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Hidden Figures Discussion Questions

  1. Mary and her husband have a discussion at the church picnic about Mary's desire to be an engineer by going to an all white school. Her husband is very unsupportive, and while he seems to believe he is coming at it from a desire to protect Mary from sexism and racism, Mary takes offense to the fact that he is convinced he knows better than she does about what is possible in her own field and in her own life. Let's discuss the conundrum that many women and those assigned female at birth (afab) face in that the ones they love the most and who love them are still often the perpetrators of sexist narratives and ideas, often unconsciously.

  2. This movie makes it clear that when we hinder women and those afab it is not just a hinderance to women, but a detriment to all of society and its members. When then, do we often demonstrate such a fierce commitment to sexism, even over the achievement of the greater good, as Paul demonstrates so many times in the film in his refusal to accept Kathrine? Who and what does it serve?

  3. Let's discuss the scene in the bathroom and the interaction between Dorothy and Vivian. Vivian spends the majority of the movie keeping the black women from succeeding. In the bathroom, after Dorothy has succeeded in learning about the new computer all on her own, Vivian asks her if she'd be willing to train some of the white women on her team. She also claims that she "honestly doesn't have anything against" black people, to which Dorothy replies, "I know you believe that." What does this interaction teach us about anti-racism, intersectionality, and the white washing of feminism?

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