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S05 E04 – Feminist Pedagogy

Today we’re talking with Anne Hilliger, a collaborator studying media education and the lead author of We Are Open Co-op’s new course on Feminist Pedagogy.

Anne’s favourite books

  • Invisible Women by Caroline Criado-Perez
  • Oryx & Crake by Margaret Atwood

Find all of our guests’ reading recommendations at our The Tao of WAO book club.

Feminism Is For Everybody, Especially Educators!



Important note: this is a lightly-edited AI transcription of the conversation. If you require verbatim quotations, please double-check against the audio!

Doug Belshaw: [00:00:24] Welcome to the Tao of WAO, a podcast about the intersection of technology, society and internet culture with a dash of philosophy and art for good measure. I’m Doug Belshaw.

Laura Hilliger: [00:00:36] And I’m Laura Hilliger. This podcast season is currently partially unfunded. You can support this podcast and other We are open projects and products at open We’ve got some badges now for people who back our projects on Open Collective, so they’re winging their way digitally to all of our supporters and we really appreciate it. Doug, what are we doing today?

Doug Belshaw: [00:01:01] Well, we have Anna with us. Anna Hilliger. Say hello, Anna.

Anne Hilliger: [00:01:06] Hi.

Doug Belshaw: [00:01:08] Anna’s been interning with us and is now a collaborator with our co-op. And we’ll get more into what you’ve been doing with us later. But our first question to you is, as always with all of our guests, the book question So Anna, what’s your favourite book or books? We can give you more than one if you want.

Anne Hilliger: [00:01:25] Yeah, I think I have to go with more than one because this is a very difficult question and I’ve been thinking about it for weeks now. Um, and yeah, basically I can just say a book that somebody else said before on this podcast, It’s Invisible Women, because I think it’s just a very powerful book that has lots of insights and data for things that I and also think other women are constantly feeling. And this one is backing my feelings, which is which is good. And I can throw data at people. Yeah.

Laura Hilliger: [00:02:03] So it’s always good to have a statistic or two in your pocket.

Anne Hilliger: [00:02:07] Yes, for sure.

Doug Belshaw: [00:02:09] It took me a long. So this is the one that Laura gave to me after one of these podcast episodes. And it took me like I usually read books pretty quickly, but it took me so long to read it exactly. For that reason you gave on it like the number of statistics and, and also just mind blowing things as a, as a man. Yeah, that kind of makes sense as a result of reading that book.

Laura Hilliger: [00:02:30] Oh, as a as a woman, too. I mean, you know, I didn’t it never even crossed my mind. Some of the things that we interact with in our daily lives that are designed for men. You know, like the thing, you know, the funny one that people always reference is how small or pockets are, how small women’s pants pockets are that you can’t fit anything into them. But also things like, you know, I always thought that the reason that I couldn’t open, like unlock my phone with one hand was just because I am incompetent. But it turns out actually that the average phone size is created for for the average size of a of a male hand as opposed to women. So they’re a little bit bigger than they should be for women.

Doug Belshaw: [00:03:11] How did you come across that that book? Can you remember?

Anne Hilliger: [00:03:15] Uh, yeah. I think Laura actually showed it to me one day, so I think I also borrowed hers. It’s at my place right now, so if you’re looking for it, I have it.

Laura Hilliger: [00:03:26] And you’re the only person that I let borrow books.

Anne Hilliger: [00:03:31] Great.

Anne Hilliger: [00:03:33] Yeah. We’re exchanging our feminist library from time to time. So, yeah, I came across this book because of Laura. And, um. Yeah, I couldn’t read it, like, in one sitting or, like, very fast. It’s just you occasionally take a look and find out something new, and it always changes some, some thoughts that I have. Yeah, it’s great.

Laura Hilliger: [00:03:56] Anna, do you have a fiction book? That’s your favourite fiction book?

Anne Hilliger: [00:04:00] Yeah, even also thinking about that. And I think, like, I can’t really name a single one, but I think all the books by Margaret Atwood are pretty good. I didn’t read all of them, but for example, Oryx and Crake is a is an awesome book. And yeah, I think she’s good with fiction, but also with putting some realness into it.

Laura Hilliger: [00:04:24] Yeah.

Doug Belshaw: [00:04:24] So this is the author of The Handmaid’s Tale, right?

Anne Hilliger: [00:04:28] Yeah.

Doug Belshaw: [00:04:29] Okay. Right. Okay. Prophesying the future. It’s almost like the far right playbook on how to treat women in society.

