One Day I Will Rule the World

World Domination, Babies and Middle Eastern Dance

November 23, 2009

The better person

Ah-ha-ha-ha, Feminism!

I just lectured Ian at length about his privilege. And he said jokingly how he didn’t mean to take advantage of his privilege, but, like, there it is, you know? And I said understandingly how it is hard not to because every day we stew in little stories about how the people who have privilege have it because they deserve it and the people who don’t have it, don’t deserve it. Like, you know, when we learn about a study that finds women don’t get raises because they don’t negotiate as aggressively for them as men do. Then we can say, “see? If women want to be considered equal in business, they should learn to act like business-people.” And Ian said, “I don’t believe that.” And I said, “yes, you do. A part of you does, or you wouldn’t be taking advantage of your privilege. It wouldn’t feel acceptable to have your own say even when it means interrupting women, because you would be noticing that everyone else is talking through them and over them through really no fault of their own. You wouldn’t find them so ignorable because you wouldn’t have bought into the belief that their opinions are less important.”

Then Ian said, “wow. You really do make me a better person.” And I said, “What? No I don’t. Look how full of privilege you are.”

I was in a bad mood.

Of course, he’d just spent supper time full out interrupting me. And interrupting me to ramble. And not even taking the hint when, after his rambling came to a pause, I looked him in the eye and said, “did you have something really important that you interrupted me for but hadn’t got to saying just yet?” Instead he distractedly took that as an invitation for him to continue with his v. important man-talk. And then when I called him on it and called it privilege, he told me “but no” it’s really that he’s worried the kids will interrupt at any moment, that’s why he’s always trying to hustle conversations along. And then I called bullshit – like, reeeeeally? You’re interrupting me because you’re scared the kids will interrupt me first? So then I had to make a bigger stink about the privilege of choosing to write yourself benign excuses that have nothing to do with privilege so that you can back down without having to question your privilege or ponder giving up any of it.

Whew. It’s a good thing he seems to think “you make me a better person” is a good thing. Because, hoo-boy, I have had relationships with dudes who got pretty stinkin’ mad at me for trying to make them better people.

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