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Privilege and Intersectionality

Resources to learn and explore the multiple ways that privileges and oppression manifest in our various social, cultural, economic, and bodily identities and situations.

Male Privilege

"The assumption that being a male in a patriarchal society gives a boy/man greater access to resources—economic and political —including sexual access to women's bodies and labor"

Male privilege/male dominance. (2013). In J. Myers (Ed.), Historical dictionaries of religions, philosophies, and movements: Historical dictionary of the lesbian and gay liberation movements. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers


Looking at male privilege intersectionally, we see that not all men have access to the same privileges of  "maleness" as others because of race, ethnicity, class, education, employment status, geography nationality, appearance, and temperament.  For example, what is this poem "Black Male Privilege" (Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature & Fine Arts; Winter/Spring2018), by Randall Horton really about? The following article, available through Interlibrary Loan, looks at data behind the concept in relation to black men and measurable material gain: Johnson, T. Hasan. 2018. “Challenging the Myth of Black Male Privilege.” Spectrum: A Journal on Black Men 6 (2): 21.


Masculinities/Men Studies have explored the ways that ideologies of male superiority and Western expectations of masculinity hurt not only girls/women (and transgender, agender, and nonbinary people) but boys/men as well, which is where the term "toxic masculinity" arises. 

Image transcription.

Backpack of Male Privilege *

*Privilege: a right or immunity granted as a peculiar benefit, advantage, or favor

In Business:

  • I can be reasonably sure that an investor will not ask, "When do you plan to have children?" during a meeting
  • I can easily find a professional mentor of my gender.
  • I won't be asked, "Who helped you write the code?" during a demo
  • I will be respected as the leader of my company, not asked to be put in touch with the team "directly."

At Conferences and Hackathons:

  • It is likely that at least half of the speakers/panelists/presenters will represent my gender
  • I will see a significant representation of my gender among attendees
  • The presence of my gender is not billed as a "perk" at a conference
  • I can be reasonably sure that if I submit a proposal to speak at a conference, my idea will be evaluated on its merits alone.
  • I won't be mistaken for the wait staff at a technology conference

At Networking and Social Events

  • My relationship status is not a primary topic of conversation
  • I rarely or never have to worry about unsolicited sexual advances at a professional social gathering
  • I rarely or never worry about how I will be judged based on what I am wearing to an event
  • I never feel anxious about "sticking out" as one of the few members of my gender in attendance
  • Acquaintances greet me with a handshake, rather than a kiss or hug.

Inspired by "White Privilege" Unpacking the Invisible Backpack" by Peggy McIntosh. Crowdsourced by the Tech Lady Mafia.