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Think Like a Feminist, Ch. 4-6 Discussion Questions

1. Let’s talk about coatrack feminism, or the belief that gender and sex are two different things and that gender is a result of socialization, not inherently assigned according to biological sex. What are its strengths and weaknesses?

2. Let’s discuss the idea of gender AND sex as “spectrums of human experience.” Then let’s move into discussing the danger of trying to find “a common shared experience” that “makes” someone a woman.

3.Hay describes how in many scenarios, very similarly to women, trans people and gender nonconforming people, “just can’t win”. She gives several examples of this. Let’s talk about them, and share examples from our own lives where we’ve realized that women and gender queer people “just can’t win.”

4. “R*pe is no less tragic for male victims than it is for female victims but we should not pretend that the risks are the same for both sexes. They’re not.”(pg. 133) Hay argues that when we respond to female and queer people bringing attention to this fact with “not all men,” or “men can be victims of abuse too,” we are de-centering focus on the fact that gendered violence is real and it is part of a larger patriarchal culture that needs changing. If we deny that this phenomena does exist we will never solve it. Why do we think so many people (typically men) are so quick to say “Not all men” in response to these voice grievances and statistically proven facts?

5. Let’s discuss Hay’s (and several other feminist authors that she cites) claim that sexual assault is not isolated acts of aggression and violence but rather a result of the political and cultural sphere we live in. She claims that r*pe is about power. How does this change your perception of sexual violence? (See pages 133 and 134 for context).

6. “What it means to “be a man” in this social order is to be someone with limitless power over women’s bodies.” (pg. 136) Let’s discuss this quote. How does this demonstrate the harm of gender roles and tie into queer theory?

7. Statistics show that 8 out of 10 r*pes are committed by someone the victim knows, often a family member or friend.(pg. 138) What can we pull from this statistic about accountability?

8. In pages 164-168, Hay gives us concrete big ideas she wants us to pull from her book and begin to practice. Her examples are pretty broad however. What are some specific ways that we are going to put what we’ve learned into practice?

9. “The reason girls are afforded a bit more flexibility in their gender performances than boys is because we valorize masculinity and fde=denagrate femininity.” (page 178) Let’s discuss this quite and Hay’s reasoning behind why it should be called feminism, not gender equality or humanism.

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