A clear and also common example of male privilege that you may not think about could present itself in the following scenario.
guy: *hits on girl
girl: “Sorry, not interested”
guy: *continues to hit on girl
girl: “Seriously dude, not interested”
guy: *..still trying
girl: “I have a boyfriend”
guy: *stops relentless flirtation efforts.
While not ever guy will simply stop unwanted advances towards a woman because she has a boyfriend, that is exactly what many do. Thankfully the unwanted advances may stop, but what bothers me is the reason they stop. It is not out of respect for the female’s lack of sexual/romantic interest in the guy, but rather the male to male respect that would create boundary lines.
It puzzles, and alarms, me that we so often times are tolerant of injustice. If you stand by and watch a bad behavior continue that is just as bad as contributing to the behavior itself. By remaining silent you are supporting that behavior. I’ve often heard the argument “It’s not my place to get involved”. Really? It’s not your fault to call someone out on a detrimental action towards someone else? If we all just act as bystanders then nothing will change.
I’m not saying you have to go start a riot every time someone says “don’t be a pussy” or “she looks like a slut”, but you can, at the very least, speak up about it. It’s not always an easy conversation, especially if you know the people saying those things. However, it helps no one if you stay silent. Sexist comments are so prevalent in many parts of society that people often times don’t even realize that what they are saying is offensive or derogatory. Taking the time and courage to speak up could completely change the way someone thinks as well as how they treat others.
The message here is pretty clear and simple, but for some reason it seems to become complicated, especially in western societies. I think that there is an often inaccurate assumption that women choosing to cover up their bodies for religious, cultural or modesty related reasons must be suppressed in some way in order to do so. This argument completely skews one of the key feminist ideas…that women can think and choose for themselves.
That’s really what it is all about. Choice. It’s the choice to decide what you wear or don’t wear. It’s the choice to decide what set of moral or religious guidelines you follow, if you even choose to follow any at all. It’s the choice to have control over YOUR body and YOUR life.
You can’t just give women the freedom to choose then take it away because it’s not what you wanted or because it makes you uncomfortable. If women covering their bodies bothers you then I urge you to educate yourself…and also find something more important to worry about than a decision that doesn’t even concern you.