Anne Hilliger: [00:04:36] Yeah. After after Roe versus Wade was like going on in America and they did all of this. She just posted on Twitter, I told you so, which I thought was kind of hilarious, even though it’s tragic. Yeah.

[00:04:54] Yeah, you don’t really want science fiction writers to be posting. I told you so.

Anne Hilliger: [00:05:01] Yes.

Doug Belshaw: [00:05:03] No. No.And how did you get into Margaret Atwood’s books?

Anne Hilliger: [00:05:08] Um, I think I watched the there was a show on Netflix, not The Handmaid’s Tale, but another one. I forgot the name was a mini series. Um, and I watched it and I thought the storyline was great. And then I started reading a book and I found one of the books at, at my brother’s house, uh, in a bookshelf. And I borrowed it. And yeah, that’s how I came across it.

Doug Belshaw: [00:05:35] So do you read do you tend to read those books in English or in German?

Anne Hilliger: [00:05:40] Uh, both. So Invisible Woman is in English, Margaret Atwood I read some of them in English and some of them in German. So yeah, it depends what I what I can get.

Doug Belshaw: [00:05:52] Ah, that must be interesting. I guess with fiction books, it’s a bit different, but I guess with non-fiction, if you read them in different languages, I wouldn’t know this because I’m sadly monolingual, but I guess they’d have a difference. I don’t know. You’d feel like the author was had a different voice or something.

Anne Hilliger: [00:06:08] Yeah, for sure. Like, especially with fiction, I think it’s it’s totally different, but I think it’s easier than reading non-fiction in English. Yeah, because non-fiction is more analytical. Yeah. More difficult words.

Laura Hilliger: [00:06:24] I also feel like the reason that I read most of my non-fiction in English is because I feel like if I’m a lot of the non-fiction that I read is stuff that influences work. I do and I work mostly, almost predominantly in English. And so I feel like if I’m learning learning things in another language, it’s going to be hard for me to actually use them practically in my day to day with non-fiction. But with fiction. I like to read a book in English and then read a book in German and then read a book in English and then German. I just kind of go back and forth. So. Not that my German grammar has gotten any better, but you know.

Doug Belshaw: [00:07:02] A lot better than mine. So this season we’re talking about different types of learning. So online, offline, structured versus unstructured, all that kind of thing. We’ve talked to all kinds of people we talk to who designs workshops and trains, other people how to do workshops. We’ve talked to the head of Learning Development at Greenpeace, all different kinds of people, Aaron, for cooperative kind of approach. Um, and we’re interested in this podcast to dig into kind of your own learning journey and kind of the way that you design things as well. So how did you get how did you arrive at this podcast today after being born at a young age?

Anne Hilliger: [00:07:41] That’s a quite long story. Uh, no, my like, if we talk education, I, uh, like, went to a school like most people do. And yeah, that was a school where like, we already did lots of like, project based learning and like group works. And the classes were mixed classes, so younger people were mixed with older people so that we can teach each other. And so I was there until 10th grade. I don’t know what’s that in different language.

Doug Belshaw: [00:08:19] What age is that?

Anne Hilliger: [00:08:21] 15? So I finished school when I was 15 because, uh. Actually, everybody was expecting for me to go longer to school, but I just didn’t feel like doing it anymore because I just didn’t like going to school and I didn’t do my homework and everything was just annoying. I didn’t like learning. Um. So I told my family, yeah, I don’t want to do this anymore. And they were all like, okay, but what else? And then I started a vocational training afterwards for three years and went to a different school, but also had more practical stuff. Working at an marketing agency, started learning how to build websites with WordPress and yeah, media. Media design basics. Um. And I did that from 15 till I was 19. Yeah.

Anne Hilliger: [00:09:18] And then so in Germany it’s if you don’t finish school in 12th or 13th grade, so when you’re 18 or 19, you’re not exactly allowed to go to university because you need that certificate. So I didn’t have that. But if you do this training, vocational training and additional three years of working experience, you can take an exam and get into university. And that’s what I did. And then. Yeah.

Laura Hilliger: [00:09:48] So for listeners, this is a fairly common thing. So in Germany school you have the option as a young person to stop school early or go to vocational school, take the exam later if you wish to go to university. And there’s a couple of different paths you can choose as a young person. So, you know, it’s it’s a it’s a lot different from the United States. So and I think from the UK as well, where in the United States you go to school until until 12th grade and then you can go to college and there’s no other pathway there. You just get a high school diploma and then you go to college if you want to go to college. And if you don’t get a high school diploma, then there’s something called a general education diploma, a GED, which is also a test, but it’s not reliant on any sort of vocational training. You just have to study and pass it. And then you can also get into college supposedly.

