Author: Jim Vaughan

Now that I have checked my male privilege…

As a graduate student, I have been checking my male privilege for several years. As a man I am more likely to run governments and corporations due to my gender, and I have the privilege of not seeing much of that privilege. Overlapping dimensions such as race, sexual orientation, and sex/gender can shape my male privilege in a variety of ways. However, as of late I have been deeply intrigued by dissent on the topic, including Emma C. Williams’s article suggesting that making someone “check their privilege” has become a polemic bludgeon against freedom of thought, which could promote resentment from powerless groups. There is a tendency for many feminists to essentialize gender victimization into simplistic binary camps – of good and evil – even though privilege is an under-developed concept. The flagship thinking on male privilege is the male privilege checklist, a revised version of Peggy McIntosh’s brilliant White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack. McIntosh discusses how privilege enjoyed by white people is invisible to them. The male privilege checklist simply substitutes “white” for …