In de Beauvoir’s “The Second Sex: Introduction,” she states, “The most sympathetic of men never fully comprehend woman’s concrete situation” (de Beauvoir 37). This statement led me to question why I agreed that some men have trouble truly understanding certain women’s experiences. Part of the answer resides in the possession of privilege. I came across a quote that I thought pretty accurately pinned down the concept. David Gaider, a writer and game designer, says, “Privilege is when you think something is not a problem because it’s not a problem to you personally” (Source here). I like this quote because while it does not ignore the harmful effects that privilege has on trivializing minorities’ issues (not limited to gender – privilege is present in the dominant group of any division, be it gender, race, sexual orientation, class and more), it does acknowledge that privilege often includes ignorance but not necessarily malicious intent. Privilege becomes a problem when people in power are unaware of having it; therefore, the best way to deal with it is through education. Communication between the privileged and the “unprivileged,” combined with attempts of the privileged to be empathetic and understanding, will go a long way in closing the comprehension gap that privilege tends to widen.
Source: Simone de Beauvoir, “Introduction” to The Second Sex (1949)