Paula's Place

Paula's Place

Friday, 10 March 2017

Priviledge

Following on from yesterday's post I thought that maybe I should say a little more about some of my experience, I normally gloss over a lot with rather flippant comments like one of my favorites "Nothing makes you understand privilege like giving it up".  I will normally try to focus on the advantages of life, the good things I have enjoyed, I rejoice that I have had opportunities that most women my age will not have had, but that of course means that as a man I automatically had opportunities, privilege, that was denied to at least half of the population simply because they are women.

Way back in January 2015 I wrote a bit about this, about being a white middle class, middle aged, straight man, and giving it up, and, about the unfairness of World in general. Now I am going to be a bit more specific. As well as that post January 2015 marked the time I finally gave up trying to be male, as well as being truly fulfilling it was also a bit of an eye opener.   Until then I had been one of the masters of the Universe, I could go anywhere, talk to anyone, have any and all of my opinions (and I had plenty of those) taken seriously, I was allowed to dominate conversations and was an automatic choice to chair meetings.  Mechanics and Policemen treated me with respect, waiters assumed I was the one who knew about wine ~ and would be paying.

I then suddenly became much more aware of things I had been told about, but had never experienced.   I realised that going into a pub on my own may be risky, I was no longer allowed to feel comfortable walking into many places as a lone female, for the first time in my life I felt at risk!   I found that travelling on public transport I no longer felt totally secure, travelling alone on a bus I now choose to sit downstairs, on a seat where I can be seen by the driver. At times I feel suspicious of men who may just happen to be walking behind me on the same route, now I have to consider them as potential rapists.   Some trans women consider it a bit of a compliment to be "letched" at out of a van window or from a building site, I can assure that it very soon loses it's attraction.

I was used to feeling safe, secure and self confident.   It was a bit of a shock to experience the reality of being a woman in London in the 21st Century ~ and for a girl like me London has to be one of the safest cities in the world.   I am getting used to the idea that my views and opinions are not quite as valued as they used to be, I am getting used to the idea that men now consider it fine to talk over me, and that I should sit quietly and patiently listening to them.   I am quite sure that most men do not even realise how privileged they are, this is just the world they have been brought up in, I certainly wasn't! Add to that a Grammar School education, Rugby club member and Chartered professional status, I simply assumed that that was how the world worked, I was going to have a good life and that was my entitlement.  It never crossed my mind for more than a few minutes when it was brought to my attention that the world did not work in the same way for women.

I do now experience much of the subconscious oppression society imposes on women, I can only begin to imagine what it is like for people of colour, with disabilities or even different beliefs.

This is why I will be supporting Women Of the World (as well as a chance to play at the Royal Festival Hall), why I am a feminist and why I am a socialist.

I could , and probably will, write much more on this, but for now that is quite enough for one post without pictures! Normal service will be resumed with frivolous posts and cartoons soon!


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