore PETA-like identity politics proponents who come out with real crazy stuff to give it an edge.
posted by Artw at 9:58 AM on August 15, 2008


prefpara: "I am having a hard time understanding whether your links are tongue in cheek based on that askmen link to 10 bullshit, sexist statements such as "only men can play real sports.""

If you stopped at the first link, then you'd have that question.
posted by WCityMike at 9:58 AM on August 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


You found all those other links just to justify the lolcat one, didn't you?
posted by cimbrog at 10:00 AM on August 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


WNBA > NBA

The women play as a team, and are truly out there because of passion for the sport. The NBA is just a big show, all about the superstars, and teamwork is a notion from the past. I haven't been able to watch the NBA in a long time. I'm sitting here hoping that the "Redeem Team" fails to get the gold in the Olympics, even. Though I must admit to being divided on who I want to win the gold in Women's Basketball - the US would be great, but I'm also partial to Australia, because of how amazing Lauren Jackson is.
posted by evilangela at 10:00 AM on August 15, 2008 [6 favorites]


cimbrog: "You found all those other links just to justify the lolcat one, didn't you?"

Nope, 'cause that one was previously Mefi'ed. (See the "the latter via" link.)
posted by WCityMike at 10:01 AM on August 15, 2008


will it be a 5-peat?
posted by boo_radley at 10:03 AM on August 15, 2008


If you stopped at the first link, then you'd have that question.

Let me rephrase. Most of your links seem to be intended seriously, so the inclusion of the askmen and cosmo lists frankly puzzles me.
posted by prefpara at 10:04 AM on August 15, 2008


New rule: If your article is nothing more than a list, it should all be on one page, dammit. Maybe an extra page if it's longer than 25 items.

I am a woman and I am totally capable of fucking things. I'm just not interested in sticking any part of my body into a watermelon (though I hear the secret is to warm it in the oven first).
posted by giraffe at 10:05 AM on August 15, 2008 [5 favorites]


It's interesting how in the last link the author conflates being male with being heterosexual. She makes several good points, but the argument is somewhat baffling because she uses "heterosexual privilege" to attempt to explain the concept "male privilege". I think she does a better job of explaining the cultural alienation that comes with being gay/lesbian in our society.
posted by iamkimiam at 10:07 AM on August 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Top 10 for men? Cosmo link? I really, really hope that was an example of how certain people feel superior to the other gender. I'm surprised you would want to start a thread with such vapid examples. I'm so offended by both I couldn't even get halfway down the list. Not the best way to start off the discussion.
posted by agregoli at 10:07 AM on August 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


MeFis own cstross on some checklists to tell if your fiction is “sexist” or not: 1 2

I’m in two minds about this… on the one hand I think there’s some good points to be made here and (especially in the little corner of fiction I tend to hang out at) fmore emale characters that aren’t cardboard cut-outs would be a very good thing. On the other hand – Semi-arbitary checklists to determine whether something is allowable or not? You do realize that’s exactly what identity politics and “political correctness” are when portrayed in the worst kind of parody?
posted by Artw at 10:07 AM on August 15, 2008 [4 favorites]


If wearing a thong and getting a manicure are listed as privileges, I'd happily be the underclass instead.
posted by jessamyn at 10:08 AM on August 15, 2008 [15 favorites]


Sorry, the last link being WCityMike's comment, linking to Where's my extra piece of the pie?
posted by iamkimiam at 10:09 AM on August 15, 2008


(I didn't mean to exclude transgendered people - which is an example of my privilege in not thinking about it immediately. Which is what men-against-women and women-against-men lists also do. I don't find those lists about privilege at all, but about men making sexist statements about women in order to feel superior and women making sexist statements about men in order to feel superior. Which is pathetic on both ends).
posted by agregoli at 10:11 AM on August 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


The entries on the pirate privilege list? All true. Each and every one of them.

Damn, it feels good to be a buccaneer.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:11 AM on August 15, 2008


Is privilege multipicative? I mean, like, would a manicure that involves putting tiny thongs on your fingertips count as privilege2?
posted by cortex at 10:12 AM on August 15, 2008


From 21 Things Women Can Do That Men Can't:

We can talk to our BFF on the phone, while watching America’s Next Top Model and doing lunges. No sweat.

Did I wake up in 1955 of something?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:14 AM on August 15, 2008 [9 favorites]


The vbfg guide to peeing standing up for women
posted by vbfg at 10:15 AM on August 15, 2008


agregoli: "Top 10 for men? Cosmo link? I really, really hope that was an example of how certain people feel superior to the other gender. I'm surprised you would want to start a thread with such vapid examples. I'm so offended by both I couldn't even get halfway down the list. Not the best way to start off the discussion."

prefpara: "Most of your links seem to be intended seriously, so the inclusion of the askmen and cosmo lists frankly puzzles me."

There are a few that take positions that aren't enlightened. I think they merit inclusion just to demonstrate that aspect of the "privilege checklist" concept, an aspect certainly repeatedly reiterated and gone over in such magazines using various titles. Inclusion of link in article ≠ endorsement of link's views. Only reason those guys showed up first in the list is because gender and race privileges are seemingly where the practice of privilege checklists began. Also included because I ran across the Cosmo article on POPurls and that's what had me start looking into the privilege checklist phenomenon a little more deeply. Yes, popular-culture magazines espouse stereotyped ideas about gender for easy cheapshot hurfdurf humor.
posted by WCityMike at 10:16 AM on August 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


Is privilege multipicative? I mean, like, would a manicure that involves putting tiny thongs on your fingertips count as privilege2?

I'm not sure if it's multiplicative, but that totally seems like something that Ray Smuckels would do.
posted by Divine_Wino at 10:16 AM on August 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


Barry Deutsch, who wrote the original male privilege checklist, had an interest post about a month ago where he talks about some of his later misgivings about that list. In particular, he says that:

the implicit definition of “privilege” used by the list is muddled, because I didn’t have a coherent definition of “privilege” in mind when I compiled the list. Instead, I used the word “privilege” as a lefty-speak way of saying “advantage.” But that’s a problem, because “privilege” is a political concept.

and later, in the comments, he clarifies:

Specifically, my list had the problem of talking about things from the point of view of specific, individual people’s experiences. But a lot of the reading I’ve done — particularly Allan Johnson’s book — has convinced me that it makes the most sense to think of privileges as accruing to classes of people, not individuals. But the list doesn’t make much sense from that perspective. So the list really isn’t “examples of privilege.” It’s more like a list of “advantages that many men experience due to being on the male side of the gender class system.”

I think both of those points are really good critiques of the whole idea of "privilege checklists"--I can appreciate the effort to bring an abstract idea down to the individual level so people can understand it better, but I think there's a danger in doing so. You also run the risk of divorcing the concept of privilege from its original political roots and instead pointing out, "some people have advantages!" which is a less-strong critique and one that doesn't necessarily call out to be rectified.
posted by iminurmefi at 10:17 AM on August 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


Be honest; which of these would you prefer to watch: WNBA or NBA? NHL or women’s hockey? NFL or women’s rugby? MLB or softball?

That depends on the respective levels of nudity.

I kid, I kid.

WNBA or NBA?

Watching the WNBA is like watching the NBA from the 1950s. It's a horizontal game, not a vertical one. Some people like that. Me, not so much, but John Wooden said that the WNBA is the "purest form of the game."

NHL or women’s hockey?

I'm sure that the women's hockey fan will tell me that the differences are similar to the NBA/WNBA thing. But I don't see it. NHL all the way.

NFL or women’s rugby?

Two different sports, entirely. But NFL, if only because the breaks in the action allow me to go get a beer and not miss anything.

MLB or softball?

Softball is a de-tuned version of baseball, thrown even farther out of balance because female athletes are no longer fragile, petite flowers gallivanting around the garden in blouses and bloomers. Softball is boring. In a game where a no-hitter is commonplace, I'd rather go water my lawn.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:19 AM on August 15, 2008


That said, the Gamer Privilege article was really good.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:20 AM on August 15, 2008


I've been exploring the other links and I'm finding that I absolutely hate the idea of "privilege checklists." What on earth does that accomplish? It's not a contest. It's even more amazing there appear to be so many female privilege ones (googling this too) as a backlash to "the idea of male privilege." Those darn feminists, amirite?
posted by agregoli at 10:21 AM on August 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


My knapsack is more invisible than yours.
posted by naju at 10:23 AM on August 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


Cool Papa Bell, I'd love to learn the history of those women's sports and whether men mainly decided how to "tone down the game" for women, because they couldn't possibly compete the same way men do. That might be totally assumption-assy of me, but I don't know anything about those sports, so I can't really say. I mean, why softball? Why isn't there a woman's baseball league instead of softball? What makes baseball so inherently not a woman's sport? Why would rules for any of these sports be at all different for women instead of men? I'm honestly curious - if anyone can enlighten me, here or over MeMail, I'd appreciate some insight.
posted by agregoli at 10:25 AM on August 15, 2008


The "victim privilege" list makes me want to vomit. Preferably on that guy's shoes.
posted by giraffe at 10:27 AM on August 15, 2008


I was really disappointed by the men's and women's checklists: I was hoping for things that only men or only women could physically do. The only thing that comes close is fertilize an egg and metabolize more alcohol (men) and get pregnant (women). Women can do those other things: shave their heads, go topless, whatever. The Cosmo list was particularly awful.