Doug Belshaw: [00:10:46] So the UK is somewhere in between that, I would say so. Um, so like my son who is in year 11. So I think they match on pretty much to the GCSE and to the German ones in terms of doing GCSEs and stuff. He after 16, he has to stay in education or training until he’s 18. But it can be bricklaying, it can be, you know, philosophy, it can be anything at all. Um, and then there’s the usual path to university. But if he doesn’t do that, then there’s NVQs like vocational qualifications you can get, which are equivalent to that, and then you can use those. And also in Scotland, there’s this thing called assessing prior learning where you can kind of trade in your experience of being in in the workplace, into getting into university. So there’s kind of equivalences and stuff. So it’s yeah, they’re all broadly. Yeah, there’s a spectrum. That’s really interesting. I didn’t know that about you Anne.

Anne Hilliger: [00:11:39] Oh, okay. I didn’t know. You didn’t know? Yeah, but I don’t know how it is in in the UK, but in Germany it’s not like the most common way to to do this. Like, most people, like, either finish at 10th grade, do vocational training, and then stay in the job they learned, or they do this 12th grade thing and then go straight to university or maybe have a gap year or something in between.

Doug Belshaw: [00:12:08] So so what changed like from, you know, from the girl who didn’t like learning when she was 15 into I’m going to do a university course in my 20s like what happened there?

Anne Hilliger: [00:12:18] Uh, I learned that I love learning if I learn the right things. So I. Yeah, I just didn’t like studying mathematics or learn vocabulary for a test or like, have all these exams. And I still don’t like learning for exams. For example, I’m a driving school right now and it’s I don’t like it. I don’t like sitting there learning stuff where I know I will forget everything and just learn it. To pass the exam. I like to look to do learning for for a reason and knowing why I’m doing it. And so, yeah, I went to university and learned that I actually love doing this and I’m very good at it. And if grades are a marker for being really good at something. But yeah, I turned into a total nerd.

Laura Hilliger: [00:13:11] I think it’s really interesting. Was I was just going to say, I think it’s really interesting that you that you kind of didn’t like didn’t feel like you liked learning when you were in school and now you’re actually studying education and media education. And so you’re studying what it means to to learn. And I think that’s a that’s that’s quite an interesting transition.

Anne Hilliger: [00:13:35] Yeah. Also, it’s weird that I always wanted to do this, so since seventh grade, I wanted to become a media educator because I came across a person in my school who did a project with us where we recorded videos and he told us how everything works and we did this little short clips. And um, then he, I asked him what’s what’s his job? And he was like, Yeah, I’m a media educator. And I was like, okay, cool. I want to become one. And since then I knew what I wanted to to do, even though it changed and like what I’m doing. But I’m still learning to be a media educator.

Doug Belshaw: [00:14:17] It’s really interesting that I mean, it’s true for everyone. I guess if you look back at your life that we respond to the how as much as the what, so you know, it comes to you which subjects you’re going to choose at school to take on to the next level. And you don’t just think about the subject. You talk about the way the subject is being presented to you. And I’ve had that experience in my life and also my kids life. And I think I’ve said this and I’ve said on the podcast before, I’ve said to lots of people before that I went to a really terrible school. I ended up going back into the senior management at school, um, when I was, you know, a teacher and a senior leader. But when I left there to go and do philosophy at university, it was like chalk and cheese. It was so inspiring. Like these people who love their subject. Um, and, you know, you could choose how you wanted to be assessed. I end up writing Socratic dialogues in the first year of university as opposed to writing like essays. They were always there to discuss their subject, like they lived and breathe this stuff. And I feel like that makes such a difference to, you know, it’s it’s infectious. Enthusiasm is infectious. And I think sometimes we forget that when we make it very prescriptive.

Anne Hilliger: [00:15:28] Yeah.

Laura Hilliger: [00:15:29] So, Anna, over the last year or so, you have taken over the design and management of our platform. And when you when you took over the design and management, it was essentially a bit of a dumping ground for us where we were just kind of storing useful tools and stuff, but it wasn’t really organised. We didn’t have a lot of content and you’ve really taken that and put together courses made, made the work accessible, and over the summer you launched a course called Feminism Is for Everybody, especially Educators. And we’d love for you to talk a little bit about this course. Why this course? Why this topic? What what was the experience like making it?

Anne Hilliger: [00:16:21] Uh, yeah. So I came across, uh, feminist pedagogy when I studied abroad in 2021.

Laura Hilliger: [00:16:31] Hi, Miss Relative.

Anne Hilliger: [00:16:33] Yeah.

