Identify an aspect of privilege that makes you uncomfortable to think

Identify an aspect of privilege that makes you uncomfortable to think


about. Write a short letter to yourself explaining why you are uncomfortable thinking about this privilege.

2. a. Review the Disability Bingo card (Figure 6.2). Working with other members of a minoritized group that you belong to, create a bingo card of the assumptions that the dominant group has about your group (if you don’t belong to any minoritized group, explore the attitudes and assumptions you have been taught about people with disabilities).

b. For homework, watch a movie, television show, or commercials on mainstream TV and, focusing on the representation of the group you chose, record how many of the bingo squares you can mark.

c. Back in the classroom, share your findings from your homework. What patterns do you notice? Were there any groups that were virtually (or perhaps totally) invisible? If so, how is that also significant?

3. Research the writing, poetry, and performance art of Leroy Moore, Jr. (see Figure 6.3). Write an essay that examines how his work illustrates the concept of intersectionality.

Patterns to Practice Seeing:

1. Practice identifying the physical accessibility of your work or school structure (the external dimensions of ability privilege).

2. How many people who have clearly identifiable physical or cognitive disabilities (and who are not family members) have come to your home? If few or none, why do you think that is?



Understanding the Invisibility of Oppression Through Sexism

“I believe women are equal but I am not a feminist”

This chapter traces a specific form of oppression—sexism—in order to illustrate how our ideas, views, and opinions are shaped by the interlocking and ongoing social messages circulating in popular culture. We describe the ways in which such messages serve as barriers to seeing oppression and as such are central to how oppression is normalized.

Vocabulary to practice using: feminism; postfeminism; commodification; internalized oppression; misogyny; androcentrism; patriarchy

Imagine: A prominent politician is running for office. He has been married 3 times and has 5 children by 2 different women. He owns several Las Vegas nightclubs that are famous for their servers who work while wearing lingerie. This politician is on record for making several sexist comments about women, including his own daughters. He has run on a platform that would deny women access to all forms of reproductive healthcare, including birth control. Just before the election a recording emerges that shows him bragging about having extramarital affairs and sexually assaulting women. When his behavior is made public and critiqued, several women you know say that they don’t think it was very nice behavior but he was only joking. And besides, these women add, it’s only the radical feminists who are complaining. They don’t see why feminists are making such a big deal about it. The politician goes on to win the election, with a majority of women voting for him. Within the first week in office, he removes all mention of women’s rights, civil rights, and LGBT rights from the official state website, and ends global funding for women’s health.


Our socialization shapes our below-the-surface ideas about groups of people. These ideas are the result of myriad institutional forces. Among the most powerful forces are media and popular culture. In this chapter we examine a specific form of oppression—sexism—in order to surface how our ideas, views, and opinions are the product of interlocking and ongoing social messages. These messages are central to how oppression is normalized.

Today, women have the right to vote and a multitude of other rights afforded to them by law, and many women in the United States and Canada would argue that women’s oppression is a thing of the past. However, sexism is a cogent example of how oppression adapts over time and how the cultural “water” is difficult to see while we are swimming in it.

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Identify an aspect of privilege that makes you uncomfortable to think
Identify an aspect of privilege that makes you uncomfortable to think

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