ACTUALLY:

thisisfemaleprivilege:

Female privilege is not being seen as a pervert for watching porn.

The pornography industry is more ubiquitous than any other media industry, with a collective annual income of around $12 billion - $3 billion per year more than the collective box office revenue for the mainstream film industry. About $4.9 billion of this is revenue from the internet alone. There are also thousands of sites devoted to FREE video hosting for pornography, and millions of men and women (but mostly women) who perform in these films every year.

Most pornography caters to men and features predominantly heterosexual activity. In society, the fact that men in general watch a lot of pornography is an accepted standard, which is why there is relatively much less pornography created with the female interest in mind. In fact, many mainstream pornographic films feature sex acts that demean, degrade, humiliate, or reduce women. However, the women in the films act as though this is the treatment they deserve and in fact desire. These kinds of depictions lead to the increasing acceptance of rape myths.

Many content analyses have been performed to study the content of mainstream pornography and its effects on the attitudes and beliefs of men and women who are exposed to it. Studies show that most mainstream pornography will depict at least one action or behavior that counts as sexual aggression or violence - physical or verbal - meaning that most consumers of pornography are exposed to sexually violent content. In most cases, the aggressor is male and the victim is female. Research suggests that women who view this male-catered content are more likely to be disgusted than aroused, whereas men are more likely to be aroused - especially in cases where it appears as though the victim is enjoying being hurt or degraded.

A quick glance at the first page of popular adult film video hosting site xnxx.com reveals that even on highest-rated, most popular video clips, it is outrageously common to see words like “slut,” “whore,” and “cumslut” used synonymously with “woman” or “girl,” and many of the video titles include suggestions of violence or other unwanted aggression.

Titles such as “Barely Legal” suggest that the pornography industry has very little concern over the reasons why consent and statutory rape laws exist in the first place - to protect younger adolescents from decisions they may not be ready to make - and instead celebrates the removal of these restrictions from still very young boys and girls (but mainly girls).

It is important to note that all of these findings come from the study of mainstream pornography - not just fringe pornography like fetish, BDSM, dom/sub, or any other marginalized category.

With this general yet unspoken acceptance of disproportionately male viewership in the pornography industry - and all of the potentially negative psychological effects that come with it - women have very little stake in what happens in this industry, including how our own gender is portrayed. Very little erotica is crafted for women. All of this stems from the “purity myth” surrounding women - that we are supposed to be virginal and nonsexual creatures except when men desire us; then we are over-sexualized and branded “whores” and “nymphos.” Where male masturbation is considered a fact of life and “just something boys do,” females are taught that masturbating is not ladylike. This results in many women finding it harder to achieve orgasm later in life.

In sum, while it might be true that men are often teased for their pornography consumption - especially among teenage peers - male viewership of pornography is highly more accepted and catered to than female viewership, and this behavior has extremely negative consequences for women in particular.

ACTUALLY:

thisisfemaleprivilege:

female privilege is the ability to demand and receive alimony after a divorce settlement even though you have a degree and a well paying job to support yourself.

Temporary alimony is sometimes awarded to divorced men who were not the “bread winners” in their marriage, although it is certainly true that women are much more likely to receive alimony, and in most places “indefinite” alimony is awarded to exclusively women. This alimony is often withheld in cases where the woman’s misbehavior is the grounds for divorce, in an attempt to keep things fair.

With that concession statement out of the way:

The feminist community is fairly split on the issue of alimony, although there are slightly more feminists who oppose it.

Many feminists support the discontinuation of alimony, believing it to be a form of sexism by society’s acknowledgement of the fact that women do not make as much for every dollar men make. Instead of seeking to rectify this larger problem, however, alimony is seen by some as making women into a sort of charity. This allows the cycle to continue where women’s financial reliance on men is made bearable enough for many people to believe that this is a form of “making up” for inequality, when it’s really not. Additionally, many feminists acknowledge that this puts some men (although comparably fewer) at a disadvantage, especially if the man was the partner who worked very little or not at all in order to remain attached to household tasks while his partner worked.

On the other hand, many older feminists believe that alimony is a form of “retroactive pay for years of free labor” (Robin Morgan) for women who were previously stay-at-home mothers or who were delegated housekeeping duties. This viewpoint is also important because it wasn’t so long ago that most women were encouraged to be wives and homemakers, and therefore had little other means to financial welfare. Many of these women from decades ago did not have the same access to family and academic support that we have today to encourage them to live as we always should have been allowed to: self-sufficiently.

