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Elam: Take My Male Privilege, Please!

Paul Elam, head ranter at A Voice for Men, has a new video out called “You want privilege? You got it!” The thesis: if women really did have the so-called privileges that men have, they’d hate it and want men to take them all back. Because all of these so-called privileges are really giant burdens. Or, as Elam puts it, somewhat more melodramatically, these privileges have “begun to more resemble an anchor around your neck than the helm of a great ship that everyone tells you that you are captaining.”

Here’s the video.

Well, all right, that’s not really Paul Elam. But that little clip does capture pretty well the tone of his latest post, which is indeed about how male privilege is really a terrible burden.

I mean, this is his opener:

I swear by everything holy that the next time I hear some fembot caterwaul about “male privilege,” I am going to find something to break, turn it into shards, and drag the broken pieces across my chest just to distract me from the pain of their increasing stupidity. Just picture me like Martin Sheen, collapsed in a heap of bloody, tearful insanity on the floor of a cheap hotel in Saigon.

Heck, compared to that, Mr. McDuck’s reaction to the news about his “ice cream” was, if anything, rather restrained.

The rest of Elam’s post is, as is typical for him, a rather trite recitation of a number of standard Men’s Rights talking points about male “disposability” written in some of the most ridiculously overblown prose ever seen outside of an Ayn Rand novel.

Elam complains that he hasn’t seen much benefit from his privileges:

Mind you I still don’t know what that privilege is. One time when I was young and very poor I was late on my light bill. I showed the electric company my balls, but they cut my power off anyway. …

Yeah, as someone who’s also had his power cut off, I’m pretty sure they do that with everyone. I’m also pretty sure that no feminist has ever or will ever argue that male privilege means you won’t get your power cut off for nonpayment.

Here’s Elam addressing women as if they’ve traded place with men:

With your privilege comes the right to work on crab boats, drive trucks, work on electric lines, walk into burning buildings and sink into the bowels of the earth digging out coal and other things people find useful.

Apparently having greater occupational choices is scary and bad.

When a ship goes down, or any other life threatening disaster strikes, you have two choices. Be a real woman and die, or treat your life like it has value and have the world shit on you as a coward who refused to perish on cue. There is also the possibility of third option, either die from the disaster so that men can live, or have another woman blow a fucking hole in your face with a pistol because you tried to save yourself.

Yeah, I believe we may have addressed this earlier. Oh, but there’s more:

Like noticing the emperor has no clothes, it may hit you one day when you decide not to offer your seat to a man; when the stares at you from all around seem to come down people’s noses. …

You must learn not to say a word. Not to anyone else, not even to yourself. You must learn to see flames, coal dust, icy saltwater, death and sacrifice for the trappings of power that the world around you thinks them to be.

Says a dude typing out his manifestos on an expensive laptop he conned nagged his followers into buying for him.

And you must be willing to hang your head in shame over that power, even as the world chews you up, spits you out, and gets ready to take its turn with your daughter.

Elam’s rousing conclusion:

So, that is it, ladies. You want my privilege, it is yours. I will gladly hand it over to you this very minute. I am just waiting for you to meet the pre-requisites of disposibilty and an utter lack of self-value. I am waiting for you to woman up to the job, take off your fucking make up and be ready to bleed, blah blah blah look at me I’m mad!

I paraphrased a little at the end there. But, yes, the world champion at seeing male “disposability” everywhere did in fact misspell the word “disposability.” That was all him. And so, believe it or not, is the following:

I, like a Jew gone weary of being called a chosen one, am completely ready for anyone else, and in particular, you, to be chosen.

Personally, I have had about all the privilege I can stand.

Yep. He went there.

Also, I don’t know if you all knew this, but when women serve in the military these days it’s “like a day care camp for them.”

Also, not to pat myself on the back or anything, but my headline is much better than his. Maybe he should get me to write all the headlines on A Voice for Angry Duck Plutocrats Men.

Discuss.

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swankivy
8 years ago
Reply to  cloudiah

Yes, feel honored! (And annoyed!) Of course, lots of other unpleasant things come from mild internet fame. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

Also what would the penis-focused equivalent to tampons and pads be? I have nothing against men having an aisle in the store for their penis-based medical needs, I’m just not sure what those would be.

