Wednesday, November 12, 2014

the unequality of feminism

i happened across a blog / website that talked about organization and motivation tools for getting work done... it focuses mainly on the home, but it is applicable to other areas of life, as well... i thought it was a fairly brilliant take on what is generally a dreaded and menial task; cleaning.

i also liked the name: Unfuck Your Habitat (or UfYH, for short).

i won't get into the details of the site, as this post is not about the site... or the tools... or the motivation... or anything useful... this post is about feminism.

Feminism? What? Are you saying cleaning is women's work?

of course not... but that's the attitude right there which needs to be addressed... it's the knee-jerk reaction which says, if you make a statement about a subject which feminists have determined to be a "woman's issue", then you are a chauvinistic piece of crap... how dare you have an opinion or even speak your mind... unless, of course, you parrot whatever bit of tripe we say you are allowed to say.

here's a little background on this experience... we'll start with the title of the piece which was so outside of UfYH's organization and motivation tools that it cried out for attention:

Enough With the Gender Role Crap Already

catchy title, isn't it?... it so nicely places the outrage in a succinct manner... on the surface, it appears to be about equality, so, though crudely formed, it's an agreeable sentiment... ah, but that's where the first clue should have been found... it's not about equality... it's about fairness.

it all started when a question was posed to UfYH:

Q: My husband and I both work full-time and we have two kids (5 and 8). Our schedules are basically the same, and the kids are in school or at my mother-in-law’s house while we’re at work. When we’re home, though, the bulk of dealing with the kids, and ALL of the cooking and cleaning falls to me. My husband says that his job is more demanding than mine is, and that I’m better at the housework than he is. We’ve been together for a long time, and this is really the only sticking point in our marriage. How do I make him see that this arrangement is unfair to me?

so, let me point out the key parts of the question which quickly became points of contention:

  1. the husband and wife both work full-time
  2. schedules are the same
  3. wife does bulk of house-work; kids, cleaning, cooking
  4. husband's excuse is his job is more demanding.

to which, UfYH responds with:

all caps... really?... UfYH continues:
OK, so what we’re dealing with here is the product of deeply ingrained social gender roles; ones that relegate women to doing all of the housework and child-rearing, even when they work just as much as their male partner.

here the problem starts... "work just as much as their male partner"... UfYH has immediately dismissed the husband when he said his job is more demanding... because, i guess, the patriarchy... UfYH continues:

Well, first off, make sure you write a nice thank-you note to your in-laws for helping perpetuate this nonsense for another generation by training their special snowflake that his external genitalia somehow exempts him from washing the goddamn dishes.

okay... rude... that's about the extent of UfYH's sexist and misandrist rant on their blog... of course, i'm more than willing to point out the mistake in assuming that the male here is always wrong... UfHY hadn't even considered that, perhaps, the jobs, which have similar schedules, have dissimilar work taking place at each of them... it is a distinct possibility, on which the husband relies for his side of the discussion, that one job is physically more demanding than the other... perhaps the husband does manual labor all day, while the wife sits at a desk... the desk job may be mentally and emotionally draining, but not so physically... are unequal things to be treated equally?

the questioner also disregards other work which, in the "gender normative" relationship (to use a popular feminist phrase), is placed on the male... does he do yard-work?... home repairs?... vehicle maintenance?... what other responsibilities has the female excluded from consideration because it is cognitively dissonant to her argument?

so, i point this out on UfYH's Facebook account:

Why is no one asking what the two of them do at their jobs? That was his excuse. You might consider both sides of an argument before assigning "gender inequality". That, in itself, is sexist.

too much?... to which UfYH replied:

They work the same number of hours, the same schedule, and both live in the same house and were both responsible for adding children to their family (biologically or otherwise). Actually, if the letter writer carried and gave birth to the children, then, by that logic, the husband should take on all of the child-rearing duties since her job in child-creation was measurably more difficult.

well that escalated quickly... same hours; same schedule... so, the actual work required to do their individual jobs doesn't matter... but child-birth does?... to which, i replied:

Same hours. So all hours are equal? Just wondering why that was not considered? Do welders do equal work to carpenters? Nurses to waitresses? Teachers to lawyers? And I agree with you about [carrying] the load equally. But you haven't addressed what the loads actually are. And if giving birth plays into it, how long does the husband work to equal that? Never? Just consider that you're overlooking several unspoken factors.

UfYH retorts:

So is your assumption that the husband's job is harder and/or more demanding than the wife's? And that has absolutely nothing to do with the devaluation of what is traditionally seen as "women's work" (teaching, nursing, waitressing) as less important than "men's work"? The letter writer provided all of the details I had to work with, and regardless of what their respective jobs are, there's no excuse for the husband to be doing NONE of the household work. ("ALL of the cooking and cleaning falls to me.")

there's "no excuse"... well, that's a convenient theory, but reality has a way of intruding on your platonic and idyllic utopia... differences do matter... physically demanding jobs degrade the body and require additional recuperation time... increased mortality (e.g. death) is directly linked to high occupational physical activity and low to moderate leisure, while high leisure reduces mortality in the same physical jobs... demanding physical work is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

but, apparently, facts don't matter... only feelings... if the husband dies at an early age, so much the better, right?... for feminism!!... fuck external genitalia!... fuck the patriarchy!... fuck men! (but not in the happy-fun way, because, the patriarchy).

reason be-damned.

unequality: noun - the state or condition of being not equal in quality, value, or rank

Ask UfYH: Seriously, Enough With the Gender Role Crap Already by "[E] RachelTuesday", November 11th, 2014 on Persephone Magazine

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