Katie Hogan’s “Superserviceable Feminism” first appeared in Issue 63-64 (2005) of the minnesota review. In this essay, Hogan problematizes and makes visible the ongoing service work that women conduct in the university economic structure.
Women’s lives are spent in service and servitude, learning to be superserviceable, being at the service of others, being serviced. We are a
service industry, serving husbands, lovers, bosses, children, aged parents,
families, colleagues. Few of us ever escape this entirely.
— Patricia Duncker
While most human beings, myself included, would not want to “escape” the opportunity to serve others—after all, human connection usually deepens intellectual, creative, political, and emotional development—in the academic world, an insidious and invisible economy of service has for years exhausted the energies of women, with women of color being particularly pressed into service roles. In some instances, this silent economy has cost women their health, jobs, and professional advancement, and it has tragically prevented many from expressing their creative, intellectual, and leadership abilities.