Anne Hilliger: [00:16:34] Um. Yes. And, um, so I had a course and the whole course was built on feminist pedagogy and it was like self-assessment and everything was very critical. And I really enjoyed this course. And then afterwards I got into researching what this actually means. And I even before that course, I considered myself being a feminist and also an educator and like putting both of these things together, I think are for me, very important because I think they go very well together, especially when we want to teach people critical thinking and asking questions and be like or creating a classroom or a learning environment where people feel welcome. And yeah, there are so many things that go into this whole feminist pedagogy kind of. Uh, and yeah, so I got into that and thought, it’s very interesting. And then. We came across the idea to to create this course initially as my. Capstone project for for my internship. But then it took me much longer than expected and Glad, thankfully became a collaborator and could be working on this. And um, yeah, it was a, it was a very long process for me to get into, like, how do I build a course out of all this research? Because I use this guide I found on on the Internet from the Vanderbilt University in the Netherlands, and it was basically a big. Guide with all these research in it and all these quotations and all these. Yeah, very academical speaking things. And I wanted to make it more accessible for people who are maybe not that academic because I think that’s a big problem in feminism that everything is always like. It’s not accessible for everybody to understand what we’re talking about because it’s so complicated. So yeah, try to break this down. And that took me quite a while because it’s not that easy to do it, even though. Yeah, because that’s what.

Laura Hilliger: [00:19:00] I was just about to ask. Was this the first course that you designed? Yeah.

Anne Hilliger: [00:19:06] Ah, yes.

Anne Hilliger: [00:19:08] Like in this kind of way, of course. Did some workshop planning kind of theoretical things in university. But I never like wrote a course, especially in this format. Yeah. So that was something different.

Doug Belshaw: [00:19:25] So the format that we, we, we. So you chose the format of an email based course. You could have know, you could have done anything you wanted, but, um, and we’d, we’d delivered email courses up until that point. It’s not a very usual thing to deliver courses via email like people when we talk about it, people go, Oh right, that’s great, but it’s not like a usual way that you would deliver a course. Like there’s learning management systems and in-sync stuff and everything like that. So what did you feel like there were any particular challenges around delivering a via email? Was it or was it easier or like when you came to design the course like, yeah, what were some of the challenges enablers, things which you had to consider when you had to deliver it via email, as it were?

Anne Hilliger: [00:20:13] I think for me at first it made it made it harder because I really had to break down the content into like these small bits and pieces. And it’s I think it’s hard to stay like on the like don’t go too deep. So people don’t get overwhelmed with like, the everlasting email that like never, never stops. So it has to be in that format. But I think it also helped me in a way to really break the things down and find a good way to explain it in a in an easy way. So I think it was even though it was hard, it was actually very helpful to to do it that way. And I think. An email format is is a great format for for this kind of content because. Um, people get this into their mailbox, like, occasionally every three days or every week or something. And they can, like. See the the new content and click it and read it. And they don’t have to remember to go on a website and take the course that that they started or something. So I think it’s a it’s a great format for people to to keep them. Engaging with the content you created.

Doug Belshaw: [00:21:34] One of the things that platforms tend to do these days is they’ll tell you, like LinkedIn, do this. So they they tell you that you’ve got a notification and then you have to go through to the platform to find out what it is that you know, what the message was that someone sent to you or what’s happened to to figure out. Whereas, as you say, the great thing about email is it’s right there. It’s not a notification about something that’s happening elsewhere. It’s the thing itself. And I’d love to I mean, we don’t track people, but it would be really interesting to know just how many people are receiving those emails, especially with something like the feminism course, are forwarding those to either people in their organisation or their friends or whatever. We only see the initial signups, but we don’t see like the impact.

Laura Hilliger: [00:22:15] I think the example of LinkedIn and having to click through to your your message is a really good one because like. If you’re in, especially from a accessibility perspective like email is quite an accessible technology. Some of these other platforms, if you have to click through like where, you know, there’s been many a time where I’ve seen, Oh, I have a LinkedIn notification, but I can’t get it right now because my internet is too crappy to take me actually anywhere other than my email or I don’t remember my password at the moment or whatever, whatever is keeping me. And there’s, um, you know, when it comes to your own learning, I think that being able to learn when you want, where you know, wherever you are is actually quite a, quite a powerful way to get across some of the learning objectives that you, that, you know, the designer, the course designer has set. And that’s what I really liked about the feminism is for everybody, because when that course came out, I was actually on vacation and I was not online, but I could still get it in my email because I signed up with a personal email account and on my work account. So I was still checking that one.

