piranha: red origami crane (Default)
ranting, that is, here's another one. :)

betsy posted a link to an article about the failures of "choice" feminism, and i came out of reading it with a diametrically opposed view to hers.

lots of interesting stuff in that article which i will completely ignore. but it misses one huge area despite touching on it, and misses is so badly that it mostly self-destructed in front of my eyes.

Half my Times brides quit before the first baby came. In interviews, at least half of them expressed a hope never to work again. None had realistic plans to work. More importantly, when they quit, they were already alienated from their work or at least not committed to a life of work. One, a female MBA, said she could never figure out why the men at her workplace, which fired her, were so excited about making deals. “It’s only money,” she mused.

*ding*. it's only money. it's only a job. it's not as earth-shakingly important as some make it out to be, unless one loves it -- but not everyone will love it. and if one has the money (inherited or married into) to avoid the workplace in which one doesn't actually love anything, heck, why not? because most work SUCKS. if more people could afford not to work, guess what? they'd be staying home! they'd be volunteering their time for different things. they'd be learning new things and play with them for a while. they might still work, they might even still feel duty to do some boring work, but not 8 hours a day, most of their working lives.

i don't have children. but i've left the rat race. and i am never going back. i'd cut back all the luxuries in my life before i'd go back. i might even choose to live as a hermit in the woods before i'd go back.

The family -- with its repetitious, socially invisible, physical tasks -- is a necessary part of life, but it allows fewer opportunities for full human flourishing than public spheres like the market or the government.

you know? i used to believe that. hey, i was a workoholic. work was exciting! the work, not necessarily the jobs. there is so much soul-deadening crap in the average workplace, i am glad to be out of it. and while i don't want children, listening to people like ailbhe talk about the joy and stimulation they get from being with their kids makes it sound a heck of a lot more interesting than many jobs women are stuck with who do work outside the home. i get so much more fulfillment from staying at home, even without kids. repetitive tasks? yeah, they're good zen. socially invisible? in circles who adore the fly lady? ha. they're visible enough for my taste. physical tasks make me feel accomplished; they have well-defined beginning and ends, and i can stack up a pile of stuff that says "that's what you did today!". after 4 decades of intellectual labour with much of it wasted on proprietary bits of code that don't do anything important i am coming to like menial tasks. they're easy. they leave room to think. and they're a small part of my life because i don't accept keeping a spotless house as my goal in life. the rest of the time i have free to do with as i please.

a common thread among the women I interviewed was a self-important idealism about the kinds of intellectual, prestigious, socially meaningful, politics-free jobs worth their incalculably valuable presence. So the second rule is that women must treat the first few years after college as an opportunity to lose their capitalism virginity and prepare for good work, which they will then treat seriously.

or maybe women will continue to choose to opt out of this particular game that's designed by -- oh, look! men. why not look a little closer at the grail of the capitalist work ethic and whose idea that is, and why?

this is where the article fails incredibly badly. there is no deeper analysis of what exactly satisfies women and why. just an assumption that being a working (just not working at home!) part of capitalist society is better, because the other path involves -- ewww -- cleaning, such low-caste stuff. oh yeah, and because it wastes the efforts of feminists, and makes it harder for those women who do want the executive jobs. i appreciate the sentiment, but i think patronizing other women's choices is still wrong, and elevating stock brokers over janitors is classist. society could in fact function just fine without the former -- but if nobody did the cleaning, welcome to hell.

Housekeeping and child-rearing in the nuclear family is not interesting and not socially validated. Justice requires that it not be assigned to women on the basis of their gender and at the sacrifice of their access to money, power, and honor.

this is one of the largest problems! and the writer of the article doesn't even see it. indeed, feminism has failed SAHMs; by not convincing this society that the work of making a home and rearing children is just as important (if not more so) and just as fulfilling (if not more so) than the work of an international business lawyer. because if society got its priorities straight, men would learn to feel that way, and more of them would choose that path, believe you me.

for me it's been the depression that conked the workoholic over the head and changed everything, not a child. but it's resulted in a similar attitude. because having time to hang out with the paramour and the *poing*, and really talk about what we think, and float in the ocean, and volunteer my time for various causes, and play video games, and write, and socialize over the net with far-away friends, and banter together, and learn new things about the world and share them, all those things are much more fun than working 95% of jobs. immeasurably more fun. and more enriching.

capitalist society can eat my shorts. this family's life is way better.


piranha: red origami crane (Default)
renaissance poisson

July 2015

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