How many circles do you see in the image below?

It is not a trick – there are actually 16 circles.

Look again.

When you see them – trust me – it’ll be all you can see.

I stumbled across this optical illusion – it’s called a Coffer Illusion. (You can search for it if, like many people, you still can’t see the circles and want further help).

It took me ages to see the circles, and then they appeared – as plain as the rectangles and lines that I was seeing before.

This is a great way to think about our privilege.

When we have it, we can’t see it.

Others will tell us that barriers exist for those without certain privileges, but when we have privileges – we don’t see them.

And because we can’t see them – we arrogantly determine that they don’t exist.

We may even think that others are making it up.

Well, it’s there. So are the circles.

And just like with privilege, when we spend long enough looking for what others can so plainly see, eventually we will see it.

And eventually, that’ll be all we can see.

And instead of questioning their existence in the first place, we will wonder why we never saw it before.

And now that we see it, we take action.

Bloke Coaching is a program to help men understand male privilege, patriarchy and prejudice, and be proactive in driving gender equality.

My clients consistently report that once they become aware and see the obstacles, see the microaggressions, see the privilege – they can’t unsee it.

They see it in the media, they see it in movies and tv shows, they see it in restaurants. 

They see it when on public transport, when they are in meetings, in playgrounds and at school. 

They see it at home.

The reality is that, unfortunately, until you actually start seeing it, you aren’t going to be nearly as effective as you think you are at tackling it.