Monday, October 3, 2011

Another Privileged Middle-Class White Guy

So I was milling about on the internet recently when I said to myself, "You know what the internet needs more of? More opinions from privileged middle-class white guys". Then I thought, "Hey, I'm a middle-class white guy, surely everyone wants to hear what I have to say".

The result of that internal monologue is of course, this blog. There are many words that can be used to describe me, geeky, godless, full of shit (ok, that's a phrase, not a word) but the one I wanted to talk about in this first post is one I've acquired more recently, feminist.

I've never been what anyone would call a raging misogynist, but I was very definitely blind to the privilege I enjoy as a white male, getting my back up when that privilege was pointed out and generally going through life never considering that other people around me had different experiences from my own. In short, I was a bit of an asshole. It took me a long time to learn that the people pointing out my privilege weren't insulting me. They were just trying to get me to realise that my privilege coloured the way I saw things. That it afforded me certain benefits that I took for granted, never considering that other people might not have those same benefits and might experience things very differently to the way I do. For an awesome analogy explaining privilege, go check out On the difference between Good Dogs and Dogs That Need a Newspaper Smack.

Of course, I didn't suddenly come to this realisation on my own, it took some very awesome people constantly raising my awareness of the issue before I was able to see where I'd been wrong. The following people in particular were instrumental in helping me to see beyond my own privilege:

Jen McCreight over at Blag Hag - Jen describes herself as "a liberal, geeky, nerdy, scientific, perverted feminist atheist" and is just an overall awesome person.

Greta Christina who writes amazingly well thought out and witty articles on a range of topics, including atheism, feminism and sexuality.

Rebecca Watson over at Skepchick who is hugely influential in the sceptic community having been giving talks for many years now on scepticism, atheism and feminism.

And finally, most recently, Aoife over at Consider The Tea Cosy who is wickedly funny (See The Case For Vampire Jesus for proof) and provides some fantastic views on a variety of topics.

These are amazing people who are brave enough to stand up for what is right, even in the face of things that no one should ever have to deal with, as Rebecca explains in a recent post. Even worse are the threats of rape that Rebecca gets, it's horrific! And yet, in the face of such a torrent of abuse and incredibly frightening threats, Rebecca and the other women listed here (and the even more numerous to count who are not) refuse to be intimidated and continue to stand up and fight for their rights to be treated as equals and continue to take time to educate those of us blinded by our privilege.

Of course, I've still got a long way to go, I still miss instances of privilege that I enjoy, I still say and do stupid things without realising it. But I hope that there will always be incredible people willing to stand up and point it out to me. Because without them, I wouldn't be here, standing up and saying "I am a feminist".

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