How to be a feminist killjoy

Acadia prof Erin Wunker is launching the handbook.

Take Wunker’s book and apply to daily life.
Take Wunker’s book and apply to daily life.

Notes from a Feminist Killjoy book launch
Monday, November 14, 6:30pm
Art Bar + Projects, 1873 Granville Street

When Erin Wunker presented a paper on rape culture at a Brock University panel in 2014, she was thinking about all the usual things: Calming her nerves, fine-tuning her speech, remembering key points. As she prepared, it never crossed the Acadia academic's mind this talk would be the launching point for a book on feminism—that is, until after the panel discussion wrapped and Jay MillAr, one half of the publishing duo BookThug, approached.

"He came up and asked me when I would be writing a book. I was like 'Uh, never,'" Wunker remembers. Despite her surprise and feelings of "imposter's syndrome," she said yes to MillAr, with the piece piece already taking shape in her mind. "I immediately thought 'Oh, yeah, I could write a handbook on how to be a feminist,'" she says.

The result? Her upcoming effort launching Monday, November 14 at the Art Bar—Notes From a Feminist Killjoy: Essays on Everyday Life, "a series of notes" and thoughts swirling around a smattering of feminist issues.

Above all, though, the book is "about unpacking an idea" originally presented by scholar Sara Ahmed, which Wunker expands upon. "Ahmed's notion of the feminist killjoy comes out of her experience as a queer, feminist woman of colour. To her, the feminist killjoy is a figure who pushes against a standardized notion of what happiness is," she explains.

"I take that notion as someone who can't claim her identity. I'm not a woman of colour, I pass as straight. My experience in the world is marked by different identities. So, for me, the feminist killjoy is the figure who rattles the bars of the status quo and pushes against the systems of oppression—like racism, like misogyny. "

And like all handbooks, the subject advised on is meant to bubble over into real life. Need proof? Look no further than Wunker, who admits to being a feminist killjoy even in fashion choices. "I have a button on my backpack that says 'My Feminism Is Intersectional,'" she says with a laugh.

About The Author

Morgan Mullin

Morgan is the Arts & Entertainment Editor at The Coast, where she writes about everything from what to see and do around Halifax to profiles of the city’s creative class to larger cultural pieces. She’s been with The Coast since 2016.

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