From 1-19-16

by Emily

A story from one of my graduate classes:

There are seven people in my magazine publishing class: six females, one male. We’re doing a project where we have to create a magazine for a particular topic. Everyone brought in two or three ideas, and we voted on them until we had a top contender: a career magazine for middle-school/high-school girls.

Six of the seven people in the class wanted this topic. The one hold-out was the male member of our group. When our professor (also male, though that doesn’t matter) asked the student what his reservations were, he told some sprawling story about not getting magazines as a kid and feeling like girls had more than he did. And he “didn’t want to feel excluded” from our project.

I was actually struck speechless. I don’t think I can begin to explain privilege to a white male in 2016 America, so I was glad a fellow female classmate spoke up. She told him, as politely as I feel she could have: “I’m sorry, but feeling like you aren’t included in a magazine project is not as serious as feeling like you aren’t included in the world.”