97 “Invisible” Privileges That Most People Don’t Notice Because They Have Them
Whether we like it or not, we’re all privileged. In different ways. In different amounts. But we’ve all got some type of advantage over others. And sometimes… sometimes we don’t even realize we’re privileged. No, not in the classic way you’ve probably read about on the internet! Some privileges don’t actually sound like privileges so some folks don’t realize that’s what they are. In other words, they’re ‘invisible.’
Redditor Woo_loo asked their fellow online users to name a privilege that most people don’t realize is a privilege and their thread went viral. From pointing out that feeling safe in your own home is something a lot of us take for granted to having the ability to read or even a bed to sleep in, some of these responses hit home hard with the simple fact that we take so many wonderful things for granted.
Have a read through some of the best responses that redditors have answered with and upvote the ones you agree with 100%. And be sure to read on for Bored Panda’s interview with the original poster of the thread, redditor Woo_loo themselves.
Not knowing what war actually is like
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Having a bed. When I was ages 8-11, my siblings and I had to sleep on the floor because we lived in a tiny one-bedroom apartment.
I remember turning twelve and finally getting to sleep in my own bed after three years of not having one. It was euphoria.
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Woo_loo’s thread got 12k upvotes on the r/AskReddit community, over 7k responses, as well as a whopping 92% upvote rate. What’s more, the redditor got 58 medals for their efforts in bringing such an important and intriguing discussion to the forefront.
Redditor Woo_loo was very open with Bored Panda about what inspired them to create the thread and the fact that they didn’t expect their submission to “blow up like this” on the net.
Feeling safe in your own home. Not worrying about rats, mice, roaches, bed bugs, bricks being thrown through windows, violence outside, break ins.
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Being able to hold the hand of your partner in public without harassment or the fear of something bad happening to you.
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Sleeping through the night
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Woo_loo explained to us that what inspired them to turn to r/AskReddit with their question was their line of thinking about all of the things that we have but we’re not constantly aware of.
“I was thinking about how people always say that we should be grateful for things like clean water and education so I wanted to know what else we were taking for granted that isn’t talked about,” they said.
Living without constant physical pain. The idea that most people just exist without nonspecific pain is baffling to me.
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Having an emotionally mature parent.
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A hot shower every day
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In the redditor’s opinion, all of us, no matter how rich or poor, happy or miserable, all of us have something to be grateful for. However, Woo_loo pointed out to Bored Panda that they don’t expect that anyone’s constantly thinking about their privileges and how much they appreciate them. Imagine how exhausting it would be to always be grateful for hundreds of small wonders, every hour of every day. There wouldn’t be any time for living and making great experiences.
Fresh water from the tap. Imagine living in rural Africa. Or Flint, Michigan.
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Being able to walk alone, especially at night, without any worry at all.
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Having a family that loves you. I grew up in a pretty loving family. It was somewhat dysfunctional, to be sure, but my mother loves me as does my sister. So did my grandparents. We were always a close family and we helped each other when possible. We were always supportive too.
I went to school with people whose parents couldn’t have [cared] less about them. I mean straight up, just didn’t give a [damn] if their kids lived or died. If your parents actively tried to keep you off drugs and off the streets and were emotionally supportive and not abusive, count your blessings.
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One of the things that Woo_loo believes (especially after reading through all of the plentiful responses that their question received on Reddit) is that we’ve all got a responsibility to help those in need and those in a worse position than ours. In short, the redditor is a humanitarian with a very honest desire to lend others a helping hand.
Being in countries where you are able to speak insults to, openly criticise or question authority without going to jail
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When Alzheimers hits, your brain is basically dead. That disease is heartbreaking for every party involved
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Having a roof over your head.
Those that work jobs that don’t make a living wage have no means to provide for it. Thus they are forced in to unsafe slums or having house mates.
Every day when I pull in to my drive way I reflect on this daily. There is something to be said about the peace of mind knowing you have a welcoming home waiting for you once your done work.
Like many things we grow accustom to having something with no expectations of change, this is something I’m always grateful and respectful of.
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“We should try to help people acquire the privileges that we take for granted and be a lot more aware of it. Not everyone has the same chances in life but we can make it as fair as possible,” the redditor opened up to Bored Panda, alluding to the idea that we’ve all got to do our best to ensure that society lives by the principle of equality of opportunity.
No student loans. Don’t take it for granted guys.
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Waking up and just being able to see. What’s that like? No glasses, no contacts. Just wow.
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If you’re not familiar with equality of opportunity as a concept, it’s all about making sure that everyone’s able to compete for social status, as maintaining high social mobility. Or, in other words, it’s all about looking at people’s merits, efforts, and skills, not the social position they were born in. To sound all pop-culture for a moment, I’ll say that equality of opportunity is the rags-to-riches myth that the American Dream is built on.
