As a female, I have experienced male privilege many times. I always thought that it was one sided though and that straight men did not and could not understand the position of women.
In the last few months though, I’ve found that there is something called women privilege as well. For my birthday last month I went out drinking with some friends. We were responsible and took two different Übers to accommodate everyone.
One of my friends drank a little bit too much more than everyone else (she was going through a break up) and blacked out (I feel like this is the beginning to every drinking story). She was definitely acting outside of her normal behavior, but most of it was just funny. It went a little too far when she flashed the entire club because she got vodka in her eye from a guy claiming to be the owner pouring it down her throat, but I digress. (We quickly got her away from the imposter and another guy with us even stepped in to ensure her safety).
The next day I heard more about some of the things that had happened and again most of them were harmless. However, then the fact that she “molested” the Über driver came up (we were in different cars). Upon further asking it turns out that she was touching him inappropriately, making inappropriate gestures, and saying inappropriate things.
I will admit, that at first it sounded funny. Really funny. But later on that day, I thought about it. If the driver was a female and my friend was a male, the police would have very most likely been called (with good reason). Yet, because the driver is male and she is female, it was funny.
I’m not sure where the humor is though. Maybe it is the idea of my petite friend who maybe weighs a buck “molesting” a male Über driver who I am assuming weighed much more? The driver is a male and was supposed to have enjoyed that after all. I mean she is beautiful. And he is a guy so that automatically means that he enjoys any female advancement, right?
But that is the double standard. Maybe the driver didn’t want that. But what was he supposed to do? He had a girl who drank too much and what were his options? Call the police and tell them that she was touching him inappropriately? Perhaps I’m wrong, but I think that anyone who arrived at the scene of the crime might have laughed at him…like I did.
It is assumed by many that men cannot be raped and that all men like female aggression or touch. But I know that is not true. A few male friends have spoken about how there were times when a woman came on to them aggressively and they felt “unmanly” for not wanting it. Suddenly they were not full men and were open to being made fun of. It didn’t matter what the reason was — even men in relationships are often pushed to enjoy advances from outside women by peer pressure despite them not wanting it and having a very valid reason for not. And then there are men who are single, but who do not want female advances and their reason does not matter, if they don’t want it then, then they don’t want it then and they should not be judged. No one would judge a woman.
I have no idea how the Über driver felt or feels now. But what I do know, is that I’m ashamed I laughed and found it funny. I know other people did too and I know that my friend who drank too much is not a bad person. She is honestly one of the sweetest and most thoughtful people you will ever meet. But society told her that it was okay to behave in a certain way. Clearly the alcohol didn’t help, but still. Everyone around her, including myself and my initial reaction, reinforces it. To be clear, I’m not saying that what she did was okay, but I’m also saying that she is not the first female to behave this way when drunk and that I don’t want this posting to be about how she alone is the problem when it is a much larger societal one that each one of us contributes to.
And maybe the Über driver did enjoy it. Maybe he did not. Maybe he did and then simultaneously, did not. Either way, it was inappropriate and it is inappropriate that there is a double standard. But I can’t change that with an article. I can, however, acknowledge that I feel a difference between my reaction to male and female aggression based on what I have been taught socially. And that bothers me, because what I have been taught is wrong. Maybe some men like an aggressive woman and maybe some women like an aggressive man. And maybe the percentage of men and women in those categories is not equal. But that does not mean that all men like aggressive women.