I recently recognized a layer of privilege I didn’t know I had.
As some of you probably know, I also administer The Hathor Legacy, which looks at how film and TV portray women. It’s a feminist media site. I founded it in 2005, and I’ve been proud of it. But here’s where a subtle shift in perception can uncover a glaring bit of privilege.
Hathor was always intended to be about women and how they are marginalized. It wasn’t that I didn’t care how other people – people of color, queer people, etc. – were treated by the media. I’m very interested in those issues, too. I was just sticking to the issue of women because it’s where my expertise lies.
A few months ago, it hit me: some women are queer. Some women are of color. If you don’t cover them, it’s not a feminist media site. It’s just a site about white heterosexual women, and how we get marginalized.
Privilege enabled me to start a site about white straight women, written primarily by white straight women, about things that affect white straight women, and think I was doing something for women in general. Because white and straight are the default, and I fell right into that thinking.
Eh. I got over the cringe effect with realizing I have inherited privileged views and prejudices a few years ago. I tell myself it’s self-centered to worry about how embarrassingly dense I’ve been, when surely there’s something I could to to make up for it. And in that vain, I took action and posted a shoutout requesting women bloggers who are not white and/or not heterosexual to come and write columns on the site.
Maybe it’s not so much how enlightened we are as how enlightened we’re willing to become.