Aren't there certain moves or SOMETHING only men or only women can do?
posted by fiercecupcake at 10:30 AM on August 15, 2008


This seems, um. What?
posted by odinsdream at 10:31 AM on August 15, 2008


The pirate privilege article makes me want to be a pirate way more than any of the rest of them make me want to be male or rich or interested in sports. Or a lolcat, for that matter.
posted by mygothlaundry at 10:32 AM on August 15, 2008


Aren't there certain moves or SOMETHING only men or only women can do?

Well, the only thing that springs to mind is this neat (although disputed) little party trick:
There's this trick that *supposedly* only women can do. (I read about it as a child in this book of magic/parlor tricks, and it came up on an episode of "All in the Family.") You're supposed to stand three feet away from a fall, bend over, put your head against the wall, and try to stand up while lifting a chair. If you're a woman, you do it successfully, but if you're a man, you can't get up.
This is supposedly because of a difference in the centers of gravities in male and female bodies. As you can see from the resulting thread, results vary. In an informal test among a few friends showed it pretty much falling within gender lines. I admit I have no idea how scientifically valid this actually is.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:36 AM on August 15, 2008


Aren't there certain moves or SOMETHING only men or only women can do?

There's that wall-and-chair thing th—

Dammit.
posted by cortex at 10:37 AM on August 15, 2008


Inclusion of link in article ≠ endorsement of link's views.

I think the problem is that there was no distinction between lists that are clearly superficial and sexist and lists that are more serious in intent and execution. This is confusing. By presenting them in the same way, you are implying that you think they are the same kind of thing. Hence the reactions you're getting from people who are objecting to that implication.
posted by prefpara at 10:38 AM on August 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, I do remember, fiercecupcake, being told that women are much better at bracing their backs against the wall while supporting themselves in a crouching position, because of a lower center of gravity, than men are. Not sure what use that is, but there you go.

Also, lactation. Some men claim to have been able to, I know of none that actually were verifiably good at baby feeding.

That's...pretty much it, I think.
posted by emjaybee at 10:43 AM on August 15, 2008


I'm actually glad the post started off with the 2 Top 10/20+ lists. Let's look at and compare the most superficial, the most pervasive, and in some ways the most influential, forms of sexism in our culture today. Then lets go deeper.

These magazines get read, mostly by our youth culture, and the ideas in them get accepted or rejected, but not much thought is given to either. It happens at such a noncommittal level. You don't see young people running around vehemently opposing these displays, our touting them for their grand truths.

We have to admit that these stereotypes are alive and well...they are a reflection of our society somewhat. We can change that. But we need to take a look at what we're dealing with first.

Top Ten lists like this make me wet my sociolinguistic pants. If I had more time I'd do a full blown analysis of each list item, compare the women's values to the men's, the target demographics of each magazine, the social prestige of each, the word choices used, the list orders, and on and on.

From a cursory glance, I think its interesting to look at each list item and ask yourself what its really saying, ie. what value is it speaking to. For example, note that several of the items on the women's list have to do with our choice in options for dealing with socially perceived 'bad-things'...getting lost while driving, sexual dysfunction, acne, too-hot weather, getting caught speeding, too many obligations/tasks, public sexual arousal, PMS and period woes, and dating beyond a youthful age (arguably considered to be a woman in Western society's biggest disadvantage). This last point is interesting, because when you look at #1 on the men's list, it is "Age Well." Think about where this one fits in to our societal values. Read the blurb underneath. Who is this speaking to? Why is it #1? Is this something that men care about in their old age? Are older men reading this? Are younger men being influenced by this? Is it even an objectively true statement? How do men age physically compared to women? How do they age visually? And which aspect is #1 referring to?
posted by iamkimiam at 10:45 AM on August 15, 2008 [6 favorites]


Privilege: from L. privilegium "law applying to one person," later "privilege," from privus "individual" + lex (gen. legis) "law."
posted by jenkinsEar at 10:52 AM on August 15, 2008


prefpara: "I think the problem is that there was no distinction between lists that are clearly superficial and sexist and lists that are more serious in intent and execution."

I happen to agree with you on the shallowness of most of the items within those two particular articles, but I purposefully chose to prepare the post as free of editorialization as possible.
posted by WCityMike at 10:53 AM on August 15, 2008


As was recently pointed out to me, free of editorialization is good, but lack of direction for the post and a dump of links isn't as good. That said, there are some good things here.
posted by agregoli at 11:04 AM on August 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Complete list of stuff white people like
posted by LordSludge at 11:04 AM on August 15, 2008


The Cosmopolitan list punched the askmen list in the dick.
posted by kldickson at 11:06 AM on August 15, 2008


That "stuff white people like" is stupid. It's more "stuff stereotypical granola eating liberals like". I mean, Barack Obama? He's going to lose the white vote by a significant margin. If most white people vote against him, does he really belong on a list of stuff white people like? And so on.
posted by Justinian at 11:08 AM on August 15, 2008


Stuff White People Should Feel Bad About Liking
posted by Artw at 11:09 AM on August 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


That "stuff white people like" is stupid.

You might be taking this a bit too serious like.
posted by LordSludge at 11:24 AM on August 15, 2008


From the askmen.com article:

"Navigate Spatially

Men are much better at seeing things as they really are -- in 3-D. True, the fact that we can see Spy Kids 3-D in focus is no reward, but our superior ability to see shapes also improves our abilities in geometry and math. This explains why more men are math geniuses than women. Sure, the journal Science declared otherwise in 2008 and we are socialized to believe girls are less competent in this realm, but tradition is a hard thing to beat.
"

O pseudoscience, is there nothing you can't do?
posted by Flipping_Hades_Terwilliger at 11:24 AM on August 15, 2008 [9 favorites]


I get the privilege of being blown away by how divisive our enlightened modern society is.
posted by SaintCynr at 11:27 AM on August 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


NHL or women’s hockey?

Well it depends. If I want to watch a fight on ice it's NHL all the way, if I want to watch an actual game of hockey, give me the girls.
posted by zarah at 11:28 AM on August 15, 2008


"Stuff White People Like" specifically refers to a subset of folks who self-depreciatingly call their friends "white" as an insult. For instance, a bad dancer is not merely unskilled, but "so white." It's a sort of strange joviality about race that occurs from being hypersensitive about race and our privilege.

The thing that raises my hackles about the anti-majority (hetero, cisgendered, etc.) lists is that they don't acknowledge at all that majorities naturally will, and should, have majority representation in society and media. Fully half of the items on those lists could be applied to lefties living in a righty world. People assume, and market to, the lowest common denominator. Sorry it's so hard being transgendered. It's also hard being a lefty, wanting to watch Olympic fencing, or being a fan of a sci-fi show on Fox.
posted by explosion at 11:31 AM on August 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


What, no Jewish privilege? But only they can run the world from underground vaults!
posted by Pastabagel at 11:34 AM on August 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


majorities naturally will, and should, have majority representation in society and media

Sorry it's so hard being transgendered. It's also hard being a lefty, wanting to watch Olympic fencing, or being a fan of a sci-fi show on Fox.


Sorry, are you actually saying that it's right that minorities are oppressed? And can you really see no difference between the experience of being transgendered and the cancellation of Firefly?
posted by prefpara at 11:35 AM on August 15, 2008 [7 favorites]


Cool Papa Bell, I'd love to learn the history of those women's sports and whether men mainly decided how to "tone down the game" for women, because they couldn't possibly compete the same way men do. ... Why would rules for any of these sports be at all different for women instead of men?

That's pretty much exactly how it evolved. Softball was invented as an indoor game men could play when they weren't playing baseball, and it evolved into a sport for "less athletic" women and children because it was seen as being safer and more adaptable to those audiences. A softer ball, shorter basepaths, no base-stealing, a non-tapered (and therefore less powerful) bat, etc.

Softball isn't the only sport that got this treatment. Rugby, field hockey and lacrosse all have different rules from their male versions that make the game less violent.

Some of the rules make a *little* sense if you think about it. Women's gymnastics has different apparatus that relies less on raw upper-body strength (e.g. rings). Women's basketball is played with a smaller ball for smaller hands.