Doug Belshaw: [00:23:28] I guess that’s the overlap between the open work that we do and the feminist work that we do, as in like that accessibility, that inclusivity, that kind of approach as well.

Anne Hilliger: [00:23:42] Yeah, that’s what I was just thinking, that this whole. Email format choice is actually also part of the feminist education or feminist pedagogy because we want. Education to be more accessible to people. And if it’s like on LinkedIn and you have to click and then you want to log in and you forgot your password and you’re just on your phone and all the passwords are only saved on your computer, you can’t do it, and then you forget about it and then, yeah, it get lost and to reach more people, but also to, yeah, get more people into it and interested in it.

Laura Hilliger: [00:24:21] So this question might open a can of worms, but I’m going to ask it anyways. Anna, do you want to talk a little bit about your experience with the word feminism? Because I, you know, because I remember when when you were working on this course, we we chatted about whether or not the word feminism should actually be in the title. And, you know, for listeners, if you’ve never looked into feminist pedagogy pedagogy before, it’s it’s more it’s humanistic pedagogy. You know, it’s, it’s about, you know, making sure that you see your learners for who they are and create safe learning environments and you know, things that that educators strive for anyways. And so I’d love to hear you talk a little bit about about your experience with that word because as a woman, I’m I’ve definitely had the experience of like, oh, somebody is shutting down because I’m using the word feminism.

Anne Hilliger: [00:25:18] Uh, yeah, I’ve been thinking about this a lot, but I think that’s my inner riot or something. I’m like, No, I want to call it feminism because it is feminism and people shouldn’t be afraid of feminism anymore. Um, because I think that’s what, what it is basically mean. Feminism has this stamp on it or this mark that it’s something bad, but actually it’s about getting people together and creating a space where more people are allowed in. And like, especially if we talk about the whole intersectionality of feminism and. Seeing that people are discriminated by so many different things and in so many different ways and acknowledging that and like getting this into the classroom and into the learning environment and seeing power structures and all these kind of things. And this is all feminism. And so we decided to to name the course like this. Um, it’s like Bell Hooks wrote, wrote it as a title of, of one of her books, Feminism is for everybody. Uh, so we took that and thought it’s also a good title for this course.

Doug Belshaw: [00:26:32] And linking back to that Invisible Woman book, reading it as a, you know, a white cisgendered man who’s, you know, 41 years old. When something is designed for you, you don’t like the world. In this case, you don’t feel that It’s a bit like when you’re running with the wind, you don’t necessarily notice the wind. It’s only when you’re running against the wind that you notice the wind. And so having your eyes open to the ways in which, for example, I get into my car, my car is designed for people who have bodies like me. Yeah, I get my phone. My phone is designed for people with hands the same size as me. Like, you don’t realise that until it’s flagged up to you. And so I yeah, I was definitely someone who was sympathetic to the aims of Black Lives Matter and feminism and stuff like that, but would not put a label on myself. And so when I see things like the Swedish government scrapping the feminist foreign policy, like I can see the worldview that that comes from in this case, it’s quite a right wing worldview, but it’s difficult for me not to apply like a feminist label to myself now. It’s like a learning process. It’s a statement of intent. It’s a, um, it’s a like a self-correction, I guess, as a or a way of including more people. So I think it’s interesting when I see people who are my age or older, especially people who present as men, talk about how it’s not helpful to say Black Lives Matter or saying that you’ve got a feminist foreign policy or whatever, because they don’t see necessarily that they’re running with the wind or that my favourite example or favourite metaphor is playing life on the easiest game mode, like play, on the easiest difficulty setting as a gamer like that totally resonates with me.

Laura Hilliger: [00:28:23] Yeah, we’ll have to dig up that article. There was a really good article that was quite long, that was writing, that was writing about how, you know, cis white men are starting on like the easy game mode and how and then it went into like how women are white women are on, you know, level two or whatever, and it just kind of went through different segments of, of society and kinds of people and how hard it is. It’s also a reason that I really like the privilege walk, exercise. So I’ve done some inclusion workshops and stuff and there’s an exercise that I wrote up. I’ll have to dig out the link called The Privilege Walk, which is the idea is to help people understand that everybody has privilege. And so it uses statements that it’s not like it’s not all about sex or race or gender identity. It’s also about things like, you know, you are privileged. If your parents went to university or, you know, you’re less privileged, if you had an alcoholic as a parent and things like that. So really like pointing to all of the different ways that we sort of mature as human beings and the things that kind of, for lack of a better way to describe it, mess up our brains and make us need therapy as adults. Those things lead to more or less privilege. And it’s just really interesting when people start to have that conversation because I think that’s, you know, that’s a big thing about it is just having the conversation.

