The Feminist Killjoy Handbook: The Radical Potential of Getting in the Way

Seal: Perseus. Oct. 2023. 304p. ISBN 9781541603752. $30. SOC SCI
Independent scholar Ahmed’s (Living a Feminist Life) latest book combines her signature humor—bitingly funny, in this case—with accessible language and theoretical discourse, making this title as appropriate for university courses as it is for self-identified “feminist killjoys,” people who point out sexist comments or don’t laugh at offensive jokes. This book explores the historical origins of the killjoy through truths about perceptions; for example, if someone has to shout to be heard, that person is heard as shouting. Readers will gain a clearer sense of why their activism is consistently treated as a problem, rather than a solution, and it will demonstrate what it means to show up—even when society may view that as getting in the way. The book includes details about the author’s own experiences as a queer feminist scholar and activist of color. Ahmed also incorporates recommended readings and the work of activists like Audre Lorde without ever becoming too esoteric.
VERDICT This book arms readers with a sense of vital energy, often lost due to burnout, compassion fatigue, and microaggressions. Audiences curious about navigating the intersection between feminism and daily life, intellectualism, poetry, and activism will love this title.
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