What makes baseball so inherently not a woman's sport?

Well, it used to be just chauvinism, really. But nowadays it's probably just societal inertia. Women "own" fastpitch softball and it's not generally no longer seen as a de-tuned version of baseball (which, IMO, it is). So why do anything else?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:37 AM on August 15, 2008


This explains why more men are math geniuses than women. Sure, the journal Science declared otherwise in 2008 and we are socialized to believe girls are less competent in this realm, but tradition is a hard thing to beat."

Sure, there's evidence against our claim but we'll ignore it in the face of the tradition of sexism, since that's more fun.
posted by agregoli at 11:38 AM on August 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


(Thanks, Cool Papa Bell, about the sports thing. Makes sense that if you're going to water down sports for no other reason except you feel that's what you should do for the women, that sports fans aren't going to be as interested in the sport any longer.)
posted by agregoli at 11:41 AM on August 15, 2008


The SWPL blog is actually written by a white guy from Toronto who in terms of U.S. politics would probably be considered a liberal -- and in an interview he says, flat-out: "this site pokes fun at ME. that's why I use pictures of myself. those aren't taken out of irony. this is the shit that I do. I need to call myself out for all of the stupid shit that I take for granted. why do I need $300 bike rims? why is a $10 sandwich considered normal?"

So yeah, it's definitely poking (self-effacing?) fun at a very particular segment of American/Canadian culture; not just white, but white, liberal, upper-middle-class, college-educated.

I wonder whether most people who read SWPL consider themselves part of the group that it lampoons, or if it's more of a making-fun-of-others (like the "You Might Be a Redneck If..." lists) sort of deal on the part of most visitors.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:42 AM on August 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


Oh, and link to the interview with the guy behind SWPL.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:42 AM on August 15, 2008


"Softball is a de-tuned version of baseball, thrown even farther out of balance because female athletes are no longer fragile, petite flowers gallivanting around the garden in blouses and bloomers. Softball is boring. In a game where a no-hitter is commonplace, I'd rather go water my lawn."

Actually, softball's really interesting when you think about it compared to the evolution of baseball. The games being played in the Olympics look an awful lot like the reports I've read of games from the Dead Ball era. Whereas in MLB, it makes hardly any sense to bunt someone over, and steals are almost always a statistically poor choice, that's not true in softball.

Regarding the no-hitters, the only place I've really noticed them (though I don't follow much college softball—or baseball, frankly) is in the wildly mismatched Olympic competitions. The US gets them regularly, yeah, but they're also, like, undefeated in their last one million games or so.

Similarly, for a little bit I was trying to work up a story about the women's pro football league (before it got spiked by an editor). The problem there was that the Detroit team was by far the best team in the league, routinely getting wins by margins of, like, 114-7. They once shut out another team while scoring over 100 points, and even their third and fourth strings would absolutely trounce other teams. Because of that, and their (at the time) three year undefeated streak, attendance had fallen off.

The games were kind of fun to watch, at least once or twice, but there was rarely any real sense of drama—their wide receivers were untouchable, their quarterbacks strong, their running backs powerful and their defensive line impenetrable.

For a while, the Detroit Shock, the WNBA team, was similar—they just bowled over the rest of the league to an extent that it wasn't fun to watch.
posted by klangklangston at 11:44 AM on August 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is an excellent post - thank you.

In one of the (many) links, there was a reference to a certain exercise where someone read allowed certain advantages/priviledges and people stepped forward. That seemed to me an excellent way of illustrating the complex nature of different priviledges, if it were well written (and possibly scaled to reflect the amount of advantage). For example, a poor white woman would at once not face the same degree of racism as a non-white person would if she were in a majority white community, but also have disadvantages by being female and poor, but also some advantages from being female (better treatment from law enforcement, for example, more help from strangers should she ask), and all of these advantages or disadvantages having different effects on her life.

I think these multiple lists are the best way to think about these issues - that these are all factors in a person's experience. I do get annoyed in the specifics of some of these lists - they often aren't very well thought through (conflations of race and class, for example, rather than thinking critically about which advantages would be due to which category, or perhaps the interaction of both). I just see some woolly thinking, which doesn't do the discussion any good, and which undermines the otherwise valid and interesting point the author is trying to make.

-----

Of all the different categories, I think gender might actually be the most complex. Class is very clearly a simple hierarchy (are there any disadvantages from having more money? Actually, being more likely to die in World War I, but that's a long time ago...), while race is mixed up with slightly more complex heirarchies (where different races - there are more than two - fit in the hierarchies, different stereotypes and situations of races, for example black people in the US see much more of themselves in the media and in American history than Asian people but face more direct racism from law enforcement...).

But it is gender which is the most complex, perhaps because it is the most universal division of society - also, many of the other divisions (race, sexual orientation, cis-gender, disabilty) could be summed up as a majority vs minority issue as well as status. Gender clearly isn't a minority/majority issue, and even as make gender has been historically much higher status than female gender (with all of the priviledges and freedoms that came with that status), male gender often is as restrictive in its requirements as female.

Historically, I think that the advantages of male gender have been very clear - if I were dumped into the past, I would throw on trousers in a minute, rather than take the place of a woman. But as the disadvantages and restrictions placed on women are being broken down (slowly, but it is happening), we do need to be aware of certain female priviledges as well, or perhaps they would be better thought of as restrictions on men, rather than priviledges for women. Being gender queer, bisexual or gay, or otherwise defying your gender role, for example, is easier for women than for men, which, of course, is because of the higher status of male gender (a woman who wishes to be more masculine is aspirational, whereas a man who wishes to be more feminine is going down the ladder). And I do feel that as a female in a very sexually equal segment of North American society that, while I can see that my world is primarily led by men, this is becoming less true, and I don't feel an everyday disadvantage by my gender.

Perhaps I would feel very differently if I were working and living in a different place/sub-culture of North American society - I'm completely livid about the woman who was required to wear make-up as part of her dress code at work (just as I'm annoyed at the fact that male military personnel have fewer choices than female when it comes to their own uniform). The more traditional and restrictive the gender roles, the more the disadvantage to women. But traditional and restrictive gender roles can also be very difficult for men, setting up certain requirements for them (that they work longer hours to support their families, that they have less emotional freedom than women, that they are expected to take a secondary role in childrearing, etc).

I guess I'm just saying that I don't think gender fits as well into simple hierarchies as class clearly does, and race tends to (with some more complexity). Gender is more of a categorization, with some higher status to male in many areas, but also higher status to female in some, and not just in not very important ways (the way you could say that black hip hop fans are advantaged over white hip hop fans because they see their own race represented in the music - that's true, but kind of pointless).
posted by jb at 12:06 PM on August 15, 2008 [9 favorites]


Sorry, are you actually saying that it's right that minorities are oppressed? And can you really see no difference between the experience of being transgendered and the cancellation of Firefly?

I said nothing about oppression, I mentioned only media representation. Why should we expect transgendered characters on TV when there are so few (statistically) in real life? I'm not saying anything about how it should be, but rather, that people raise their expectations to unreasonable levels. Television shows are generally bland and homogenized, brought to the LCD for the viewer's safety and comfort.

TV is unabashedly putting out whatever will sell best, and while it stinks that transgenderism in television doesn't sell, why should they get a free pass? There are all sorts of things that people care about that also don't get aired. That's where shows like Firefly come in.

Also, isn't it quite a bit of assumption that all the characters are straight and cisgendered? Why not assume that they're homosexual or transgendered until otherwise stated? Do authors really need to make special press conferences to announce that Dumbledore is gay, rather than just letting it be left up to the reader?
posted by explosion at 12:12 PM on August 15, 2008


majorities naturally will, and should, have majority representation in society and media

Sorry it's so hard being transgendered. It's also hard being a lefty, wanting to watch Olympic fencing, or being a fan of a sci-fi show on Fox.


Sorry, are you actually saying that it's right that minorities are oppressed? And can you really see no difference between the experience of being transgendered and the cancellation of Firefly?


No, that response is specific to majority representation in media imagery. So in a country that is 85% white (Like the UK) that is roughly the proportion of TV characters that should be white, all other things being equal.

As far as I know, however, that is definitely not the situation either in the US or in the UK.

It's interesting to look at the contrast between 'normal' in the statistical sense and 'normal' in the sense of being normative.
That white people are statistically more common in the US than any other group is true, and if there were simple *more* characters of European descent on TV (for instance) then this would be no more than is expected.
The problem is that white Americans - in particular middle class Americans - are often portrayed as *normative*, they are the standard, the default character.
When trans-gender characters appear, they are not simply rare (remember, this is statistically expected and fair), they are there to represent a trans-gender person first, before anything else.