Demanding alimony even if not needed or not as a way to pay back a woman for years of homemaking and childcare comes at a loss for feminism, as many anti-feminist groups cite this issue as a reason to believe that feminism is harmful to society.

The thing is, alimony began as a way to make amends when equality between the sexes was even more distinct. Feminists fought for this shred of help when it was more relevant, and as soon as women became more encouraged to work outside the home, feminists at large began opposing alimony because it had outlived its usefulness and even became harmful in some situations.

Feminism is an evolving movement; just because feminists of ages past had more of a use for alimony does not mean modern-day feminists are to be “blamed” for the occasional injustices caused by it in modern times, especially considering the fact that most modern-day feminists agree that alimony is probably too problematic an ordeal to keep around.

Feminism has won us many rights, and it is our only hope for continuing to gain equal footing with men. Anything that harms the rationality of feminism has drawbacks for all of us, and that is why demanding unnecessary alimony is not a “privilege,” but a behavior to be strongly frowned upon.

ACTUALLY:

thisisfemaleprivilege:

Female privilege is the ability to use tears and erotic persuasion as a means to get your way

Again, this is not a “privilege” that women have, but a cheap trick used by very few women that has consequences for all of us.

First of all, there have been studies which have confirmed that female tears may not actually affect a man’s empathy in one way or another. Additionally, it is irresponsible to “cry wolf” and use tears strictly to get out of trouble or to get one’s way, because this lessens the credibility of those who cry out of actual emotional discontent. 

Secondly, using erotic persuasion as a means to get one’s way may propagate rape myths in the same way that a lot of mainstream pornography can. Rape myths include harmful beliefs and attitudes toward women in particular, such as the belief that women enjoy sexual violence, the belief that women are always aroused and looking to be relieved of this arousal, the belief that rape victims were “asking for it,” and many others. Similar to pornography’s effect on the increasing acceptance of rape myths in male populations, when real women trade sexual attention “to get [their] way” or for any other favor, men who see this may begin to believe that women in general will trade sex for anything. This belief can often lead to resentment and the loss of respect for women on the whole.

So don’t do this to get your way. It is not a “privilege” we have, because it comes at a dangerous cost for all. I’ve sort of written a rebuttal like this one before in [THIS] post, but this time I decided to talk more about rape myths.

[For kicks, I would like to point you all in the direction of a Cosmopolitan article that I found to be incredibly stupid. It’s titled - and I quote - “Researchers Have Discovered a Major Boner Shrinker.” As you can see from the article, the important thing that Cosmo took away from this scientific research is that you shouldn’t cry in front of a man, or he might not want to have sex with you. UH OH! Never mind that if you’re crying, you probably aren’t in the mood to have sex anyway. Cosmo has, shockingly, not yet commented on whether pairing tears with erotic persuasion has any affect on men’s empathy, purse strings, or anything else - but we’re all just dying to hear what Cosmo has to say about that.]

ACTUALLY:

thisisfemaleprivilege:

Female privilege is being able to express sexual or romantic interest without being called a “creep” and losing social status.

Unwanted expressions of sexual or romantic interest are always awkward, but it becomes especially troubling when they persist after one has said “no.”

Some men refer to this as being “friendzoned” and take serious offense to women who exercise their right to say no to their romantic interest after they have been kind or friendly to a woman for a while. This word is also sometimes used when men go on dates with women who realize they are just not interested in them after all. 

The problem here is that being nice to a woman, being her friend, or letting her talk to you about tough stuff does not mean she owes you romantic or physical attention in return. Having “been there” throughout all of her other romantic relationships does not automatically assign you privilege to her heart or body. “Nice” isn’t the only thing women look for in men, and really, if someone is being nice in order to achieve a payoff, that person may not really be so nice at all. I’m sure we’ve all heard the saying, “Girls are not machines you put kindness coins into until sex falls out.” The same goes for any romantic relationship, physical or not.

Tumblr user claudieblue puts the occurrence into perspective by comparing it to a man who doesn’t understand why the store he frequents hasn’t hired him. [CLICK HERE] to read the post! Another Tumblr user, angels-and-angles, says “‘Slut’ is how we vilify a woman for exercising her right to say ‘yes.’ ‘Friendzone’ is how we vilify a woman for exercising her right to say ‘no.’”

What this leaves is very little middle ground for a woman to stand on, and very little trust for these supposed “friends” whose kindness, unknowing to her, came at a cost all along.

The phrase “creep-shaming” is often used by the same people who espouse the belief that when a woman says “no” to a friend who has always been there for her, she is friendzoning. The phrase carries the connotation that when a woman tells the [often] opposite-sex friend that she feels uncomfortable with his persistent advances, she is somehow shaming him, abusing him, emasculating him, or otherwise insulting him.

