So, yes, let’s take the figure of the feminist killjoy seriously. Does the feminist kill other people’s joy by pointing out moments of sexism? Or does she expose the bad feelings that get hidden, displaced, or negated under public signs of joy? Does bad feeling enter the room when somebody expresses anger about things, or could anger be the moment when the bad feelings that circulate through objects get brought to the surface in a certain way? The feminist subject “in the room” hence “brings others down” not only by talking about unhappy topics such as sexism but by exposing how happiness is sustained by erasing the signs of not getting along. Feminists do kill joy in a certain sense: they disturb the very fantasy that happiness can be found in certain places. To kill a fantasy can still kill a feeling. It is not just that feminists might not be happily affected by what is supposed to cause happiness, but our failure to be happy is read as sabotaging the happiness of others.
We can consider the relationship between the negativity of the figure of the feminist killjoy and how certain bodies are “encountered” as being negative. Marilyn Frye argues that oppression involves the requirement that you show signs of being happy with the situation in which you find yourself. As she puts it, “it is often a requirement upon oppressed people that we smile and be cheerful. If we comply, we signify our docility and our acquiescence in our situation.” To be oppressed requires that you show signs of happiness, as signs of being or having been adjusted. For Frye “anything but the sunniest countenance exposes us to being perceived as mean, bitter, angry or dangerous”.
Sara Ahmed, “The Feminist Killjoy (And Other Willful Subjects)”
Just read the whole thing.
(Source: fearandwar, via thentheysaidburnher)
The future probably does not involve men doing more housework. A recent study of transgender men found that housework is divided inequitably even in that group. There is a slight correlation between the egalitarianism of a household and a fairer division of domestic labor, but the most substantial correlation is that the more egalitarian a household is, the less housework gets done altogether….
Hooray for disinvestment. Caring less is the hope of the future. Housework is perhaps the only political problem in which doing less and not caring are the solution, where apathy is the most progressive and sensible attitude. Fifty years ago, it was perfectly normal to iron sheets and to vacuum drapes. They were “necessary” tasks. The solution to the inequality of dusting wasn’t dividing the dusting; it was not doing the dusting at all.
The solution to the gender divide in housework generally is just that simple: don’t bother. Leave the stairs untidy. Don’t fix the garden gate. Fail to repaint the peeling ceiling. Never make the bed.
A clean house is the sign of a wasted life, truly. Hope is messy: Eventually we’ll all be living in perfect egalitarian squalor.
— Stephen Marche, The Case For Filth
"Kosher slaughter has been outlawed in my country since 1937, and a bill is now pending in parliament that would ban even the import and serving of kosher meat. Circumcision, another pillar of the Jewish faith, is likewise under threat. In my job as a political adviser to a Swedish party, I have dealt with two bills on this issue in the past year alone; a national ban is rapidly gaining political support in the parliament and among the Swedish public. When it comes to our religious traditions, those on both the Right and Left in Swedish politics find common ground; they take pride in defending both animals and children from the likes of us, and from what one politician has called our “barbaric practices.”
The avenues of aggression may be new, but the rhetoric is old and familiar—and so are the effects. In today’s Sweden, home to all of 20,000 Jews amidst a national population of some nine million, the public display of Jewish identity, like donning a kippah or wearing a Star of David pendant, puts an individual at severe risk of verbal harassment and, even worse, physical harm. Synagogues are so heavily guarded that Jewish tourists are turned away if they try to attend services unannounced. Inside the sanctuary, we celebrate our festivals and holy days under police protection. On the afternoon of Rosh Hashanah, during the five-minute walk to the water for the ceremony of tashlikh, my young son asked a guard why so many policemen were accompanying us. Replied the officer: “so that no bad people can hurt you."
Mosaic Magazine » Seeking Shelter
I was once turned away from a Shabbat service in England because I arrived late, and they didn’t know who I was.
People who don’t have direct experience of it have a really limited understanding of how intensely anti-Semitism and the constant threat of violence impacts the European communities.
"Sex negative” is the current secular reductio ad absurdum used to dismiss or discredit ideas, particularly political critiques, that might lead to detumescence. Critiques of rape, pornography, and prostitution are “sex negative” without qualification or examination, perhaps because so many men use these ignoble routes of access and domination to get laid, and without them the number of fucks would so significantly decrease that men might nearly be chaste."