One thing that I loved about Find me Guilty is that Peter Dinklage as the defense attorney is just that, the fact that he's a little person is totally irrelevant.
posted by atrazine at 12:14 PM on August 15, 2008


I'm just going through these lists and commenting as I read them, but the Black Male Privilege list makes a few good points:
6. Despite the substantial role that black women played in the Civil Rights Movement and Black Power Movement, currently there is no black female that is considered a "race leader". ... 11. I have the ability to define black women's beauty by European standards in terms of skin tone, hair, and body size. In comparison, black women rarely define me by European standards of beauty in terms of skin tone, hair, or body size. 12. I do not have to worry about the daily hassles of having my hair conforming to any standard image of beauty the way black women do.
Most of the items on his list could be applied to males of any color (19. If I am raped, no one will assume that "I should have known better" or suggest that my being raped had something to do with how I was dressed.) but it made for an interesting read nonetheless.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:17 PM on August 15, 2008


OK, while these privilege lists are annoying and I usually hate them, I found a soft spot in my heart for this piece through the feministcritics female privilege link.
Random dudes walking down the street telling me to smile. Yes, it makes me self-conscious, and the boundarylessness is so ingrained there for me that I never realized other folks had experienced that one, too. And in all my feminist, bad-ass self existence, I'd never thought to question why some random fucking stranger was coming up to me and telling me to rearrange my face to his liking. There's plenty of things one can do and say to random strangers -- hell, I like complimenting people on the street on their tats or clothing or whatever particular choices or effort they have made about their appearance. Perhaps, next time (if i'm not too flustered), I'll tell them to sing show tunes.
posted by Sweetdefenestration at 12:22 PM on August 15, 2008 [5 favorites]


When trans-gender characters appear, they are not simply rare (remember, this is statistically expected and fair), they are there to represent a trans-gender person first, before anything else.

so the equivalent for the sci-fi fan is the Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons. (oh my god! he has a name - I had no idea!) Except that he's a completely accurate representation of us.

As for fans of sci-fi shows on Fox, well, I don't know we are underrepresented or just suckers for thinking Fox would allow something complex and interesting to survive.
posted by jb at 12:22 PM on August 15, 2008


TV is unabashedly putting out whatever will sell best

I agree. And with some exceptions, the television shows with white people sell best, so let's keep the non-whites off my tv please.
posted by cashman at 12:24 PM on August 15, 2008


I think the victim privelege link author was basically talking about holocaust survivor privelege, but was too chicken to label it as such because of the expected shitstorm and callout for anti-semetism. Thus creating a sort of self-referential extension to the list. He missed a couple of additions, like getting to call any subsequent use of the terms genocide or holocaust 'trivializing the suffering of actual holocaust victims' whether the usage was accurate or hyperbole.
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:27 PM on August 15, 2008


Damn right, Sweetdefenestration. I've had a few instances of men telling me to smile on the street and I nearly had my head explode with how angry it made me. It's the fucking worst.
posted by agregoli at 12:29 PM on August 15, 2008


Why should we expect transgendered characters on TV when there are so few (statistically) in real life? I'm not saying anything about how it should be, but rather, that people raise their expectations to unreasonable levels.

Did I miss the Great Transgendered Clamour to Be Over-Represented on Television?

Do we really need to get bent out of shape when someone wants media representation? What's so wrong with that?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:31 PM on August 15, 2008


And yeah, being told to smile doesn't help, ever.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:34 PM on August 15, 2008


What's so wrong with that?

We're losin! We're losin the effin country, man!
posted by cashman at 12:38 PM on August 15, 2008


On that front does this count as a good thing or a bad thing?
posted by Artw at 12:38 PM on August 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


I had a friend who got fired for surliness from a security guard job because he wasn't smiling enough, but I totally get that women get twice as much flack for the same behavior.
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:45 PM on August 15, 2008


Artw, that is awesome. Even better would have been a mystery transexual contestent on a reality dating show, but I suppose that could be dangerous.
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:49 PM on August 15, 2008


Already been done.
posted by Artw at 12:56 PM on August 15, 2008


Also
posted by Artw at 1:08 PM on August 15, 2008


From the class privilege link:

I can dismiss viewpoints which differ from my own.

I can afford to have very idealistic and "politically correct" views.


See: MetaFilter.
posted by jason's_planet at 1:34 PM on August 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


I have a lot of responses to "Smile!" stored up. It's infuriated me since forever, well before I realized how it trivializes my (and all women's) existence. Responses vary, depending on my mood.

"Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't realize you were a potential client. Smiling is $20. What else would you like to do?" Or the simpler "For how much?"

"Did you just mistake me for your dog? (Here I get a 'what?') You seem to think I answer to commands."

"What an odd life you must have, if it's commonplace to change your face when a stranger asks you to. Is it part of your religion?"

Or I walk right up in front of him, into his personal space, and bare my teeth for an uncomfortably long time. Then I'll snap back and step away, say "you're welcome," and stand there until he chooses to walk past me to continue on his way. Generally that happens very quickly.

When I really want to rant (if the tone and body language of the man is particularly condescending), I'll say "Ask a man. (again, I get 'what?') Ask a man to smile. Go on. I'll wait." He never knows what to do with that. "Why do you think you have the right to tell me, a complete stranger, how I should look and feel, when you would never, *ever* ask a complete stranger to smile if that stranger were a man.

Finally, the very straightforward "Why?" - Generally the answer to this is something along the lines of "You're so pretty, you should smile" or, better, "you'd be prettier if you smiled" or, my favorite, "Smile - it can't be that bad!" Then I give one of my general responses.

But if the very first thing that they've said to me is "Smile (or "cheer up" *ugh*), it can't be that bad!" I tell them anything awful I can think of, as angrily as I can. I don't have to fake the anger at this point; it comes rather naturally. Lost my home, just diagnosed with fatal disease, mother died, *child* died, I don't care. I usually top it off with "Who the fuck are you to tell me to SMILE?"

I know it isn't helpful or even useful, but sometimes I don't give a good God damn whether or not it's a learning experience for Mister Man. I want him to feel like utter shit. Even if he doesn't learn how improper, condescending, and belittling it is, he might at least think twice before he presumes that women will just smile if reminded that they're supposed to be decorative for the men around them.

Don't even talk to me about the Dove ad campaign which used women who weren't stick thin, and the top radio DJ went on a rant about how he shouldn't be forced to look at fat, ugly women out his office window. Oh, poor baby. How the world denies you your basic rights. You should sue.

(I might have just a weensy bit of a hate-on for the "Smile!" bullshit.)
posted by tzikeh at 2:00 PM on August 15, 2008 [73 favorites]


When I honestly evaluate my own biases, I note one that is always present and I have to fight it constantly. I tend initially to overevaluate good looking people's skills and underevaluate unattractive people's skills. It's happened so much that intellectually now I recognize it as it happens and I have to consciously urge myself to hold off judgement. Since I hire and evaluate people all the time, as well as decide which colleagues to work with and which to avoid, this is a huge problem for me. It wastes a lot of my time and has caused me to make some serious blunders.

My question is why this doesn't extinguish itself at the unconscious level. I'm in my sixth decade of life and still have this relflexive judgement. For each person, it wears off eventually, usually by the 3rd or 4th meeting, but until then I have to fight it. It's like it isn't susceptible to generalized learning, so I suspect it is in some sense hard-wired into me. Yep, that's right, I'm destined to be shallow. Woe is me.
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:14 PM on August 15, 2008


Heh, "relflexive judgement", like when your judgement of your in-laws blows back on you.
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:16 PM on August 15, 2008


Metafilter: Smile!
posted by LordSludge at 2:44 PM on August 15, 2008


Now I just want to ask tzikeh to smile just because I deeply appreciate this kind of snark.
posted by loquacious at 2:57 PM on August 15, 2008


I bet Isis would smile.
posted by Artw at 3:11 PM on August 15, 2008


tzikeh, I may love you.
posted by Coatlicue at 3:24 PM on August 15, 2008


Nobody ever tells me to smile any more, but then I'm a menopausal woman, so I'm invisible. It's interesting getting to live two different lives. I don't regret losing the "smile" riff, which was annoying and startling, but being invisible is a bit disconcerting at times. The only people who can see me are other women over fifty, usually black women.
posted by Peach at 3:54 PM on August 15, 2008 [4 favorites]


I wonder whether most people who read SWPL consider themselves part of the group that it lampoons, or if it's more of a making-fun-of-others (like the "You Might Be a Redneck If..." lists) sort of deal on the part of most visitors.

I do think its main audience is the group being lampooned and at the same time is a little bit in denial about it. It's very self-deprecating humor, which is why I enjoy it (I'm very much a part of the group being lampooned) and any post could range from making-fun-of-others-because-I'm-so-much-better to oh-shit-that's-totally-me-haha-busted.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 3:55 PM on August 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Who the hell tells strangers to smile? That is just so absurdly far out of my experience--I've never done it, had it done to me, seen or heard anyone do it, or even heard of anyone doing it before--that it seems unreal. But I believe you, and am puzzled and offended--but mostly puzzled--on your behalf.

