I present as a white, thin, able-bodied, straight, Christian, cisgendered male. Some of this is from appearances, and some of this is defaulted from the observer's cultural prejudice. Some of these are false - I am not straight, thin or Christian. But I still benefit from these assumed qualities when it comes to social privilege on an immediate and casual basis. Places like the grocery store, the bank, walking in my neighborhood, going to a job interview. Because I represent such an 'idealized' demographic (as far as American society is endoctrinated to believe), I have always experienced this privilege, and it means I have a huge blind spot as to how it benefits me. It has taken me a long time to accept this fact - who wants to be told that they've gotten where they are in life due to factors other than hard work and 'deserving it'?
My daughter will most likely not present as white. Regardless of how her body develops, she will be held to different standards when it comes to thinness. She may present as able-bodied, straight, Christian, cisgendered and/or female, but she might not. And for each immediate deviation that a casual observer sees, the assumed qualities will disappear as well. It's very possible that my daughter, for whom I will give my everything, will just have a harder time in the world through no fault of her own.
This is not a huge revelation to many people - women, PoC, transgendered individuals. This is a fact that is always in front of them. I don't pretend to be coming down from the mountain with an epiphany for all. But it is all the more real with this little person, this wonderful child in my charge. It is unfair that it took the birth of my daughter to get me to rise to action. I should have fought against the inequalities before now, on behalf of people I know and people I don't. It's comfortable up on this pedestal. However, for her sake, I would do anything. So for her sake, I have to be vigilant, and have to fight against my own benefit a little harder.
Out Here in the Rain
- Good ol' sociological musings