Second Reflection Post on "Feminism for Real"

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"This Shit is Real: Deconstructing Dialogue in Feminist Education" by Krysta Williams and Ashling Ligate

So for my second reflection piece I wanted to talk about this piece because I think the authors offer some really good insight on what we can do, as opposed to being apathetic about the possibilities of the the academic industrial complex. I guess, I would like to hear folks input on how we can put some of these ideas in practice, whether this be in our own personal lives or within the space(s) of academia, given how this book calls us out on our privileged positions as "academics." I personally think the ideas are great, and they also make us consciousness of how our participation in the feminist academic industrial complex can be seen as a form of violence on different bodies and groups of people.

However, a weakness in these tips is that it assumes a universal positioning of privilege, the oppressed and the oppressor. That is, we all maybe privileged in one way that doesn't mean that we aren't oppressed at the same time. Systems of oppression are complicated and, at times, intersect and play up on different aspects of our identity. Thus, with each tip I am proposing a complication to it as well, which I think should also be taken into consideration when responding to these tips. Keep in mind, I'm not dismissing these tips. In fact, I agree with them! My purpose here is to encourage a "deeper" critical engagement with these tips, as well as an examination of the reasoning behind these tips.

Some of the tips I that interested me the most are:

1. Reflect on how you have benefited, supported, or are complicit in a system that oppresses others (if you are coming from a place of privilege).

-even if you maybe be complicit (or "you profit in some ways off other's oppression") in the oppression of others, how is this complicated if you also occupy more than one space of oppression? that is, you maybe in a privileged position as college student, but what if you are a part of an underrepresented group in academia?

2. Recognize that despite everything, communities that are labeled as "oppressed" or are struggling, are still vibrant, alive and thriving in whatever ways they can.

-does this pose the potential risk of a lax "awareness"? is it enough to only be aware? how can we be sure the idea and ideology behind labeling communities as "oppressed" is eradicated, as a whole? or is this even possible? they also write "don't think that we are incapable of producing knowledge, or are too busy...." does this pose the danger of tokenizing these communities and people? (i'm not saying it does, but as seen in academia this often happens. perhaps we also need to find critical ways of engaging in different forms and systems of knowledge, rather than just using these pieces of works as supplementary course material.)

3. Dialogue is critical. Talking about social justice in a way that doesn't prescribe ownership to you, is one way of being a true ALLY. Talking to your family about the history or residential schools for example can be more radical than putting up posters, wearing a button or hosting a rally.

-can anyone really "own" a cause? and if it is something that can be "owned", does it risk turning-off folks who may want to engage because they feel that they too are impacted? does this create a hierarchy of participation? or is there an alternative way to ensure that there is a rotation of roles, so that everyone gets to learn and engage in new skills? (to be clear, i like this one because it encourages an active role on our parts, as opposed to simply "wearing a button" or plastering ourselves with slogans.)

One last question I wanted to revisit, is do folks feel these tips come off as, it is the responsibility of the oppressed to "teach" others about their oppression? I ask this only because I think it's interesting that these topics even have to pointed out as a mean of "opening" the eyes of the "oppressors" (whoever that is). why is it that "we" have to call into question "your" privilege, for "you" to recognize it? (the "we" and "you" is in quotations because it does not assume anyone in particular.)

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"Systems of oppression are complicated and, at times, intersect and play up on different aspects of our identity. "

Indeed, I felt like our talk today and your reading were helpful as we explore our own privilege and oppression in and outside of academia. As we engage, we must always remain conscious of our privilege. That is often difficult to maintain.

I'm also glad that we had a chance to talk about class issues... Professor Poutinen aptly pointed out our neglect to recognize the bodies working in this institution that hardly get noticed. The lawn and gardening/maintenance laboring bodies.

I wish we had more time with indigenous perspectives in Feminsim/Womanism, but I also think you would have to devote an entire yr/semester to this endeavor.

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