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In a Word, No. January 3, 2013

Posted by FCM in books!, feminisms, gender roles, pop culture, porn.
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i just finished reading “the second shift” by arlie russell hochschild in which “two-income” married het couples were interviewed extensively regarding who performs the lions share of the household labor in the context of what the author called the “stalled revolution” of the 1980s.  in this book, the author claims that there had been gains made by women and feminists over the years causing womens lives to change drastically, but men were slow to catch up, leaving working married women caught in a stressful, life-sucking bind where they perform the equivalent of an extra month of work every year and their husbands dont.

fascinatingly, according to the author herself, her most important finding was also a very elusive one and the data was difficult to make any sense of at all: that there was no apparent or straighforward economic-based relationship between the wage gap and the leisure gap had apparently confused researchers for a long time.  to summarize the data, women who outearn their husbands end up doing even more around the house — with their economically challenged husbands also being domestically challenged, what great catches ay? — than women who earn less than or the same as their husbands, but this makes no economic sense.  it would make more economic sense, it is said, if a greater income bought a worker leisure time at home, where the lower-earning spouse allowed the higher-earning spouse to relax around the house to recharge their batteries in preparation for having to go to work the next day.  *that* would at least make some kind of sense, it is said.  and this is in fact what happens when the man makes more: outearning men were less likely to share the domestic load (21% of them shared somewhat — gee thanks doods!) than were the men who made the same amount (30% of those shared somewhat) as their wives.  interestingly, both groups of earners shared some.

what made no sense at all, it had been said, was the fact that the only men who dont share in the second shift at all were those men who made less than their wives.  some of the other men interviewed shared the household duties somewhat, but none of the underearning men shared at all.

for her part, this (female) author and researcher realized that there was an “economics of gratitude” at play, which is patriarchal and misogynist at its core: women who outearn their husbands have to properly simper and soothe their husbands castrated egos by doing literally *all* the household chores themselves.  i’m sorry!  she also noted throughout the book that it is the harsh realities of the patriarchal, misogynistic meat market known as “dating” combined with womens economic insecurity due to workplace sexual harassment and discrimination and lower wages which keep women trapped in all marriages, simpering and soothing, no matter how bad the marriages are.  and that married women who desire “equality” in the domestic realm literally start making shit up — creating “family myths” that are not reality-based in order to make any of this palateable to themselves, so they dont leave their husbands, or cause their husbands to leave them by demanding anything from the privileged bastards, or go insane or succumb to the misery and the dreadful, exhausting inequality of the married het partnership.

after all that, she closes with a question: “has the turmoil of the 1970s and 1980s been a temporary phase in preparation for a new kind of marriage in the future? or will [the young people of the 1970s and 1980s] also live in a revolution that is stalled?”

being that its 2013 now, a full 24 years since she first published her question, i think we can probably answer it in a word: and that word would be NO.  NO, the inequality of the het partnership does not appear to have been temporary, or if it was, 24 fucking years is too short a time to see any significant change in the institution and realities of marriage from womens perspective, let alone a “new kind of marriage” of which the very idea seems laughable now; and NO, there is no stalled revolution, because if theres no revolution, then theres nothing to stall.

mkay?  seriously, what revolution?  if anything, she is talking about equality rhetoric, and lets examine — shall we? — what 24 fucking years of equality rhetoric has done for us, or to the quality of womens lives.  this includes the extra month of domestic labor working women have traditionally performed as well as the very cogent reasons women have for staying with their men.  where are we now?  its a fair question to ask, and ima ask it.

for one thing, we now have married men and all men unabashedly using degrading and violent porn, this has only gotten worse over time hasnt it?  and more than ever it seems, the entire world comes to bear on women who dont like mens porn use and demand that men change it.  things have gotten worse in this area, not better, and this apparent worsening of male behavior and values and culture in particular is seriously problematic to any notion of “shared” or equal parenting, considering that its now extremely toxic and pornsick men that we are hoping will help us raise children.  hello!

