I will never understand men's sense of entitlement and privilege. I mean, sure, theoretically, I understand it. It's a product of the patriarchy, one that has always privileged white (or at least white-looking), heterosexual, financially stable men. And when you're given that kind of privilege automatically, I can imagine it would be hard, and less than appealing, to give that up.
But on a practical, real level, on the level of actual interactions between myself and men with these entitlement issues, I will never understand it.
Yesterday, I spent 2 1/2 hours downtown, collecting signatures on the petition for the Freedom of Choice Act with PPLM. It was incredible, for the most part.
Except for the men.
Overprivileged Fuckfaces, Part 1:
I know the fact that I was in Northampton probably had a lot to do with the liberal / ultra-liberal tendencies of the people I talked to. But every woman I talked to was very, very pro-choice. The only people I talked to who weren't? Two white men. Three, if you count Paraglider Pilot Peter. When I told them what I was gathering signatures for, the two men (both walking by themselves) both said something to the effect of, "Oh, I don't believe in abortion." and/or "I don't think women should be allowed to kill their children." (I didn't engage these men in conversation, totally not worth it.) Paraglider Peter might have been the worst, though, just because he was so fake-sweet about being sortakindamaybe pro-choice. He said he'd signed the other girls' petition across the street because "I wanted to support you girls, you just looked so great out here," but that he didn't really know exactly what he'd just signed.
(news flash, Peter: you can't be pro-choice because you think pro-choicers are pretty. fuck you.)
But he seemed ok, besides that, and so we talked for a while, and I tried to explain to him what the Freedom of Choice Act actually was, why it mattered. He was dense. But only because he's a white man, and the right to reproductive freedom and the right to have an abortion had never even occurred to him as something that was frought, under attack, or even something to give a second thought too. And then he asked, "Wait, so do you think that women are regarded highly in our society?" And when I said "No, absolutely not - women are still very much second class citizens," he looked like he wanted to laugh.
When he asked what I wanted to do with my life, I told him that I wanted to be an activist, and that I wanted to change the world. He said that was a laudible goal, and hoped that I did. I made the mistake of mentioning that I was getting a tattoo to that effect (of changing the world) later that afternoon. When he asked if I already had one, and I said yes and pointed to my hip, he leaned forward expectantly, completely assuming that I was going to show him - A perfect stranger. A white hetero man trying to hit on me - the tattoo that goes down below my belt line. Um. No.
So fuck you, Peter. Fuck you and your entitlement and your blinders that only let you see your own narrow world, that doesn't even put women on the radar screen except as things to be consumed by your fucking objectifying male gaze.
Overprivileged Fuckfaces, Part 2:
I was wearing my "my body, my choice" shirt yesterday. Apparently, this shirt is a welcome mat for entitled men to comment on my body.
Walking into the Campus Center, a group of three men: "my body, my choice? nice!" and then, "ooh, hey, what's your choice, baby?"
Outside the Haymarket (coffee shop), gathering signatures, under his breath: "Yeah, your body...nice choice..."
Overprivileged Fuckfaces, Part 3 (The Worst):
--Something that all heterosexual men need to understand: When you learn that a woman is a lesbian, that is not a challenge. When you spend an evening in the company of women who identify as lesbians (or at least as "mostly gay"), get the fuck over the fact that you are not going to be their object of affection. When a lesbian pays attention to you and talks to you, it is not because she wants to fuck you. And, most importantly, when a lesbian is in your presence, it is not your job to try to "turn her straight." That is not part of what you are entitled to. You are not entitled to her vagina, simply because she has one. Get the fuck over yourself.--
So, my good friend (and facebook-wife) Lauren had a guy up as her date for Senior Ball. From what I could tell, he was a decent guy, so I was ok with hanging out with him. His main problem? He's a man.
He's a white man.
He's a white, heterosexual, upper middle-class 24-year-old man.
He's got a few issues with entitlement.
He was sketchy in general, but some of the things he did just....reminded me a little too much of one particular boy back in Fredonia who, apparently, likes to try to "turn" lesbians. This Fredo boy, though, likes to do the whole lesbian-target rape thing in order to do so. Omar, Lauren's date, at least stopped short of that.
He didn't get touchy until we were all sufficiently wasted (him more than anyone else) at the ball. He put his arm around me a few times, accidentally-on-purpose brushing (very briefly) my breast. He fixed my tie, very slowly, very much touching me, and as his hands were brushing against my collarbone area, he asked, in a fucked-up-flirtatious way, "Does it make you uncomfortable to have a man touching your upper chest area?" "No, actually it doesn't, because you know I'm very gay and would never fuck you." That stopped him, for a little while.
When we were sitting outside, though, after senior ball had ended, he propositioned me for sex. I can't even remember exactly what he said anymore, but it was something along the lines of "if you're weren't that sure that you were a lesbian, we could have some fun..." and "just so you know, even though you're gay, i'd still love to..."
I have no doubt in my mind that had I not been in the lesbian-friendly environment of Smith where I could feel empowered to tell him (politely, somehow) to fuck off, had his privilege been any less checked, the lesbian-target rape that I was a victim of last New Year's would have happened again.
Fuck you, Omar. My vagina does not exist for your penis. My vagina wants nothing to do with your penis. Don't assume that it does, or that it just doesn't know what it wants. It's a smart vagina. It's figured itself out. And it doesn't want you, let alone your overprivileged, entitled bio-phallus.
The people who hate me, and who hate feminism, say I'm a man-hater. I defend myself, say, No! Of course I'm not! But, in reality...I am. A little bit. But it's not men that I hate. I hate that sense of entitlement that they can't get over. I hate that privilege that goes so, so unchecked and stays invisible. I hate the everyday oppressions that women go through as a result of men's unchecked entitlement and privilege. I hate that these same men will end up marrying a woman, and will try (and probably often succeed) to oppress her in that same way and make her yet another victim of his privilege.
So no, I don't hate men. I just hate everything they stand for.