Doug Belshaw: [00:29:55] I just found the article. I’ve got a question for Anna in a minute. But that article is on Kotaku, which is a wonderful games website, and it’s straight white male. The lowest difficulty setting there is. And that article is now 12 sorry, ten years old. It was written in 2012. Um, so you mentioned that you would have considered yourself as a feminist before going to Finland in 2021 or 2020 or whatever it was. Um, so what was it about that experience? Was it like literally that you got a chance to see it in action? Like what was the, what was the difference there?

Anne Hilliger: [00:30:30] Uh, as for feminism or being in Finland.

Doug Belshaw: [00:30:35] Oh, sorry. Like for, like, for, like identifying more as a feminist. Like seeing it as, as a more important role to play in the world. That’s what it sounded like you said there. But I might have got that wrong.

Anne Hilliger: [00:30:48] Uh, well, it was more about the putting my. Studies together with feminism mean already started doing this. Also in my home university in Germany where we also had these kind of exercises Laura just talked about. And we also did this kind of privilege exercise, but we didn’t take ourselves as a rule. But we each of us got a different role and we have to and we got asked these questions about privilege, and we have to like rethink if the person that we are playing at the moment does have this privilege or not. And then you always take a step forward if you think you have that privilege. And then you can see like where the people in the room are standing, you see the kind of difference between that and yeah, those are exercises that I think are already part of a feminist classroom or like. Get people into this critical thinking about discrimination and from which perspective are we telling which story and is it a white cis male perspective or is it one from maybe a person that actually lived somewhere where their country was colonised before and now they still live with the consequences, for example, And bringing all of this together in a classroom, even if you don’t talk about feminist topics, is very important. I think today, yeah.

Doug Belshaw: [00:32:22] There is a wonderful like kid version of this which you’ve probably seen. Um, I’m going to find the YouTube video for it, but and you’ve probably seen the same kind of thing where they they not only just take a step forward or whatever, but then they have to run the 100m race. But of course some kids are starting after 95m and some kids actually are starting behind the start line. Yeah. Which is pretty.

Laura Hilliger: [00:32:50] So mean.

Doug Belshaw: [00:32:52] No it is, it is. But it’s, it’s yeah. And I think lots of people have done it around the world real life. But I want to find the British one because it’s very, very British the way they kind of do it. Yeah. And the reason I asked that question was because I think sometimes you talked about the academic side of things and it’s very difficult. I remember having this explained to me. And then what was that like having the difference between head knowledge and like heart knowledge. And I think you’ve talked about in the feminism course as well. So, you know, I’ve always been like wanting to know things, reading books. It was my retreat from the world growing up in a pretty rough area, that kind of thing. So you kind of feel like, you know, stuff because you know the theory of it, but you don’t know the lived experience of it. You don’t know like how it feels to do that or how to implement it in practice, that kind of stuff. And so that’s why I was asking the question about the lived experience of feminism when you went to Finland and that kind of thing, because those the difference between the two can be quite jarring. Sometimes you can go into a situation feeling like, you know, a thing. And then realising that you don’t or actually pushing something away because you think it’s not for you and then having the experience of it. And it’s actually quite transformative. I had the experience falling into the world of co-ops and consent based decision making and all that kind of stuff. Totally not the kind of thing I would have done, I don’t know, ten, 15 years ago.

Anne Hilliger: [00:34:21] Yeah, I mean, I can also add to this that I when I started getting into feminism, I realised that loads of the things that I was experiencing weren’t things that I was just uncomfortable with because it’s just my thing or because I’m weird or something, because it’s a systemic thing and there’s like stuff happening and like getting more and more into feminism. I noticed that mansplaining, for example, is a thing, and it’s not just me getting annoyed by stuff or something. It’s like a lot of people do. Um, and it actually helped me to, to, to get that like yeah strength or take strength from it or feel like there’s more people. And so I got more and more into this whole feminism because I could relate to this because I had some of these problems and it gave me a way to deal with them. So yeah, I think that’s why.

Laura Hilliger: [00:35:22] You have a you have a very interesting way of writing week notes. You you started after doing some projects and learning what weak notes are and seeing that while Doug writes week notes all the time, I generally do week notes from about January till about two weeks later. But you write feminist weak notes, and in your weak notes you kind of look at what happened to you on a weekly basis that kind of like made like kind of scratch that little part of you that made you sort of question what’s going on from a systemic point of view. And I think that it’s it’s really interesting reading your your feminist weak notes and some of the the little bits and pieces that pop up in your everyday life are, you know, I sit there and I read them and I’m just like, oh yeah, that is a thing that happens, huh? I never really thought of it from that, you know, from a feminist perspective, but.

