Thoughts on Vanilla Privilege

It exists, basically.

I’m kind of surprised that this is a contentious issue all of a sudden (or at least, among my circle of people on the internet). One of the “reasons” being spread around for the nonexistance of vanilla privilege is the fact that it can be mitigated by being queer or trans* (or sometimes a POC). Which is a weird argument because A LOT of privilege can be mitigated by other sources of oppression. That’s the whole point of the fucking kyriarchy. A middle-class fat person still has economic privilege, even though they might not be able to get the same quality of healthcare their thin, middle-class counterparts have (because the fat person don’t have thin privilege). But their experience of marginalization doesn’t NEGATE their privilege on other axises. The same applies for a vanilla queer person who is *also* told that their sexuality is resultant from childhood trauma (and therefore illegitimate, natch >.<)

But mostly, I think the people who are throwing around those excuses and refusing to really consider what vanilla privilege looks like are being defensive.

Guys. Having privilege is not a sign of poor character or a refutation of the discrimination you *have* experienced. Please calm down and listen to people when they tell you about how hard it has been for them to escape a bad relationship/get nonjudgmental medical care/stay employed/relate to their vanilla friends/etc because of a systematic, cultural oppression that you just don’t face.

Also, when all of the mainstream portrayals of kink are inacted by people who aren’t out as kinky and used solely to give the scene/song/flat, non-recuring character more “grit”—that’s tokenization. Yes, some kinky people use that ONE way in which we are EVER acknowledged as a source of pride that, by necessity, implies that vanilla people are boring. Assholes will be assholes, but trying to re-frame a stereotype that actively hurts us doesn’t negate the systematic damage that the “kinky = weird and edgy; vanilla = totally normal” paradigm does to us.

(cross-posted on tumblr)

6 Comments

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6 responses to “Thoughts on Vanilla Privilege

  1. Having privilege is not a sign of poor character or a refutation of the discrimination you *have* experienced.

    I wish the defensive (especially those who claim feminism or any other anti-oppression identity) would just listen when this is said. It’s the ignorance and denying of privilege that becomes even more actively oppressive. The privilege I hold doesn’t negate the marginalization I’ve faced, however I can still be oppressive. It’s a simple enough concept.

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