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Monday, December 12, 2011

Forget About "White Man Privilege," What About Blond Girl Privilege?

I hear women lament all the time about "white man privilege" and how the cards are stacked against us. Yes, in some ways they are. Sadly, women still don't earn as much as men in many occupations, and we are due to size and strength, often more vulnerable. We are more apt to be raped, attacked or otherwise taken advantage of.

But... yes, you knew there was a but coming, didn't you? As women we are much more powerful than we give ourselves credit for.

Over the last week or so I've kept track of how often people are nice to me, go out of their way for me, and do things for me, often completely unbidden. Men don't have that advantage. I've seen this with my own sons - how they are treated one way, and I another. I smile, I make a joke and I'm being given the free cookie. There is power in our gender that I think we don't even realize. In many ways, being less intimidating is better.

I'm not talking damsel in distress and needing to be rescued. Of course there are times all of us (male and female) need a rescue. I'm also not talking about manipulating people. I'm talking being aware of just how powerful you are, and not playing the victim card of thinking you're somehow disadvantaged because you weren't born with a penis.

In general these oft-referenced powerful white males die younger, have more stress-related illnesses, and end up spending their lives toiling in jobs they hate as they keep seeking the almighty dollar, never encouraged by family or society to think outside that restrictive box to follow a passion. It's why as a mother I've encouraged my sons (and daughter) to do just that - to find what they love to do and then create a way to make it their life.

I may not make a six figure income (yet) and I may not make co-workers tremble in fear of my wrath, But I, and other women, harbor a power that only our gender employs and we should never forget that.

I may not be able to wield a sword like Beatirx Kiddoe, and I may not have the money of Warren Buffett, but that doesn't mean I am not strong and yes, powerful. I am. We all are.

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