Am I a Killjoy?
The label ‘feminist killjoy’ is one I like to adopt at times, sometimes for fun, sometimes to annoy, mostly to crush the patriarchy. Yet more and more I question what this phrase means. Increasingly I feel people seriously labelling me as someone who takes joy in ‘ruining’ their favourite shows by exposing their problematic aspects. So am I or anyone else who exposes these problems, a killjoy?
Short answer. No.
I’ll go ahead and tell you the long answer anyway.
When I say I’m a killjoy, it’s strictly referring to my enjoyment of popping the dick shaped balloon of the patriarchy. Not of making my friends and family angry at me for informing them that the way the media presents anybody who isn’t an able bodied, white, straight, male is not okay and has to change. Which is unfortunate for everyone, especially me when I consume stories faster than a piranha will strip a leg of flesh.
I don’t understand why people will express extreme fury if you point out a flaw in something they are reading or watching or whatever, they will personally attack you and then deny, deny, deny. Especially when they may be part of the oppressed group themselves. The obvious answer is of course they haven’t been educated, but more and more I find it’s simply apathy and the desire to ignore. People will fight for silence rather than directing that energy to the actual sources of the problems.
The root of this issue is of course how do you continue to enjoy problematic things? Surely it’s easier to ignore the problems and live in ignorance? This is where friendships seem to suffer, at least it is for me. People feel if you point out a flaw, they can no longer enjoy a show. Which is a hopeless way to view the world, as everything is problematic. At least everything on mainstream TV is and acknowledging these problems doesn’t ‘ruin’ anything, it opens a channel of communication, of criticism which eventually can lead to change. You can still love Sherlock or Doctor Who whilst knowing they’re far from perfect and working to change them by and here’s the big secret…
Talking about why they’re not! I refuse to censor myself when consistently there is lack of representation of ethnic groups, the only body is able bodied, the only people who are presented as people are men and LGBTQIA+ people are erased from the public eye. No one should feel they aren’t represented or respected and I know that changing this culture is more important than my own privileged comfort.
It’s not fair to place the blame of a flawed system churning out flawed creations on the person who points out that they’re flawed. The more we educate ourselves and make our thoughts vocal, the higher the chance our voices will be heard and our complaints taken seriously. So no, neither I or you are killjoys and we shouldn’t let that label stop us from voicing the need for change.