A poem for men who don’t understand what we mean when we say they have it.
Privilege is simple:
Going for a pleasant stroll after dark
Not checking the back of your car as you get in, sleeping soundly
Speaking without interruptions, and not remembering dreams of rape
That follow you all day, that woke you crying
And Privilege is
Going to the movies and not seeing yourself terrorized,
Defamed, battered butchered seeing something else
Privilege is
Riding your bicycle across town without being screamed at or
Run off the road, not needing an abortion, taking off your shirt
On a hot day, in a crowd, not wishing you could type better just in case,
Not shaving your legs, having a decent job and expecting to keep it,
Not feeling the boss’s hand up your crotch,
Dozing off on late-night buses,
Privilege is
Being the hero in the TV show not the dumb broad,
Living where your genitals are totemized not denied
Knowing your doctor won’t rape you
Privilege is
Being smiled at all day by nice helpful women,
It is the way you pass judgement on their appearance with magisterial
Authority, the way you face a judge of your own sex in court and are
Over-represented in Congress and are not strip-searched for a traffic
Ticket or used as a dart board by your friendly mechanic,
Privilege is
Seeing your bearded face reflected through the history texts not only of
Your high school days but all your life,
Not being relegated to a paragraph every other chapter, the way you
Occupy entire volumes of poetry and more than your share of the couch,
Unchallenged, it is your mouthing smug, atrocious Insults at women
Who blink and change the subject – politely
Privilege is
How seldom the rapist’s name appears in the papers and the way you
Smirk over your PLAYBOY
It’s simply, really, Privilege
Means someone else’s pain, your wealth is my terror, your uniform
Is a woman raped to death here or in Cambodia or wherever
Wherever your obscene Privilege writes your name in my blood, it’s that simple,
You’ve always had it, that’s why it doesn’t seem to make you sick
At stomach, you have it, we pay for it, now do you understand

D.A. Clarke from Banshee, 1981, reprinted in the Men’s Activist Journal, c/o Jon Cohen, 7474 Washington Ave, St. Louis, MO, 63130, U.S.A (published up to six times a year, full of articles of interest to men who are actively pro-feminist).