Widgets Magazine

OPINIONS

I am a cockblocker: Male privilege and the campus party scene

On any given Friday or Saturday night at around 9 p.m., you will find many girls around campus preparing for battle. They suit up in their favorite cut-off shorts and crop tops, and consult plans and signals for facing a strong opponent that many have lost to before.

They have alliances with females and maybe a few males who have agreed to protect them on the battlegrounds of the dance floor at any frat or house on the row. They are fighting for the rights to their body, and the enemy is strong and protected.

The enemy is male privilege.

Male privilege describes the political, economic and social advantages men are afforded in American society for being men. While male privilege is obviously subject to the intersectionality of race, the privilege that comes with being a cisgendered male and presenting masculine traits is still present irrespective of  race — especially on campus in party settings.

As a woman at Stanford who likes to spend her weekends at parties, I am deeply aware of an imminent fear that something bad will happen to me on account of a male, and I do not think I am alone. The conversations in bathrooms and before parties all sound like women are coming up with battle plans to escape or fight a faceless, masculine enemy who may eventually be the cause of sexual assault.

On the battlefield, one might see the thumbs up signal shared among women to let allies know if they are engaging with friend or foe. Many rescue missions are constructed in the event that a woman’s body is under attack. Parties are a war of survival, and many males may have no idea that they are in battle. This is male privilege.

To enjoy a party without the fear that your body may be compromised and someone may blame you for it is a luxury most women do not have. Males, especially Stanford students, need to be aware of their privilege and become allies. I have had experiences at parties with male students on campus that have put me in a position where I felt like I was being challenged for trying to make sure my friends were safe.

I have been called a “cockblocker” for checking up on my friend who had too much to drink and was with a male who was sexually interested in her. I was physically blocked by a male from giving my thumbs up signal and waiting for a response because “I had no right to cockblock [this] boy.”

Rescue plans put in place amongst friends have been trivialized to girls just being jealous of one of their friends getting attention because “the girl’s friends just wished they were just getting attention too.”

And when I was put in a compromising position where I had to debate sexual assault at a party, I tried to explain male privilege to a fellow classmate of mine. I told him one of the greatest quotes I have ever heard about privilege: “Privilege is like being born with big feet. You were born with big feet. You can’t help it. No one hates you for it. But, watch where you step.” The response I got was to the effect of, “well maybe people should watch out for people with big feet.”

We do.

Women have these systems in place to look out for each other in a party setting, where the culture is very much male dominated. Frats throw parties; sororities don’t. Women are invited to the homes of these male organizations where the entire party, down to the distribution of beer, is controlled by men. The obvious power dynamics could be the blame of the sense of entitlement men have at these parties. For example, guys don’t always ask girls before they assume the right to become familiar with their female bodies — and don’t realize the crop top and cut off shorts are not an invitation to do so.

The signals and plans are put in place to ensure the safety of women in these male dominated spaces where consent is questioned and male privilege is amplified and unchallenged.

This culture that surrounds the party scene must be questioned and brought to the attention of males around campus. Men must be concerned because everyone deserves the right to feel safe on a campus party during their college years.

The first step to ending this battle is acknowledgement of the power dynamics that are at play in party settings. The second step is for males to be self-aware of the culture they are a part of, and from this heightened sense of awareness, males must make an effort to make their female counterparts feel safe, powerful and in control.

And until that happens, I will most definitely be that annoying “cockerblocker.”

Contact Mysia Anderson at mysia ‘at’ stanford.edu. 

About Mysia Anderson

Mysia Anderson '17 is a sophomore majoring in African & African American studies. She is from Miami, Florida and is an unapologetic Black feminist. She enjoys poems about love, free food, and dancing to Beyoncé. You can contact Mysia at mysia@stanford.edu.
  • puzzled

    Why don’t sororities throw parties?

  • enlightment

    Men aren’t technically allowed in sororities. And they aren’t allowed to provide alcohol

  • Mark Bessen

    It’s against national council on Greek life policy for sororities to host parties or buy alcohol with chapter funds.

  • puzzled

    @Mark Bessen and @enlightment, it seems like much of the structural sexism comes from these policies. Is anyone campaigning for changing these policies?

