DE: Feminist Killjoy (and other willful subjects)

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This article gave me an overwhelming feeling of helplessness. There are so many different people in this world with all different experiences and backgrounds and morals and opinions, I understand her explanation as political activism as "a struggle against happiness"...how in the world is it possible for every single person to be happy? I'd love to see a day where everyone is treated fairly, but Sara Ahmed and again with Allison Jagger show us just how difficult this will be. Even within the community of Feminism, a community fighting for equality, there are divisions and "tensions". I would not even know where to begin to dissect these complex tensions of class, gender, race, sexuality, and religion in the entire world outside of Feminism. I suppose this is why Ahmed connects the Feminist with the killjoy. The more aware I am of the complexity of intersectionality the unhappier I become; I feel frustrated, confused, overwhelmed. The amount of things I begin to worry about and try to struggle to understand keep building up. Jagger says "There is no magic formula for reaching fair and workable resolutions of these pressing and complicated problems. The best we can do is resolve to be as open and sensitive as we can to the diversity of interests and range of values involved". Would there ever be an end to the amount of things we need to study and understand? Once we've tackled one injustice, with time another one will pop up, and another. It is an uncomfortably overwhelming thought, but definitely a motivation to raise more questions and to learn and understand more.

6 Comments

I understand your feeling of helplessness after reading these articles. Sometimes I wonder if our attempts at creating a world of equality is even worth the effort. At the end of the day, people are entitled to their own opinions and let's face it, there will always be the few who believe they are better than everyone else. Don't get me wrong, I'll let my opinions be known to whoever shows the least bit of interest but sometimes I feel it's best to let people have their opinions. You used the quote from Jagger: "There is no magic formula for reaching fair and workable resolutions of these pressing and complicated problems. The best we can do is resolve to be as open and sensitive as we can to the diversity of interests and range of values involved." I think this sums up about the best solution we have to this issue. The best we can do is to be as open as possible and understand that everyone has a reason for why they are the way that they are. There likely wont be an end to injustice, like you said something will always pop up but you're absolutely right, the more questions we ask the more we can understand. It's like Enloe's article, we need to be curious. There's a reason for someone thinks what they do, there's a reason why the world is the way it is. We can be afraid to question those things. The more questions we ask, the more we can understand and the closer we can get to finding ways to better aid the progress of equality.

I could not agree more. I feel the same often times, and increasingly more often actually. To me, there are endless numbers of the ways in which people are discriminated against and treated with injustice, that those who want to do something are left with a certain feeling of hopelessness, myself included. It seems as though there are too few people that pay attention to and genuinely care about the struggles that others go through, in Minnesota, the United States, and all over the world. Even when people do pay attention or want to help, how much can we actually do? I despise having this feeling of bleakness, that nothing can be done, but it's so hard sometimes when thinking of all of the problems of inequality that exist and all that would need to be done to improve these situations. I agree that there are many improvements and situations that can be helped, but on a broad scale, I would have to agree that injustice and inequality will never be eliminated. With so many different ideas on what those words can and should mean for a would of over six billion people, it is an intense task. A daunting one, actually. What's a feminist to do with such bleak prospects for justice and equality?

I too share these feelings of overwhelming helplessness. The more I delve into the world of feminism, the more injustices I discover, and the unhappier I become. It just seems hard to me sometimes when it there are apparent inequalities in our society, and others refuse to acknowledge their existence. Sometimes I do wish I could take back what I know and be naively happy, but I can't erase the knowledge I have. However, even though we may never reach a point in which political activism is unnecessary, I think that we can find some happiness and see all that we have accomplished. Domestic violence is no longer acceptable, homosexuals are increasingly gaining acceptance in our society, women have the right to use birth control to plan if and when they start a family, etc... We may have a never ending string of inequalities, but we have to keep fighting because through our continuous actions we do actually make a difference.

I also share theses feelings of helplessness when I look at these issues. The amount of injustice in the world it starling. I too feel unhappy when I realize just how must injustice there is in this world. It is hard to believe that this amount of injustice exisits, especially when talking about feminism. I am however optimistic that as the feminist movement moves forward equality will be become more and more prevalent.

I think that Gusto448 raised a good point in asking is it really worth it to try and find equality. Is it ever going to happen or are we just wasting our time? Although, this may be true I think that we need to do everything we can do to try and justice. We cannot just sit back and say well thats the way it has always been. Also, I think that Jagers quote, "There is no magic formula for reaching fair and workable resolutions of these pressing and complicated problems. The best we can do is resolve to be as open and sensitive as we can to the diversity of interests and range of values involved" is very interesting. I think that what the message that is trying to be conveyed is there is a lot of issues that won't ever be resolved, but we should be open to other diversity and not be narrow minded.

It seems this sensation of helplessness/hopelessness is a common one, and I confess to feeling it myself from time to time. It is absolutely true that, at least within our lifetimes, new problems will always arise. There will always be injustice, intolerance and ignorance - hopefully, to lesser and lesser degrees - popping up and multiplying like hydra's heads every time we think we've fixed something. It may seem like the to-do list only continues to get longer and longer. Yes, this thought is totally depressing.

HOWEVER. It doesn't have to be. I agree that some hope may be gleaned from Jagger's quote, but perhaps we need to unpack it a little more. I don't think she is saying we should suck it up and pursue justice anyway, although maybe a little of that is necessary. I think it's a matter of shifting our perspective from focusing on the multitude of problems to solve (which is impossible), to instead focusing on potential improvements that can be made, which can only occur if we remain open and sensitive to the needs of everyone. The emphasis is on listening and teamwork, so together we might envision a glorious new world defined by its positive attributes, rather than negative ones.

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