Bostonian
8 years ago

Condoms?

swankivy
8 years ago
Reply to  Bostonian

Which, no matter how many of them you get and how big you make the packages, probably cannot justify taking up as much space as women’s pads and tampons.

Next thing you know they’ll protest us having the privilege to have periods.

ideologuereview
8 years ago

@swankivy

No, feminism is designed to address incongruities that are unfairly sex-based. The perception that this requires “taking from men to give to women” suggests that the men are entitled to having more resources.

If they tend to work longer hours or less desirable jobs, then they do deserve more resources. It’s not entitlement, it’s about getting and keeping what you earn. If I pay taxes, I want them to proportionately benefit me. If I pay child support or alimony, I want that money to go towards the child’s or woman’s independence, not some drivel about “maintaining a premarital lifestyle.”

swankivy
8 years ago

Everyone deserves to get more if they work more (or harder). Of course, the right to earn what some people then scream about deserving to keep is not equally offered to everyone, and I’ve heard a lot of nonsense about how women make less money than men do across the board because they are genetically/naturally predisposed to choose less lucrative employment. People love to make excuses for why things should be the way they are if they are the ones who benefit from things staying the way they are. And if they have an unfair advantage, they always perceive something as being taken away from them if the opportunities are actually made equal. There are always going to be examples of poorly handled negotiations in alimony and child support, both in favor of men and against men. There are always going to be abuses of the system. The core of what feminism fights is when those inequalities are actually there and are actually hurting people. It is not an excuse to rip money and resources away from men because they think women deserve more.

hellkell
hellkell
8 years ago

Hey FactFinder, how’s PreggoPunchout going?

jumbofish
8 years ago

hey FF!
I hear antz is looking for someone to program virtual girlfriends for him….

Bostonian
8 years ago

Perfect match!

Hershele Ostropoler
8 years ago

ideologue:

If they tend to work longer hours or less desirable jobs, then they do deserve more resources.

Of course, housewives are on duty whenever they’re awake and mothers of small children are on call 24 hours a day. Know many men who work longer hours than that?

cloudiah
8 years ago

In keeping with Robert’s Rules of Order, I am making a motion to add swankivy.com to the Antidotes to Boobery list (if she is okay with that). Can I get a second?

swankivy
8 years ago
Reply to  cloudiah

Thanks for the shout-out, cloudiah. If it helps at all, quite a lot of my content involves exposing and critiquing Internet assholes.

I do an “Asshole of the Day” feature on my LiveJournal (no, it’s not daily–anymore):
http://swankivy.livejournal.com/tag/asshole%20of%20the%20day

And my site has a “Conversations with Assholes” section, with conversations categorized by Type of Asshole (as part of a larger Rants Page):
http://swankivy.com/writing/rants/index.html#assholes

I figure if they’re going to be assholes, they might as well serve as good learning tools (and amusement) rather than just existing to spew shit.

/self promo

Shadow
Shadow
8 years ago

@cloudiah

Zombie Solanas, is that you?!! *peers suspiciously*

katz
8 years ago

IR/FF, get off your Aryan horse.

Pecunium
8 years ago

FF/PP/IR: If they tend to work longer hours or less desirable jobs, then they do deserve more resources.

Which is why child support payments ought to be higher? And the aid to families with dependent children (now called, TARN)?

And we ought to pay parents who stay home with kids the median income for the nation.

Glad to see you are a feminist; welcome aboard.

Pecunium
8 years ago

Dave: The community here has made up their minds re…. and don’t take too kindly to dissenters.

Unlike yourself, a paragon of persuadable you are, right? A good argument will persuade you, every time.

It’s just that feminists never have “good arguments, right?

Vindicare
Vindicare
8 years ago

@Pecunium:

What has been said is one can’t claim that because one has an aspect of one’s life which isn’t all wine and roses, that one gets to whine that one doesn’t benefit from privilege.

Yes, that’s probably the weakest of the standard so called “derailing” arguments, but I wouldn’t even say this one is wrong.

Of course, it’s simple to understand that if you lose, it’s not necessarily a proof that the odds weren’t stacked in your favor. But it can be a hint that you indeed didn’t benefit from privilege (for example because you live in different circumstances ).

It’s even more problematic when certain totally valid arguments like “X should have the priority over Y” are excluded a priori. Or if you even invent terms like “benevolent sexism” and demand other people use them as you want it, otherwise they are “derailing”.