Anne Hilliger: [00:36:23] Yeah, it’s actually I can say it’s fun collecting these kind of things. I always have my notes app with me and like, if something happens, I’m like, Oh, that’s something for my week notes, even though I wouldn’t call them week notes. But anyway.

Laura Hilliger: [00:36:39] Um, they’re like.

Anne Hilliger: [00:36:40] No, it’s happened.

Anne Hilliger: [00:36:42] Yeah. Or something in between that. Um, but yeah, it’s like interesting because all these things kept happening always like I already started thinking about starting a countdown or a count up of all the times I get catcalled and just put a number there because all these things happen and people kind of talk about it, but also not really. And I just thought, Why? Why not? And started writing these. And yeah, it’s more and more stuff that I collect and will put in there.

Doug Belshaw: [00:37:18] We could go a lot further. There’s a couple of questions I want to ask and one would just open too much of a I’ll ask it, but we’ll maybe we’ll have to stop. So, um, I was, I was listening to a podcast. Obviously there’s been lots of politics happening, even more so in the UK recently, um, which is a whole other podcast. But one of the things and one of the podcasts I was listening to about politics was talking about the role of social media, for good and for worse in terms of politics and society and stuff. And one of the things that I’ve noticed certainly over the last ten, 12 years since a lot more people joined things like Twitter, etcetera, is that, yes, there’s lots of trolling and abuse, but the flip side of that is you get a lot more, um, social justice campaigns. So you get a lot more like the MeToo campaign. You get people realising that actually this isn’t just me or something that I’m doing wrong, but something which is structural, something that we can overcome together and actually something which like lots of people need to address. And I guess what you’re talking about there is making things visible and then sharing them with other people. And then that potentially leads to a path of of resistance or change or something like that. And I guess that’s a learning thing as well. That’s a it’s a way of helping people take action to change the world.

Anne Hilliger: [00:38:42] Yeah, because I think it’s kind of a way to help people reflect on maybe also their behaviour, but also like these are actual things that happened to me or to other people that I know. And I think reading about it, it makes it more real because I think that’s also a big problem in social media that most of or a lot of things don’t seem real anymore. And like, I think it’s important for these kind of topics to, yeah, show people that this is not just a fun video on the Internet or something, but real, real topics we have to talk about. And yeah.

Doug Belshaw: [00:39:24] So last question. We hear a lot of stuff about kind of the metaverse and there was a big controversy in my little bubble of the Internet about a demo which happened by Meta, the people who own Facebook where they did a demo where there were legs in the VR world that they were presenting, which is an unusual thing to do. They were found to be faked and this is a massive deal. And then Microsoft went into some kind of agreement with Meta to have like Excel spreadsheets in the metaverse. And there’s all of this stuff like in the crypto space as well, just like churn and like lots of press releases and whatever, and people saying how we’re going to learn in future immersive learning experiences. I guess I don’t know what a feminist version of that would look like and I don’t know even if we would want or need that kind of approach. And I wondered for you, someone who’s a lot younger than me, and I’m not going to comment on Laura. Um, about the same age as Laura, About the same age as Laura. Even though she’s your aunt. Um.

Laura Hilliger: [00:40:37] You’re older than me, but that’s fine. Moving on.

Doug Belshaw: [00:40:39] I am totally. I am totally. I just didn’t want to comment on your age. I’m sorry. I’m trying to be diplomatic. Here you are. You’re both younger than.

Laura Hilliger: [00:40:47] Me, and. And now I’m just thinking about, like, what is the feminist response there? Because we don’t actually talk about women’s ages, because the way that women age in society and the way that older women are looked at in society is completely different than the way that older men are looked at. Um, anyways, moving on. No, I’m not saying that you were being anti-feminist or something. I was saying like, what would have been my like, what would have been the feminist response for me?

Doug Belshaw: [00:41:15] Well, it’s interesting because I was brought up my, my, my mother, my mother’s mother was a cook and her dad was a butler. And so they spent a lot of time in like rich people’s houses and tried to have some of those manners. And so I was supposed to be a gentleman. And even now, like I, I walk on the correct side of the road next to people who are who are women and girls and like I do all that stuff to be a gentleman. But then some of the stuff that I do as a result of that is seen as. Not sexist, but like, I don’t know, like, I’m not trying to do this stuff is what I’m saying.

