Male privilege


You’re probably wondering what’s up with the title of this post, because last time you checked, you were reading Gun Nuts Media, not Jezebel. Well, just bear with me for a minute, because this is a topic that has popped up on my radar in the gun/military community quite a few times recently.

To ask some people what “male privilege” is, they’d tell you that it’s how men have unfair advantages in western society. Maybe that’s true, I don’t have a degree in Women’s Studies, so I wouldn’t know. What I do know is what male privilege looks like to me. If you’d like to see “male privilege” through my eyes, all you have to do is visit Arlington. Or Normandy. Or any of the national cemeteries full of young men who had the privilege to lay down their life for their country.

Male privilege is freezing in Valley Forge, a member of a ragtag army with little supplies and small of hope of victory. Yet still they stand in the face of the most powerful empire in the world and say, “we will be free.”

Male privilege is huddled at the Alamo, outnumbered and outgunned, while a despot who fancies himself the Napolean of the west prepares to overrun your defenses.

Male privilege is a bloody war between the States, where outdated tactics put thousands of men in the ground as they charged en masse into rifle fire far more accurate than the muskets of a bygone era.

Male privilege is impaled on a Sioux spear and scalped, body bleaching in the sun because your commander took a short battalion out against 2500 well equipped and experienced fighters.

Male privilege is freezing in a trench in a French town you don’t know the name of, because you volunteered to fight The War to end All Wars; all the while praying they don’t attack with mustard gas again.

30 years later, male privilege is flaming out in the skies over England, dying in job lots in Stalingrad, fighting brutal jungle battle in the Pacific, and storming the beaches of Normandy.

Male privilege sits in the Chosin Reservoir, again cold, again outnumbered as the enemy pours troops at you in human wave assaults, and yet you never quit. You keeping fighting, and eventually break out of the trap.

Male privilege is at Ton son Nhut airbase in Vietnam during the Tet Offensive, when 5 airmen held their post against a massive attack by the NVA, with all but one having the privilege to pay the ultimate price for their courage.

Male privilege is in the desert of Iraq as unarmoured Hummvees filled with Recon Marines race across the desert ahead of the main line of assault, with the simple mission to find ambushes and engage the enemy. It’s in the mountains of Afghanistan, and it’s in hundreds of places you and I will never hear of.

Now they’re talking about opening up combat arms fields to women. I’m all for it. My AFSC is open to females, and some of them have enjoyed the ultimate privilege that their brothers in arms have through the centuries. Everyone is equal in Arlington, after all.

12 thoughts on “Male privilege”

  1. I understand the perception, but was it a privilege or was it female discrimination? Was it masculine superiority complex that created what you call Male Privilege? The inability of certain males to accept the fact that a woman is capable of being the equal of a man? I am sure there are those who will say not all women are capable, well not all men can do what some women can either, and I am not talking about giving birth. There are plenty of women that are more physically capable then men. If you compare specimens of equal physical characteristics, you just don’t know who will come out on top. What is male privilege . . . the truth is, there is none, but there is a dominance and superiority issue that still exists in the minds of some.

    1. Daniel, I will have to respectfully disagree. While I myself do not have, and never will have, the “grit” it would take to be a member of any kind of elite military fighting unit, thousands upon thousands of men have passed the requirements but only a very small number of women have; these as a percentage pale in comparison.

      Certainly there are 20% of the women out there that have the physical athletic ability to beat 80% of the men, but there are the EXCEPTION and not the rule. Further, until the relatively recent advances in feminine hygiene and birth control, women on the battlefield (not one day excursions from a FOB or anything of that sort, but living in the field for day after day in all kinds of weather and terrain, mind you) simply could not for all practical purposes meet those demands.

      Indeed, several recent studies have shown that the physical demands related to how warfare is “done” – long hard marches carrying heavy loads of gear – is actually unsuitable for the structure of the woman’s physique. The structure of their hips, pelvis and spine are indeed different from a mans and they suffer disproportionately to men with problems of the hip and knee joints which are not simply temporary, acute problems but actually translate into chronic disability. These problems are exacerbated if a woman has carried a child to term, with or without a vaginal delivery, as the natural result of pregnancy makes the changes to the positioning of a woman’s hips and pelvis more pronounced and less able to absorb the kind of abuse rucking requires.

      Finally, and without consideration for our modern penchant for media and celebrity extolling the virtues of the “tough” woman, by and large our society still sees women as less strong (because, on average, they indeed are) and in need of protection, and whether you agree of not this does directly translate into psycho-sociological conditioning of females from a young age to lack the necessary kind of mental toughness that is generally acknowledged as an asset in the psyche of a warrior.

      Certainly it is a trait that women can develop, but most choose not to as they like themselves the way they are. As a society we don’t need to have “warrior tough” women, so we don’t. Equally true is that as a society, we generally expect our male children to BE “warrior tough”, and so that expectation also carries through and can be seen reflected in the competitive, physically demanding and frankly dangerous sports we expect our male children to engage in. Even the terms we use in these games reflect warfare; we enter the offensive zone, defend the goal line, attack the ball carrier, and expect our team Captain to Lead Us To Victory.

      Yes, War is in fact part of the Male Privilege. If a woman feels she wants to join, I wish her luck.

    2. “If you compare specimens of equal physical characteristics, you just don’t know who will come out on top.”

      Huh? I’m all for establishing a minimum standard and then letting any and all, of either sex, who wish to compete, do so. But statements like this really annoy the crap out of me.

      The Rousey Mayweather verbal sparring aside, amusing though it may be and I definitely would root for Rousey should hell freeze over, but your above statement is just patently false.

      No one is saying that every man can physically dominate every woman. But since we are talking about highly fit and highly trained athletes, we are hardly talking about “every man” or “every woman”. This is not a mere psychological bias as you seem to suggest.

      TLDR: I’m sick of this Barney loving, sugar coated, PC bullcrap about how we are the same and everyone gets a trophy. We are not all the same–some of it by genetics, some of it by choice/training etc. Instead of artificially trying make everyone equal, why not instead recognize our difference, and if not celebrate them, then find a way that everyone can contribute.

      1. Who is talking about trained athletes, the article was talking about “male privilege” . . .

        1. Perhaps your are new to this “forum thing”, but I responded to your post, not the article–FWIW, the article I agreed with.

          1. If you are not going to exercise reading comprehension then to continue this will be a waste of both our times.

            I quoted one of the sections of your post that I had a problem with.

            Again, you made the statement: “If you compare specimens of equal physical characteristics, you just don’t know who will come out on top”. If you cannot make the connection between that statement and my reply, then there really isn’t any point in continuing.

          2. Funny, I was thinking the same thing about reading that you mentioned, except directed toward you. Have a a wonderful week, easily annoyed : )

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