Pecunium
8 years ago

I’m derailing? By sticking to the idea/concept of privilege, and asking my interlocutor (in this case that would be you) work from a common definition?

This use of derailing seems a lot like the one you are using of privilege; a nonce phrase meant to avoid/change the subject… I’m sure there’s a word for that, it’s right on the tip of my tongue….

Got it. projection.

Of course, it’s simple to understand that if you lose, it’s not necessarily a proof that the odds weren’t stacked in your favor. But it can be a hint that you indeed didn’t benefit from privilege (for example because you live in different circumstances ).

Again with the idea that “privilege = the members of ‘x’ group have a guarantee of preferment. As explained, supra by several people, this isn’t true, and it’s not what the concept of privilege says.

I can see why you might want to deny this, and derail the conversation, but you are, as explained above, wrong in your understanding (and from the ways in which you have equivocated, you are more than willing to attempt to use the definition, in context, you seem merely to want to make yourself the arbiter of its correct usage; thus preferring your interpretations to the actual meaning).

But privilege isn’t an individual effect, it’s a group effect. Moreover, it’s invisible. There is no way to know if someone was the beneficiary of a person classing them as the default along the way to their failing to get the final plum. Getting as far as they did is the benefit of privilege. In the long run it means their life, in toto is easier than it would have been were they not a member of the privileged class.

But that takes aggregate data to prove. One person is neither proof, nor disproof. To pretend otherwise is to maintain; in the face of all evidence; and patient explanation, either a willful, or a mendacious, ignorance. Neither of those is without fault, though one is less likely to be without malice.

It’s even more problematic when certain totally valid arguments like “X should have the priority over Y” are excluded a priori.

Could you include some sequitors with that? I can’t find any relevance to the argument you seem to be making; but I’ll try to address it.

Who should have priority, and why, is one of the central problems of devising any sort of remedy for structural privilege. It’s privilege deniers who pretend that intentional inclusions of counter-privileging circumstance should be excluded a priori.

So, on the face of it, you are complaining that there is not enough being done to combat privilege. This, as you may imagine, makes me doubt the honesty of your arguments (well, that and your inability to recall the actual arguments you’ve made, even when they are located above your present comments in the same thread, but I digress)

pillowinhell
8 years ago

Pecunium, perhaps the online Derailing for Dummies site would serve as a better education source for his arguments? It will certainly explain his concerns and why they aren’t our concerns. At the very least, it will prevent us from banging our heads spoonfeeding oppression 101. And if he reads it, we’ll know that he’s here in good faith, just not knowledgeable.

Cecilia
Cecilia
8 years ago

“Also, I don’t know if you all knew this, but when women serve in the military these days it’s “like a day care camp for them.””

I’m pretty sure my childhood friend who’s in the process of becoming a green beret could cure him of this belief. As my father said: “She’s beautiful, smart, and she can kill you with her little finger.” That last bit doesn’t come from day care.

PS: This site is awesome. It really makes me want to bludgeon myself to death with facepalms a lot less.

swankivy
8 years ago
Reply to  Cecilia

I know someone who says that if there is a woman soldier in a group of male soldiers and you are on the other side, trying to kill them, you should kill the woman first.

Because if she’s a woman and she’s there, she’s put up with more crap, overcome more obstacles, and had to go against her social programming to be there, so she really wants to be where she is and is probably excellent at her job. Which makes her probably the most dangerous.

The guy who told me this was a Green Beret.

pillowinhell
8 years ago

Don’t let the MRAs here that, the net might spontanously combust. I’ve heard from several men that military women aren’t to be messed with, for much the same reasons. And that smaller women have absolutely zero problems with taking down much larger men in hand to hand combat. I’m sure it runs the gamut, but women who can’t face discrimination likely either don’t cut basic training or move to military jobs more woman friendly.

Vindicare
Vindicare
8 years ago

Oh dear, pillowinhell, as if I didn’t knew Derailing for Dummies or similar sites. I’m talking exactly about them.

Most explanations why something is classified as derailing (and therefore never allowed to be brought up) are problematic, or, for example, self-contradictory: “If you really want to excel as a Privileged Person® you need to learn to value data, statistics, research studies and empirical evidence above all things, but especially above Lived Experience©.” directly contradicts that the argument “I am a member of -privileged group- and it didn’t seem to me that I benefitted from that.” is seen as derailing, too.

