“…she stopped paying close attention to his words and when at red lights, examined the rain drops spattering on the windshield so intently that she almost stared right through them. Each drop seemed stuck on the glass, until another drop landed on it and they rolled down the window together, ending in a climactic splash.”
Sara: College class of 2012 (English major, Gender and Sexuality Studies minor), looking for work/applying to grad school, writer, clarinetist.
I post and reblog: things I think are pretty, things that intrigue me, things I'm a fan of, and things I care about.
Common themes include: books, writing, movies, more books, cozy beds, breakfasts, Doctor Who, Sherlock, feminist issues, and occasional pieces of my life.
Wallpaper adapted from here.
Edith Wharton (via hellanne)
I’m more and more convinced that ‘happiness’ in the way that were sold it, doesn’t exist. Contentedness is a more appropriate word.
^THIS. And so read this: The Promise of Happiness, by Sara Ahmed.
"The Promise of Happiness is a provocative cultural critique of the imperative to be happy. It asks what follows when we make our desires and even our own happiness conditional on the happiness of others: “I just want you to be happy”; “I’m happy if you’re happy.” Combining philosophy and feminist cultural studies, Sara Ahmed reveals the affective and moral work performed by the “happiness duty,” the expectation that we will be made happy by taking part in that which is deemed good, and that by being happy ourselves, we will make others happy. Ahmed maintains that happiness is a promise that directs us toward certain life choices and away from others. Happiness is promised to those willing to live their lives in the right way.
Ahmed draws on the intellectual history of happiness, from classical accounts of ethics as the good life, through seventeenth-century writings on affect and the passions, eighteenth-century debates on virtue and education, and nineteenth-century utilitarianism. She engages with feminist, antiracist, and queer critics who have shown how happiness is used to justify social oppression, and how challenging oppression causes unhappiness. Reading novels and films including Mrs. Dalloway, The Well of Loneliness, Bend It Like Beckham, and Children of Men, Ahmed considers the plight of the figures who challenge and are challenged by the attribution of happiness to particular objects or social ideals: the feminist killjoy, the unhappy queer, the angry black woman, and the melancholic migrant. Through her readings she raises critical questions about the moral order imposed by the injunction to be happy.”
Sara Ahmed - The Promise of Happiness (via effusionofbiopower)
We had to read most of this book for my gender and sexuality studies senior capstone seminar on affect this past semester, and it was AMAZING.
It was from reading this book that we decided to all get “Feminist Killjoy” trucker hats.
Women stick their necks out to say that something is fucked-up, hurtful, oppressive, scary: Misogynist. They do this knowing full well that there will be social consequences. Remarkably, we’re all familiar with the idea that the women who do this are bitches/ugly/humorless/scolds/delusional (“you see sexism everywhere”)/hysterical/oversensitive/insensitive/etc. We know that we take on most of the risk, in this conversation. We know that we have to be very careful in terms of what we say, and to whom; that we will be expected to choose our targets and our words very carefully, seem “understanding,” seem “empathetic,” make all the right allowances, be oh so very polite. We labor over our words, swallow our anger, push through our fear (and most women who bring themselves to make these kinds of statements are very afraid of reprisal; we know it happens, in overt and subtle ways, pretty much every time), construct these carefully tortured and worked-out sentences; we work at this shit.
And then, after all that work, some dude makes a joke about how we need some dick — not even a joke he’s had to work on, really; that line’s been around forever — and everybody laughs, and it’s over. We get no apology. We get no consideration. We get no hearing. We get nothing. What this exchange ultimately proves to women, every time it’s played out, is that no matter how hard we work, we will never matter. We will never be heard. It’s just the same fucking thing, every day, like a punch to the gut: You think you can change shit? You think I care how you feel? You think I care what you think? No. Never. You think it fucking matters that you don’t like what I do to you? It doesn’t. I’m gonna fucking do what I want to you. Sit the fuck down, shut the fuck up, and take it. Or else I’m gonna tell everyone what a bitch you are, that you won’t play my game. My very special game, that I designed. And here are the rules for the game: You Lose." —
fuck, fuck, fuck. this is so true it hurts. fuck. i promise you, this kind of bitterness and rage doesn’t fade.
This happens over and over and over again. Male friends, relatives, coworkers, random observers and passers-by on the internet, whatever. If you encounter dudes at all, you are statistically likely to encounter this mindset from at least one of them. I know I do, usually about once a day.
Then I come home, or go downstairs, or take off my headphones, and my female roommates do the same thing — and they wonder why I just wilt and stop talking. They don’t understand that it feels like being the last human being alive on earth. Like, “seriously? You’re not even in this with me? Which means … you’re not even in this with yourselves? Fuck. As a group, we really are fucked.”
I strongly recommend Sara Ahmed’s book The Promise of Happiness for an excellent discussion of what it’s like to be labelled a killjoy when addressing feminist and/or race issues.
On a related note, my senior Gender and Sexuality Studies seminar all got trucker hats that proudly say “FEMINIST KILLJOY” on them. Because we’re awesome like that.