Being conventionally beautiful
It gets you more than dates. It influences prison sentences; attractive people are less likely to get convicted, and more likely to get lighter sentences when they are convicted.
Job interviews, assessments of intelligence and academic performance are all biased to favour good looking people. They are also more likely to benefit from kindess from strangers
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Having indoor plumbing
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Being able to complain about getting bored/not being able to socialize during a pandemic. If you’re able to flourish or even live comfortably during these times, that’s a privilege.
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In Woo_loo’s opinion, having access to clean water and proper education are the most basic privileges that absolutely everyone should have in their lives. Without them, you’re barely surviving. “Dirty water can result in many problems that most of us don’t have, but I also think that education is the most important because it’s the backbone of society and people need it to improve their lives and establish a better place to live in.”
Being able to work from home.
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Being healthy instead of disabled and chronically ill.
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Having pets. So many people discard them like they’re playthings over the most mundane reasons.
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The redditor candidly shared their opinion that we should all stop acting like all of these privileges, small and big, don’t exist. “Everyone has some kind of advantage in life that others don’t and I’m not talking about the privileges that people talk about on Twitter to cancel someone, but the ones that are so natural to us that people don’t even realize that they exist.”
my partner has to use IV nutrition because her stomach muscles don’t work properly preventing her from digesting food. Until I met her I never considered being able to eat as something i’m lucky to have.
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Therapy. Any basic mental health coverage.
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Being able to read.
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Woo_loo continued: “By making life as fair as possible and establishing a system that helps people who are at the bottom of society and helping them get back on their feet instead of punishing them, we can help them acquire the privileges.” Are you up for the challenge, dear Pandas?
Not having social anxiety. Imagine how breezy life must be. The amount of effort I have to put into doing normal things like checking out at the grocery store is incredible. I keep telling people that I got better over the years, but it’s not so much that social interactions get less scary but more like I’m better at getting ready for said social interaction… or better at pretending that I’m uh, “normal.” I’m almost 30 and I still feel like a seven year old who’s mom left them at the grocery line to grab something real quick.
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Education. Where I’m from education is paid through (very high) taxes. We even “get paid” so we can focus on school and not being forced to drop out or take a giant student debt.
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Reliable electricity and clean running water.
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Do you think that all of these things are privileges that most people don’t realize are privileges? Why do you think we tend to take so many of these for granted? How many of these privileges do you have without noticing them in your daily lives, dear Pandas? Share your thoughts and any extra examples of unseen privileges in the comment section below.
Having all your basic senses (sight and hearing especially).
To complain. The ability to complain is such a privilege, it’s not even funny
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A steady income, even one that means living paycheck to paycheck. You have money to support yourself and the means to get assistance where you can. A lot of people don’t have that.
Being able to vote in elections.
Being mentally healthy. Basically, my childhood was such that as an adult I have an overactive amygdala – the part of the brain that handles strong emotions and instincts like fight/flight.
As I’ve gotten treatment and medication, and as my situation has gotten better, I’ve had quite a few ‘whoa’ moments where it really hits me that this is how a lot of people naturally see the world.
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Marrying someone you absolutely love. Many often marry for stability, convenience (settling/not wanting to be alone), or because they live within cultures that arrange their marriages.
Not having to send part of your paycheck to your family
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Being able to go to a store without worrying if your wheelchair can fit through the aisles of if they have front steps.
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To be able to taste and smell!
Knowing that food is available basically at all times in first world countries
Growing up in a household where you aren’t abused
Choosing who gets to touch you or not touch you
Basic hygiene in general. I lived on the streets for 4yrs and showers were hard to come by.
24-7-365 of the following:
Clean, drinking water
A friend mentioned this to me when I was about 28 and we were walking down our city’s sidewalk: Man, it’s great walking with you, people just get out of our way.
I’m 6’6″ 230# (1.98m 103kg) and have lived my entire adult life thinking everyone was courteous and we would each make room for one another….. Apparently, people aren’t always making room for one another. I had no clue.
Being able to “pursue your dreams” because you have enough support systems to thrive regardless of outcome.
Being highly intelligent. I’ve had many colleagues argue they have gotten where they are simply through hard work and determination. They really are very dismissive of the notion that birth is a lottery and genetics are hit-or-miss.
People born with physical defects are destined to be alone and pushed away and I hate it when normal* people tries to lecture anyone (me) on depression, loneliness and a lack of opportunities and how I go through all that because “I want to”.
Sometimes I read quotes by celebrities saying “please don’t let me be normal” and it makes my blood boil. Lucky, lucky bastards.
