It is so unfortunate that even in the 21st century, we are discussing male entitlement and privilege – and my worry is that it is not going to go away anytime soon. I just hope it keeps diminishing with each generation of kids we bring up.
What is male entitlement and privilege?
According to Kate Manne, author of “Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny” and “Entitled: How Male Privilege Hurts Women.” Under a framework of male entitlement, Manne argues, women are expected to give feminine goods (sex, care, nurturing and reproductive labor) while not taking masculine goods (power, authority and claims to knowledge). Within this system, women are deprived of entitlement to both feminine-coded and masculine-coded goods.
Don’t think it exists in today’s age?
And those of you who are shaking your heads thinking this is bullshit – let me remind you that it is male entitlement and privilege when (and in no particular order):
- There is a single glass of milk in the household and the male child gets it.
- While boys of the house play, girls are helping lay dinner
- Education of the male child gets priority over the education of the female child
- When the female fetus is aborted and sweets are distributed at the birth of a boy
- When the girl is considered a burden since birth
- When you tell someone, you are two sisters and they ask, bhai nahi hai? (no brother?)
- When boys have no curfew hours and girls are expected to be back home by dark, or maybe not even allowed to step out
- When a girl is blamed for an assault on her rather than the male perpetrator
- When I woman is called ‘baanjh’ (infertile)in a childless marriage – and the man has not even bothered getting himself tested
- When a woman is told she was hired because of her company’s diversity targets rather than her skills and experience
- When a woman on top is considered to have reached there by using her female vices.
- When a woman comes back home and starts doing housework, while her husband immediately settles down in front of the TV.
- When a woman’s unpaid household work is not considered work but her duty
- When a woman is career focused she is selfish, uncaring of children, aggressive and so on
- When a man gets into a crowded public bus and wades through it without a care but a woman thinks twice and then tries to reach a corner avoiding unwanted caresses.
- When a man gets to keep his surname and home after marriage while the woman is expected to leave both.
- When a man expects sex regardless of whether his partner is in the mood. When consent has no meaning.
- When a man expects his feelings to be returned by the woman he likes.
- When a man can’t take no.
Do you want more or are these examples enough? I hope we can agree that men are born and brought up with a set of unearned privileges which are so normalized by society that the privileged sometimes even find it hard to recognize them. These societal constructs get ingrained deeply in both men and women leading to male entitlement across all spheres of life.
The way most boys are brought up, the cultural and media influences right from childhood, instils a notion of rights within their minds, ultimately authorizing and justifying controlling behavior. They grow up with a sense of inherent power. ‘This is MY house – so you behave according to MY rules’; ‘I am the head of the house, so everyone follows what I say’ and so on. ‘You are MY wife, so you give me what I want.’ This privilege and entitlement give rise to different gender expectations, women being considered property of men, misogyny and eventually to violence against women.
Let’s start by teaching our boys and telling our men that they are as obligated to give as to receive. (Kate Manne)
This post is part of blogchatter #a2zchallenge.