Again, every lazy ass with half a brain (but the intention to be fair and reasonable) can find that out for hirself. We all know that, so why am I wasting my time? If anything would be decided by how many Internet arguments are won Linux wouldn’t run on only 1% of desktops.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
8 years ago

Vindicare, computer OS analogies aren’t exactly on topic either >.<

But how are "please use statistics not your experience" and "please stop using your experience" not both saying "hey, maybe find some statistics that back up your experience?"?

I mean, I'm white (well, part Native American, but I look white, so I get white privilege) — wtf happens when I'm shopping isn't going to be representative of what happens to everyone while shopping, and if it wasn't a derail, I could probably track down studies showing that non-white people, men of color in particular, are way more likely to be stalkd by security to ensure they don’t shoplift // accused of shoplifting…that a couple of my cousins once got caught shoplifting is moot to whether a non-white person is more likely to be accused of shoplifting.

(oh and who’s said Linux has won the desktop wars? OSX and I have something to say there…)

pillowinhell
8 years ago

Actually Vinicare, I’m wondering why you’re wasting MY time?

katz
8 years ago

Yeah, if you show up at someone else’s blog and they talk about something you don’t want to talk about, you can hardly accuse them of wasting your time.

hellkell
hellkell
8 years ago

Vindicare, we’re not sure you have half a brain at this point.

pillowinhell
8 years ago

Actually Vindicar, I will respond. Hey, I’m waiting for my muffins to bake.

Your two points do not contradict each other in any way shape or form. ““If you really want to excel as a Privileged Person® you need to learn to value data, statistics, research studies and empirical evidence above all things, but especially above Lived Experience©.”. Data sets and statistics tell you about the general prevalance of variable x in a given population. When you are an oppressed group, people often choose not to see just how often x happens to you. Or what factors make x a likely outcome. So when women talk about “hey babies” there aren’t many studies showing how often this happens to us. The lived experience part? It refers to YOUR lived experience, the part where you say you’ve never done that and don’t know anyone who would. ” You won’t take us seriously unless we canshow in statistics a very high prevalance of hey babies happening happening damn near all the time and because you’ve never noticed it, obviously it doesn’t happen.

“I am a member of -privileged group- and it didn’t seem to me that I benefitted from that” this is a derail that centers the discussion back on you, the privileged group. When an oppressed group wants to talk about a situation, they are talking about THEIR lived experieces, something you’ve never been forced to encounter and has never crossed your mind, even for a moment. Privilege is a group impact and maintained by society at large. Yes, certain individuals may experience less than the full privilege in a particular circumstance periodically. Privilege does not gaurentee that bad things will never happen to you, but it does garentee that the odds are definately tipped in your favor.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
8 years ago

Thank you pillowinhell, that’s a much better explanation of privilege than my attempt (and mmm, muffins!)

swankivy
8 years ago

Is it sexist to suggest that pillowinhell’s muffins might be yummy?

pillowinhell
8 years ago

Lol! As long as you like cornmeal muffins. Do you only think muffins made by women are yummy? No? Then you’re safe.

And the explanation of privilege was garned from lots of blogs about racism and a 101 blog on feminism that made it clear that no derailing would be tolerated.

swankivy
8 years ago
Reply to  pillowinhell

But pillowinhell, I just want to put your muffins in my mouth. Especially if they’re hot from the oven.

Am I sexually harassing you?

About your sexy-sounding muffins?

I think I can smell them from here.

swankivy
8 years ago

. . . Please let it be known that yes, asexuals are allowed to make pervy jokes. It’s one of the caveats on the membership card.

Bostonian
8 years ago

That reminds me, I should make banana muffins soon, I have some rapidly aging bananas.

pillowinhell
8 years ago

Swankivy my muffins are always hot and awesome. Here, I’ll shake them in front of an open widow for you…

swankivy
8 years ago
Reply to  pillowinhell

Nice typo, go ahead and expose yourself to that open widow.

pillowinhell
8 years ago

That was a typo? Hey you started it!

swankivy
8 years ago
Reply to  pillowinhell

I am an unrepentant instigator. But I didn’t go bringing widows into it!

Unless they have hot muffins. Then all bets are off.

