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kwheeler's picture

“If you’re not part of the solution you’re part of the pro

Jessy ended her last post on her exchange with Ingrid by saying, “Within every classroom, there are students at different levels. So ... who is responsible for fixing that? And the question is applicable to society generally: Are those privileged by a heterosexist hierarchy obliged to fix heterosexism? …If there is a way to give up privilege, what good would it do to give it up?”

In response, yes, I do think those who are privileged enough to have an advantage in a given situation or society should make an effort “fix” the problem. You can use your position of privilege to help those who are at a disadvantage. I think what Jessy says here brings up a very interesting point. One of the biggest problems women face in our androcentric society is that men do not acknowledge and therefore fail to address the reality that is the inequality that exists on so many levels for women and minority groups.

In my last post concerning Simone de Beauvoir I tried to articulate the idea that if men (the privileged) begin to perceive of themselves also as others instead as selves we might be able to transcend the hegemonic nature of the self/other binary. I suppose they would have to, in a sense, subjugate themselves? Or rather equate themselves with women? I think what I’m getting at is that it is privileged men who inflict repression on women so to dispel the problem of androcentrism men have to become conscious of the problems they are creating and take part in the effort to fix them. Because politically, they do hold the power to repress us further or to improve our condition.

So what does all this mean in the context of Thursday’s reading Katie’s Canon? Well, I think Cannon address this in her Introduction when she critiques the prevalent idea of the universality of “rigorous, academically excellent scholarship”. Her critique is a reaction to the idea that works by African American women scholars “exclude men from being the subject of womanist discourse, especially when men have always included women.” This “pseudo-inclusivity” is the problem with mainstream literature and indeed with the patriarchal society in which we live. The privileged are unaware of the repression and hegemony because they are not the ones being subjugated. They must be made aware of the subjugation of others and sympathetic towards those being oppressed in order for there to be positive change. I think reading Womanist literature is a great place to start!


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