I thought the essay did a great job of discussing the importance of acknowledging privilege while also critiquing the ways “check your privilege” gets thrown around. What do you think people misunderstand about that phrase?
I think that when people hear that phrase, they start to feel defensive. They feel like they have to apologize for some things they have no control over. You can’t control the fact that you are born a White man or born into wealth. When people say “check your privilege,” they’re saying, “Acknowledge how these factors helped you move through life.” They’re not saying apologize for it. But I think oftentimes, because we’re human, we hear these things and feel we have to apologize, and I think that’s where a lot of it is coming from.
One definition of feminism that you mention in the book is “women who don’t want to be treated like sh-t.” Is there one perfect definition out there?
No, I don’t think there’s one definition of feminism. I think there are multiple definitions of feminism. But at its core, I think it’s that women deserve certain inalienable rights in the same ways that men do. We have to look at reproductive freedom and making sure that the female body is no longer legislated. We have to look at the wage gap and think about race and class and sexuality and ability because we inhabit multiple identities. I think one of the most important things we can do as feminists is acknowledge that even though we have womanhood in common we have to start to think about the ways in which we’re different, how those differences affect us and what kinds of needs we have based on our differences.