A Matricentric Feminist’s Approach to Art Activism: Killjoy Tactics in Rape Stories from the Family Album

Lorinda Peterson


I am a matricentric feminist as described by Andrea O’Reilly in her text Matricentric Feminism: Theory, Activism, and Practice. Matricentric feminists are evolving in response to new feminist understandings and motherhood theories; they do not pre-exist. I am a feminist killjoy as prescribed by Sara Ahmed in "A Killjoy Manifesto." Feminist killjoys are assigned to pre-existing conditions, often because they are assembled around circumstance. I also produce comics and sequential art in a reflexive praxis that has value in the disciplinary sense rather than aiming at market value. In this article, I discuss six drawings from my book Rape Stories from the Family Album. I consider them through a matricentric feminist lens highlighting how they reflect an activist art praxis that mobilizes feminist killjoy tactics. I will focus my discussion around my traumatic memories of learning about my three daughters’ rapes as represented in the drawings. Where necessary for sense making I will introduce aspects of comics art and trauma memoir.

Full Text:


We are grateful to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) for its ongoing support of the Journal of the Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement.