The 'Feminist Killjoy' in the Room: The Costs of Caring about Diversity

Florida Philosophical Review 14 (1):36-43 (2014)
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This brief essay – based partially on remarks made as a member of a "diversity panel" at a recent Florida Philosophical Association meeting and partially on the reception of those remarks – concerns the rhetorical spaces from which one is allowed to speak as a woman in philosophy. I identify two gendered locations from which women are allowed to speak about the diversity problem in philosophy: 1) the happy woman of reason and 2) the unhappy feminist philosopher. Drawing on Marilyn Frye's analysis of the double-bind as a symptom of oppression and Sara Ahmed's reflections on the figure of "the feminist killjoy", I argue that both gendered locales undermine one’s ability to bring about transformative change in the discipline.
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