Announcing the Billfold Book Club’s Newest Selection: Phoebe Maltz Bovy’s ‘The Perils of Privilege’

Let’s do some summer reading!

The Billfold Book Club is getting back together! Our first book is one that I’m sure will inspire a lot of discussion: Phoebe Maltz Bovy’s The Perils of “Privilege”: Why Injustice Can’t Be Solved By Accusing Others of Advantage.

I thought we might want to read this book because it mentions The Billfold. (More than once.) Bovy also brings up The Awl, The Toast, Jezebel, Girls, Broad City, Master of None, etc. As you read, you’ll probably think “I remember that article!” or “I remember that episode!”

The Perils of “Privilege” looks at the way media and pop culture—and the people who comment on media and pop culture—describe and contextualize privilege. In other words, it’s about all of us. Bovy makes several arguments suggesting the ways in which we discuss privilege are flawed, and part of our Book Club discussion will be about whether we agree with her.

The Perils of “Privilege” is also about money, because many types of privileges (race, gender, ability) intersect directly with financial privilege. There’s a reason The Billfold gets mentioned; we often share personal stories in which we reveal how the sum of our advantages and disadvantages shapes our financial state, and Bovy reminds us that the original definition of “privilege” was “unearned advantage, likely having to do with wealth.”

Like I said: this book is going to inspire a lot of discussion.

We’ll have this discussion on the week of June 19, so you have a month to buy the book (or check it out from your library) and prepare your opinions.

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