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Fuck your tears.    

As a 5’6” male who was once told at an early age you weren't handsome enough to be an actor, I’d think you would be more in tuned with the idea of being perceived unattractive or undervalued.  But, alas, male privilege wins again.  I understand; your moment of clarity is the result of not only decades of white male privilege, but of prestige and wealth.  In a culture that systematically perpetuates the superiority of men, superficiality of women and the commodification and ownership of women’s bodies by males (while simultaneously rewarding ignorance and castigating those who attempt to shine light on injustice) – can we really be surprised at your sudden state of enlightenment?  

However, I do not give standing ovations to realizations of reality.  As a woman of color, my heart refuses to swell when an autonomous adult witnesses, for the first time, basic truths I've known since I was five years old.  As a woman of color I, like countless others, have often pondered the question of how I or my life would be different were I born male, or white, or wealthy, or gay, or enslaved, or in a different country.  One of my earliest realizations of gender inequities occurred when I was eight years old – I was told I couldn't go outside because I was a girl, but, if I were a boy it would be OK.  This epiphany led to many emotions, none of which equated to a feeling of renewal or purification; I was fucking angry. I felt small and frustrated, and combative.  I still do.  The idea of putting oneself in another’s shoes is not an untouched, mind-blowing, philosophical scenario. But, I am glad you finally had the chance to ponder over that hypothetical.   

I am quite disappointed, though, that despite having a mother, two wives, two eyes, two ears and (at the time) over a decade of experience in a field which has historically held unrealistically narrow standards of beauty for women, you supposedly remained ignorant of the simple fact that women are judged by, well, everything. Perhaps your very privilege blinded you from reality. Perhaps. The fact is, Mr. Hoffman, you participated in the very systems of oppression that have acted upon all those “interesting women” you unfortunately passed on chatting up; you consciously chose the unfortunate yet simplest route – occupation of one’s position of privilege.  And I’m not convinced you've given up that seat just yet. You see, the fact that your epiphany leads to a catharsis is privilege in and of itself.  Decades later you’re still misting at the mention of gender inequality?  And did you see how your realization centered on how horrible ugly - er, I mean interesting - women must feel when men don’t approach them? We interesting biddies are upset about much more than the inattention we receive from 5’6” white men. Jesus.

Yes, yes, I know - you’ll never be able to truly understand what it feels like to “be a woman”.  And that’s OK.  But, next time you comment on the perils of the oppressed, please hold the tears. They’re offensive and we don’t need them; they only remind us that your privilege is as invisible to you as it is apparent to us.  

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Bea Hinton is an intersectional activist, law student and founder of The Filthy Freedom Project, an online community dedicated to promoting open dialogue around issues of sex, sexuality and body image. She blogs about sex(uality), intersectionality and invisibility every other week.  You can catch up on her previous blogs here!  Tweet with her at @IamBeaHinton and @filthyfreedom.  

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Roisin
8/18/2013 15:34:44

I spent that week sighing through all of enamored FB postings of this clip, wondering if anyone else was thinking the same. Thank you for your thoughts!

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Bea Hinton
8/19/2013 05:47:41

I did the same! I seriously didn't see much critique - so I just wrote a quick response myself. Thanks for taking the time to read it!

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