Living a Feminist Life Quotes

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Living a Feminist Life Living a Feminist Life by Sara Ahmed
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Living a Feminist Life Quotes Showing 1-30 of 54
“When you expose a problem you pose a problem. It might then be assumed that the problem would go away if you would just stop talking about or if you went away.”
Sara Ahmed, Living a Feminist Life
“Feminist consciousness can be thought of as consciousness of the violence and power concealed under the languages of civility, happiness, and love, rather than simply or only consciousness of gender as a site of restriction of possibility. You can venture into the secret places of pain by recalling something. You can cause unhappiness by noticing something. And if you can cause unhappiness by noticing something, you realize that the world you are in is not the world you thought you were in.”
Sara Ahmed, Living a Feminist Life
“When you expose a problem you pose a problem. It might then be assumed that the problem would go away if you would just stop talking about it or if you went away. The charge of sensationalism falls rather quickly onto feminist shoulders: when she talks about sexism and racism, her story is heard as sensationalist, as if she is exaggerating for effect.5 The feminist killjoy begins as a sensationalist figure. It is as if the point of making her point is to cause trouble, to get in the way of the happiness of others, because of her own unhappiness.”
Sara Ahmed, Living a Feminist Life
“The personal is theoretical.”
Sara Ahmed, Living a Feminist Life
“We become a problem when we describe a problem.”
Sara Ahmed, Living a Feminist Life
“To live a feminist life is to make everything into something that is questionable. The question of how to live a feminist life is alive as a question as well as being a life question.”
Sara Ahmed, Living a Feminist Life
“Indeed so often just talking about sexism as well as racism is heard as damaging the institution. If talking about sexism and racism is heard as damaging institutions, we need to damage institutions.”
Sara Ahmed, Living a Feminist Life
“Sexual harassment works—as does bullying more generally—by increasing the costs of fighting against something, making it easier to accept something than to struggle against something,”
Sara Ahmed, Living a Feminist Life
“Queer and feminist worlds are built through the effort to support those who are not supported because of who they are, what they want, what they do.”
Sara Ahmed, Living a Feminist Life
“When we have to think strategically, we also have to accept our complicity: we forgo any illusions of purity; we give up the safety of exteriority. If we are not exterior to the problem under investigation, we too are the problem under investigation. Diversity work is messy, even dirty, work.”
Sara Ahmed, Living a Feminist Life
“Someone says something you consider problematic. At first you try not to say anything. But they keep saying something. So maybe you respond, carefully, perhaps. You say why you think what they have said is problematic. You might be speaking quietly, but you are beginning to feel wound up, recognizing with frustration that you are being wound up by someone who is winding you up. The feminist killjoy appears here: when she speaks, she seems wound up. I appear here. This is my history: wound up.”
Sara Ahmed, Living a Feminist Life
“Rolling eyes = feminist pedagogy.”
Sara Ahmed, Living a Feminist Life
“I think of feminism as poetry; we hear histories in words; we reassemble histories by putting them into words.”
Sara Ahmed, Living a Feminist Life
“To be a feminist at work is or should be about how we challenge ordinary and everyday sexism, including academic sexism. This is not optional: it is what makes feminism feminist. A feminist project is to find ways in which women can exist in relation to women; how women can be in relation to each other. It is a project because we are not there yet.”
Sara Ahmed, Living a Feminist Life
“A significant step for a feminist movement is to recognize what has not ended. And this step is a very hard step. It is a slow and painstaking step. We might think we have made that step only to realize we have to make it again.”
Sara Ahmed, Living a Feminist Life
“an institution being willing to appoint someone (to transform the institution) is not the same thing as an institution being willing to be transformed (by someone who is appointed). An appointment can even be about an appearance: being given a diversity mandate might be how an institution appears willing to be transformed.”
Sara Ahmed, Living a Feminist Life
“a system is working when an attempt to transform that system is blocked.”
Sara Ahmed, Living a Feminist Life
“And then your frustration can be taken as evidence of your frustration, that you speak this way, about this or that, because you are frustrated. It is frustrating to be heard as frustrated; it can make you angry that you are heard as angry.”
