Work today is so unbelievably boring that I had to write something. My friend, who sits in a cube nearby is writing short erotic novellas for her website. Kinda sets the mood for how exciting this place is. Well let’s get on with it…
Male privilege. It’s not something most guys think about. Why should they, it’s part of their lives, like breathing. I’m not going to go into all the aspects of male privilege just the most common social manifestation of it.
The comradery at the coffee machine. Guy talk. Sports, cars, more sports, sports cars, tech, girlfriend/wife gripes, their kids and sports, sex, etc. Fist pumps and high fives. Testosterone infused maleness. All fine and good unless you’ve felt like you have never quite fit in to that scene. If you have ever seen the movie “I Love You Man”, I’m a bit like the main character. He is sensitive guy who is out of touch with the nuances of modern male etiquette. My situation is just a bit different now, I’m not much of a guy anymore.
Even though I have as many male friends as female ones, I’ve always been more comfortable around women. Sometimes I just felt tolerated by my guy friends. That’s part of male privilege. I am still a member of the group just because I am a guy. No matter that I am fairly androgynous now. Or even that some guys think I might be gay. There is what I call the ‘Dude Factor”.
“Dude, how was you weekend?” “Dude, how’s the family?”
“Dude, you see Green Lantern yet?”
You can substitute “Hey Man” for “Dude” it is all the same. “Sir” would be the most formal form used mostly in retail or service situations.
I’m surprised sometimes that I get “Sir”ed at the grocery store wearing eyeliner, mascara, and a hint of nail polish. If someone looks enough like a guy, another person is more likely to assume that person is a guy in order not to offend. That’s not saying they won’t hesitate or do a homophobic based assessment. I have found that as long as I am not presenting in a way to threaten their masculinity men still count me as part of the group. A weird part but a part nonetheless.
However, if I stray past that magical boundary into the guy/girl/thing zone, all bets are off. Guys start to treat you with distrust or indifference. They ‘man up’ sometimes. I have a coworker in another department that starts strutting around like Popeye the sailor when I walk by. Wearing ballet flats, nylons and sometimes mascara might be a cause of that reaction. (Ok, not ‘might’; ‘is’ the cause.) That pushes me out of the guy category into the WTF category. Even though he treated me as a guy before now he’s confused. With him I have lost my tenuous hold on male privilege. I am surprised though; no matter how femme I might be a lot of my male coworkers still treat me like they always have. I know some of my trans sisters will cringe when I say this but, I’m glad that they still consider me if not a full member of the group called men, at least a former member in standing. That goes a long way to help me as I slowly transition.
I know at some time I might lose that privilege completely. I am prepared for that possibility. Hopefully those relationships will just change for the better, like me.