Entitlement is an excessive self-regard and a belief in the automatic right to certain, usually privileged, treatment…hmmm…who does that remind you of?
White male entitlement exists because society has a dislike, contempt or ingrained prejudice against women – also known as misogyny. It is difficult not to reach this conclusion when we look at statistics about women’s health, women at work, women as parents, the economic status of women, women in elected and administrative governmental offices etc . . .. In each of the areas, the results for women are inferior to those of men. Kate Mann, assistant professor of philosophy at Cornell University, writes misogyny is “the system that operates within a patriarchal social order to police and enforce women’s subordination and to uphold male dominance.” Misogyny is like a shock collar used to keep dogs behind an invisible fence, misogyny, Mann argues, and aims to keep women—those who are well trained as well as those who are unruly—in line.” Mann asserts that misogyny is not directed at every woman, but rather is a system in which women exist. Mann distinguishes sexism, which she defines as the ideas society has about women, with misogyny, which is the patriarchal system of enforcement of those ideas.
The misogynistic culture allows male entitled to thrive. Male entitlement can be as simple as men acting like the master of the castle and treating women as there to serve and pamper. It can be seen in the policing of what women wear lest they leave a man unable to control his sexual desires. We see it at work, much as we do at home, with the delegation of certain kinds of tasks to women, the frequency and duration that men speak – even the learned incompetence that we sometimes see in men who believe they are not required to be competent. And this kind of behavior in the workplace negatively impacts job satisfaction and leads to burnout both for the entitled and for their co-workers.
This is a problem for white males to resolve. And it requires white males to be aware of their behavior – their expectations, how much they speak, how much room they take up. It requires active listening and a desire to give support as much or not more than they receive it. Ideally, men call other men on entitled behavior.
Women can set good boundaries about what they are willing to do and not do and what behavior they are willing to be on the receiving end and what behavior they are not willing to tolerate.