Privilege

by rseiderman

On Wednesday, I met with Sonya and two of my fellow interns (Rachel C. and Sally) via Google Hangout to talk about our progress thus far, learn how to use TBINAA’s Tumblr, and divvy up the next round of content weeks.

According to Sonya, TBINAA’s Tumblr has regularly added four or five followers per day with spikes around an article of Rachel C.’s (The Curiously Oppressive Power of Positive Thinking) and an article of mine (The Body Positivity Paradox: Shaming the Thin Body). Apparently my article demonstrated that there was a place for people who hadn’t known whether they were welcome at TBINAA’s table or not, which I feel really good about. Our mission is to be radically inclusive, so actually showing people that they’re included is pretty awesome.

Then we were given a quick tutorial on how to publish stuff on TBINAA’s Tumblr. My main takeaways from that were login information and tagging strategies. The login stuff is pretty basic, but the tagging strategies are slightly more complex. The first tag should always be “the body is not an apology” but then basically Sonya wants us to think outside the box when we’re tagging our posts and try to pull in as big an audience as possible. For example, a post may focus on weight, but we know that weight issues disproportionately affect women, so we could tag “women,” things like that.

My next content week will begin July 8. Because we’ll now be posting articles, links, and videos on our own now, I made sure to ask Sonya whether she still wants us to run our content by her first. She does, and she requested that we give her two days’ lead time so she’ll have enough time to carefully consider our material—so my Monday post should be to her by next Saturday.

Speaking of, I’ve done a bunch of reading since the last time I posted and have decided to go with privilege as the theme of my next week of content. I landed on this theme in part because I read a really engaging article, The Distress of the Privileged, that sensitively addresses how the privileged (read, usually straight-white-Christian, often men) might react to what they see as threats to their lifestyles. This accounts for things like Men’s Rights Activists and Christian pushback regarding marriage equality. The note that the article ends on—“Ultimately, the privileged need to be won over. Their sense of justice needs to be engaged rather than beaten down. The ones who still want to be good people need to be offered hope that such an outcome is possible in this new world”—struck me as incredibly important to our movement.

Additionally, I’ve read a few things about Christian privilege and able privilege recently that pointed out things I wouldn’t have thought of on my own. (I’ve experienced my fair share of Christian privilege, though I’ve never thought of it as particularly harmful; I realized that a lot of words I regularly use are ableist [crazy, bipolar, lame]). Since my audience should be interested in being as inclusive and sensitive as possible, I hope that they’ll react similarly to these ideas and see that they’re taking things for granted that other people experience differently.

I also ran the theme by Sonya, who said that she “really like[s] the idea of exploring privilege. It is a great dialogue to begin unpacking intersectional identities and how we might hold one privilege and be under privileged in a different area.” My next step is to do a lot more research and get busy formulating what my week is going to look like, particularly because Sonya wants our weeks to build coherent narratives.

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