A privileged person’s guide to privilege…

I will never understand why the concept of privilege is so offensive to so many people. Mostly, let it be said, privileged people. It is beyond me why it frightens people to look at the privilege in their life & say yes, that has helped me and no, I did nothing to earn that aid. ‘Owning your privilege’ is merely acknowledging your good fortune. Privilege does not make you bad a person. However, refusing to countenance it’s existence makes you a bit of a dick. Since no one wants to be one of those, let’s go through this together.

If you belong to a group who hold power in society, you have privilege. If you belong to a group that is considered the default in society, you too have privilege. The fact that you do not face institutionalised discrimination just for being who you are is a huge advantage. Being born white, straight, cis, able bodied are all privileges. You will not face prejudice or disadvantages for merely existing in your body. Life is not a level playing field; some of us are sprinting before the starter’s pistol sounds.

Part of this kind of privilege is the fact that you did nothing to earn your advantage. Thus, many people will rail against the notion that they should have to apologise for holding it. Well, no one is asking you to. You are not responsible for the fact that you are white or male or cis gendered. No one is critising you for being any of these (or any other privileged) things. The problem comes when you refuse to own the benefits you have gained from life’s lottery. When some people have to struggle just to reach the starting line, ignoring that becomes offensive. We do not choose what privilege we come into this world with, but we do choose what we do with it. Acknowledge the factors beyond your control that eased your path. Then use your position to clear space for those without your advantages. 

Some of you may be thinking I have one of those privileges you speak of & my life is hard, so I don’t feel ahead of the game. Privilege is not a guarantee of fabulous life. You could be a straight, white, cis, able bodied man & still have terrible things happen to you. The privilege comes in the fact that they did not happen because you were straight or white or cis or able bodied or male. No matter your situation the abscence of the barriers that come with being a minority are still always advantageous. 

It’s also important to remember that it is possible to have privilege in one area & none in another. For example I am white, from a comfortable back ground, well educated, cis gendered & straight passing. I am fully of aware of the advantages my parents have given me and of the discrimination I have never had to face. I hold a lot of privilege. However, I am also disabled, I’m female & I’m fat; all of which incur significant hardships. My daily life is a slog. I do face discrimination & I am discredited, but I’m still lapping my trans, BAME, LGBTQ, impoverished (& so many more) brothers & sisters in the race of life. 

So, privilege isn’t always cut & dry. It does not translate to a perfect life. Nevertheless, it’s a head start. It is a whole bunch of problems you’ll never have to even consider. Privilege is being able to dismiss that the premise is even real. 

In keeping with my entreaty that you use whatever privilege you have to help dismantle the current societal hegemony I would encourage to read these voices on the topic.

Lori Lakin Hutcherson

Strong in broken places

Taking up too much space 

That crazy crippled chick

The Second City

This week I have been mostly…

Horny. My stupid sore body has curtailed my sex life somewhat. So, yes I am confined to Jammies, heat packs & elevating swollen feet right now. I can still I’d hark back to the days when my legs were in the air for more enjoyable reasons & the music that calls them to mind. 

Madonna’s Music album is blasting in our kitchen. I’m making tea wearing just knickers & a vest when he comes up behind me. His neck kisses are more sexy than sweet; before I know it I am pinned against the wall & he’s pulling a breast from my vest. We are right in front of a large sash window & the folk in the tenement opposite can look right in if they want to. My protestations that someone might see melt away as his mouth drifts from my nipple & heads south. By the time he’s pulling my knickers down I couldn’t care less if the whole street is watching. As Madonna provocatively demands  the dj plays a song I’m having my first ever standing up orgasm. His tongue seemed to move to the irrististable beat, I definitely ‘danced with my baby’. Thus, from the electro popish intro to the classic Madge lyrics, Music spells sex to me. 

Sometimes you meet someone & you just know something significant is going to happen. That feeling was instant with this man. At first we talked. We liked talking. Those conversations stretched from hours to months. So, when we finally crossed the line into more than words there was a certain amount of anticipation. We needn’t have worried the moment our bodies slammed against each other everything worked. He knew exactly what I wanted without a hint of direction. He dominated me to exactly the right degree. As he flung my legs over his shoulders I had Dave Matthews Band playing in head. I loved that he knew I could handle it rough. Crash Into Me was that night set to music. It was hot & kinky, but also tender. As the bite marks faded in the days after this was the song I had on repeat. 


When an ex was left with the keys to lock up his workplace I ceized the opportunity to indulge in some gross misconduct. I turned up wearing not very much & offered to perform a strip tease in his boss’ office. The song I chose to shed my lingerie to was Touch Me. Dj Rui De Silva created one of the very few dance tunes that does it for me. I loved how it felt to dance to its seductive vibe in a heaving club & it translated to one on one. The lyrics were in synch with where I was at; intense, intimate sex was my thing. I liked that this club anthem was about more than just random fucking. The sultry tones & insistent dance track still makes me feel like a siren. 

