Women studies discussion

Women studies discussion


If you haven’t already, take the Buzzfeed How Privileged Are You (Links to an external site.) and/or complete this 35 Questions about Privilege(UPLOADED) checklist. In what areas are you most privileged, least privileged, or sort of 50/50?


Take a moment now to think about an area of life in which you have a great deal of privilege (e.g., heterosexual privilege, class privilege, white privilege, etc). Take a look back at the list of fourteen that we looked at on the ASU Project Humanities Perils and Perks of Privilege web site (Links to an external site.) to remind yourself of key areas of privilege and their sub-elements.

How has this area of privilege made your daily life easier? As you reflect on the area in which you have privilege, imagine your daily life without that privilege. How would your life change? What things would be more difficult? How would the difficulties affect your ability to sleep, study, or work? How would they affect your ability to maintain your physical and mental health or to be a good parent, child, friend, or romantic partner? How would they affect your ability to enjoy your hobbies, run errands, get groceries, and pay bills? Why would your life be affected in these ways?


For a sense of how other folks think about this with reference to male privilege check out these two cool articles: “I Didn’t Understand Male Privilege Until I Became a Stay-At-Home Dad (Links to an external site.)” and “My Life Got Easier After Top Surgery: Is This What Male Privilege Looks Like? (Links to an external site.)


Do you remember learning in this module that privilege and oppression correspond — e.g., sexism is the oppressive element of male privilege? (You might want to take a look back at page 91 of our reading as a reminder of this connection.) If that’s true then it means we as individuals can use the privilege we have to challenge and change the institutions and ideologies that serve as the under girding of oppression. This is what we can social justice activism. It’s a way we as individuals can make the world a little bit better.

Your assignment is to (1) choose one area (e.g., race, ability, sexual orientation, class, etc) in which you have privilege and to identify/describe five different steps/strategies that you as an individual can actually use to challenge and change the relationship between privilege and oppression in that area. (2) Then for each of the five steps/strategies, you should also provide a sentence or two of rationale for why this strategy is appropriate or examples of how to implement it.

For some help, take a look back our course materials in this module and look for examples; glance at the linked articles in these instructions for examples; and try Googling searches like “how can i use my ___ privilege” or “steps to use privilege to help” for other examples. Remember, these should be things that you or I as individuals can do. This assignment isn’t about what government or big business or the media or some non-profit organization or other people could do. It’s about the small everyday things you or I could do.

Please note that you do not actually need to do these things in real life (although it’d probably be pretty cool if you did!). This assignment is about brainstorming ideas and getting our minds on track to think about how we as individuals can create change.


Here are two examples from my (Dr W’s) own life. Remember, you need to have five.

(1) STRATEGY: As a man with male privilege I can be careful in classes and meetings not to speak over or for women. RATIONALE: We learned in our course materials that men are gender-socialized to be confident and domineering in personal interactions (e.g., talking over others), while women are gender-socialized to be less confident and even passive (e.g., letting others talk over them or interrupt them). In class on Monday, I noticed that male students interrupted the female instructor and female students on three different occasions in just the five minutes I was noticing this.

(2) STRATEGY: As a man with male privilege I can clap back when I hear other people suggesting that a female friend/classmate/professor/colleague must be hormonal or “on her period” just because she is curt, direct, or in a bad mood. RATIONALE & EXAMPLE: It’s unfair to suggest that women have to be passive, compliant, or happy all the time and that they are controlled by their hormones. I can put this strategy into effect simply by saying, “Hey, we all have bad days and lots of times it’s about other people being annoying and not about hormones” or “I think she was just trying to run class efficiently so that we could stay on time.”

Open chat