Request from an isolated feminist:
I could use some words of wisdom. I just can’t face the task of revising an article on which I’ve got the most breathtakingly condescending comments. I can’t seem to keep going, but trust me when I say that my upcoming performance review will not be adequate if I don’t have a peer-reviewed journal article soon. I’m very close to being published with this one, and if I could just get this revision done, I’d be adequate! However, every time I open up the document, read the comments and try to respond to them or change my paper, I just feel sick. I want to crawl in bed, quit my job, admit defeat. The thing is, all the condescending comments are on the feminist material. Today I seriously considered just abdicating on the argument, just rewriting the whole paper to say the comments are right, and feminism is wrong but thanks so much for recommending that I read longstanding classics in the field. I was on the point of reversing my entire view in order to get published, but I cannot do it. What do feminist philosophers do who have been in this position? How do you carry on? How do you finish that work? Most importantly, how do you punch through the paralysis of just reading the comments over and over? I’m really stuck, and I feel like a failure.
Success stories welcome. I hope someday I have one to send along myself, after all this is over.
My own suggestion would be to write a cover letter very politely explaining why the comments on the feminism bit are wrong, but thanking the reviewer for showing you that there’s an important misunderstanding to be cleared up. Put in a footnote calling attention to the possible misunderstanding and showing why it’s a mistake, and note in your cover letter that you’ve done so– and that you think this improves the paper.
Then send it off, and pour yourself a stiff drink.
In other circumstances, you might just withdraw the paper and send it somewhere else– but it sounds like you’re too pressed for time. There’s also the option of writing the editor and explaining why you think the referee is incompetent. But I know people who have done this only to learn that the editor was the referee, and given that the editor’s almost certain to know the author’s identity it’s very high-risk.