A Loss of Privilege, or a Gain?

By , September 17, 2009 12:13 am

Privilege (Noun)

  1. a right, immunity, or benefit enjoyed only by a person beyond the advantages of most: the privileges of the very rich.
  2. an advantage or source of pleasure granted to a person: It’s my privilege to be here.

Those certainly aren’t the only definitions of ‘privilege’ (see where I stole them from for a few more examples) but they’re the ones I’ve been thinking about lately.

The first is perhaps the most commonly used: “White privilege.” “Cis privilege.” “Male privilege.” recursiveparadox has a great post on that type of privilege, For the Uninformed: Privilege, Perspective, and the Little Things That Jab. She sheds light on how lack of privilege can become “this constant stream, this wearing away of patience, defense and sanity.”

I’ve been thinking about that second definition of privilege: “It’s been a privilege meeting you.” “Do you think putting a TV in her room is too big of a privilege?” “Pick up your toys or you lose dessert privileges.”

That definition – of a source of pleasure – has flipped my perspective around a little bit, and made me all the more aware of the loss of my male privilege (using the first definition).

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