Friday, 26 February 2016

Acknowledging Priviliges

I’ve been told recently to acknowledge my privilege. Naturally, one cannot acknowledge their privilege in 140 characters so I thought this would be the best place. The context that I was to told to acknowledge my privilege was with regard to periods, apparently I am privileged to have a period. Now, I am more than understanding that some people would love to menstruate but does that mean I should feel bad that I don’t love it? Is that me dismissing the privilege that is a period? Also who says my period is even a privilege? What if I’m trying to conceive? Isn’t my period a stark reminder that something is not quite working, wouldn’t it be more of a cause for concern? Did anyone think of that? Nope.

Anyway, I thought I’d address all my privileges rather than just the one because as well as acknowledging them, for me it is paramount to be thankful for what I am blessed with not to just acknowledge it. I am thankful that I live in the UK, I have the right to basically do as I please. I’m grateful that I don’t have to leave my home and run in fear to another country not anticipating a warm welcome or being able to communicate with anyone. I have access to what is essentially free healthcare and an abundance of sanitary products, forget the tampon tax…at least we have tampons to tax. Although at the time, I took advantage of it, at least I had an education and with the help of Student Finance I was able to go to University and further my education. I am grateful for the fact that I am educated enough to be able to express my thoughts and opinions through the medium of writing, I cannot imagine being unable to read or write, I am grateful for being given to opportunity to develop these skills thanks to my social privilege

I am grateful that I come from a single parent family in a little town up North. I am proud of the privilege of not having any emotional hang ups or issues with having never met my Dad. I am more than privileged to have the Mum and strong family unit that I do. I am honoured to have the loyal and loving friends that I do. I fully acknowledge the privilege I have of being a woman and in a woman’s body, I am privileged in the sense that I can find a plethora of clothes shops to suit my needs in 1-mile radius, I’m privileged that I can demand respect and independence and for doors to be held open for me at the same time. I am privileged that I can justifiably shame a gender with no question if I so choose to all under the name of feminsim. I am privileged that I have a wonderful and loving fiancé, I am honoured that he asked me to spend the rest of my life with him and I am honoured to be living with an ex-service man and privileged that I am able to thank him for his service.

I am privileged that I have been assaulted for my religion, I am privileged that I face constant jokes and cruel remarks when its mentioned, I am grateful for this privilege because it I can fully connect with people of other religions facing discrimination. I am grateful that I was privileged with being in an emotionally abusive relationship as thanks to my privileged upbringing that one person was bad and it was not a reflection of an entire gender.

To narrow it down, my standard social privileges are that I’m white, I menstruate, I’m heterosexual, and I live in the UK – but does this mean that I am unable to have any empathy for anyone else? Is that an actual fact? Are my levels of intelligence and empathy determined by my social privileges?
Also, does the fact that I fit into these statistics mean that I am automatically privileged within them? Is this not disrespectful to those that don’t fit into these categories,  to assume that they’re not privileged? Does fitting into certain social privileged categories mean that I should be forever apologetic for things that I had no control over?

Although social privileges are to be looked at systematically and statistically, it is unfair to demand that one person acknowledge their privileges without even considering their individual circumstances and to presume that they aren’t already aware.

So yes, I am aware and acknowledge my privileges but don't expect to be eternally grateful for things that I have no control over, although I am humbled by my blessings I am not bitter about my lack of privileges because society, statistics and social studies do not determine my opinions, emotions and soul.


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