Privileges, privileges

by Devina Gunawan

Men are usually given the privileges of, well, many of things. Job offers, for instance, many places still pick men over women any day. Services are nicer to men too. And it bugs me how sometimes I am treated with less respect just because I am a woman.

And when it comes to job hunting, a lot of us women have to look for places that are pro women in workforce. And it isn’t so bad, to be honest. It is always nice to form sisterhoods.

However, oftentimes women abuse the privileges they alone have.

Because the society deems us as the ‘weaker’ ones, we do get some nice treatment. Or else, what is the word ‘gentlemen’ for?

I grew up with boys, and that being said, they always saw me as one of them. We would fight, bruise each other, joke around, and to them, I was one of them. I was one of the boys.

And it wasn’t until we all reached puberty when it all changed.

Many of the boys were taught by their mothers to respect the girls. And I noticed the boys would open and hold out the doors for me, carry my stuff, and help me out with anything “A girl shouldn’t do.”

And being me, of course I was angry. I started noticing that it was, in fact, like that everywhere I went.

Men holding out doors for women, saying, “Ladies first.” Men carrying big bags because, “A lady should not carry big bags like this. Let a man do it.”

To me, it was like an insult. Because I grew up as “one of the boys,” I felt as if I was strong enough to carry my own bags, to open doors, and to be as ‘athletic’ as, just any athletic boy.

In the end, I realized that our gender roles gave us privileges. And I am not very happy with it.

Afterwards, I started to treat the privileges equally. And if you have time to hang out with me today, you will see what I mean.

I open and hold out doors for both girls and boys. I do not let anyone get the bills; it’s either we split the bill or I get it. I carry stuff for both boys and girls, and more often than not, get into an argument of “I can do it myself, just let me.” I let my guy friends cry, because I believe that they don’t have to be ‘manly’ if they don’t want to be. I let the guys do what they consider ‘girly’ and not judge them – there is no point of doing so to begin with.


I try to treat everyone the same, because I believe that if I start doing it – because everything has to start from you – that it might spread.

Because to be honest, as a feminist, it isn’t sweet music to my ears when someone complaints about not getting privileges while enjoying having men open doors and carry stuff for her.

I agree that these privileges only serve as confirmation that women are ‘weaker’ and that women need protection, but we can’t truly complaint that these are horrible because they aren’t. They are nice, and they serve the purpose of letting women be treated as the mothers of the world.

Perhaps, we need to stop looking at the world over the gender inequality but more of what is still missing and lacking. The world is constantly changing, and one day we will be talking about a whole different story.

Think of both men and women, and know that it’s not all rainbows and candies in being a man. Both parties need something, and while fighting for their rights, women should not forget that the gender roles expectations do not fall on only them.

Do you think every man wants to open and hold out the doors for women? It could be habit, but did it start with a man going, “I would love to open the doors for women.” Do you think a man doesn’t cry because he is strong? Or is it because he’s been told since early age that, “Men do not cry”?

I think I believe in human rights more than I do in equality. Because in the end, total equality will not work. But a lot of times people mistake human rights from privileges.

So I hope that we can sit down and talk about privileges, because you can’t deny it, that no matter where you are or what you do, you will always have privileges. At least be thankful for them. And perhaps look at what is missing and what needs to be done for the better, instead of what you want more for your own personal gain.

Just don’t demand for the privileges when you don’t get them and mistake them for human rights. Don’t abuse them. We aren’t born to be bosses. We are here to fight for love and what is best for everyone.

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