  • punction

    You go Mysia!

  • tdx

    Frats and men aren’t entirely in control of the parties. Despite the fact that sororities can’t throw parties, they are involved, to varying degrees, at all stages of party planning–from scheduling the date, choosing the party theme, managing and planning the stations, choosing alcohol/drinks for each station, to actually distributing drinks. Pretty much the domain that’s exculsively male dominated is the actual purchasing of the alcohol and providing the space for the party. For a couple of years, theta delt was so bad at throwing parties/progressives that Kappa just said screw it and came over and set up the whole thing. Believe me, there’s nothing scarier than a kappa girl with a handle of vodka.

  • Idiot

    No such thing as male privilege. Only white male privilege. If you think non-white males have any power on a majority white campus – even if they are physically larger, you should get your head out of feminist courses for once and just look around you and notice the power dynamics of what surrounds you. White females have 100X more power than non-white males, and white males have even more power than males do. Not on a physical scale, on a social scale.

  • Derek Ouyang

    I think the male privilege issue is a real and important one, but what bothers me about this article and some similar ones in recent days is that it’s not addressing some serious interconnected issues. For example, college party culture in general. Particularly I think there is something glaringly dangerous about this statement in the article:

    “For example, guys don’t always ask girls before they assume the right to become familiar with their female bodies — and don’t realize the crop top and cut off shorts are not an invitation to do so.”

    What are the crop top and cut off shorts an invitation for, then? Or much of women’s fashion in general? Perhaps not the “right” to sexual attention, but I think that much of women’s fashion, by design, is in fact an invitation to sexual attention of some degree. The exact same applies to men who show off their own bodies with bro tanks.

    So I think an important question we must debate at the same time as male privilege is, why do we even go to college parties in the first place? For many, one major reason is to invite sexual attention, irrespective of gender. Add “getting fucked up because it’s the weekend” and you have yourself a sexual abuse problem by design, not by privilege. So it’s essential to think about how an overarching culture facilitates a more specific issue like male privilege to have a negative impact, otherwise we allow many key components of the complex problem to pass by ignored. Mark Bessen’s article does a good job in my opinion of addressing this interconnected issue.

    In other words, if we take for a given that college party culture is the way it is and needs no scrutiny, and then shine the light on the dangers of male privilege and sexual assault within that bubble, we are certainly missing a forest for the trees. Not to mention that this article fails to acknowledge that sometimes women have bad intentions in the party culture too, and that imbalanced rhetoric like this has the danger of unintentionally facilitating a different sort of hidden female privilege, where those that do game the system to their own desires more easily slip through the cracks.

  • justgraduated

    In the middle of last year, as a senior male, I discovered a counterintuitive solution to this: ***male students should jack off before parties.***

    It reduces the “enemy’s” sex drive to that of an average female Stanford student: dormant until alcohol gets involved. And even then, it’ll probably be noticeably mitigated. And now all of the problems above go away. The “enemy” doesn’t give a fuck anymore, the “enemy” just wants to get drunk and have fun.

    You’re probably thinking, “But then I’ll get less action!” No! You’ll probably get better action, because you won’t be tempted by grenades. You’ll also start radiating the all-too-sexy don’t-give-a-fuck attitude, which definitely attracts. You’ll glance over girls who will wonder “why isn’t he looking at me like he used to…” and this will drive them crazy and then they’ll hit on you.

    P.S. about all the “enemy” stuff, read this and stop demonizing male sexuality: http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/the-danger-in-demonizing-male-sexuality/

  • CheckYourIgnorance

    You are wrong that there is only white male privilege. You just are. There are many males who are not white that are truly disgusting in the way that they approach our female peers. Coming from a non-white male living on this majority white campus. I’ve had to rescue a few friends on the “battleground”. And it truly does feel like you’re going to war in a way. You’re fighting to have a good time with friends and the enemy is anyone and anything standing in your way. Most of the time it’s shitty music and hyperagressive males (regardless of race/ethnicity) with a few bad dancers thrown in the mix. And lastly our non-white communities on campus do a fair (not perfect) job at standing our ground and calling people out on their shit.

