Once upon a time, I wrote a thing. It was a cathartic thing. A ranty thing. A thing I wrote in my underwear.
It was a thing I was pretty sure people would turn up their noses at with such words as “piffle” and “poppycock,” and then toss aside.
I mean, a trans man trying to point out cis problems to cis people? Pretty ballsy for someone without a penis for a microphone.
But then a small corner of the Internet went ka-pow!, and a generous amount of love came in. Far more than I could have ever anticipated. And within all that love, there were requests to extend the list, to which I’m more than happy to oblige.
Like I said in the last article, this stuff just poured out of me. There are simply too many examples to count.
And the biggest problem with privileges like the ones listed is most of them are so teeny tiny that people 1) have a hard time noticing them, or 2) say they’re no big deal because they are, in fact, teeny tiny.
But if you put enough teeny tiny things together, they can pile up into a huge problem.
Pretend every single piece of male privilege is an ant. If you make yourself focus on just one piece of privilege, well, that’s just one ant. Squish.
Or you can just trap it and put it outside. Go away, ant. You’re not a big deal, but I don’t like you anyway. Be gone.
Plenty of people may not even notice that ant at all, especially if they’re not in their own home.
But if all male privilege were finally recognized in its entirety? Holy shit, that’s a lot of ants. Like, all over your walls and ceiling and stuff. Now the situation has gone from a little annoying to you running for the exterminator before those cretins eat all of your food and bite you while you sleep.
Only there’s no exterminator. (Well—besides feminism.)
I like to think we can all agree that the first list on male privilege was far from complete. And while this second list doesn’t finish the job, it at least brings us a little closer.
So here we have it: 25 more examples of how I’ve been treated differently since being read as a young, white, straight (?!) man.
1. I Repeat a Woman’s Suggestion or Comment – And Get All the Credit
I’ve since made it my policy to say something like, “As So-And-So just said, I think it’d be a great idea to blah blah blah…”
If I’m somehow still the only one congratulated, I politely say, “Thank you, but it was So-And-So’s idea first.”
Sometimes even that doesn’t work. And then I give up.
2. Advertisements Don’t Affect Me Like They Used To
While presenting as female (and super femme female at that), I used to notice every ad for impossible feminine beauty and gauge it against myself, ultimately always feeling inferior.
Now I have a tougher time seeing those ads as I walk around, purely because I’ve internalized the fact that nobody is expecting me to look like those ads.
Even the male beauty ones don’t matter much because people still recognize those ads to be about impossible male beauty, rather than an honest expectation of female compliance.
3. I’m Rarely Told to Shut Up Anymore
I go through periods of being very quiet, and then periods of being incredibly talkative when I get excited or upset about something. I used to often be told to stop talking or to be quiet after a few minutes of prattling because I was “annoying people.”
But now people just sit there and take it.
I still haven’t figured out if this is because a) they think what I have to say is suddenly more important, or b) if they just don’t think it’s their place to tell me to shut up.
4. My Facial Expressions Are No Longer Public Property
A bit like the “I’m no longer told to smile” point from the first list, but more like, “Why do you look so angry/unhappy/pensive/anything else other than super bubbly happy?” As if any ol’ stranger had the right to demand a reason for my surly, surly face because it was—I don’t know—offensive to them?
Now it’s no longer considered my duty to brighten someone else’s day.
5. People Don’t Find It Their Business to Correct Me
Unless it’s a person clearly of more authority than me in a working environment and they’re telling me about a very specific mistake made on a very specific issue, I never get corrected in life anymore.
I’m simply allowed to be, mistakes and all.
6. Being Mansplained Is a Thing of the Past
You just don’t mansplain to another man.
You just don’t.
7. My Emotional Responses Don’t Get Blamed on a Menstrual Cycle
Which is actually pretty damn funny, seeing as how sometimes I really have been snappy due to man-stration.
(For the record, I’m not saying people who have cycles naturally become overly emotional or irrational or something. But I know for me it produces a lot of gender dysphoria, which tends to not put me in the best of moods.)
8. It’s Okay That I Don’t Know Shit about Babies
I’ve always been afraid that I’ll drop one and it’ll shatter, so I’ve pretty much always avoided them. (No. Seriously. I’m clumsy.)
I used to be chastised for this behavior. But now it’s not only allowed, but oddly respected. As if it’s okay to be a guy who’s seen as afraid of learning lady things.
9. I Get Invited Out More by People I’ve Just Met or Barely Know
Either I’m suddenly more exciting (pfft) or most socializing around here involves bars, and it’s considered more appropriate for a guy to catch a drink with friends than for a woman to.
10. People Take My ‘Invisible’ Conditions More Seriously
I’ve been through a thing or two, leaving me with PTSD, anxiety, depression, and a few other spots of difficulty. I was often challenged or belittled for these matters when I was in the middle of feeling them or when I simply mentioned their existence in conversation.
Now people ask me if I’m okay.
