Nevo Zisin has lived as a woman and as a man. Here's what they think about 'male privilege'.

On Tuesday night, Hack Live posed the question to a number of panelists, “Is male privilege bullshit?”

Even before it aired on ABC2, the question itself had a lot of viewers very angry.

Jacinta Di Mase tweeted, “Our 15-yr-old daughter says asking if male privilege exists is same as asking if gravity is real,” and Lee Constable wrote, “‘Is male privilege bullshit?’, ‘Is climate change real?’ and other questions similarly not up for debate due to evidence.”

The panel made up of feminist writer and speaker Clementine Ford, anti-feminist commentator Daisy Cousens, Men’s Rights Activist Adrian Johnson and trans activist and author Nevo Zisin as well as a number of others, generated a heated and impassioned debate.

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But for many, the highlight of the program was the invaluable insight offered by Zisin, who has presented as both a man and a woman.

“I can tell you tangible evidence of male privilege that is unarguable,” Zisin said. “I’m not here to talk about statistics.”

“I don’t get spoken over as much anymore. I don’t get interrupted as much. I’m really funny now, people laugh at my jokes so much more now… [but] they’re the same jokes.

“I get rewarded for being a feminist. People are blown away by the fact that I care about women. Whereas when I was a woman, I was called bossy and emotional. I was told I was on my period if I was ever saying anything passionate and heartfelt.

Image via ABC.

"People would constantly only ever ask the boys to lift things, even though I was strong, and now I am weak, because I don’t exercise anymore. And people always assume I can open the jars, because I am a dude, but I can’t [because] I am weak.”

Zisin identifies as non-binary, and prefers gender-neutral pronouns such as 'they'.

At 17, Zisin made the decision to begin transitioning from female to male. Since, Zisin published a book about gender transition titled Finding Nevo: How I Confused Everyone.

When it came to the subject of 'Honey Badgers', which refers to women who align with Men's Rights Activists, Zisin said, "I don’t think anyone’s a ‘gender traitor’ because I believe in gender fluidity, and I don’t think anyone has to be exclusively in their own gender category.

"I think it’s just derailing, and I think conversations like this are derailing. I think the fact that we’re debating whether male privilege exists is derailing, and stupid, and I think that there are way bigger issues to be talking about."


"This is the thing," Zisin continued. "When we say ‘feminists,’ we just group all feminists in together. Do you know how many arguments feminism as a movement has within itself? Do you know how complex ideologies are?”

In a conversation that so often becomes arbitrarily and simplistically divisive, Zisin's voice offered some much needed nuance.

Zisin criticised the program at one point, and rightfully so, for being too heteronormative and cis-centric.

Often, debates around male privilege and even feminism, focus on the white, straight, female - with all the 'biological' female parts - experience. But there are so many people who benefit from feminist politics, who do not fit so neatly into the gender continuum.

Women who like women. Men who have a vagina. Women who have a penis.

Zisin reminded us last night that gender has nothing to do with what's between your legs. Gender is a socialised and constructed marker of identity, where a certain set of behaviours are rewarded in men, and the opposite are rewarded in women.

But in short - the overwhelming conclusion appeared to be, yes, there is no doubt that male privilege exists.

From the micro to the macro, being a man in 2017 comes with an unequivocal advantage.

And once we've accepted that, we're one step closer to actually addressing it.

You can watch Hack Live on male privilege on ABC iView, here

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