feminist killjoys unite
Y’all it is the last week of this adventure! Don’t worry, I’m going to offer you loads of next steps to keep you supported as you carry on with your making practice. In the meantime, we have a rich rich week of thinking and making ahead of us!
I feel particularly seen by today’s prompt and I’m excited for you to get reading.
Side note: If anyone is in Austin and has a few hours this week, I could use help installing my show. Paid gig. No heavy lifting. Mostly just sticking 3M things to walls. Email me.
Today’s Zoom check-in starts at 6pm CT. The link is at the bottom of this email.
Shannon Brags on Samira:
Samira came to my very first Badass Herstory stitch-up. It was in Philly. She asked me like twenty profound questions in the span of five minutes. I liked her immediately. Fast forward many years and she was measuring her driveway to ensure my RV would fit. I love that when I spend time with Samira there’s no bullshit. We are talking about all of the things, in depth and no topic is off limits. She also has excellent taste in pizza and a super rad mom.
About Samira (formal edition):
Samira K. Mehta is an Assistant Professor of Women and Gender Studies and of Jewish Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her research and teaching focus on the intersections of religion, culture, and gender, including the politics of family life and reproduction in the United States. Her first book, Beyond Chrismukkah: The Christian-Jewish Blended Family in America (University of North Carolina Press, 2018) was a National Jewish book award finalist. Mehta’s current academic book project, God Bless the Pill: Sexuality and Contraception in Tri-Faith America examines the role of Jewish, Catholic, and Protestant voices in competing moral logics of contraception, population control, and eugenics from the mid-twentieth century to the present and is under contract with the University of North Carolina Press. She is also working on a book of essays entitled The Racism of People Who Love You for Beacon Press.
I am a feminist killjoy. The feminist killjoy, as described by Sara Ahmed, is the person who destroys the joy of others by pointing out the problem. (So, the problem is not that When Harry Met Sally did women wrong when they introduced the concept of the “high maintenance woman,” it is with the person who points out that the gender dynamic is not awesome and spoils everyone’s fun. That person is a killjoy and she becomes the problem, not the social issue that she points out.)
I have a killjoy personality. I dislike being asked to appear happy in the face of injustice. Simultaneously, I profoundly want more joy and pleasure in my life.
And I know that pleasure is a radical act. I also know, from my dear colleague Kristie Soares’s research, that movements that incorporate joy are more likely to succeed. I know that pleasure and joy do not mean ignoring injustice, but I have a hard time pulling them off in the face of injustice.
I struggle with this a lot.
And then, my friend, the poet M. Soledad Cabellero, posted on social media that one of her intentions for 2021 was to find as many little ways of giving people joy as possible, because those moments of joy give you energy for the struggle.
And so that is my call to you, today. Find one small way of giving someone else joy. Find one small way of giving yourself joy.
Sara Ahmed says it herself, “The killjoy is not joyless.”
Remember that the little act of joy is also a little act of resistance.
Connect with Samira:
Shannon Downey is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Make Don't Break Check-In
Time: Jan 25, 2021 06:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 858 6560 8419
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