Maybe I've lived in a bubble of scowly-face privilege all my life and never realised it.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 3:59 PM on August 15, 2008


The smile thing happens to me once a month minimum, more if I'm doing things involving authority figures like TSA guys where telling them to shove it is really not on the table. I just stare at them directly and blankly until they say something else or look away.
posted by jessamyn at 4:01 PM on August 15, 2008


Metafilter: Smile!

I can't decide whether all the anger over "Smile!" is funny or scary. I mean seriously, who gives a shit? That anger reeks of white privilege. Who else but white people would have the time or energy to get angry over "Smile!"?
posted by MikeMc at 4:04 PM on August 15, 2008


I also just read the non-fat privilege one and thought it was excellent, but perhaps sometimes poorly phrased. ("I can walk in public with my significant other and not have people double take or stare."? Hardly.)
posted by Solon and Thanks at 4:07 PM on August 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


I can't decide whether all the anger over "Smile!" is funny or scary. I mean seriously, who gives a shit? That anger reeks of white privilege. Who else but white people would have the time or energy to get angry over "Smile!"?

Are you kidding? Perhaps you misunderstand that many women are regularly approached by strange men and told "Smile!" These women are displaying the same facial expressions that countless other men do, only those men aren't told to "smile!" Why do you think that might be?

It's easy not to 'give a shit' when you're not the one expected to automatically conform to strange men's commands. I don't blame the people being told to smile for being upset about it.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 4:10 PM on August 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


Women "own" fastpitch softball and it's not generally no longer seen as a de-tuned version of baseball (which, IMO, it is).

CPB, dude, have you played the game? I was in a league in my early 20's, and it was anything but watered down. The pitchers are closer to home plate than in hardball (35-40ft), and that ball comes FAST. You can't count on hitting it over the fence as easily, so you have to be able to place it better. And the shorter base paths mean a fiercer running game.

Brings a story to mind about a game I once played at South Dakota State Penitentiary in Sewer Falls, where I grew up. Years before I was a student at a military prep school (yes, the horror!) where Tom White Hawk, a Dakota, was a senior and my platoon commander. I had to call him "Mr. White Hawk" or "sir" when I addressed him. After he graduated and was attending the University of South Dakota, he and a ne'er-do-well drinking buddy got smashed and decided to rob and kill a jeweler. Originally sentenced to death, his sentence was commuted to life without parole in the state prison after his plight became a nationwide cause. Well, I was at this game and trying not to look at the inmates on the other side ("Who you eyeballin', boy?"), when Lefty, the player-coach, put in the game at 2nd base because the starter was injured when his elbow was dislocated by the catcher from the prison team. As I prepared for my at bat, Lefty said "Just hit it over the 2nd baseman's head," which I did and was safe at 1st with a hit. The next batter bunted me to 2nd and as I slid in, I looked up and there was Tom White Hawk, blinking down at me through the dusty, sunny air of that grassless prison baseball diamond. All I could think of to say was, "Mr. White Hawk, sir!" He said, in a low grunt of recognition, "Hnh, Wimp." (Actually he used my real last name here.) That was all we said to each other. We won the game and afterwards we all shook hands and when he came past me, he gave me shy smile and said nothing.
posted by Mental Wimp at 4:12 PM on August 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile: Some seriously icky goings on at the San Deigho ComicCon.
posted by Artw at 4:14 PM on August 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's easy not to 'give a shit' when you're not the one expected to automatically conform to strange men's commands.

I'm a guy and I've been told to "Smile!" more than a few times (mostly by female co-workers), it can be annoying, but, come on. In the big scheme of things is "Smile!" really worth getting bent out of shape about? Why not just work that anger out by throwing rocks at the "Free Hugs" guy or something...
posted by MikeMc at 4:17 PM on August 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't think I've ever gotten a "Smile" or a "cheer up" from complete strangers, I imagine that would be an order of magnitude even more annoying.
posted by Artw at 4:20 PM on August 15, 2008


Deigho? Jesus...
posted by Artw at 4:20 PM on August 15, 2008


It's easy not to 'give a shit' when you're not the one expected to automatically conform to strange men's commands.

I'm a guy and I've been told to "Smile!" more than a few times (mostly by female co-workers), it can be annoying, but, come on. In the big scheme of things is "Smile!" really worth getting bent out of shape about? Why not just work that anger out by throwing rocks at the "Free Hugs" guy or something...


Okay, then, that's a fair point. I thought you had never experienced it and therefore were wondering why anyone cared. I've gotten "smile" from strangers (who seem to talk to me a lot, usually for help in stores and shops - a not unpleasant oddity - maybe they think I'm an employee) and I don't really mind, but could see how it inspires angry reactions. It is a small issue but I believe some people see it as a symptom of a larger attitude they dislike. I think it's worse with strangers than with coworkers, friends and family. Hopefully the latter care about why you look glum.

Though, really, the "Free Hugs" guy isn't telling people how they should feel or look.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 4:40 PM on August 15, 2008


The smile thing happens to me once a month
It might be an American thing. Not wanting to provoke another round of privilege comparison, American culture seems to have far more tolerance for petty dominance displays than Australian culture.

On thinking it over, it can't be anything but a petty dominance display. It just seems so stupid. Maybe, as a male, fewer people really give a shit if I smile or not. I know, as an INTP personality type, I honestly don't give a shit if other people smile or not, as such, although I have a vague desire that most of them be happy (and a specific desire for specific individuals to be happy). And in that case, I want them to smile because they are happy. In which case, if I can be bothered, I'll do something to make them happy, and take the smile as a sign of that working. One of the smile's major functions is a reward signal for positive interaction. (I also intensely dislike being 'pseudo-smiled' at, FWIW. I would far, far rather deal with a blank-faced or scowly shop assistant, for example, than one who grins the grin of the damned.)

My immediate assumption--and this is why it seemed so absurd to me--is that someone told to smile will be made annoyed. Hence the dominance: to annoy someone who cannot strike back, thus asserting superiority. This probably explains internet trolls as well: unable to assert superiority elsewhere in their lives, they annoy others who, because of the troll's anonymity, cannot strike back.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 4:40 PM on August 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


I can't decide whether all the anger over "Smile!" is funny or scary. I mean seriously, who gives a shit? That anger reeks of white privilege. Who else but white people would have the time or energy to get angry over "Smile!"?

Women of color who are sick and tired of it. Come on, that was an easy one--it's like one of the questions you answer to get into the "hot seat" on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?"
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:49 PM on August 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


CPB, dude, have you played the game?

You know, I get this a lot when I go off on softball (I was a sports journalist, so trust me on this, I've seen more college and Olympic softball than you). People don't see a difference between calling the sport silly while praising the players at the same time. It's like synchronized swimming -- sure, it's athletic as all hell. But ... it's ... dancing. In water. It's not a sport.

I'm sure Jennie Finch can strike out major league players without trying too hard. In fact, hey look, she's done it. Repeatedly.

It's not a parlor trick. What it is, is superior athleticism driving an already unbalanced sport even farther out of balance. If you start with baseball, which hasn't changed significantly in 100 years ... and you unbalance it by changing the rules and the equipment ... then throw in great athletes who will maximize every advantage ... voila, you end up with modern softball.

Softball, the game, is unbalanced and silly. Here's all you need to know about that:

In baseball, a perfect game is the pinnacle of achievement for a pitcher.

* At the major league level, there have been only 17 such events in more than 100 years.
* Cat Osterman threw 10 in just four years of college play.

'Nuff said. ;-)
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:50 PM on August 15, 2008


On thinking it over, it can't be anything but a petty dominance display.

This is exactly what it is. A complete stranger telling me to smile probably won't send me to the rooftops with an M-16, as it doesn't happen every day. But when it does, I respond the way I would to someone burping the alphabet in the elevator, snapping someone's bra strap, or any other adolescent carry-over behavior: eye contact, a shake of the head, and a simple, "No. You just don't." It's all the energy it deserves. Their response might be some sort of "What's your problem?" sneer, but frankly, as long as it conveys the message that not everyone is thrilled to have a total stranger tell them what facial expression to carry, then I'd say the work is done.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:54 PM on August 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


If I want to watch a fight on ice it's NHL all the way, if I want to watch an actual game of hockey, give me the girls.

Excluding the Stanley Cup playoffs, of course. They don't fight in the playoffs, and really, the level of fighting has gone down quite a bit in even the past 10 years of the NHL. /aside

Why isn't there a woman's baseball league instead of softball? What makes baseball so inherently not a woman's sport? Why would rules for any of these sports be at all different for women instead of men? I'm honestly curious - if anyone can enlighten me, here or over MeMail, I'd appreciate some insight.

