Centering Others: Empowerment in the Margins with Roxane Gay & Megan Pillow - Jen Hatmaker

Centering Others: Empowerment in the Margins with Roxane Gay & Megan Pillow

“When you see an abuse of power, call it out and identify it. Oftentimes power works because nobody questions it and nobody challenges it.” – Dr. Roxane Gay

Episode 03

This powerful episode in our Queer Futures series features an enlightening conversation about power structures with Jen and renowned author Roxanne Gay and co-writer Megan Pillow. The women explore not only the concept of individual power, but how we can engage in community empowerment. Together, they delve into how marginalized communities, particularly LGBTQ+ individuals, can claim their power and challenge existing power structures to create a more inclusive and just society.

Discussion includes: 

  • Claiming Individual Power: How women, LGBTQ+ individuals, and others can assert their power in personal and professional spaces.
  • Challenging Power Structures: The importance of calling out abuses of power and questioning the status quo
  • Empowerment Through Solidarity: The role of community and collective action in amplifying individual voices and driving social progress.
  • Re-examining Power Dynamics: How rethinking traditional notions of gender, race, and power can lead to more equitable outcomes.
  • Focusing on the Margins: The significance of centering marginalized voices and experiences in conversations about power and progress.

Roxanne and Megan discuss practical steps that anyone can take to empower others around them. We’re encouraged to ask ourselves critical questions about our own relationships to power and to question the power sources that infringe on the rights of others and use our individual power to disrupt them. Every small act of resistance contributes to a larger movement for justice.

Episode Transcript

Hi everybody, Jen Hatmaker here, your host of the For the Love Podcast. Welcome to the show. Well, we have some incredible guests today. We’re in the middle of our series called For the Love of Queer Futures, and we’ve got a specific angle we’re tackling today. We’re looking critically at power and how power is accrued. The ways power affects marginalized people. Essentially, we are asking who has power, and who gets to wield it. We’re asking, “What is our relationship to power? How do we analyze that? Then ultimately, how do we use what we have to help create a more equitable and just world for people? Particularly in the LGBTQ+ community?” It’s a big subject and we needed some big brains to help us untangle it.

You’re in luck, we have two guests today, both of whom are not only very talented writers and editors, but thoughtful activists who constantly use their voices to make change in the world. First up we have none other than Roxane Gay. She’s a writer, a professor, an editor, and a cultural commentator. She does it all. She’s written some of your favorite books and some huge New York Times bestsellers including Bad Feminist, Difficult Women, and New York Times bestselling book Hunger. She is a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times and she also became a comic book author when she wrote The World of Wakanda for Marvel.

Additionally, I’m so delighted to have Dr. Megan Pillow joining Roxane on the show today. Meg holds a doctorate in English from the University of Kentucky. She is a graduate of the University of Iowa Writers Workshop in Fiction. She does all the things just like Roxanne. She writes fiction and nonfiction. She’s published all over the internet. She’s won tons of awards for her writing. She also edits, teaches other writers, and curates spaces. She’s currently Roxanne’s project manager and she co-edits The Audacity, which is Roxanne’s newsletter.

The two of them together are a power. Their dynamic is so interesting and vibrant. These are two brilliant academic minds who are also creative and tender toward justice and equality. It’s everything good about being a human being. This conversation was so good in fact, we got to the end and we just kept talking. So, I’m a long time admirer and so I’m so delighted to have on the show today the wonderful Roxane Gay and Megan Pillow.

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