Julie Pagano

Life and Times of a Tech Feminist Killjoy

A year and a half ago, I wrote about my experiences and how working in the tech industry can be death by a thousand paper cuts. I doubt I was the first person to make this observation. I know I am not the last. I have seen so many posts from people commenting on their own death by a thousand cuts. It’s both reassuring and demoralizing to know so many share this feeling. It’s nice to know I’m not alone. It’s devastating to realize how many of us are in this hole together.

I think about the death by a thousand paper cuts more often than I like. I want to reflect on what I wrote and what has happened in the time since then. I started out trying to write a single post, but I had way too much to say and was worried I would never finish. Instead, I am going to write a series of smaller posts about being a tech feminist killjoy.

As far as I know, the term “feminist killjoy” comes from Sara Ahmed. Her excellent work at feministkilljoys.com is a huge inspiration for these posts. The term “tech feminist” is half joke and half serious these days. It was a term lobbed at many of us as a negative, but I like the idea of reclaiming it. This isn’t about some special type of feminist, but about being involved in and passionate about feminism and tech. I often feel like I live on the fault line between the two. The tech feminist killjoy.


I suspect these disclaimers gets old, but I think it is important, especially for this series. I am a white, cis, currently able-bodied woman (i.e. I have a lot of privilege). Despite the issues I will talk about, I still have it relatively easy.

My outlook on these topics is not indicative of all “minorities in tech” (a term that often ignores more underrepresented groups and focuses mostly on my demographic). My writing on this topic doesn’t even represent all white, cis women. These pieces are about me wanting to put some of my experiences into words and share because maybe it will be helpful in some way. It is not about wanting to speak for others. I strongly recommend reading about the experiences of a wide variety of people.

List of Posts

Below is a current list of posts in the series.