I was just thinking about this the other day. There must be something about the dimensions of the men's game that make it ill-suited for women. There was a women's baseball team that tried to make a go of exhibitions back in the mid-90s, but there must be reason why softball has prevailed.

even the AAGPBL did not play regulation baseball until late in the 1954 season.

I agree, however. I quite enjoy baseball, but softball is just too boring, even for me. Any sport that prizes bunting that much. I actually prefer a nice cricket match.

Now playing (slow-pitch) softball? That's a different story. That's almost always a good time.

So why don't female athletes start high-school baseball leagues? When do girls drop out of baseball? Post T-ball, pre-Little League?
posted by mrgrimm at 5:00 PM on August 15, 2008


There was a women's baseball team that tried to make a go of exhibitions back in the mid-90s, but there must be reason why softball has prevailed.

No one screws with the Softball Mafia, that's why.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:03 PM on August 15, 2008


Why can't people hit the space bar when they write "every day"?

Today alone I've seen this 4 or 5 times on links posted here.
posted by Zambrano at 5:41 PM on August 15, 2008


Okay wait a minute. Women are genetically wired to not be able to hold their liquor? That's absolutely ridiculous. The other night my date actually handed me his car keys at the beginning of the night because he knows I "can drink most people under the table without trying so (I) might as well drive." I've outdrank slavic people serving me slivovitz, for Christ's sake. (They were very disappointed... they thought they were pulling one over on the American girl and then I ended up being the sober one all night.)

Disappointed more than a few guys in college who tried to get me liquored up, that's for sure. Yeah, I'm not a cheap date...
posted by miss lynnster at 5:51 PM on August 15, 2008


Twice recently I've been to electrical stores with a silent male companion in the background, asked a question and twice I've had the shop assistant talk to him instead of me.
posted by grapefruitzzz at 6:13 PM on August 15, 2008


Why can't people hit the space bar when they write "every day"?

Hey, good catch. Could be an example of the influence of spell-check on spelling habits. "Everyday" is a word, so people don't notice the error of deleting the space from "every day."
posted by grobstein at 7:25 PM on August 15, 2008


Why can't people hit the space bar when they write "every day"?

Yeah, I see that alot too.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:27 PM on August 15, 2008 [4 favorites]


Their response might be some sort of "What's your problem?" sneer

Yeah, that's what underlies my animosity to the "Smile" command--if I don't react the way the guy wants me to, he feels entitled to tell me off. It's a set-up, basically. If I smile, he has controlled me, and if I don't, he has the right to punish me. It can get weird fast, and if I'm not in a well-populated place it can feel dangerous.
posted by Peach at 7:45 PM on August 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


I liked the "We can't be equal while" link because it addresses a common problem of privilege checklists: the labeling of sexist social facts as a "privilege" of one gender over the other is often arbitrary.

When men lapse from stereotypical masculine behavior, they are often punished with derision as effeminate. So perhaps it's a "female privilege" to not be subject to this form of social control. But aha, maybe it's a male privilege to live in a society where "masculine" behavior is normative and "effeminate" is an insult (in my view, this only works as a male privilege if you conflate "male" with stereotypically masculine, but. . . .). Really neither framing is entirely satisfying, and it's better to sidestep the whole "we're worse off" debate, which is counterproductive.
posted by grobstein at 7:47 PM on August 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm confused about this point in the male programmer privilege one:
"# Not having to sit on your hands when speakers use gender fields in database schemata as an example of an attribute that never changes and only has two possible values. "

What, girls are more aware of gender fluidity/transgender/whatever point he's trying to make? Whatever.
posted by jacalata at 7:47 PM on August 15, 2008


A quick way for a white male American to get an understanding of his privilege is to live overseas, in a majority non-white culture.

Refused housing due to race: check.

People on a crowded train declining to use the open seat next to you: check.

Mothers becoming more protective of their children when they notice you: check.

Realizing that your actions (or the actions of other foreigners) are considered representative of the actions of all foreigners: check.

It's really opened my eyes to how easy I had it back home, and how difficult it must be for non-male, non-caucasian people back home.
posted by Ghidorah at 8:06 PM on August 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


I was just thinking about this the other day. There must be something about the dimensions of the men's game that make it ill-suited for women.

Why must there be? I have no idea why women would not be able to play regular rules MLB.
posted by agregoli at 5:21 AM on August 16, 2008


As for "women's rules" sports, it's way better than it used to be when I was a kid. I remember basketball in particular--we weren't allowed to cross the center line of the court and we were allowed three dribbles. And marathons. Women couldn't run them. What skeeves me out is that women's lacrosse still doesn't require helmets.

Women's rugby is WAY more fun to watch than men's. Nothing like watching a woman stomp off to the sidelines, rummage in her bag, and shove a tampon up her bleeding nose before going back to play.
posted by Peach at 5:48 AM on August 16, 2008


I'm an African American Male Cannibal Vegetarian. It is a privilege to eat you.
posted by doctorschlock at 8:17 AM on August 16, 2008


if I don't react the way the guy wants me to, he feels entitled to tell me off. It's a set-up, basically.

And, to expand on this, this is one sort of problem if it's a random guy on the street. Hey we're both strangers to each other so I don't owe him anything and am not really in any sort of a power relationship with him so I can respond pretty much how I want. This is totally different when the person asking (really, telling) me this is in a positionof power. For whatever reason this is how it goes down with me. I'm walking through airport security, I'm walking by a cop, I'm talking to my doctor, I'm interacting with someone at my job. In those cases, my response could affect my safety, my health care, my position at work etc. These sort of petty things happen to lots of people in many ways, certainly not just women or "minorities."

I see the same sort of thing happening in weird ways with etiquette police -- people who will prompt full-grown adults to say "please" and "thank you" as if EVERYONE knows the rules and it's okay for self-appointed rulebook holders to enforce them. This is sort of why it rankles me -- though I don't lose sleep over it -- that I find the "smile" command is somehow saying implicitly "Hey you're a pretty lady. Given that, it's really your place to look as pretty as you can and smile generally speaking and I'd like you to smile for me in particular" So the real breakdown is that to the erson issuing the command I think it's really not seen as a dominance move, it's seen as a compliment. As a result, responding with some sort of "wtf" becomes the set-up situation that Peach mentions. You're basically refusing a compliment/command if you get snappish (and ergo are bitchy, stuckup, whatever) and you're acquiescing if you just smile at them and possibly starting up a whole 'nother conversation "see, you're so pretty when you smile, hey what's your name..."

There are worse things in life than being told to smile by random men. It's clearly a mark of privilege that I can type out my annoyance at this on my laptop computer using my broadband internet connection with all ten of my intact fingers to a bunch of people who speak my language from the safety of my own apartment. Relative "who has got more privilege?" conversations tend to go badly, but I find these "you may not know how this one little scenario goes for a person of my background possibly compared to a person of your background..." I find pretty illuminating.
posted by jessamyn at 10:00 AM on August 16, 2008 [5 favorites]


There's an episode of Barney Miller that I saw twice; the second time, I realized that one of the "female" bit characters is actually a guy in drag, it's quite obvious the second time you see it and explains a lot about this character - but it's never directly or indirectly referred to in the script at all.

I don't think this happens often at all, however.

I know a few transgender/transsexual people and one down-right hermaphrodite (no, really, and a calmer and more cheerful and sophisticated person you'd be hard to meet, nor is eir gender or lack thereof something you even notice when you meet em); but I'm pretty realistic about the fact that TG and TS people represent a tiny segment of the population.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:43 AM on August 16, 2008


(I was a sports journalist, so trust me on this, I've seen more college and Olympic softball than you).

So the answer is, no, you haven't.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:01 PM on August 16, 2008


I've outdrank [sic] slavic people serving me slivovitz, for Christ's sake.

I don't at all discount your experience, ML, but ancedote is not the singular of data. The alcohol dehydrogenase gene family is variable, and you may have a particularly effective variant. This does not disprove that men, in general, are better at converting alcohol via the dehydrogenase pathway.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:16 PM on August 16, 2008


men, in general, are better at converting alcohol via the dehydrogenase pathway

But it's that "in general" that's always the problem. The average says nothing about the range of variation and even less about the individual before you. One could very easily pull out a woman with a particularly effective variant of that gene and a man with a particularly ineffective variant and just like that the stereotype has been disproven. The same could be done for relatively trivial things like amount of body hair, or job determining things like upper body strength or spatial ability. What I'm trying to say is that treating any one member of any group as though they are an average member of a group is where so much trouble can be found that using these "in general" phrases as though they are useful is a waste of time.
posted by hydropsyche at 2:02 PM on August 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


The average says nothing about the range of variation and even less about the individual before you.