I hadn’t been with a women in a long time when I felt a connection with a chick I had thought would be just a friend. Our feminist politics got us sparking, but her curves & penchant for spikes pushed us into bed. 212 was the song that got us on the dance floor that summer & it was the theme to our fling. The pounding drum that never quit felt like how she made she cum again and again. And again. Azelia’s fierce words mirrored our ferocious feminism. When the music takes on a rolling composition like waves breaking on sand I’m drawn right back to the sensation of breasts meeting soft stomach ripples. The song is forever a metaphor for the joy to be found in female flesh & intellect. 


When a fairly new boyfriend stumbled upon some of my sex toys whilst looking for condoms his reaction spoke volumes. Next time he stayed at mine I gave him a treat. To the triply strains of Goldfrapp’s Black Cherry, I cuffed & blindfolded him. Once I’d stripped to nothing but a corset I uncovered his eyes. I processed to straddle him & drive him a little crazy by demonstrating a shiny pink vibrator. The power of having him completely enraptured was so hot. His eventual begging to be freed & allowed to touch me came during the seriously seductive Strict Machine. As a result the 70’s/electro mash up never fails to make fails to make me feel like a sexual goddess. 

inequality promises that it’s here to stay…

Last week I had a flick through glamour & immediately remembered why I stopped buying women’s magazines. I felt a rush of anger at the content. Despite nods to feminism (tiny footnote on feminist websites), the magazine continues to be a bastion of incredibly thin women, articles about the calorie content of food & men’s preferences about a variety of issues.
Let’s start with Dawn O’Porter’s column on women in panel shows. She expresses rather unhelpful opinions such as
‘Or a channel is brave enough to commission female- strong panel show where women don’t have to compete with men; the problem will be the same’.
Whilst I’m all for more female strong programming, I strongly reject the suggestion that women will do better when they are not forced to compete with men. Claiming we need men free zones in order to be accomplished is bullshit. Women can hold their own in mixed panel shows the same way they can in any area of life.
O’ porter’s next gem was to declare women as funny as men, but not as competitive, therefore females on panel shows will just sit back & let the men battle out it. Eh, what? Clearly no one has told dawn that attributing emotions & characteristics to a specific gender is sexism. These tired old tropes about the differences between men and women are feeding into our patriarchal society. When women are still telling other women that they aren’t up to playing with the big boys, we have a problem.
Next up, the ’hey, it’s ok’ page. This is basically a list of female gender stereotypes, but hey it’s ok, don’t worry you’re only a woman. This issue contained the following gem,
‘….to have mainlined a coke, small popcorn & cracked into the revels before they’ve even started the film trailers.’
Did you get that? It’s ok to eat. Absolutely fine to make a pig of yourself, well as long as you don’t forget it’s a SMALL popcorn. Girls eat small. Remember that.

If you can bear to read on you will reach an article named ‘pluck what?’ written by Luke Leith. This piece is handily labelled G MEN, just in case you missed the fact that it is written by man. The man in question first gives us a row for casually insulting men’s appearance. I’d suggest that if your partner is talking to you in any of the ways mentioned the issue is not gender based, but related to the fact that you are dating an arsehole. He goes on to give us a little potted history of gender politics in the UK. Apparently we are not-quite-there-but-almost (a sexism free society), phew, what a relief. Which leads him to his big point; all this feminism has hurt men. Men are now sometimes portrayed in an unflattering light in advertising. We women are just too harsh on the poor men folk these days. We must not hurt their feelings. Oh, those poor men. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think objectifying men or labelling them imbeciles is ok. However, the painting of men as victims of sexism is laughable. Reverse sexism isn’t a thing. It doesn’t exist because it is not institutionalised. White, cis, males still overwhelming hold the power in society. When the world is constructed in favour of your sex, sexism is not a discriminatory factor.
We are then presented with a guide on how to approach our partners about them balding, putting on weight o their sartorial choices. This is insulting because it assume that
a/ we care about those things, rather than, you know, loving our partners for who they are.
b/ that we are cruel bitches who would mock a person we supposedly care about
Of course what is most annoying is that a women’s magazine feels the need to employ a man to instruct us.

My next bone of contention is yet another piece by a man. This time Eric Sullivan tells how men feel about our sex toys. Why what men think about what we use to masturbate is even an issue, I don’t know. Eric tells us that when he stumbled upon his girlfriend’s dildo he felt aggrieved; he went so far as to accuse her of cheating on him with a plastic cock. Eric’s girlfriend explained that she wasn’t replacing him. Eric was of course skilled & competent in the bedroom. This made his fragile ego feel a little better. Nevertheless, the only way to make Eric feel completely comfortable was to involve him in the dildo’s use. So, there we have it, women have no right to own their sexuality. We must satisfy all our desires in a manner that does not intimidate men. We must consider how men feel about tools that are designed for our pleasure.
After what seems like a million pages of fashion, make up & advertising this issue ends with ‘dos & don’ts’ a page which congratulates celebs they magazine deems to look good & ridicules those whose clothing choices they do not approve of. Screw the sisterhood, eh?
Besides these troublesome pieces the magazine continues to perpetuate the thin is beautiful myth. There is no sign of anyone who even remotely resembles me. None of the insanely expensive clothes featured would be available in my size; larger women do not exist in glamour world. It is a world that is also predominately white, assumes that everyone is straight & that how we look is our main concern. All this from a magazine that frequently tries to attach itself to feminism, I despair.

 

Lily Allen Hard out here