Male Privilege: What Exactly Is It?
By: Adefokun Jucal
Image Credit: Dreamstime.com
First, it would be helpful to define what the term “male privilege” is. In layman’s terms, male privilege is simply the perceived idea that men have greater access to social, economic, and political advantages or rights based on their sex.
Granted, women as people go through challenges. Still, the concept of male privilege as it is being portrayed in today’s society is exaggerated. Apart from the fact that boys and men are at much greater risk than girls and women on many different metrics, they are at a greater risk of getting little to no attention. To spell it out, boys and men face many challenges too, but get a vastly disproportionate amount of attention, concern, and resources. As an example, did you know that 76 of every 100 suicides are men? For every 100 homeless people, 85 are men. Additionally, for every 100 homicide victims, 70 are men. On average, men are also 3.4 times more likely to be imprisoned than women for the same crime.
On the flip side, from research carried out by Mark Perry, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, what some would consider as surprising facts are evident. According to Perry, the data shows that “boys and men are faring much worse than girls and women based on numerous measures.” He cited the wide availability of women centres and commissions on college campuses and the lack of equivalent centres for men. He also talked about the disproportionately high number of women-only scholarships, fellowships, awards, and initiatives for female students and faculty; girls-only STEM (Science, Technology. Engineering and Mathematics) programmes and organisations.
The numbers revealed by his research are pretty outstanding. For one, are you aware that for every 100 girls/women who take AP/Honours courses in arts and music, there are only 54 boys/men? For every 100 girls/women who earn an associate’s degree, there are only 63 boys/men who accomplish the same feat. There are only 73 boys/men enrolled in a US graduate school or who have earned at least a master’s degree (between the ages of 25–29) for every 100 girls/women. For a doctorate, it’s 90 boys/men for every hundred girls/women. Now, this is not to in any way claim that areas in which boys/men outnumber girls/women do not exist. It is merely to outline the fact that there are multiple areas in which men fall behind. To further corroborate this point, there are double or slightly more than double the number of boys/men as there are girls/women who have problems with alcoholism, learning disabilities, die of an opioid overdose, or get expelled from school. There are at least ten times more men than women in a correctional facility, die on the job, or are in federal prison.
Also, for every 100 girls diagnosed with a learning disorder, 276 boys are so diagnosed. For every 100 girls diagnosed with an emotional disturbance, 324 boys are so diagnosed. Moreover, boys are three times as likely to be treated for ADHD, while 85% of stimulant addressing meds are prescribed to boys in the US. Finally, over the last 20 years, the reading skills of the average 17-year-old boy have been on a decline.
Lest it is said that the writer of this article takes pleasure in using these numbers to debunk the myth of male privilege, this is in no way something to be happy or joyous over; it is the sad reality we live in. And as long as we keep driving the narrative that boys and men enjoy a form of “divine” privilege bestowed upon them by virtue of their sex, they are bound to keep falling further and further behind in multiple aspects of life. So perhaps it is time we all came together to invest in boys and girls equally, so they both grow to be the people we would love them to be and contribute to the society at large.