Well, it's kind of subtle, but all we know in life are probabilities, and this is how we navigate life. We loosely say something is "certain", but it never is; that's just a shorthand way of saying it has a probability pretty close to one in ones estimation. So, yes, knowing that the probabilities are with the individual in front of you being more or less able to hold their liquor based on their sex is a useful bit of information about that person. But, yes, knowing more about the distribution makes the information more useful in assessing probabilities. I don't know why one would try to deny that prior knowledge is not useful in assessing a new individual. Do you approach each event in life as though you have no idea what will happen? Do you look at a door that is slightly different than the last one you opened and assess anew how one might go about opening it? Or do you assume that the probability is high that it will open like the last one you encountered? After all, it's only in general that doors are opened by turning the knob. There are other ways that some doors open. Sometimes the knob is fake. Sometimes the door is stuck and must be shouldered open.

This seems strange to be pointing out what everyone takes for granted every day in life. I think it's because there is some psychological uneasiness to think we use some of the same mental machinery to deal with other people that we use with the physical world in general. Thus, there is an instant flash of dissonance when we hear that "in general" or "on average" something is true about a category of people and don't want to think that it applies to any one individual. But, in probability, it does.
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:33 PM on August 16, 2008


Perhaps you misunderstand that many women are regularly approached by strange men and told "Smile!" These women are displaying the same facial expressions that countless other men do, only those men aren't told to "smile!" Why do you think that might be?

Um, because no one wants to have sex with them. What a fucking privilege, huh?

The grass is always greener.
posted by dgaicun at 2:39 PM on August 16, 2008


You really think the guys saying, "smile!" are angling for sex? Because that'd be a bizarre strategy, given that every single woman I've ever talked to about this is irritated by it (even if they respond by smiling politely). I don't think the smile guys are hitting on me when they tell me to smile. I think they're annoyed that I've forgotten to be decorative.
posted by joannemerriam at 3:10 PM on August 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


Yes, they really are hitting on you.
posted by dgaicun at 3:22 PM on August 16, 2008


Do you approach each event in life as though you have no idea what will happen? Do you look at a door that is slightly different than the last one you opened and assess anew how one might go about opening it? Or do you assume that the probability is high that it will open like the last one you encountered?...

I think it's because there is some psychological uneasiness to think we use some of the same mental machinery to deal with other people that we use with the physical world in general. Thus, there is an instant flash of dissonance when we hear that "in general" or "on average" something is true about a category of people and don't want to think that it applies to any one individual. But, in probability, it does.


The difference is that people are not doors. Doors aren't hurt by prejudgment. Doors with doorknobs different from the majority (or whatever) don't have a lifetime of mistreatment, and their parents' and grandparents' lifetimes of mistreatment following them around every day.

The other difference between people and your hypothetical doors is that it is the statistical reality that across the vast majority of traits the variation within a group (gender, ethnicity, etc) is vastly greater than the variation between the means of two different groups. The probabilities you're talking about don't in fact predict that most folks have the mean value of the given trait.

So, yes, I do prejudge doors and no, I do not prejudge people. I learned long ago that expecting people to conform to my stereotypes, even if I had heard or read on the internet that they were scientifically based, was both hurtful and statistically improbable.
posted by hydropsyche at 4:12 PM on August 16, 2008


the statistical reality that across the vast majority of traits the variation within a group (gender, ethnicity, etc) is vastly greater than the variation between the means of two different groups.

I'm not sure this is the case except in a trivial sense like "some men are 500 pounds and some are 100 pounds so the variation between men is greater than the variation in the mean between men and women". It's true, but not useful. You need to know the standard deviation for this to mean anything.

It isn't clear to me that the standard deviation for a lot of traits is high enough to make your statement true in anything but, like I said, a trivial sense.

If someone asked you if a random 30 year old man pulled off the street of Chicago would weigh more or less than a random 30 year old woman pulled off the street of Chicago, would you really throw up your hands and say you couldn't guess? Or would you, accurately, say that the man was considerably more likely to be heavier?
posted by Justinian at 4:24 PM on August 16, 2008


Um, because no one wants to have sex with them. What a fucking privilege, huh?

The grass is always greener.
posted by dgaicun


Oh! Pardon me. I shouldn't be annoyed that some random man comes up to me on the street and tells me to smile, even though it's a huge sexist and insulting thing to say to another human being, and I don't have a right to be mad about the fact that men experience this degrading type of experience FAR less than women do (to the point that some have never heard of it), because men don't have as many women trying to fuck them as women have men trying to fuck them?

Fantastic. Next time I'll know not to get upset about it. That saves time.
posted by agregoli at 5:10 PM on August 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure this is the case except in a trivial sense like "some men are 500 pounds and some are 100 pounds so the variation between men is greater than the variation in the mean between men and women". It's true, but not useful. You need to know the standard deviation for this to mean anything.

It isn't clear to me that the standard deviation for a lot of traits is high enough to make your statement true in anything but, like I said, a trivial sense.

If someone asked you if a random 30 year old man pulled off the street of Chicago would weigh more or less than a random 30 year old woman pulled off the street of Chicago, would you really throw up your hands and say you couldn't guess? Or would you, accurately, say that the man was considerably more likely to be heavier?


Language Log loves this stuff. For an example of what I mean, check out the graph at the bottom of this page, illustrating the hearing thresholds of men and women, something the Mars and Venus people love to cite as a huge gender difference. Similar graphs can be seen for IQ and lots of less subjective cognitive variables as well. I was hoping to link to them, but most of what I can find is in journal articles. I love those graphs because they really show what these differences actually look like in the data.

If we were to graph weights of men and women, of course they would look like that, too. With all the talk of obesity in the US, surely you're aware that there are plenty of obese women who weigh more than plenty of not obese men?
posted by hydropsyche at 6:27 PM on August 16, 2008


hydropsyche: Sure. And I understand where you're coming from; you don't want people to use dubious statistics to prejudge individuals. I'm totally on board with that. I just think that reasonable people can, with some justification, make informed guesses without it being that big a deal. If I haven't seen my cousins Bill and Amy since we were all 14 (and roughly the same size) and I'm moving into their town, It's going to be Bill I ask to help me move my piano rather than Amy. And I don't think I'm being sexist doing that, I'm just playing the numbers. He's WAY more likely to be able to lift heavy equipment.
posted by Justinian at 7:06 PM on August 16, 2008


Be honest; which of these would you prefer to watch: WNBA or NBA? NHL or women’s hockey? NFL or women’s rugby? MLB or softball?

I'd have to say that women's beach volleyball is superior to all.
posted by pwedza at 12:18 AM on August 17, 2008


I've been exploring the other links and I'm finding that I absolutely hate the idea of "privilege checklists."

That is strange, because "privilege checklist" seems like a fair descriptor for McIntosh's seminal bit of writing from whence, as I understand it, all these assignings of invisible privilege derive. I mean, it's not like it started out as high-energy physics and then got turned into unscientific, one-sided lists as soon as someone else's agenda got their hands on it.
posted by kid ichorous at 1:01 AM on August 17, 2008


Oh! Pardon me. I shouldn't be annoyed that some random man comes up to me on the street and tells me to smile

No, feel free to be annoyed. I'm sure it is annoying. I know it's annoying most of the time when strangers approach me in public. Especially those pushing for an unequal exchange (e.g. the filthy squeegee guy). Especially in neighborhoods where I don't feel safe.

even though it's a huge sexist and insulting thing to say to another human being

It's a clumsy thing to say to another human being. But the intent is a compliment. It's intended to make you sexually (or at least socially) interested in them. What's more troubling is when such men turn belligerent after rejection. Though it isn't surprising that many people don't cope well when confronted with the ugly truth of their own low sexual market value. I also feel bad for women who have to deal with the fear of getting raped that must sometimes accompany such exchanges.

... and I don't have a right to be mad about the fact that men experience this degrading type of experience FAR less than women do (to the point that some have never heard of it), because men don't have as many women trying to fuck them as women have men trying to fuck them?

Yes, correct. Annoying solicitations are a necessary by-product of the inherent advantage females have in the sexual market place. Since you get the supply-side benefit of choice, you also get the connected burden of dealing with all the low quality applicants. Those men telling you to smile are at a disadvantage because you have something they want very badly, and they do not qualify. They are frustrated and clueless about how to seduce you.

The pushy, annoying cat-caller doesn't have the privilege here compared to you for the exact same reason the pushy, annoying squeegee guy doesn't have the privilege over the uninterested business man with the nice car.