Laura Hilliger: [00:41:50] No, no. Yeah, but and that’s that’s the thing that I find really interesting about the topic is like, you know, holding the door open for someone is common courtesy, in my opinion. I was raised to hold the door open for the person behind me. But if a man holds the door open for a woman, it’s looked at differently than if a woman holds open the door for a man. Like there’s a there’s a there’s a gender element in one of those situations that doesn’t exist in the other. And I think that’s, you know, and that’s where, you know, this this entire conversation gets gets tricky and hard is because I even I don’t know how to how to respond to those social norms that are gender based. And Anna, do you have some advice for us there?

Anne Hilliger: [00:42:38] Uh, well, I think opening doors is good for either gender. I think both genders can open doors.

Laura Hilliger: [00:42:48] Um, if we practice hard.

Anne Hilliger: [00:42:50] I read an article once where somebody tried to explain the the thing why it can be. Um, seen a sexist. If a man keeps opening the doors, like, for example, going back and opening it for the woman or like always jump in the way to open that door and get like this kind of way in. Like, okay, let me do this for you all the time. And then it gets weird. But also like acknowledging that women can open doors as well is like, in a meta sense, low.

Doug Belshaw: [00:43:23] Laura and I were in a call with.

Anne Hilliger: [00:43:24] With age. Just talk about age. I mean, yeah, I think we have to overcome this. And like.

Doug Belshaw: [00:43:31] Well, the age thing is interesting.

Anne Hilliger: [00:43:33] Women in every age.

Doug Belshaw: [00:43:34] We were on a call with a male client recently who said that for the first time, and he’s probably, you know, a bit older than Laura and I like he he someone had given up their seat or tried to give up their seat for him for the first time. And just how mortified he was that someone had done that.

Anne Hilliger: [00:43:54] Yes.

Doug Belshaw: [00:43:57] Yeah.

Anne Hilliger: [00:43:58] Oh, dear. And there are some.

Anne Hilliger: [00:44:01] Norms that are weird.

Laura Hilliger: [00:44:03] Yeah.

Laura Hilliger: [00:44:04] Let’s go back to that metaverse question because that’s a good we were Doug was trying to ask and he was trying to ask with the multiverse and, you know, Crypto Bros and Excel spreadsheets and VR goggles and all of this kind of thing. And what Doug was going to ask, which I’m reading from the show notes, was, What do you think the future of learning looks like? As someone who’s in university and working already in the education space and in the EdTech space? What do you what do you hope for the future of learning or what do you see coming that gets you excited?

Anne Hilliger: [00:44:43] Yeah, I think it’s easier to talk about the things that I hope are happening in the future then what I like. See, for the future, maybe. But yeah, the more. For me, the more feminist approach is like getting away from this capitalising or like this capitalist view of education to like get better and better to earn more money and. Growth. We always need growth and everything has to. Yeah, get better and better and like turning maybe away from that and see education as a way to. I don’t know, build more democracy and make people smarter and raise their voices and step up for themselves and help them. Yeah. Evolve into these kind of things. And yeah, I mean, I think all the things that are currently happening political wise are also a lack of education or the wrong approach to education. Maybe So, yeah, that’s what I hope that we get to uh. More knowledge because of knowledge kind of things. And. In terms of like, where do I see the education? I think this. I don’t like this whole thing about it. Everything is just online because I think we we need that social more social component. So I think this hybrid kind of way that some universities are already doing where you can go to the university but also get lots of stuff online and have this like, yeah, hybrid model of like learning. I think that’s a good way forward and yeah, lost my track train of thoughts, But yeah, that’s what I think.

Doug Belshaw: [00:46:44] I think we can have to get you back on to talk about what kinds of things should be learned in formal education versus the kinds of things that actually you need to learn outside of formal learning. Because I see a lot of the times people saying, Oh, we should be taught that in school as if like everything should be taught in school by teachers. So maybe we should get you back on to talk about that some at some point.

Anne Hilliger: [00:47:09] Yeah.

Doug Belshaw: [00:47:14] But that’s been an absolute pleasure talking to you and thank you very much. We’ve learned we’ve learned what your favourite books are. We’ve learned about where you learned lots about feminism. We’ve learned about your feminism course and about the way that you like learning and your predictions for the future. Is there anything else you want to say before we before we put a stop to to this particular conversation?

Anne Hilliger: [00:47:38] Nothing I can think about right now.

Laura Hilliger: [00:47:41] Well, thank you so much for being here, Anna. It’s always a pleasure to be in virtual and real life spaces with you.

Anne Hilliger: [00:47:50] Yes, Thanks!

Doug Belshaw: [00:47:52] Cheers for now!