  • Aunche

    Even though I agree with the overall message, this article is a perfect example of why a lot of people don’t take feminism seriously. Believe it or not, most guys who want to get laid at college parties aren’t rapists. Equally unsurprisingly, some women actually want to have sex at parties. By “saving” your female friend from a guy who is hitting on her, you’re essentially telling her that she shouldn’t do what she wants with her body. She might end up leaving the guy and reassuring you that you did the right thing, but this is only due to slut shaming. Obviously, it’s OK to save your friend from a guy she had no interest in, but that’s not cockblocking.

    If the author really wanted men to follow her advice, her article wouldn’t reek so much of female entitlement. She has obviously never hosted a party before. If a party is at your apartment, you can’t even fully enjoy yourself let only feel privileged. Also, why the hell is it men’s responsibility to make woman “feel safe, powerful and in control?” Again, I understand the point of that sentence, but I’m just pointing out that articles like these only further gender inequality.

  • now_free

    A perfect example of the black-and-white way which women on college campuses view this issue. Please, consider that that you are alienating your “allies” by putting all men together as the “enemy”. This is not a productive way to help women.

    This is far below the standards of thinking about social issues that I would expect from a mature adult. Of course, we are not dealing with mature adults here. We are dealing with Stanford students.

  • Malena

    Exactly! The solution to rape is easy: JUST DON’T HAVE SEX.
    Numerous studies have shown that sex is evil and will eventually send the participants to hell.
    Moreover, the more sex you have, the more likely it is to be raped! The fewer clothes you wear, the more likely to find a sex partner!
    Logic is undeniable. SEX IS RAPE. End of discussion.

    Since when have feminists become anti-sex republicans? This is why feminism is now widely considered a joke: just because other dumb feminists like to play victims pretending like there’s a rape epidemic before going to a party, it doesn’t mean the issue is real. You’re complaining at the risk you perceive because other girls like to play the rape game when preparing for parties. NOT because it’s real. Learn the difference.

  • Malena

    We should ban frat parties and make sororities be the ones running the party scene. This will allow men to make conspiracy theories about sorority girls having some evil plans against males. That would be interesting to see.

  • Malena

    Feminazis found a new way of slut-shaming. Cockblocking is obviously a way of slut shaming. These new feminists are a shame to any rights movement. They hurt females more than any chauvinist. They create slut shaming under the name of “anti rape help”. There IS NO rape epidemic. There is a slut shaming epidemic where any girl who’s had sex and it went public, has to have been a “rape victim”, the new term for “slut”.

  • Malena

    Extremist feminists like these don’t even try to eradicate the female stereotype of being “attention whores”. They take advantage of stereotypes to further their ideology of men being enemies of females and sexually active females being rape victims or sluts. Girls should stop listening to feminazis and find real movements that are not insane.

  • Malena

    So privilege means being aggressive? Do you have any idea how many aggressive females exist? Especially in parties.

    Privilege is any gift that a person has received by birth or luck. A smart person (most of us at stanford) are privileged compared to other college students. Does this mean other college students should be morally entitled to hate on stanford students? No? Then why should any underprivileged person hate on more privileged ones? Why should any woman or man hate on another ethnic or social group? Justifying any hate without individual accountability is the root of nazism, fascism, and any discriminatory movement.

  • Malena

    Yes! Mindless dogmatic support from the sheep! That’s what we need

  • Malena

    Because sororities run by females are banning men from their houses. This of course is not misandry or hate of men, it’s FEMALE OPPRESSION!
    If you don’t let men into a sorority you’re benefiting men! Obviously

  • Malena

    You’re funny. Be careful, some feminazi extremist feminists might think you’re for real and try to apply that policy.

  • CheckYourIgnorance

    Did I use the word “hate” anywhere in my response? Reread and think again. You’re jumping to a bunch of conclusions. You don’t hate someone for having privilege. But it is majorly important that everyone with some type of privilege acknowledge it. And to be attending any type of university at all is a privilege. Due to a series of quite fortunate events we’re here and we have many opportunities and luxuries that others don’t. We should all acknowledge that.

