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.