Sara Ahmed, Living a Feminist Life
“We are dismissed as emotional. It is enough to make you emotional.”
Sara Ahmed, Living a Feminist Life
“The more nots you are, the more committees you might end up on. Not being not can mean being less likely to end up doing this kind of work. Given that diversity work is typically less valued by organizations, then not being not can mean having more time to do more-valued work.”
Sara Ahmed, Living a Feminist Life
“Sexual harassment is material. It is a network that stops information from getting out. It is a set of alliances that come alive to stop something; that enable a complaint to be held up or to become confidential, so that it never comes out into the public domain. And notice here: so many complex things are going on at the same time. It is not activity that is coordinated by one person or even necessarily a group of people who are meeting in secret, although secret meetings probably do happen. All of these activities, however complex, sustain a direction; they have a point. Direction does not require something to originate from a single point: in fact a direction is achieved through consistency between points that do not seem to meet. Things combine to achieve something that is solid and tangible; bonds become binds. If one element does not hold, or become binding, another element holds or binds. The process is rather like the cement used to make walls: something is set into a holding pattern. The setting is what hardens. Perhaps when people notice the complexity, or even the inefficiency and disorganization, they don’t notice the cement. When you say there is a pattern, you are heard as paranoid, as if you are imagining that all this complexity derives from a single point.”
Sara Ahmed, Living a Feminist Life
“it is dangerous to be perceived as dangerous.”
Sara Ahmed, Living a Feminist Life
“But think of this: those of us who arrive in an academy that was not shaped by or for us bring knowledges, as well as worlds, that otherwise would not be here. Think of this: how we learn about worlds when they do not accommodate us. Think of the kinds of experiences you have when you are not expected to be here. These experiences are a resource to generate knowledge.”
Sara Ahmed, Living a Feminist Life
“By using the idea of sweaty concepts, I am also trying to show how descriptive work is conceptual work. A concept is worldly, but it is also a reorientation to a world, a way of turning things around, a different slant on the same thing. More specifically, a sweaty concept is one that comes out of a description of a body that is not at home in the world. By this I mean description as angle or point of view: a description of how it feels not to be at home in the world, or a description of the world from the point of view of not being at home in it. Sweat is bodily; we might sweat more during more strenuous and muscular activity. A sweaty concept might come out of a bodily experience that is trying. The task is to stay with the difficulty, to keep exploring and exposing this difficulty. We might need not to eliminate the effort or labor from the writing. Not eliminating the effort or labor becomes an academic aim because we have been taught to tidy our texts, not to reveal the struggle we have in getting somewhere. Sweaty concepts are also generated by the practical experience of coming up against a world, or the practical experience of trying to transform a world.6”
Sara Ahmed, Living a Feminist Life
“When you have to fight for an existence, fighting can become an existence.”
Sara Ahmed, Living a Feminist Life
“Individuals within the institution must act as if the decision has been made for it to be made. If they do not, it has not. A”
Sara Ahmed, Living a Feminist Life
“Within the organization there is a gap between words and deeds, between what organizations say they will do, or what they are committed to doing, and what they are doing.”
Sara Ahmed, Living a Feminist Life
“Alienation is studious; you learn more about wishes when they are not what you wish for.”
Sara Ahmed, Living a Feminist Life
“No wonder then that the social struggle within families involves a struggle over the causes of unhappiness. Perhaps the parents are unhappy as they think their daughter will be unhappy if she is queer. They are unhappy with her being unhappy. The daughter is unhappy because they are unhappy with her being queer. Perhaps the parents would then witness the daughter’s unhappiness as a confirmation of their fear: that she will be unhappy because she is queer. Even happy queers would become unhappy at this point.”
Sara Ahmed, Living a Feminist Life
“Doing diversity work has taught me that agreeing to something is one of the best ways of stopping something from happening. Agreeing to something is an efficient technique for stopping something because organizations can avoid the costs of disagreement.”
Sara Ahmed, Living a Feminist Life

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