A ranty, funny, dead-serious intersectional feminist blog.

Dear Entitled Straight White Dudes

Eviction-PhotoThis is formal notice that I’m evicting you from my life. I’m utterly and completely over you. Your privilege allows you more platforms than anyone and ensures that your voice is always heard first and foremost. It lets you be pretty much anywhere you want anytime you want. But the one place you can’t be is in my face or in my life any fucking more because it’s my face and my life and I’m sick of hearing from you.

I’ve written about splaining and been splained at. I’ve written about privilege and been devil’s advocated at or simply ridiculed. I’ve talked about sexism and racism and been reverse-sexismed and reverse-racismed at. I’ve written about sexual assault and been gaslighted. I’ve attempted to talk about issues that affect me and other women and been barraged with comments from you, ESWDs, telling me how wrong I am (because what a woman really needs is for a man to tell her she doesn’t know what she’s experienced or what issues affect her life). You insist on our time, energy, and attention even when we make it clear we don’t want to engage and then you act as though the fact that we don’t want to engage with you means we don’t have the courage of our convictions (i.e., we’re full of shit). I’ve pointed out that it’s ALMOST ALWAYS you who does these things and asked you to please stop, and when I do, you show up in force to tell me I’m being divisive and women do it too and that I’ll draw more flies with honey.

Here’s the thing: I don’t care what you think anymore. I’m not interested in your opinions because you’re not interested in mine, which is clear from the way you talk at and down to me, make proclamations tied to bullshit conclusions, and generally behave as though you’re the teacher and I’m the student. I’m sick of you thinking that every post you disagree with on social media is an engraved invitation and that the rest of us are just waiting to be enlightened by you. I’m not interested in your opinions because you seem completely unwilling to learn about the role you play and how you can stop making things worse and I’m tired of giving you the benefit of the doubt.

I am an opinionated woman and I speak my mind, so you may be wondering how what I do is different from what you do. The difference as I see it is that I don’t walk through life believing that everyone is entitled to my opinion on every subject even if they aren’t talking to or about me. I don’t believe that my opinion is so important that I must inflict it on other people and their friends at every opportunity. Because I was not raised in a culture that taught me that I am the most important person in the social hierarchy. (In fact, the same culture that taught you to be brash and opinionated taught me that I’m supposed to use honey and draw flies.) And because I wasn’t, it actually occurs to me that my opinion might not be required at all times—that other people might just want to be able to talk without someone disagreeing with them about every fucking thing. That people less privileged than I might like to have a conversation about how they see the world without me butting in to tell them how I see it differently because it turns out, it’s not about me.

carlsonI’ll tell you what I’d like to be able to do: talk about privilege without you showing up to wave yours around like a fucking flag you don’t even realize you’re holding. The problem is that even when we point it out to you, you still can’t see it. In fact, you absolutely refuse to see it even as you brandish it at us like a club. You refuse to see how that club you’re armed with creates a power differential that can’t be ignored. So you continue to ignore it and say things like “women do it too” and “stop making everything about race.” You become the perfect illustration of the problem that is you.

But here’s the thing: I know that not all straight white dudes are ESWDs. Many straight white dudes have learned that their privilege is something to be aware of and that awareness allows them to navigate the world without walking all over everyone else. And that gives me hope for you—each and every one of you—that one day you’ll pull your head out of that warm, wet place you keep it and realize that what you have been is part of the problem.

It’s the E that’s holding you back, ESWD: that sense of entitlement that is part and parcel of your privilege and your biggest weakness because it blinds you and keeps you from challenging yourself to truly do better by your fellow humans. Right now, you’re an Entitled Straight White Dude waving your flag and knocking shit over, and as long as you’re doing that I have no use for you. But you can choose to shed that E and join the ranks of regular straight white dudes who are out there working to make things better for everyone who isn’t a straight white dude, and if you do that…

Well, if you do that, I’ll be rooting for you.


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Note to white dudes offended by this post: Is that your shoe?

PSA: Trolls who comment here will be deleted and banned, so kindly piss off in advance. (Comment Policy)

16 responses

  1. From one of my old newspaper columns: “There’s no such thing as political correctness. It’s merely what used to be known as common respect until people other than white heterosexual Christian men started demanding it.”

    Every day, in a multitude of ways, those who aren’t white heterosexual Christian men are hurt by a lack of equality. Thanks for the education, Rosie. I’ll be stopping by more often.

    August 21, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    • I love that quote! Nice to meet you, Eric.

      August 21, 2014 at 10:56 pm

  2. Hi Rosie,

    I am new to your blog, and I must say that I find it fascinating (this post especially so). I am a male myself, arguably one of a different breed, who happens to love the views that you lifted in this post. I adore the meme, “I have the privilege of being totally unaware of my own privilege.” It’s so amusing to me to observe the psychology of the entitled (male/female). Privilege creates its own prison, much like that of lion in a zoo. Many may view the regular meals and feeding times as a privilege compared to the conditions of the wild…until that same lion is released into the wild to have a go at it like other lions. That’s when things get interesting. It must be incredibly frustrating to be blinded to your own privilege as an “ENTITLED” white male, to the degree that you can’t even discern if this post is applicable to you.

    Keep doing what you’re doing.

