Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964517 | Print ISBN: 9781412909167 | Online ISBN: 9781412964517| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Debby A. Phillips & John R. Phillips
Male privilege is a special status conferred on males in societies where male supremacy is the central social organizing feature. Such patriarchal societies confer broad social, economic, and political assets on men because they are male. These privileges are based on beliefs about the superiority of male biological sex and gender. Male privilege is blatant, subtle, and pervasive. The seeming naturalness and invisibility of male privilege is challenging and difficult to confront. Peggy Mclntosh, one of the first feminist scholars to write about male privilege, describes it as an “invisible backpack” of rights and privileges that all males carry, often unaware, and usually unacknowledged. She and others analyze the contents of the “backpack” and show how societies at large, and males in general, take the assumed rights and privileges of males for granted and perpetuate them. Another helpful metaphor for the ubiquitous nature of male privilege describes it as the ...