  • The Big Bad Wolf

    I can’t believe Stanford student’s need to talk about this bullshit in such serious legal terms. Really, is everyone here too “smart” to get it, or is the Stanford admissions office just letting in every high school female minority student who had a cause or did a mission trip to Africa.

    How many women do you know who were sexually assaulted on the dance floor of a Stanford fraternity party?

    Women get “sexually assaulted” after frat parties when they drink alcohol and return to the room of a male stranger whom they don’t know. At that point, sexual assault ranges from morning-after regret to both parties were drunk (but off course the guy was 100% responsible) to the girl actually verbally said “no”. Sadly, there are so many instances of the first two cases that it’s tough to decipher what was real rape nowadays.

    The bottom-line:

    1. If you don’t want to get raped, don’t go home with somebody, take your clothes off, and get in bed with them.

    2. If you don’t have the ability to follow rule #1 when you are drunk, don’t drink (or don’t drink as much).

    If you follow the rules above, you have nothing to worry about.

    NEWSFLASH — THERE IS NO RAPE EPIDEMIC

    The only epidemic on this campus is the fascist wave of women who systematically stereotype and dehumanize men. We’re viscous animals. We’re monsters that attack you on the dance floor. Go get your weapons and armor to take on the beasts that are men.

    Can you imagine if I said this about black people? You’d probably flip.

    I’ll end my rant–but honestly, I’m pretty insulted and offended. Stop looking at us like animals and maybe we’ll stop looking at you like objects (or more like fascists).

  • You

    Somebody just needs to get laid.

  • nesseB kraM

    Campaigning who? The women who made them? Mark Bessen is just trying to ban females from fraternity houses too.

  • This Hoe

    Let’s pass a national law banning sex.

  • Eric

    I have got to learn not to read comments, especially on social issues that people pretend don’t exist. I mean really, I can leave this webpage here: and talk about how the issue of sexual assault on college campuses is actually quite serious, but undoubtedly somebody will give me flak for it. In a nonsensical manner more likely than not, but flak is flak, and flak jackets only sometimes work.

    That said, I’m glad that the ASSU and even the school’s administration are doing SOMETHING to address the issue. And I’m glad that somebody finally said out loud that they’re a cockblock and proud of it.

  • ummm

    Because that is victim blaming.

    People should be free to dress how they want. Provocative clothing is provocative because of the societal norms, not because they are inherently provocative.

    These same societal norms are the ones that created male privilege.

    Maybe we should ask, why do we think a woman’s breasts are provocative? Why are short-shorts provocative? Why does someone clothing invite sexual attention? Are the wearers to blame? Are they the one’s that should change? Or is it society?

  • ummm

    Are you implying this is the only way people get raped?

    >1. If you don’t want to get raped, don’t go home with somebody, take your clothes off, and get in bed with them.

  • A guy

    Name one other way that you have heard of somebody being raped on Stanford campus.

  • Malena

    You are a sexist by focusing only on male privilege and female privilege. Like you said, “it is majorly important that everyone with some type of privilege acknowledge it”. You are hating on “hyperagressive males” and “bad dancers” without acknowledging your own privilege.

  • CheckYourIgnorance

    You seem to be incredibly dense. By saying that hyperagressive males are standing in between me and a good time while using an analogy is not enough reason to come to the conclusion that I hate anyone. And by that logic, I hate shitty music. Shitty music is not my preference and I’d rather not experience it, but when it comes on I don’t experience and rage nor do I have animosity towards it. The same with hyperagressive males. There are some hyperagressive females, but considering my own experiences they aren’t relevant to what I said which is why they weren’t readily mentioned. The same as I didn’t mention how the Earth is revolving. As for bad dancers, same thing. And you assume that I’m a good dancer by saying that bad dancers stand in the way of me and a good time. Maybe I just like being the only bad dancer in the room. But past all that ridiculousness, by stating that we all have some type of privilege I pretty much acknowledged the fact that privilege goes past sex (and gender). Try again. And as for being a “sexist”, everyone including myself holds prejudgements on all things. It’s just part of being human. We’re a species that loves to categorize. We should be aware of that tendency and move along with it; meaning instead of trying to not be sexist, I’m going to confirm that I do have sexist tendencies that I try to check and correct at all times, the same as you. Get off that high horse and acknowledge some of your own flaws along with the rest of us

  • Malena

    So if you have so much privilege for going to Stanford (and so do all the others), why do you keep trying to claim males have “more” privilege for some reason? Why is privilege even an issue?
    Should you give your Stanford student privilege to all the non-admitted students? You could. However whatever privilege you’re born with you cannot give it away and you shouldn’t be criticized for having it. So stop bullying other males.

