“It Looks Ugly On Me”

Beers in the sun.My friend Christina posted a link to a blog entry a few days ago that introduced a somewhat flippant but easily interpreted approach to understanding heterosexual, male, and white privilege:

Imagine life here in the US — or indeed, pretty much anywhere in the Western world — is a massive role playing game, like World of Warcraft except appallingly mundane, where most quests involve the acquisition of money, cell phones and donuts, although not always at the same time. Let’s call it The Real World. You have installed The Real World on your computer and are about to start playing, but first you go to the settings tab to bind your keys, fiddle with your defaults, and choose the difficulty setting for the game. Got it?

Okay: In the role playing game known as The Real World, “Straight White Male” is the lowest difficulty setting there is.

This got me to thinking about how I understand my own privilege as I, as many regular readers might know, identify as Scalzi’s target audience, a straight white male.

Firstly though, I think I’d like to touch on why so many straight white men resent or get their back up when that dreaded word “privilege” comes up. It is easy to interpret the discussion of privilege as blame thrown at straight white men, crediting them for all the social injustices that take place in the Western world. These men become defensive because they didn’t create the rules to the game or select their role any more than Scalzi’s Hardcore mode players, gay minority females, did.

Continue reading


Male Gender Performance and the Rejection of the Veggie Patty

zucchini burger

Mmm! So womanly.

Last week, my friend Sebastian and I volunteered to grill hamburgers at a public barbeque. We were both sequestered to our own separate grills and assigned a patty variety: Sebastian would be in charge of the veggie patties and I would be responsible for the beef. As the break between classes neared, we both loaded our grills in preparation for the hungry students that would soon discover free food on campus. There was never any question that we would push more beef burgers than veggie as that is usually the case with barbeques (beef is simply a more popular choice) but what surprised me was how adamantly veggie patties would be denied by the men.

The ensuing horde of students looking for a free burger made it impossible for me to keep up with the demand. My grill was simply not hot or large enough to keep the line moving without the occasional gap in service. But while I tried to gain lost ground and feed the hungry masses, there stood Sebastian next to me who, it seemed, could not even give his veggie burgers away, at least not to men anyway. Sure, there were a few females who approached Sebastian for a burger and even the odd man but for the most part, the male population of Lakehead University rejected the veggie patties with an animosity that goes beyond an aversion to the taste. Continue reading