The most important thing for everyone to remember is to be open and honest with each other before beginning any kind of relationship, platonic or otherwise. If you don’t think you’ll be able to handle staying in a platonic relationship with someone you’re romantically interested in without getting hurt, the responsibility is on you to either remove yourself from that friendship, or continue as you are with the knowledge and acceptance that your feelings may never be returned - preferably without intentionally guilting your friend.

It is also important to remember that friendship does not constitute “leading someone on,” and people are perfectly capable of having deep, meaningful conversations with people they do not necessarily want to be with in a romantic or sexual way.

No one should have to feel guilty for not returning another’s affection. This certainly goes for women who pine after men as well, queer people, or any other combination of friends. What we see most commonly, however, especially online, is women under fire for friendzoning and creep-shaming men.

ACTUALLY:

thisisfemaleprivilege:

Female privilege is having hundreds of love songs written about you. 

There are hundreds of love songs written about men, too! Unfortunately, not many of them will be heard by men. Studies have shown that male listeners are less likely to listen to music featuring a female vocalist than a male vocalist, whereas female listeners will listen to vocalists of either sex (although in younger age groups, both girls and boys prefer vocalists of their own sex). Pop music in particular is what most studies focus on, and predominantly in European or North American countries.

This kind of ties into the previous discussion about male and female role models in movies [CLICK HERE TO READ], but it also brings to mind some very important ideas about unwanted sexual attention and affection.

A lot of pop music written about women is not necessarily about love, but lust. Women’s bodies are often talked about like they are objects rather than human beings; a thing to be wanted, collected, taken, and used. This trend is even easier to see when one conducts a content analysis of gender portrayal in music videos.

I saw the full version of this documentary, “Dreamworlds 3: Desire, Sex, & Power in Music Video” when I was a freshman in college, and I’ve always found it useful to show other people who may need convincing of the power struggle we see between men and women in the music industry. Have a look at the trailer, and look around for it online! I think it’s chopped up in parts on YouTube. I definitely encourage you to find it and watch it - and show it to anyone else who might be interested.

ACTUALLY:

thisisfemaleprivilege:

Female privilege is having images of impossible, incredibly rare body shapes appear for every female role in every single movie, while males frequently get goofy, “ugly” characters to relate to.

Many of the female icons women are expected to relate to are those “impossible, incredibly rare body shapes.” Sometimes the “impossible” part is to be taken quite literally, as many women on advertisements, in films, and in television promos are photoshopped, airbrushed, and generally beautified to a point that even the actress herself does not resemble her onscreen presence. A really helpful video that illustrates this use of photoshopped women in advertisements can be found [HERE].

One study conducted in India discovered that women who had not been previously exposed to these first world ideals of beauty - impossible thinness, youth, flawless skin, etc… - were more likely to be satisfied with their own bodies than women who had been exposed to these images. This study showed that the problem is largely a first world one, and hundreds of other studies have been able to similarly prove the existence of body dissatisfaction in women exposed to falsified images of women.

Men are less likely to experience severe body dissatisfaction with increased exposure to polished media men, although there have been some studies that suggest increased exposure to video games can cause some men to be dissatisfied with their height and/or musculature.

However, the fact that men are allowed to appear onscreen in multiple shapes and sizes, and are sometimes goofy or “ugly,” means that other traits about these characters can be focused on. It is more permissible for a man to be generally unattractive in television and movies because he is more likely to have his worth proven through other attributes - his intelligence, his loyalty, or his sense of humor.

For more about the objectification of women in the media, [CLICK HERE] and read the bottom paragraph in particular!

ACTUALLY:

thisisfemaleprivilege:

Female privilege is not being expected to get a professional career and take on all the challenges thereof and instead stay home and eat Yoplait (pink flavors because no one judges you for liking pink)

This one is so obvious that I’m just going to leave it here and let all of you rage out. As for the thing about yogurt, the video below explains much better than I ever could how yogurt companies appeal to women. As sexism goes, it’s not too terrible (I mean hey, yogurt IS fantastic, and okay, women need to make sure they get enough calcium because we’re more prone to having brittle bones) but Sarah Haskins makes the explanation a pretty enjoyable time. You could all use the lols!

