Wednesday Blog: In the Shadow of Privilege

So, happy Wednesday, and yeah. I got distracted by life and managed to not write these for a while. Sorry about that, but it has been a lovely few months.

I wanted to riff a bit on the subject of privilege, which is something I know I talk about with some frequency, but it came to mind when talking with a friend yesterday, and they were expressing their frustration with gendered clothes, and particularly “women’s” fashion.

I had a momentary reaction of annoyance, which caused me to pause and wonder where that came from. I had that classic “ugh, is it really that big a deal?” moment that is so common among cis, white, hetero, men – and had to stop and evaluate where I was coming from in that.

It was a moment of standing in the shadow of my privilege. Comfortable, and not bothered in the slightest by the harsh glare of gender expectations because they have been tailored for generations around the precise situation I find myself in. I am comfortably cis-gendered, and have never felt like the things that are presented to me for purchase are contingent on my accepting an identity that is not my own.

What I felt was the glare off my friend’s experience, catching me in the eye.

I had an immediate “hey! Sheesh, stop hitting me in the eye with that will ya?” … but my friend is standing in the full glare of this ALL. THE. TIME. They don’t have the shadow to stand under.

Now, there’s essentially no way for me to step out of my privilege shadow, unless I either force myself into an identity that isn’t true for me, or try to artificially put myself in the glare. Neither of those things are fair to the people who live in that glare all the time, and they make this about me, which isn’t the point.

What I *CAN* do is remember that when the glare catches me in the eye? It’s a small taste of what my friends live with every day. Instead of being annoyed with my friend for the bouncing glare, maybe I can work to make the privilege shade bigger so there’s room for everyone.

It was a good reminder that, while I may try to be aware and work toward equity and fairness, I fail in that from time to time.

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