And sometimes even if there’s something they can do to help when I’m in those states of mind.
11. People Take My Survivor Status More Seriously
And don’t question me when I say it happened.
Apparently it’s believed that men would never have a reason to lie about such a thing, but women would…? Can I get a dafuq over here?
12. Doctors Believe Me When I Tell Them My Symptoms
From strep throat to knee pain, my experiences when I’ve managed to get to a doctor have changed since Ye Olden Times.
Cis male doctors used to talk over me, interrupt, or otherwise behave skeptically toward the symptoms I’d describe. Now they don’t.
(I haven’t noticed a change with cis or trans female doctors . Also, I haven’t noticed much difference between the doctors that know I’m trans and the ones that simply assume me to be cis.)
13. I Get Thanked When I Do More Work on a Job Than Was Necessary
Especially if it was obvious that I helped someone else out, I sometimes even receive some small trinket.
It’s no longer an expectation that I’ll go above and beyond the job description.
14. It’s Okay for Me to Use Negative or Self-Supportive Phrases
People listen and/or respect it when I say things like “no,” “I don’t want to,” or “stop that.”
And ironically, my need to say these has gone down significantly.
15. I Get More Eye Contact
Apparently, I’m suddenly worth engaging in conversation with, as opposed to objectifying with a gaze.
I feel like they now look at me and think “Oh hai! You’re a person! And of rational thought, no less!”
16. Older White Women Fawn Over Me
Any (presumably cis) woman old enough to be my mother tends to lose her shit – working to somehow console me with food or compliments – when she finds out I’m parentless.
But in Ye Olden Times, the reaction was usually a question of what I’d done to make that disconnect happen and what I’d tried to do to keep such a situation from happening.
Uhh…abuse is abuse, folks. No survivor should have to deal with it, let alone be expected as the one responsible for “fixing” it.
17. My Dominant/Disruptive Personality Traits Are Encouraged
I’ve been obnoxious, controlling, and smart-mouthed for as far back as I can remember (I still don’t know if these are some sort of natural thing or responses to abuse), but only these days is it not only not frowned upon, but also encouraged.
18. I’m Allowed to Negotiate
Used car dealers, flea markets, yard sales.
I guess it’s okay to bust someone’s balls if they believe you have a pair of your own.
19. I Rarely Look in the Mirror Before Leaving My Home
I’ve learned that the male me is never appearance policed, so what the hell do I care?
20. I Can Go from Sleeping to Leaving My Home in a Literal Five Minutes
Pretty much for the same reason as above.
21. I Have More Money Left at the End of the Week
Because I’m not pressured to spend it on makeup, bras, diet pills, or ridiculously expensive anti-aging treatments that never work.
22. People Care Significantly Less About Me Swearing
And I take full advantage of that fact.
23. I’m Trusted More
I’m given bigger deals, more important projects, and am otherwise privy to more sensitive information, both personally and professionally.
24. Instructions or Opinions Are Only Given When I Specifically Ask for Them
Apparently I’m seen as somebody who suddenly knows what he’s doing.
25. People Ask to See My Work
When it comes up in conversation that I’m a writer, people actually want to know more about it and ask for links or unpublished manuscripts to read.
Gone are the days where they’d just verbally pat me on the head like I was the most painfully adorable thing ever – me, thinking I was a writer.
So yeah, 25 more examples of the ways society has changed its treatment toward me.
For the record, I have absolutely no regrets living as a man. And that’s not in the “neener neener, I have stuff you can’t have” way. It’s simply in the “I’m no longer suicidal” way.
Which is, you know, kind of important.
But that’s not to say that I’m not quite displeased about all the cultural perks I get for no logical reason. If I’m getting them, everybody should be getting them. There’s no reason certain other people aren’t getting them.
When I finally saw once and for all the perks I was now getting, I wasn’t happy about getting them. Rather, I was pissed that I hadn’t been getting them before while being assigned as a woman.
And that actually puts me in a really weird place psychologically as a trans man.
It’s not a great feeling to know that some people now view me as the enemy just because I’m trying to be myself. Please remember that the enemy isn’t the ones that receive privileges beyond their consent, but the ones that allow those privileges to keep happening.
It is possible to smash every last one of those ants before they replenish their supplies, but we’re going to need quite a bit of teamwork. Just a few people can’t do it on their own because those ants are just going to keep coming back.
I really, really don’t want ants in my home anymore. So even if you’re not going to help me smash them, at least stop throwing grains of sugar all over the floor.
James St. James is a Contributing Writer for Everyday Feminism. He works as a transcriber for super-duper secret projects, tends to keep to himself, and is currently pitching a novel that scares agents. He uses his experiences as a way to reach out to others, usually by way of not keeping his mouth shut. When he’s not busy making cis gender people uncomfortable with his trans gender agenda, he likes to play vintage video games and eat candy. You can praise him on Twitter @JamesStJamesVI. Read his articles here.
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