Episode 3: Seeing, Being Seen, and the Panopticon of Life

Our essential question is: What does race, gender, and class  have to do with seeing and being seen?

This episode Annie & Hope are joined by two specials guests Tacoma personality Bernadette Ray and business woman Soneya Lund of the Saol Salon in Yakima. From racial coming outs to deconstructing white beauty standards, the ladies ring the “Shame Bell” on ridiculous standards that society tries to hold us to. These honesty, raw, and personal stories of the womanhood will touch you.

Today’s pop critical theory is the metaphor of the panopticon, originally conceived by white dude political philosopher Jeremy Bentham and his brother.  It’s basically a round prison so the guards in the middle can see prisoners, but the prisoners don’t know when OR IF they’re being seen.  Remember - it’s a metaphor!  But it was once built as an actual prison! What’s this have to do with us as women? As white, black, and brown women? How do (sometimes insidious) standards of beauty and conduct keep us in check?


Timeless or Terrible:

Do Your Fudging Homework:  

  • Hope: 2 Dope Queens comprised of Phoebe Robinson who wrote You Can’t Touch My Hair and Jessica William who has a new show The Incredible Jessica James on Netflix
  • Annie: Go Google image search Robert K. Merton’s “deviance typology,” then go down the sociology of deviant behavior rabbit hole on Wikipedia.  Spend a little time thinking about your own deviance #winkyface
  • Bernadette: give an authentic compliment to a woman of color
  • Soneya: Go read Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok

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Episode 2: Fish Crackers and White Supremacy

Our essential question is: What is white privilege and why do we need to talk about it?

Defining privilege as unearned advantage or right based on group status, Annie and Hope breakdown examples of white privilege from shopping without receipts to traveling without being stopped. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there!  Privilege is systemic.  IWLs talk briefly about gendered and whitewashed toys, including where you can find some rad Barbies with afros (Etsy).  BONUS TRACK: other diverse Barbie-like dolls, because representation matters.


IWLs experiment with a new segment in the show called “pop critical theory.” Today's segment focuses on intersectionality. Intersectionality originally comes from feminist sociological theory and the work of Kimberle’ Crenshaw, who says that discrimination or criminal behavior against women can be targeted or intensified based on that woman’s race.  So intersectionality has the power to compound your oppression, BUT! It can also be a source of personal power, because it gives you the ability to stratify different groups, AKA be in more than one group at a time.

Articles mentioned in the episode that you should go read RIGHT NOW:


Timeless or Terrible: Annie and Hope weigh in on the staples of interchangeable white women everywhere.

Today’s topics--boot cuffs and the obsession with talking about generations (leave those millennials and their avocado toast alone).


Do Your Fudging Homework: Go read Tim Snyder’s book, “On Tyranny.”  It’s like pamphlet-small, no excuses.  Go Google pictures of the Panopticon so you can get an idea of what it looks like.  Go read up on the idea of the invisible or imaginary audience.  Take notes and prepare to discuss.

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Episode 1: An Introduction

This episode of IWL is brought to you by cardigans, the uniform staple of interchangeable white ladies everywhere. Today’s essential question: what’s an IWL and why does it matter?

Annie & Hope discuss where the term “Interchangeable White Lady” comes from and what the challenge is for white female teachers working with diverse students. The term original defined as “smiling, 20-something in her Target cardigan standing in front of a Smartboard” in Hope’s blog post The Interchangeable White Lady: An Introduction. In actuality, this label refers to the way students view their teachers. The concept was created in the context that 80% of educators are white women, teaching students of color (stats vary depending on source). Student perception is key. Relationships are crucial. White female teachers need to consider how students perceive them and accept the challenge this creates. It's a challenge to:

  1. To teach in a culturally responsive way based on the students before us.
  2. To view our instruction through the lens of traditionally marginalized youth.
  3. To distinguish ourselves as allies in the fight against institutional racism as we equip young men and women through the power of education.

Annie explains her own reactions to being an IWL. Paraphrases Roxanne Gay’s idea that you don’t need to apologize for being born white or wealthy, but to acknowledge how those traits are favored in society and how they make your movement through life different and often easier (and how you should use that privilege to help others move more easily).  Annie also shared her deep, fangirl-like appreciation for the illustrious and fabulous Mary Yu.

Timeless or Terrible: Annie and Hope weigh in on the staples of interchangeable white women everywhere. Today’s topics:

Ugg Boots

Ugg Boots

LuLaroe Leggings

LuLaroe Leggings

Kombucha w/ the mother

Kombucha w/ the mother

Do Your Fudging Homework: Go read Jeff Raikes’ article “Color-Blindness Is a Cop-Out” and “Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” by Peggy McIntosh.

Find  us on Facebook www.facebook.com/IWLpodcast or follow us on on Twitter @IWL_Podcast

Episode 0: Introducing Interchangeable White Ladies

Deconstructing privilege.
Confronting biases.
Working on being less basic.

We're launching the Interchangeable White Ladies podcast a show where we discuss education, culture, and local activism. We’re teachers so we have an essential question--How can white women use their privilege to deconstruct white culture, confront their own biases, be better allies, and be less basic? Listen to the Interchangeable White Ladies podcast to learn about all that and more!

Hosts: Hope Teague-Bowling & Annie Jansen