In this article we critically consider the idea that feminism has performatively failed within the discipline of International Relations. One aspect of this failure relates to the production of sexgender through feminism which we suggest is partly responsible for a weariness inflecting feminist scholarship, in particular as a critical theoretical resource. We reflect on this weariness in the context of the study and practice of international politics – arenas still reaping the potent benefits of the virile political energies reverberating since 9/11. To illustrate our arguments we re-count a familiar feminist fable of militarisation – a story which we use to exemplify how the production of feminist IR is ‘set’ up to ‘fail’. In so doing we clarify our depiction of feminism as seemingly haunted by its inherent paradoxes as well as explaining why it matters to discuss feminism within the locale of the academic study of international politics. We conclude with a consideration of the grammar of temporality that delimits representations of feminism and move to recast feminist failure as aporetic and concomitantly implicated in the process of intervening politically.