Sunday, February 9, 2014

Deconstructing my Male Privilege


In my writing and blogging, I've always contended that Polyamory is more than a label describing sexual orientation. I feel it's a journey into opening the mind, expanding horizons, and challenging expectations and paradigms. For me, Polyamory asserts my more authentic self.

Since June 2013, I've come to interconnect issues between Polyamory and Feminism: virgin whore dichotomy, consent, coercion, sex positivism, rape culture, slut shaming, and the like.

I've had some growth opportunities lately concerning these sensitive topics, yet I've difficulty in broaching a meaningful conversation about these issues for - well, for starters - I'm a man whose obvious privilege obfuscates the reality of these problems - and second - within the larger the public consciousness, Polyamory is so closely related to the politics of Polygamy that I feel it'd be really complicated to navigate potentially negative, cumbersome stereotypes.

Today, I asked my Facebook friends for help in broadening my understanding of these issues:



Over dinner, I had a conversation this evening with my partners Regina and Camille and asked for actionable ways that I could take to understand these issues, and they came up with some ideas that I may implement in March. They came up with a few sensible suggestions:

  • Let us pay. Well, I've got this built-in programming that says I need to pay for everything with my partners. Over dinner, they asked me to let go of that. Let them pay for stuff. Having me pay for things all the time is disenfranchising, an exercise in male power, and creates negative feelings. I'd like to unwrap this gender-role issue. So in March, we agreed to try that.

  • Keeping a total. They'd keep their receipts and we'd look at the financial resources being pushed one way or another, and build some awareness behind my perception of value. I've got this weird hang-up that my value as a guy is related to my being a provider, and they'd like to help me decouple this. 

  • Keeping a log. In March, I'm going to keep a log on my phone when I encounter overt forms of sexism and sexual objectivity. I was thinking of even dumping the log here, maybe try to contextualize it a bit to Polyamory? Not sure. I just think the log is going to be, like, mondo-huge. I was thinking about creating another whole freekin' blog but, really, I don't have the time.

  • Let us drive. Literally. I mean, when we go places, I'm usually driving the car. I assert some kind of male, sexist control thing here. So in March, I'm going to step away from the wheel.

Anyway, the response on Facebook has been good so far and please, if you've any wisdom, ideas about this experiment, Polyamory and feminism, blogs, books, or sites to share, I'd love to hear about them.

Russell


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