gloraelin: A Bunny, sitting on the moon fishing stars (Default)
[personal profile] gloraelin
I'm aware this post may come across as me whining out of my privileged ass, but so be it. I have to work it out somewhere, and here's as good as anywhere else.

I've been experiencing a lot of weirdness lately, in the way I think and the way I act, in the conversations I have, the topics I talk about. Yesterday with a friend I mentioned that someone needed to "check their privilege" and he just... totally freaked out on me. Yeah, I said it. How dare I mention that someone's being an ass because they don't understand the issues that [insert minority group] goes through and is insisting! that there's no such thing as... white privilege, or male privilege, or cis or straight or whatever privilege.

I don't get that response. I mean, yeah, it's harsh coming to terms with how privileged you are [if you're a white, straight, cis male, OR another majority group {such as a white cis woman, in regards to transwomen of color}], but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist or that people who are trying to combat it are being overly touchy or whiny or asses or whatever.

And this is compounded by a couple things. First, I've been doing a LOT of reading lately on feminism -- it's always been a subject that's interested me greatly, especially since it was so "off-limits" growing up [all feminists are out to supplant men in the role of ~god's provider~ and hate men! ... lolno], and since I'm not working at the moment, I've taken the chance to check out a number of books from the library system here.

The things I've learned... the things I've read, and experienced, and seen... are simply astonishing. I'm astounded at the things women have gone through, and still go through, in the name of "fighting for equal rights." I've run into a few of these commonalities: I don't know that I don't want children, I'll just change my mind when my clock starts ticking! I don't know that I want sex. I can't take care of myself, I need a ~man~ to do it [bullshit!]. I don't deserve to be treated as an autonomous person, I'm ~just~ a woman.

And yet, all that crap, it all pales compared to what friends of mine have gone through. To the things people in other, "Third World" countries. So... it's kind of a reality check to realize that.

Second, it's more than a little disconcerting to be listening to a song that really appeals to me, and then suddenly the thought "[singer] is fucking hott and I'm kind of upset that he's off limits and gay" pops in my mind. I mean, yeah, he is, but... that's so delegitimizing to him, to his orientation, to his relationship... all that. I'm straight, yeah, and so that means that my relationship comes "standard" with a modicum of "respectability," according to society at large. He's not, and so... y'know, it doesn't.

It's just weird, to have all your preconceived notions of The World turned on their head, to realize that holy shit, I'm really really privileged to live where I do, to have the opportunities I have, to have the ability to even sit here and talk about my privilege like this.

What's weirder still is when people accuse me of "sitting behind [my] disability to mock others with mental/learning disabilities." Yeah, I have a problem with using loaded terms like "bitch," which I'm working on. But I don't need my damned "disability" title to mock someone, I'm an equal-opportunity snot, if I think you're being stupid I'll "mock" you. Or just point out how stupid your point is. Usually the latter, but sometimes the former if you've made an ass of yourself previously.

Anyway, that was a helluva tangent. Basically... I'm trying to work my way through unpacking my privilege, and it's proving way more difficult than I thought. And I'm sorry in advance if I offend you while I'm doing it, it is purely unintentional.

And damn, that got long.

----------------
Now playing: Adam Lambert - Whataya Want From Me
http://foxytunes.com/artist/adam+lambert/track/whataya+want+from+me

Date: 2010-05-08 05:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] julephenia.livejournal.com
I applaud you for trying to unpack your privilege. I'll be honest - I've tried, and mostly I get really tired before I get to the bottom. (Which only reminds me how fucking privileged I am.)

For all that I'm a European Socialist, there are times I simply say, "What were the ODDS that I'd be born a white straight girl in NEW JERSEY?" (They had to be seriously small. Even with shitty past lives.) And then I mentally hug America and get on with my day.

I'm not familiar with the term "cis"... could you elaborate?

Date: 2010-05-08 09:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gloraelin.livejournal.com
"cis" is the term for "when your gender and your sexual organs at birth match." Like, I'm a ciswoman. I have a friend who's not, since she's a transwoman. ETC.

Date: 2010-05-11 12:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] denelian.livejournal.com
i grew up as the "Token PoC/Injun"; everyone KNEW i was Cherokee, and the hell it caused was [not to be redundant] hellish

then, at 16, i moved to Alabama - and i was suddenly "white".
which was... there isn't even a word for that mindfuck, not really. sigh.


the thing is, privilege is EVERYWHERE. any random individual person is privileged against someone else. i am privileged in that i am a straight/cis person, in that i totally pass for white anymore, in my education and educational background. in that my disability isn't hugely deforming, and when i'm not in the wheelchair most people can't see it. etc, etc, etc.
my boyfriend is black - but he's a sorta-cis straight man ["sorta" because i WILL NOT let him borrow my clothes. i have this thing, NO ONE gets to borrow my clothes if they'll look better in them that *I* do, kay?] so in some ways he's more privileged, in some ways I am.


and you can spin it out, and spin it further -
but the thing is, to some extent or another, EVERYONE has SOME privilege or another. it's not WRONG or BAD or EVIL to have privilege. what's wrong/bad/evil is to USE said privilege ONLY for yourself all the time. SOME of the time is ok - to get out of a speeding ticket, or something. but not all the time.


if i make any sense at all...

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gloraelin: A Bunny, sitting on the moon fishing stars (Default)
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