Privilege Through the Looking-Glass


Editor: Patricia Leavy
Winner of the 2018 USA Best Book Awards (Anthologies: Non-Fiction)!
Finalist in the categories Multi-Cultural Nonfiction and Education/Academic.

A contemporary alternative to the other texts on the market featuring original essays.
Contributors include Jean Kilbourne, Robin M. Boylorn, and Donna Y. Ford

Privilege Through the Looking-Glass is a collection of original essays that explore privilege and status characteristics in daily life. This collection seeks to make visible that which is often invisible. It seeks to sensitize us to things we have been taught not to see. Privilege, power, oppression, and domination operate in complex and insidious ways, impacting groups and individuals, and yet, these forces that affect our lives so deeply seem to at once operate in plain sight and lurk in the shadows, making them difficult to discern. Like water to a fish, environments are nearly impossible to perceive when we are immersed in them. This book attempts to expose our environments. With engaging and powerful writing, the contributors share their personal stories as a means of connecting the personal and the public.

This volume applies an intersectional perspective to explore how race, class, gender, sexuality, education, and ableness converge, creating the basis for privilege and oppression. Privilege Through the Looking-Glass encourages readers to engage in self and social reflection, and can be used in a range of courses in sociology, social work, communication, education, gender studies, and African American studies. Each chapter includes discussion questions and/or activities for further engagement.

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Patricia Leavy, Ph.D. is an internationally known scholar and novelist, formerly associate professor of sociology and the founding director of gender studies at Stonehill College. She is the author of the acclaimed novel, Low-Fat Love and has published a dozen non-fiction books including Fiction as Research Practice and Method Meets Art: Arts-Based Research Practice. Please visit for more information.
“…a varied and profound examination of how privilege functions as the underside of power. This is a powerful and important book... Every educator should read this book.” - Henry A. Giroux, Ph.D., McMaster University
“a courageous volume that blends theory, personal experiences, and reflections on contemporary debates over identity… It is a powerful testament to the urgency of understanding privilege and deserves to be read widely.” - Peter McLaren, Ph.D., Chapman University
“Poignant and unflinching, the contributors eschew the cloak of objectivism to give the hard truth about privilege as a social ill, and the collective responsibility of the conscious community to confront all forms of oppression…, this book has lessons for anyone with the spirit to explore better ways to be themselves and relate to others.” - Ivory A. Toldson, Ph.D., Howard University, and Editor-in-Chief for The Journal of Negro Education
“Marshalling the power of storytelling, experienced scholars confront, challenge, and explicitly discuss everyday forms of racial, sexual, gendered, and ablest privilege embedded in contemporary social life… an ideal text for sensitizing students to the myriad of social forces operating within, around, and beyond their own everyday experiences and assumptions.” - J.E. Sumerau, Ph.D, University of Tampa
“Never was a book that critically interrogates privilege so urgently needed. From microaggressions to macroaggressions, Patricia Leavy’s latest book stays true to her commitment to linking the personal and political in public research, and these multiple passionate contributors demand that readers wake up, take action, and do the same in our own work and everyday lives.” - Anne M Harris, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Principal Research Fellow, RMIT University
“Privilege Through the Looking-Glass offers readers a reflective and reflexive response to the confounding and corrosive issues that inform, and sometimes govern, people's everyday lives and identities. In highly accessible and unique ways, this book shines a light on the complexities of cultural life, and in ways that will entice and challenge readers, compelling them to re-think their ways of being with others, and themselves.” - Keith Berry, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Communication, University of South Florida, and the National Communication Association Anti-Bullying Task Force Co-Chair
“To be included in Patricia Leavy’s world is inspiring but to have the opportunity to read her work on privilege, power, oppression and the expectations or freedoms from persons of diverse backgrounds and statuses, well that’s just exhilarating. As a social policy instructor and clinical social worker, I always find opportunities to use Leavy’s work with my students, whose testimonies include their own exhilaration in exploring privilege and power and perhaps even discovering their own unexposed privilege.” - Renita M. Davis, LCSW, PIP, Social Work, Troy University

IPPY Awards 2018 -- in the categories of Anthologies and Multicultural Nonfiction Adult
Maine Literary Awards 2018 -- in the category Anthologies
USA Best Book Awards 2018 -- in the categories of Anthologies Nonfiction, Education/Academic, and Multicultural Nonfiction
Acknowledgements xv

1. Introduction to Privilege Through the Looking-Glass
Patricia Leavy

2. Unpacking (Un)Privilege or Flesh Tones, Red Bones, and Sepia Shades of Brown
Robin M. Boylorn

3. Men Hug Me at Work: Juxtaposing Privilege with Everyday Sexism
Adrienne Trier-Bieniek

4. The Voice of White Male Power and Privilege: An Autoethnography
Christopher N. Poulos

5. I Am My Grandmother’s Child: Becoming a Black Woman Scholar
Venus E. Evans-Winters

6. Angryblackscholar: Unpacking White Privilege as a Black Female Unapologetically Claiming and Asserting My Right to Live My Dreams
Donna Y. Ford

7. My Responsibility to Change
Liza Talusan

8. Black Here, Oburni There: Differentials in Race and Privilege in the United States and West Africa
Amy L. Masko

9. Buying a Better World? The Intersections of Consumerism, Class, and Privilege in Global Women’s Rights Activism
Mayme Lefurgey

10. Reflections on Rural: Why Place Can Be Privilege and How “Common Sense” Understandings Hurt Rural Students
Sarrah J. Grubb

11. Being a (Gay) Duck in a Family of (Heterosexual) Swans
Tony E. Adams

12. Swirling Shades of Right and Wrong
Tammy Bird

13. Male or Female? Everyday Life When the ‘Or’ Is ‘And'
Em Rademaker

14. Transcending Gender Binarization: The Systematic Policing of Genderfluid Identity and Presentation
Shalen Lowell

15. Titanium Tits
Kate Birdsall

16. On Not Being a Victoria’s Secret Model: A Critical Analysis of My Struggle with Social Comparison and Objectification
Lisa Barry

17. The Ephemeral Passport
Jean Kilbourne

18. It’s a Small World: The Metabletics of Size
Lisa Phillips

19. The Pen Stops
Nancy La Monica

20. Responsive Stories: Sharing Evocative Tales from the Inside, Out
miroslav pavle manovski

21. Death by a Thousand Cuts: From Self-Hatred to Acceptance
U. Melissa Anyiwo

About the Contributors
All interested in sociology, social work, communication, education, gender studies, and African American studies.