/pads off to get her third cup of coffee for the day

pillowinhell
8 years ago

Annd..on another thread slaveyboy gets asexuality for the fail!

pillowinhell
8 years ago

*carefully polishes a rather dented halo*

Hey, I just wanted to make sure you got a good sniff of my hot delicious muffins!

*okay, you know next time I need this thing imma gonna have to pound it out on an anvil*

Pecunium
8 years ago

Cecilia: I’m pretty sure my childhood friend who’s in the process of becoming a green beret could cure him of this belief. As my father said: “She’s beautiful, smart, and she can kill you with her little finger.” That last bit doesn’t come from day care.

Pardon my doubts, but this statement is contrary to fact. It is against the law for women to be part of the Special Forces, as SF is a combat arms MOS, and so women are forbidden from even taking the training.

Jake Hamby (@jhamby)
8 years ago

@indifferentsky

So yes. Neurotypical, mentally healthy, socially well adjusted people absolutely are privileged over people who are not. Their issues are usually chalked up to personal failings. And while I don’t like the idea that so many people are medicalizing things that aren’t actually disorders (you know, like assuming any guy who can’t keep it in his pants is a sex addict to be pitied, or any child who isn’t very disciplined has ADHD even though they can pay attention to video games just fine), the disorders themselves DO exist and shouldn’t be used against the people who suffer from and/or live with them.

Okay, my ADHD makes it impossible for me to ignore the bolded bit of misinformation in an otherwise totally awesome post. In fact, being able to pay attention to video games but not, for example, to doing one’s homework, is a typical symptom of ADHD. Fortunately, in my own case, I was able to parlay that focus on computers into a career writing software for smartphones, but that’s only with the benefit of a lot of hard work compensating for my wandering attention span n all sorts of ways that are invisible to most people, and of course, thanks to Ritalin (or should I say “ridalin”) and other prescription meds.

If I hadn’t dragged myself to a psychiatrist to get on the drugs that helped me salvage my life and career, I would no doubt be seen as having personal failings rather than neurological problems, so I’m hyper-sensitive to people trying to erase ADHD by acting as gatekeepers for who “really” has it and who’s just “lazy”, even (especially) when they’re well meaning about it. It’s the sort of thing that one can’t just diagnose over the Internet, and it really irks me for people to use it as some kind of joke.

swankivy
8 years ago

Actually that’s something I wrote. I apologize that my wording suggested I’m writing off ADHD as something you can’t have “really” if you can play video games. I know that many video games are in fact engaging in the interactive sort of way that provides the necessary stimulation for an ADHD or ADD person to retain attention. I didn’t mean for that to sound like a blanket statement, but rambling further in a parenthetical aside would have pulled me away from the main point. I’ll try to find a less specific way of referencing mis-diagnosed ADHD in the future . . . in this case, I meant that some kids who do not have ADHD (yep, mostly kids) are suggested to have it if they sometimes don’t pay attention when they’re supposed to, but can pay attention fine if they’re doing something they want to do. There is a trend toward medicalizing normal but inconvenient functioning, which ultimately actually hurts real ADHD folks because their issues are underestimated and their situations are mocked.

ADHD is absolutely over-diagnosed, partly because some parents have really high expectations of what their kids’ attention spans should be when they’re very young. I was exposed to this unfortunate issue as a student teacher in college, with children who were medicated for ADHD when they clearly didn’t need to be. I had one kid who had divorced parents and one of his parents would give him his meds and the other wouldn’t because his dad didn’t “believe in it.” (Very dangerous! But anyway.) On the days he came to school medicated, he would nearly fall asleep in his chair and zone out and no one seemed to care. On the days he came to school not-medicated, you could completely tell. But he was just a rambunctious kid; he could pay attention if you expected him to and put some effort into it.

But yes, it would absolutely be a travesty for anyone to make up hard and fast black-and-white rules for what constitutes having ADHD (especially since there is a huge spectrum of functionality and different ways to approach managing it). I hope that you understand what I was really trying to say, and that you accept my apology for the misleading language I chose. I understand that people who mock and dismiss ADHD say things that sound similar, and I don’t want to be taken for one of them.

Alex
8 years ago

sink into the bowels of the earth digging out coal

Wait…women don’t do this? I’m pretty sure a close friend of mine told me about her grandmother who worked in a coal mine and had to have open heart surgery (one of the first, in fact) because of it.

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