    BE

    August 11, 2014 at 9:21 am

  3. lewis

    I had to decide to say a lot of this this to ESWD way back when I started spending 4+ hours a day online. Being one myself (as far as my parents are concerned, for now), I am assuming a shamefully large privilege in assuming the exclusion of a great many of the most important aspects of your rationale (as well as those specific being an active writer) for the sake of drawing my comparison.

    July 22, 2014 at 9:14 pm

  4. Heya Rosie,

    I always enjoyed reading your blog and I def think you are an amazing person. I just wanted to say that I feel like my presence as a straight white male and my opinions as one are not really wanted nor valued.

    I understand you are directing this at a certain group of white males, but I really have no way to know if I am one of those men or not. The last few times I have come to read I have felt singled out. I believe out of the last four articles read that two have specifically targeted me as male or as white.

    I love talking things out and being a part of community discourse but I really feel as if I am no longer welcome in your space. I think it is in direct contrast to the principles I hold dear to single out any single party and attack them for my personal dislike of their ideology and or opinions as long as they are presented in a respectful manner.

    I really am not sure what to do anymore, I feel like even expressing this feeling here that I am having is going to make me sound somehow like one of the people you don’t want here. If that’s so I will respect your wishes and go. If not, then why do I constantly feel like the target of your anger?

    Ryan

    May 16, 2014 at 9:18 am

    • Ryan, I have no idea why you feel like it’s about you, but I think that’s a question worth asking yourself, because I can honestly say I have never written a post with you specifically in mind. I am not singling out any single party; I am speaking to a type of behavior exhibited by a LOT of men on the Internet. To be a marginalized person on the Internet is to be subjected to a pretty much constant barrage of straight, white men, well-meaning and otherwise, telling us how wrong we are about everything we think, feel, and do. When these men realize that–truly realize it–I find that it changes their perspective and their behavior toward marginalized people for the better.

      To me the best solution is to look at the individual behaviors described by me and other marginalized people talking about this issue and examining your own behaviors to determine whether you think you are part of the problem–not just in general, but with regard to specific actions. “I’m thinking about jumping in to this discussion because I have an opinion. Is this a discussion I need to jump into just because I have an opinion?” or “I’m thinking about telling a marginalized person who has expressed an opinion how wrong I think they are. Is it necessary for me to tell them that? How many people have come before me with a similar argument? How many times a day does this person deal with people like me telling her how wrong she is?”

      I know a LOT of straight, white males who are skilled at navigating these waters, but it takes practice. When you and I have clashed (or when you have clashed with others on my TL), it’s usually because you don’t seem to realize that you’re the umpteenth dude this week (or maybe even today) who has used a similar argument or just piped in to play devil’s advocate.

      It also helps if you employ the “comfort in, dump out” methodology. Want to debate a topic a marginalized person has broached? Go find someone else to debate it with. No one owes you a discussion, and fielding arguments and questions can be exhausting to someone just trying to express themselves. Find someone who gets it and ask them questions. Write a blog post and invite discussion. But leave room for marginalized people to have discussions without your input and just listen. I can’t tell you how much I’ve learned by doing that.

      “A respectful manner” is an interesting phrase, because some people think that as long as they’re not being abusive, they’re being respectful. However, while the derailing and tone-policing and splaining I experience is often very polite, it’s anything but respectful. For example, a tone-policing derailment disrespects my right to carry on a conversation on my own terms.

      That’s all I’ve got for now, but I hope I’ve clarified things a bit.

      May 19, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    • lewis

      Unfortunately, I find that at the best of times there’s an easily vanishing line between the tone of sincere distress and passive aggressive musing in situations where telecommunication and larger communities are involved. May or may not have a lot to do with the individuals involved.

      July 22, 2014 at 9:23 pm

  5. lkeke35

    I just don’t understand how, when someone tells a person about whatever lived experience, the first thing is to explain to them how they are wrong. I just don’t get that. Why is that their go-to?

    Nor do I understand when such people go into safe spaces where marginalized groups discuss things of import to them, to derail the conversation into being about THEIR feelings. I have seen this everywhere. It’s the internet equivalent of butting into the conversation of every stranger you meet just to tell them that they’re doing it wrong… And here’s why…bc it doesn’t address their needs. And when they’re told to butt out, the tantrums begin.

    It’s just the most massive amount narcissism.

    May 2, 2014 at 4:48 pm

  6. Sin City Siren

    Reblogged this on The Sin City Siren.

    April 30, 2014 at 11:24 pm

  7. Pingback: What I’ve been reading: women, pain & entitled straight white dudes | kindism

  8. R.k. Jones

    Brilliantly written. *tips hat* Few things infuriate & exasperate me more, than someone insisting that I defer to their expertise about something they’ve never.actually.experienced. It really leaves me incredulous–when I consider the fundamental logic being willfully ignored. (ironically amidst insisting that *I’m* not being logical.) Rosie, you did an amazing job of articulating, and illustrating, a topic that has caused me no end of frustration.

    April 25, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    • Haha, yep. Thanks, R.k. :)

      April 26, 2014 at 9:34 am

  9. Jean Perry

    AMEN,

    April 25, 2014 at 9:05 am

  10. Miche

    Hate to say it but the men who need to read this won’t.

    April 25, 2014 at 1:09 am

    • Yeah, and if they do chances are it will be lost on them. Sometimes I just gotta say stuff.

      April 25, 2014 at 9:03 am

      • Miche

        Shit yeah, stuff needs to be said.

        April 25, 2014 at 3:13 pm

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