Louis C.K.'s stand-up routine is funny, but also disturbing. Unfortunately, white male privilege is very much a reality in the United States and other European countries. Louis CK invites the audience to challenge the concepts of privilege and oppression; Christie Launius and Holly Hassel do just that by offering definitions, roadblocks, and examples. Questions readers might consider while noting a few important areas of the chapter are "How can I recognize my own privileged or oppressed point-of-view, and what can I do to step out of my bias?"
"Oppression and Privilege are Inextricably Linked"
"For every type of oppression, a corresponding set of privileges exist" (Launius and Hassel 75).
As you view the next two videos, can you see a clear "flip side" of each coin, or are the two sides blurred?
From what position of privilege or oppression do you see the world? What does it mean to speak from a position of privilege? bell hooks addresses this question with her condemnation of Hillary Clinton. Does Clinton speak from a position of privilege? Does hooks speak from any privileged position (educational, feminist, or other?)
"Feminism is dead." Are those who make this claim simply not aware of their privileged position? Are they blind to the links between oppression and privilege?
Bigotry, prejudice, and racism: "It's important to distinguish between these three ideas" (Launius and Hassel 79).
Bigotry: "a personal belief system that may manifest in acts of meanness or hostility on an individual level" (79).
Prejudice: "a preconception about an individual on the basis of racial identity" (79).
"[R]acism is not the product or conduct of an individual person but what Tatum defines as a system involving cultural messages and institutional policies and practices as well as the beliefs and actions of individuals'" (79).
"The class a person is born into greatly shapes life experiences and has a huge impact over the life course" (Launius and Hassel 83).
Alice Goffman's TED talk occurred about a year and a half ago. Are we still making progress?
"Work and Family"
"[P]rivilege for some women and oppression for others" (Launius and Hassel 91).
"Women working in salaried, professional positions are more likely to have access to unmonitored breaks and private working spaces that allow them to pump or breastfeed" (Launius and Hassel 91).
"Certain kinds of dependence are more acceptable than others, particularly those that support patriarchal values" (Launius and Hassel 94).
Launius and Hassel pose a complex and important idea to consider about marriage, now that societal acceptance of same-sex marriage is on the rise: "Assuming that same-sex marriage is legalized in the coming decade, it will be important to study and track whether and to what extent same-sex couples transform the institution, as opposed to being transformed by it" (95).
Mansplaining: "To explain in a patronizing
manner, assuming total ignorance on the part of those listening. The mansplainer is often shocked and hurt when their mansplanation is not taken as absolute fact, criticized or even rejected altogether" (qtd. in Launius and Hassel 95).
The battle with Men Who Explain Things has trampled down many women–of my generation, of the up-and-coming generation we need so badly, here and in Pakistan and Bolivia and Java, not to speak of the countless women who came before me and were not allowed into the laboratory, or the library, or the conversation, or the revolution, or even the category called human.
Canadian Federal Court Judge Robin Camp is one disturbing example of "mansplaining"; how many others can we think of?
Does "mansplaining" occur in same-sex relationships also?
Male privilege is even evident in Wikipedia. While academics may recognize the disadvantages and bias of this type of source, millions of people who rely on Wikipedia for information may not. Are there other online spaces that are "welcoming" (98) for women?
"Marked vs. Umarked in Language"
In the adjacent video, the narrator suggests that the labeling of toys based on gender will "soon be a thing of the past." Do you agree?
Kakenya Ntaiya explains how her body was used as an oppressive site, but she negotiated and fought to take that control away from the patriarchal community.
"Over 140 million girls and women have experienced female circumcision, with 100 million of then located in Africa" (Launius and Hassel 103).
"If I don't see it, it must not exist"
Launius and Hassel invite us to recognize our unique privileged positions and resist "the temptation to use one's own experience as a 'measuring stick'" (104). The challenge, of course, is to encourage societal institutions to do the same; how might we work in our everyday lives to do so?
aliveandthrive. “Breastfeeding at Work (Animation).” YouTube, 5 Aug. 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-FQfEpQkMc
C.K., Louis. "White Male Privilege." YouTube, 18 March 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkJOcpapKGI.
EasyOnMe. "Feminism is Dead." YouTube, 18 May 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ABdZihSAfQ.
Goffman, Alice. “How We’re Priming Some Kids for College—and Others for Prison.” TED, March 2015, https://www.ted.com/talks/alice_goffman_college_or_prison_two_destinies_one_blatant_injustice.
hooks, bell. "I Can No Longer Be a Hillary Clinton Supporter!” YouTube, 4 March 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=8w4PQvfrw1E.
Launius, Christie, and Holly Hassel. “Privilege and Oppression.” Threshold Concepts in Women’s and Gender Studies: Ways of Seeing, Thinking, and Knowing. Routledge, 2015, pp. 71-111.
Ntaiya, KaKenya. “A Girl Who Demanded School.” TED, Oct. 2012, https://www.ted.com/talks/kakenya_ntaiya_a_girl_who_demanded_school.
POPSUGAR Girls’ Guide. “Why Gender-Specific Toys Are Bad for Kids.” YouTube, 14 Dec. 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFPQYBDvU51.
Solnit, Rebecca. “Rebecca Solnit: Men Explain Things to Me.” Guernica: A Magazine of Art and Politics, 20 Aug. 2012, https://www.guernicamag.com/daily/rebecca-solnit-men-explain-things-to-me/.
Tatum, Beverly. “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?” YouTube, 26 Aug. 2013, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FY4wKoPDjls.
U.S. Department of Labor: Wage and Hour Division. “Fact Sheet # 28: The Family and Medical Leave Act.” Revised 2012,
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Public - 8/26/16, 5:52 PM