— Andrea Dworkin, Intercourse
(Source: obsidian-always, via lishra)
"Part of the reason many believe the cultures of the Third World or immigrant communities are so much more sexist than Western ones is that incidents of sexual violence in the West are frequently thought to reflect the behavior of a few deviants — rather than as part of our culture. In contrast, incidents of violence in the Third World or immigrant communities are thought to characterize the cultures of entire nations.
Culture is invoked to explain forms of violence against Third World or immigrant women while culture is not similarly invoked to explain forms of violence that affect mainstream Western women. The specific case of dowry and domestic violence murders provides an example of this phenomenon. Dowry murders take place when a new wife is murdered, usually burned to death, in connection to escalating dowry demands. Dowry murders are thought of as a peculiar indicator of the extreme misogyny of India and are frequently confused with sati — the widow immolation supposedly justified by Hindu scripture that rarely takes place in contemporary India. Recently an article in The New Yorker about arranged marriages in South Asian communities contained the suggestion that dowry murders are the cultural alternative to Western divorce — a way to exit relationships. Instead, as some have pointed out, the more appropriate analogy is to equate dowry murders with domestic violence, and specifically, domestic violence murders in the United States. The philosopher Uma Narayan has calculated that death by domestic violence in the United States is numerically as significant a social problem as dowry murders in India. But only one is used as a signifier of cultural backwardness: “They burn their women there.” As opposed to: “We shoot our women here."
— Leti Volpp: “Feminism versus Multiculturalism - Part 1: Death By Culture,” Columbia Law Review, June 2001
(Source: meggannn, via discosherpa)
"Girls learn to love and have sexual feelings in a position of low status, and the eroticization of powerlessness is a normal part of the construction of femininity."
— Sheila Jeffreys, Unpacking Queer Politics (via hereticswords)
"In the back of your head, you’re scared for us to have voices, you don’t want us to have power. Because then, then we’ll speak up about the shit you put us through. And you know what? If you don’t educate us, if you refuse to educate us, we’ll educate ourselves.
I am so, so sick of this biased crazy bitch-teenager idea. Being passionate doesn’t make us crazy. And even if we are crazy, so fucking what? It’s you who made us like this.
You, who raised your daughter to keep her voice down. You, who taught her it’s better to be meek. You, who told her she just drunk too much, helped her throw out her ripped underwear, and never thought to ask questions. You, who told her sex was an obligation. And you, for telling her it’s a bargaining tool. Her desires aren’t natural. Don’t act, don’t speak. Repress, repress, repress. Repent, repent, repent. Be ashamed. Shut your mouth.
You shut it for her though.
Every lesson, every time you ignored her need, you plucked out another vocal chord. And you kept going and you kept teaching until her throat was empty, and you stole her words and threw her voice box down a fucking well so no one would ever hear her speak again. And you think we’re the crazy ones? You’re draining the life from you daughter so you can stick it in a glass vial and give it to your son in law.
You want us to be meek? You want us to be quiet. We’re fucking monsters. You made us, you’ve silenced us, and now we’re going to scream and scream until you notice."
- The curse of the teenage girl - J.M
(Source: lushpuppy, via seriouslyamerica)
"This society tells people that, if someone is fat, our bodies define us – that they know everything they need to know about us with just a cursory glance, and that the news is not good. This is why size acceptance activism is necessary – because people and societal institutions define, stigmatize, bully and oppress us based on our size – all sanctioned, even encouraged, by the government – based on stereotypes, assumptions and bigotry. Our bodies are amazing, but they are not all that there is to us, and my activism is working toward a world where, though I will always be willing and happy to advocate for my fat body, there will be no need to do so."
— Ragen Chastain, from Our Bodies Our Selves
(Source: fatoutloud, via bumsquash)
"Transgression has a long history amongst upper-class males. In eighteenth-century England gentlemen frolicked in the performance of their versions of sadomasochism in the Hellfire Club. Some morals may have been outraged, but the social structure of hetero- patriarchal England did not quiver. Transgression is a pleasure of the powerful, who can imagine themselves deliciously naughty. It depends upon the maintenance of conventional morality. There would be nothing to outrage, and the delicious naughtiness would vanish, if serious social change took place. The transgressors and the moralists depend mutually upon each other, locked in a binary relationship which defeats rather than enables change. Also, transgression depends upon the existence of subordinate others upon whom the sexual transgression can be acted out, mostly prostituted women and boys (Kappeler 1990). It is not a strategy available to the house wife, the prostituted woman, or the abused child. They are the objects of transgression, rather than its subjects."
— Sheila Jeffreys, Unpacking Queer Politics
(Source: plansfornigel, via alcindora)