Economic and material privilege. People will be quick to define themselves as marginalized without realizing that being a billionaire homosexual is vastly different from being a poor, working-class homosexual, or even just a poor, working-class heterosexual person.
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Walking on a sidewalk. Or in other words, walking in comfort in a relatively safe space in streets.
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A reasonable commute. Commuting costs and time are a huge issue for poorer people who can’t afford housing near where they work, or an issue when they have to get from one job to another.
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Decent mental health. Not feeling depressed or anxious at least half the time.
I’m privileged to have healthy children.
Access to painkillers and emergency medical services.
Religious freedom. You learn what it’s like to be a Muslim in the west when you experience being a Christian in the middle east.
Owning a dog. You have this incredibly complex creature that loves you no matter how you look or what you are feeling and just wants to be with you and make your life better. Our dogs may just be one aspect of our lives but to our dogs, we are everything.
Probably being given a roof over your head and being able to eat 3 times a day.
Having healthy teeth.
Being able to live with your parents past the age of 18
Being able to say something negative against your government.
Being a native English speaker.
I’ve traveled a bit (which is a privilege in its own right, no matter how hard I’ve had to work to be able to so so) and everywhere I’ve gone, I’ve met people who either speak English or can direct me to someone who does. It’s funny to listen to so many Americans complain about foreigners not knowing English, and yet we generally also don’t take the time to learn whatever language of whatever place we are traveling to.
Being a person of average height.
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Owning a vehicle.
I can’t fathom the amount of times how people dismiss those who don’t have their personal transportation and how public transportation isn’t always going to match up to their conveniences.
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Living in a developed country. Regardless of your situation. There’s middle class people in developing countries that only dream of having the privileges of low income people in developed countries.
Being able to look up absolutely anything on our phones at any time within seconds.
Clean air, there’s countries that are heavily polluted to the point you can breath fresh air it all smells like smoke and it’s not good for the environment
Having your own bedroom
To never know desperation.
Being a woman in a developed country.
Being born into a world that is set up for you. As a disabled person the problem was always with me, not with the fact that the world was not set up for people like me.
Being able to sleep through the night without sirens, gunshots, bombs or family members being hauled away through the dark of night.
Eating every day, being warm, being safe, not usually worried about surviving the night.
A best friend. Not a close friend, but a best friend. One with whom your sense of self is deeply intertwined.
The right to say “no” in any situation, whether it be sexual, social or work related and not be judged for it. Just because a girl wears nice clothes and does her hair and makeup, does not mean her “body said yes” while her mouth said no. Saying no to doing extra for a social commitment does not make me a bitch and refusing extra shifts doesn’t make me one either.
Growing up with 2 stable parents in the home.
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Not wanting to die. Being able to forget. Leaving your house without taking anxiety medicine. The sun “rising” every day.
These are endless.
Freedom to speak.
Normal sleep. Have ptsd and the only serious issue that comes from it for me are night terrors.
The fact that we shower using clean, drinkable water while there are countries that dont have a clean water source.
Being able to buy luxuries. Some people can only buy things that are absolutely necessary, because they don’t have much money. I think people need to acknowledge how many things they have before being ungrateful.
Having windows that don’t leak cold air into the house
Never experiencing bullying. I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone.
Central heat and air.
Most people take it for granted that you can just go to the thermostat and turn it up if they’re cold or turn it down if they’re too hot. But not everybody can do that and it sucks, really really bad, if you can’t.
I’m honestly suprised that I haven’t seen anyone post this yet. WiFi. Especially good WiFi. Where I grew up, almost no one had WiFi, and the few people/places that did, barely had any.
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Finding romantic love and having a partner who really loves and supports you til death actually parts you from eatchother.
I’ve been alone and single for so long that I am convinced that loves isn’t meant for me.
Being truly happy. I was in a really bad place for so long, and I was never really happy. I had some fleeting moments of joy, but they never lasted. Now, while I’m still trying to get over it, I have started to get back the happiness I lost at 9 years old.
Being “Zero Waste”. For example, if you have a medical condition that requires a lot of medication, or many medical procedures in general, it’s not a choice to use tons of plastic and other disposable materials all the time.
I know this is silly, but some people that choose to be zero waste don’t realize that is not just a choice.
being able to choose who governs you. Most humans who have ever been alive have not had a say in the matter. A larger portion of currently living humans have that privilege than at any point in human history
Being normal sized. I’m 6’4, 350. I have almost completely stopped shopping for clothes in stores.
Not living everyday in pain.
Growing up in a healthy, functioning family with two parents
Being right handed. Life is so difficult for lefties
Having a healthy body weight.