If men are more privileged than women because they don't have to deal with annoying sexual solicitation, then people with old, shitty cars are more privileged than Lexus drivers because they don't have to deal with annoying squeegee solicitation.
posted by dgaicun at 1:58 AM on August 17, 2008


If I haven't seen my cousins Bill and Amy since we were all 14 (and roughly the same size) and I'm moving into their town, It's going to be Bill I ask to help me move my piano rather than Amy. And I don't think I'm being sexist doing that, I'm just playing the numbers. He's WAY more likely to be able to lift heavy equipment.

If the only variables you're playing are upper body strength and physical stature, you might be right. But don't be shocked if Bill has a chronic or temporary injury or illness/works a desk job/never exercises and he says you should ask Amy instead because she's in good health/works a physical job/works out 5 days a week. Those are variables that are largely not gender determined. That's why I would issue a general call for help to the folks I know in town and then ask who thinks they can help lift a piano.
posted by hydropsyche at 5:47 AM on August 17, 2008


What the fuck is this "women have the advantage in the sexual market place" shit? It's an advantage to be (generally speaking, since y'all seem to be so fond of gender generalizations) smaller, more easily physically forced, and more socialized to be accommodating to demands? If we're the gender with the "privilege of choice", why are we apparently required to spend so much effort on decorating ourselves to attract men? Why are the magazine headlines "10 Ways to Get Him to Notice You - And Stay Interested!" rather than "10 Ways to Ask Him Out"?
(And don't say the dressing up is pointless, because an average woman out on the street wearing sweats is so much less likely to get sexual attention than a woman fully made up and wearing a minidress*)

I don't care if the "intent" of harassment and catcalling and orders to smile are complimentary. The onus should not be on women to understand where the other person is coming from, it should be on the other person to not engage in these actions toward women. I mean, would it be acceptable go up to a black man in the street, tell him to jump, and say it's complimentary because white men can't?

* generally speaking again, because if the woman in sweats is your significant other or friend you've already chosen.
posted by casarkos at 7:13 AM on August 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


What the fuck is this "women have the advantage in the sexual market place" shit?

The economics are simple: the demand for sex (from men) is waaaaaayy higher than the supply (the number and quality of sex partners women are willing to take). You control the supply with choice, so you can set the "prices" high (i.e. standards). And most men can't afford it (in mate value).

In one famous experiment, men and women were recruited to approach members of the opposite sex that they found attractive and ask if they would be interested in having sex. 75% of the men agreed when women asked, 0% of the women agreed when men asked.

So even when women find men attractive, most require an elaborate and skilled courtship. So most cat-callers are doubly disadvantaged, in that they are unattractive mates (low status, ugly, uninteresting) and have no courtship skills to speak of.
posted by dgaicun at 9:48 AM on August 17, 2008


That study's just as bullshit as the last time you linked to it, dgiacun.
posted by klangklangston at 10:38 AM on August 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I was just about to say that klangklangston had nicely debunked your use of that study previously.
posted by hydropsyche at 10:45 AM on August 17, 2008


Yes, my responses are already in the linked thread, and I'm not going to rehash them.

That the male demand for sex is higher than the supply is not a controversial statement, and by no means rests on that study. Any number of studies show men, on average, want more sex and more sex partners than women. Some of them are reviewed in the first link here. Feel free to read.

This puts females at the supply-side advantage in the sexual market. Females get to be the "choosier" sex: and this is true for the vast majority of mammals, not just for humans.
posted by dgaicun at 11:24 AM on August 17, 2008


I don't think you can justifiably state that women have the advantage in the "sexual marketplace" when they are disproportionately the victims of sexual violence; getting to be "choosy" under controlled conditions means little when you have had, or are in danger of having, your choice taken away. I'm not even sure that if you are able to find examples of "attractive" women turning down "attractive" men under controlled conditions and no counter-examples that you can erase the spectre of violence; if an "attractive" woman is slender and an "attractive" man is muscular, who has the physical advantage?

You can't really claim that the whole "smile" bullshit - and associated whistles, yells, pinches, gentle slaps, and so on - is because people without sexual power are trying to claim it. Hell, I was yelled at this morning on my way back from the shops, and I was fucking limping; there is nothing I could have done to the man who yelled "nice arse!" at me from the scaffolding, and he knew it: he had the power.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 1:59 PM on August 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


Sorry, dgaicun. That sounds like a big mess of shit to me.

It's a clumsy thing to say to another human being. But the intent is a compliment.

Except it's not a compliment, nor do I believe that the intent is one either.
posted by agregoli at 2:40 PM on August 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


C'mon, baby, I see you as a place to put my dick. Why you gotta be all hatin'?
posted by klangklangston at 2:59 PM on August 17, 2008


ArmyOfKittens has it. The intent is to shame and display power. Whether they think they are doing that or not, that's the reality of it.
posted by agregoli at 3:00 PM on August 17, 2008


That sounds like a big mess of shit to me.

To me too, mostly. But so do antisocial, unsubstantiated broad-brush jobs like:

The intent is to shame and display power. Whether they think they are doing that or not, that's the reality of it.

If every assertion in this thread were held to the same scrutiny to which we now must hold dgaicun's, we'd have to dismiss all this "smile baby" and "power display" talk as hearsay and empty speculation until someone published on the phenomenon to klangklangston's (respectable) standards. And every single one of these privilege checklists - from McIntosh's original work on down - would have to be similarly vetted or junked for brazenly unscientific methodology.

In spite of (deliberately?) staking a quixotic position, dgaicun appears to have cited more scholarship than anyone else in the thread. He's also working with more citations in hand than Peggy McIntosh does in her original Knapsack essay.

One of the things I like most about Metafilter is dipping into threads outside of my own expertise and picking up on the voices of experience in the crowd. In certain highly politicized subject areas, however, it seems increasingly unrewarding to tune in, let alone stab at participation.
posted by kid ichorous at 1:29 AM on August 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


dgaicun Females get to be the "choosier" sex:

This is the central flaw in your argument. You're mistaking a consequence for a cause. Females are at greater vulnerability to greater risk from engaging in sex, and any sex-related activity that might lead to sex, which is most of 'em. Granny was right about that last bit, and yes, it even applies to dancing.

From this greater vulnerability, a whole lot of potential behaviors that match up well with the evidence can be derived. Alcohol, for instance, interferes with risk assessment (reducing perceived risk) more than it interferes with any other cognitive function: drunk women are well-known to be more willing to engage in sex and sex-related activity. Most of the "seduction strategies" shopped around the internet and made much of amount to this: increase her perceived gain and reduce her perceived risk, ideally by increasing her actual gain and reducing her actual risk from having sex with you, and a woman will be more likely to have sex with you. Easily stated.

As for the petty dominance stuff, it's possible (I don't want to actually make the argument that it's so, but I'm willing to postulate that it might be) that asshole behavior towards female strangers may assist men known to those women by increasing the contrast, and round and round it goes. But on the other hand these men are often assholes to women they know, too; maybe alternatively, without a percentage of assholes in the male population the "nice guy" strategy would never be viable at all. The same men who are "nice" because they happen to have succeeded in pairing up and getting regular sex and living reasonably satisfactory lives would be all "smile, bitch" if they'd been sexually unsuccessful, women had left them for better men, and their lives in general sucked. Maybe. And if my cat barked and had puppies she'd be a dog.

IMO, the appropriate social response to female vulnerability is to mitigate the vulnerability (discourage rape and sexual harassment, teach women self-defense and danger awareness) and mitigate the consequences (research pregnancy control, increase access to abortion, research STD prevention and cures), but our ability to do so has only recently increased. Greatly so, fortunately, and it will continue to increase. Previously, the most available social response was for women to mitigate their exposure to these risks: stay away from men generally, especially strangers; be protected by men from men; socially "manage" her sex drive into marriage and matters related to marriage such as courtship, affairs, lack of consummation as grounds for divorce, etc; and socially pressure her to deny her sex drive. Much of what our ancestors did seems dumb and nasty to us, but at least some of the time, they did what they did for lack of better choices.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 1:32 AM on August 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


I wonder if homosexual people are entreatied to smile by other homosexual people in a homogenous homosexual environment. Is it just something practiced by heterosexual males?
posted by asok at 5:30 AM on August 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Personally, I've often felt the impulse to say something like "Smile!". For similar reasons, I'm tempted to ask if there is anything that I can do for people I see crying. In either case, I squelch it. The initial impulse is a sort of misplaced empathy/chivalry in the face of a woman's obvious discomfort, but the fact that I don't usually have the same impulses where men are concerned leads me to believe that there is definitely some patriarchal bullshit motivating my subconscious.

As far as solicitations by strangers go, women do it too, although far, far less often and not with the overtones of physical intimidation (that I've seen).

I can't think about catcalls without thinking of Maggie Estep's video Hey Baby.
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:27 PM on August 18, 2008


There is a huge difference between a coworker asking you to smile and some stranger on a street doing it.
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:28 PM on August 18, 2008


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