But seriously, it is not a “privilege” that women are not expected to have professional careers. This type of thinking only serves to propagate myths about women being useless, stupid, or lazy gold-diggers. Most women like to feel fulfilled in all aspects of life just like men do, and having a successful career is one way to accomplish this. Just because you’re a woman, it doesn’t mean that you have to give up everything you’ve worked for when you settle down in order to raise a family. Many modern, progressive couples choose to share household tasks and child rearing responsibilities. If you want to be a full-time mother, that’s okay too! But many women don’t, and shouldn’t be expected to stay at home just because it’s the traditional way to go about things.

Additionally, it’s questionable in the first place to say women aren’t expected to have professional careers. It’s not like our fathers scrape together a dowry of six cattle, a hundred acres, and our hand in marriage for the best sharpshooter in the village these days. We have to pay our bills too, and most of us would prefer not to have our financial welfare hinge on a romantic relationship that may or may not work out.

ACTUALLY:

thisisfemaleprivilege:

Female privilege is being able to shave your body hair without being made fun of.

Male athletes (cyclists and swimmers especially) often shave their body hair to be more aerodynamic, hydrodynamic, and to avoid complications should an injury occur. This is generally acceptable to society.

However, when a female decides not to shave her body hair, she will often be labeled strange or dirty - much more so than when men do decide to shave. Common misconceptions about these women are that they must be lesbians, or identify as men, or are avid environmentalists. The truth is, some women don’t shave because they just don’t want to or don’t like to. This reason does not seem to be acceptable to most of modern society, which has taken to policing the way women deal with their own bodies.

Another important issue is the pressure women are made to feel to shave or wax their bikini area - sometimes entirely. Especially in modern pornography, waxed or shaved women are represented more than women who still have pubic hair, and the result is that more and more men are coming to believe a woman has to have zero pubic hair to be considered beautiful. Ironically, most dermatologists agree that the skin around the genitals is extremely sensitive and is kept healthier if the hair in the region is left alone. This is not to say that women who choose to shave should not, but there should certainly be no pressure put on women to shave.

ACTUALLY:

thisisfemaleprivilege:

female privilege is multiple orgasms

Some men are actually capable of having multiple orgasms, although it is much more common in cisgendered women. However, research suggests that the female orgasm is more likely to be elusive and difficult to attain, especially from heterosexual intercourse.

According to the Kinsey Institute, “About 85% of men report that their partner had an orgasm at the most recent sexual event; this compares to the 64% of women who report having had an orgasm during their most recent sexual event.” Psychologists suggest that many women fake orgasms in order to keep their male partners from feeling “inadequate.”

A lot more emphasis and importance is placed on male orgasm than female orgasm - presumably because of its importance to the act of procreation, although this difference in importance is still emphasized in purely recreational sex as well. For more men than women, orgasm is the rule, not the exception. Pulling from Kinsey research again, 75% of men and only 29% of women report always having an orgasm with their partner. It is important to note that these statistics come from cisgendered men and women.

Many women’s magazines place heavy emphasis on improving one’s sex life, although the advice given generally revolves around how to perform for a male partner. Cosmopolitan and Redbook are examples of magazines that are much more likely to place emphasis on how to give an orgasm rather than how to enjoy your own. Homosexual sex advice is largely ignored.

In some cultures, female orgasm is even considered “wrong,” or a “sin,” and the clitoris is removed to prevent it. This is called “female circumcision,” and it is much more harmful and dangerous than male circumcision because it is the removal of an entire organ rather than skin and mucous membranes. Females who have been circumcised have life-long complications and may never be able to have an orgasm again. [CLICK HERE] to read more about this issue in particular.

All of this is of course on top of the fact that biological advantages are not the same as what we refer to when we talk about “privilege.”

ACTUALLY:

thisisfemaleprivilege:

female privilege is never having to be tested for prostate cancer.

Biology is not privilege, first of all.

Secondly, while it’s true that cisgendered women will never have to be tested for prostate cancer, we are more at risk for breast cancer. Fortunately, this is a less aggressive form of cancer if caught early. In addition, however, we exclusively are at risk of cervical cancer and endometriosis, which similarly require annual invasive exams to prevent. It is also much easier for women to contract an STI from an infected male than it is for a male to contract an STI from an infected female because of our biological differences. We are also at greater risk for urinary tract infections following sexual intercourse, and most females will have at least one at some point during their lifetime.

While these disadvantages are certainly not the fault of men, it is important to keep in mind that sexual health is very strongly a “women’s issue” and yet there have been great strides by some men in political positions to make sexual health care less accessible to women on the grounds that many of these facilities also perform abortion procedures. To retain bodily autonomy, women should be in charge of women’s sexual health affairs to prevent our options from moving out of reach both legally and financially.