  • CheckYourIgnorance

    “Why do you keep trying to claim males have ‘more’ privilege for some reason. —-“You don’t hate someone for having privilege. But it is majorly important that everyone with some type of privilege acknowledge it.” It’s not only about privilege, but it’s also about power. Please reread before jumping so far.

  • Malena

    Please expand on it being about power.

  • Malena

    This would solve all problems. Both Republicans and “Liberal” feminazis would be happy 🙂
    Whoever claims Stanford feminists are still liberal is an idiot.

  • Malena

    Real rape or feminazi ‘drunk sex’ rape?

  • Malena

    I hope you’re just ignorant and not willfully blind. Learn about the issue, and only then can you claim it’s real.

  • Malena

    Why should attractive things not call attention? Sexual attention is not wrong. Rape is.
    This is why feminists have now turned into sex-hating republicans.

  • Ivan

    Every time I try to read one of these it’s the same nauseating entitlement and selfish gynocentrism. I’m glad I don’t have to fight for western society anymore. Let it burn.

  • CheckYourIgnorance

    I’m actually done with the conversation now. Too much work to do.

  • Malena

    Yes, it’s too much work to protect arguments that you repeat without even understanding. “privilege” and “it’s about power” – these are just like extremist republicans claiming “abortion is death” and “casual sex sends you to hell”
    Well at least you’re not THAT ignorant, but still pretty close.
    A party is not about power. Nobody is trying to dominate anybody else.
    Privilege is being a stanford student. Any other privilege differences are pretty irrelevant in comparison.

    So stop repeating like a mindless drone. For that we have religion.

  • CheckYourIgnorance

    Actually, no. It’s too much work to juggle CME 100, two history classes, 4 extracurriculars, volunteer, AND take Chemistry. So yes, bitch, bye.

  • Gi

    Do you have anything better to do with your life besides troll threads and spit out incessant hellfire and brimstone?

    I’d love to see some links with statistical evidence from secure sources, demonstrating the supposed truth “about the issue” you seem to hold so dear. Please enlighten me, I’m waiting with bated breath.

  • Divided Line

    Yeah, what a privilege it is to be saddled with the responsibility and risk of initiating relationships or else dying alone. It’s such a privilege to affect some moronic cartoon 2D masculine character to appeal to women’s daddy issues or else be sexually invisible to them. Y’know, one could argue that the gender which can screen 400 messages every week in their okcupid mail box and go on a different date every night while screening potential mates who pay for everything like an employer at the height of the great depression might be privileged. One could argue, in fact, that in such a situation women only allow men a very few narrowly defined roles, since they can just be jettisoned for the next guy in the queue. You could even argue that this would incline women to being unable to even allow men their complexity as human beings, which is strange considering it’s the female gender which likes to condescend to mine when reminding us that “women are people.”

    In fact, you could argue that the privileged gender is less likely to be victims of violent crime, less likely to die of suicide, has 6 times the spending on breast cancer than prostate cancer even though both are just as deadly. You could argue that the privilege gender has all of society fretting about getting girls into STEM fields they aren’t interested in while everybody ignores a 30% rise in suicides among middle aged men. You could argue that the privileged gender doesn’t have its value as human beings tied to its ability to play provider in the worst economy since the 1930s. I could go on and on but nobody cares. Y’know, that’s just whining so “man up” and all that, cuz equality.

    It must be terrible to have other people constantly desire you and your attention and to take social and financial risks just to make you a part of their life in whatever way. I’m sorry but I can’t relate, being privileged and all.

  • arg

    Females have MUCH more privilege than males.

  • guy

    Yet women expect all guys to make the first move and don’t host parties themselves. So basically you want attention but in a nonsexual way when guys are really intoxicated and when you are at their party. I think those expectations are a little too high.