Here’s a newsflash: if you are overflowing with male privilege and don’t realize it, you’ll have some trouble getting your comments through moderation. Why? Because your rights are not more important than the rights of all our other readers, and I won’t tolerate your offending them with your bullshit just because you have been assured all your life that your bullshit doesn’t smell. It does. You have been lied to. Let’s look at an example.
In a recent post about The Tubes’ video “She’s a Beauty”, I mentioned that I considered the only black woman in the video being cast as a cave woman to be a bit of a race fail. One commenter, Janbo, made a thoughtful point about how it could be more a comment on race than a race fail. This gave me pause – Janbo is right. It certainly could be viewed that way, and I don’t doubt that was the band’s intention, so perhaps it’s not a fail. Note that Janbo disagreed with me and not only did I post her comment, but I acknowledged her viewpoint as perfectly valid. I mention this because: what do guys with bruised male privilege always tell us? Say it with me, class: you’re censoring comments you don’t agree with, you horrid person.
Next up we have Christopher, a white guy. What’s about the second thing Christopher says? He assures us that he is not offended by the black cave woman. Yeah? That’s about as relevant as a Democrat saying, “I wasn’t offended when someone said all Republicans were child-molesting, baby-barbecuing serial killers.” I mean, I wasn’t “offended” by the black cave woman, either – I’m a white woman, so her presentation affects no one’s view of me. I was thinking critically about how that character might impact the perception of black woman. Janbo had thought critically, too, and found another way to look at it. Christopher just offered his own white male viewpoint, apparently assuming we would find it relevant and valuable because…?
In Christopher’s defense, he like everyone else has been told all his life that the white male viewpoint is the default. It’s the one that matters. No one really needs to look at things from any other viewpoint. But the whole point of equality activism is to challenge that idea. We folks-other-than-white-men are asserting that our viewpoints matter, too. And sometimes they’re a lot more relevant.
Anyway, I actually let that comment through because I wanted to address the male privilege in it. It was the next comment I didn’t allow. First, some background: the rest of his original comment had interpreted the video as warning men against “high maintenance” women. In my response, I linked him to the article in which I explain that high maintenance is a sexist term I never want to hear again. Does Christopher read that article? I see no sign he did in his response, which is the comment I deleted:
People use the term “high maintenance” to describe certain women for one reason- because they are.
Obvious total failure to engage with the point of my article. Clearly, he’s too special to acknowledge my points, but I should listen to him. Wonder why he would think that?
Women use this same term to describe certain men and to describe other women. Men also use the term to describe other men. It’s not a gender specific term, and not one exclusively used my men.
Quite a reach. I know a few scattered people use it this way, but can anyone produce 6 TV show references to a man being “high maintenance”? That aren’t jokes? It absolutely is a gendered term in pop culture, and our comment guidelines clearly ban the use of gendered terms. Again, the rules don’t apply to Christopher!
These are the folks who may be out with you, but still have one eye on the door; or as Carly Simon lamented “one eye in the mirror.”
And we -men and women- tend to fall at least once for these types. They’re beautiful and seductive; they attract the attention of others. They can have anyone they want, for as long as they want, and they carry themselves as such. They’re fascinating, and we feel more powerful and beautiful just being in their presence.
Oh, yes, they are. Except, no, wait. I find them repulsive! Despite Christopher’s categorical statement that these people are all this stuff, period, I’ve always found them pitiful because I knew deep down, they were just deeply insecure. I never felt more powerful and beautiful in their presence, because I have always felt pretty damn powerful and, in my own way, beautiful. I never found these people fascinating because insecurity is very boring.
The song “She’s A Beauty” articulates these feelings quite well. Human insecurity draws us to seek acceptance from those more beautiful; and it’s a dangerous trap for both males and females. Notice the expressionless face of the dominatrix which seems to say “I turn you on without putting out any effort. It’s all just a sell, and you’re just another sucker in the game.” Fee Waybill is simply advising us all not to fall victim to the vanity which is beauty.
Once again, opinion stated as fact – another no-no in our comment policy. Christopher doesn’t know what Fee Waybill’s intent behind the lyrics is anymore than I do, but he feels entitled to speak as if he does: that’s male privilege for you. It shouldn’t exist.