´Sick Woman Theory is an insistence that most modes of political protest are internalized, lived, embodied, suffering, and therefore invisible.

Sick Woman Theory redefines existence in a body as something that is primarily and always vulnerable, following from Judith Butler’s work on precarity and resistance. Because Butler’s premise insists that a body is defined by its vulnerability, not temporarily affected by it, the implication is that it is continuously reliant on infrastructures of support in order to endure, and so we need to re-shape the world around this fact.

Sick Woman Theory maintains that the body and mind are sensitive and reactive to regimes of oppression—particularly our current regime of neoliberal, white-supremacist, imperial-capitalist, cis-hetero-patriarchy. Sick Woman Theory argues that all of our bodies and minds carry the historical trauma of oppression, and that, although they manifest in each of us differently, these differences ought not to be erased or flattened into any totalizing condition. Sick Woman Theory claims that it is the world itself that is making and keeping us sick. (...)

The most anti-capitalist protest is to care for another and to care for yourself. To take on the historically feminized and therefore invisible practice of nursing, nurturing, caring. To take seriously each other’s vulnerability and fragility and precarity, and to support it, honor it, empower it.
To protect each other, to enact and practice a community of support. A radical kinship, an interdependent sociality, a politics of care.’

Johanna Hedva ‘Sick Woman Theory’

︎ Full essay published online on Topical Cream, March 12th, 2022