A Shit List of Male Entitlement

male-entitlement

Image Description: an outstretched hand, with palm up,  of a white person on a black background

Dear men,

I am tired of your shit. I am especially tired of your male entitlement. You are not entitled to the things you think/act like you are. Frankly, I don’t care why you think you’re entitled to so much from so many, and I don’t want to explain why you’re not so entitled. Here is simply a shit list of things you are not entitled to:

1. You are not entitled to my body

No one owes you sex of any kind. Not women, not gender nonconforming folx, not sex workers, not your significant other(s), no one. Nor do you ever deserve sex. No one ever deserves sex; sex is not a right. You can live without sex. In fact, some people are quite happy to live without sex. So, stop acting like the world owes you an orgasm. Understand this also includes unsolicited sexual advances and molestation.

But male entitlement to the bodies of others doesn’t stop with sex. It includes things like, when my father would force me to hug and kiss him even though I didn’t want to. Or when he would hit me, pin me down, or slam me into walls in order to get me to do what he wanted. Domestic and intimate partner violence have long been tools used by men to bend their spouses and children to their will. Historically men have showed little regard for the bodily autonomy of anyone who wasn’t socially or culturally considered to be a man.

2. You are not entitled to my time or my attention

I can’t count the number of times a male relative, significant other, or close friend expected me to drop whatever I was doing and do something with or for them. From the college boyfriend who expected me to sacrifice studying so we could fool around, to the friend who only spent time with me when it was convenient for him, their time and their schedule was most important. Screw my job, my homework, and my personal obligations, the men come first.

However, this also includes brief encounters. Random women and feminine of center folx you pass on the street are not required to give you the time of day. If someone wants to ignore you they are free to do so. Yes, it might sting a little, but they probably have their reasons. And even if you think those reasons are ridiculous, it’s still their right to choose not to engage with you. It is not your right to force anyone to engage with you.

3. You are not entitled to my emotional labor

This one is a doozy. Men expect women and feminine of center folx to be their mothers and/or therapists. Numerous exes expected me to clean up after them, remind them about important dates and deadlines, and do all the planning anytime we wanted to go anywhere or do anything.

Having to parent an adult man isn’t sexy, but I think being someone’s unpaid, on-call therapist is even worse. Women and feminine of center folx bear the brunt of men’s emotional needs. We are the people you call at 10 pm to go on and on about the train wreck that is your love life. We are the people you ask to take care of you when you’re sick. We are the people you dump on if you’re struggling with mental health issues because going to a professional therapist who’s actually trained to deal with these problems is “un-masculine.” We are the people you emotionally drain. But we are not the people you want to go to the movies or laser tag with. No, you have your dudebros for the fun stuff. But when we need emotional support we certainly can’t call you, because you wouldn’t know how to perform emotional labor even if you were willing to try.

4. You are not entitled to my good opinion

I’ve gotten this one mainly from male relatives, professors, and bosses. Sure, female or feminine of center relatives, professors, and bosses expect to be afforded a certain degree of courtesy, but they rarely demand to be treated with love or respect for simply existing. While I’m sure you men think very highly of yourselves, you don’t automatically deserve my good opinion just because I’m related to you, learn from you, or work for you. If you’re an asshole I’m going to think you’re an asshole. I might be civil toward you depending on the situation, but you aren’t automatically entitled to the good opinions of others. you have to earn good opinions via your conduct toward others, just like everyone else.

5. You are not entitled a girlfriend/significant other

The friendzone does not exist. Friendship isn’t a toll you pay in order to get a date or sex. Female and feminine of center friends are not back-up plans in case your current significant other doesn’t work out. The world doesn’t owe you a significant other simply because you are man. And rejection is not a personal slight against you nor evidence of ‘misandry’ (which doesn’t exist, by the way). Everyone deals with rejection, it’s part of life. So, grow up, get used to it, and get over yourself.

6. You are not entitled to be listened to

This is especially common among self-proclaimed “male feminists.” You burst into every feminist discussion, every dialog between women and feminine of center folx, and every other conversation that you aren’t invited into or that isn’t about you. From a woman’s Facebook post about not shaving her legs to political dialog about abortion services, there will always be at least one of you forcefully inserting your ill-informed opinion on topics that have nothing to do with you as if it were fact. Where oh where would us poor women and feminine of center folx be without men telling us what they think about our body hair, our medical choices, and our feminist theory. Never mind the fact it’s my body, my medical choice, and my graduate thesis. No, the men, no matter how ignorant, must be heard.

There are, of course, other instances of men demanding to be heard. For instance, I regularly witness men demand recognition, even appreciation, from women and feminine-presenting folx after catcalling them – as if men do us some great favor by showering us with disgustingly graphic and unsolicited sexual propositions every time we leave our houses.

Note: Most of these are derived from my experiences with cis men, but that is not to say trans men do not participate in, or to a lesser degree benefit from, sexism and patriarchy.

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