i mean really.  considering all mens porn use, i think we need to seriously consider whether we want men anywhere near children at all, which means that the entire patriarchal institution of fatherhood — fatherhood as we currently know it — is problematic and needs examining (and discarding, now, IMO — but lets consider and discuss first, sure why not?). where does this leave women and “equality” rhetoric, when all working women used to want is for men to take on half the responsibility of the domestic sphere, including childrearing?  what the hell are we supposed to do now, now that so many fathers are hopelessly pornsick, and literally cannot look at a vagina or an anus without thinking about penetrating that vagina or anus, and where men clearly agree with and positively-value patriarchy’s pornified sexualization of very young girls, and even babies?

what were we thinking then, for that matter, when we thought that men — the penetrators — would be able to change a diaper the same way women would, without thinking about and being reminded of penetration?  we were way, way off.  like way.  i think we made a serious mistake.  and this equality-rhetoric, not only has it failed to achieve what we wanted — womens liberation from male dominance — and its created devastating anti-feminist consequences to boot (the criminalization of female-only organizing for one thing) but 24, 34, 64, 104 years into it, have we even stopped to consider whether its working, or likely to work if we just keep trying (forever), or if “equality” is still what we want?  how far can society be reformed, and on what interval will we be reevaluating our assumptions and examining both our losses and gains?

or are we just expected to activate towards “equality” forever, without reevaluating our goals, achievements and efforts at all, and without ever asking ourselves if its working, or what the backlash has been, or *if* its worked *how* and *in what way* has it worked and is it likely to continue working in the future?  whatever else it mightve done, i think this equality rhetoric and the ensuing battles have served as an enormous distraction from a pretty obvious truth, and that truth is that things are getting worse, not better.  and by THINGS i mean men.  and by “pretty obvious” i mean HELLO.

this policy of equality-activating might need a sunset provision.  that is all.

Moron “The Dishwasher Dilemma” July 30, 2012

Posted by FCM in books!, gender roles, meta.
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awhile back, i wrote about what i believe is the genesis of most “domestic squabbles” between heterosexual partners, and that it is essentially male entitlement, and forced-perspective, and mansplaining and womens resistance to men and what the het partnership — and male entitlement, and forced-perspective and mansplaining — do to us.

now, i would like to address something i have heard so frequently from everywhere — from individual women and from pop culture and everywhere — which is that men do not seem to appreciate, at all, what it means to have a nice home, or more specifically, something to call your own, or at least a temporary or semi-permanent “home base” that is aesthetically pleasing and as sane and comfortable as possible.  men do not appear to care about this — they foul it up in every meaning/sense of the word.  if they live alone, or with each other — certain notable exceptions being, well, notable — their living spaces are fucking gross, and disgusting, and filthy.  in every corner there is literal filth — and porn, which is figurative filth isnt it?  they like it that way.  they live in their own shit, and they create and project shit so they can live in filth and shit, more.

women do not seem to understand why this is, and like they are wont to do, think that if they can figure out “why” that the problem can be solved — if everything is just a misunderstanding (ours) it gives hope.  answers to these questions are acceptable only to the extent that those answers are consistent with maintaining the het partnership, and with maintaining an affinity for men and living with men and taking care of them forever.  if not an individual man — sometimes individuals are beyond help and this is realized, painfully, after much time and resources are wasted — then with men as a class.  the primacy of the nuclear family and the primacy of the het partnership must be maintained, because without that, where would women be?  if only we would start imagining this, for real — identifying the (immediate?) problems that would cause and then solving them ourselves.  like the problem of realizing well into your forties (for example) that everything you thought you knew is wrong, and that where youve ended up is devastatingly off course and the forks in the road are so far back you cant even see them anymore, and youre exhausted and — blind?  not to mention all the legal requirements on many of us at this point — legal and moral guardianship over other people, for example.  legal and moral ties to men.  thats not a small thing.  this problem is real.

anyway, in the interest of changing the frame, and suggesting answers that are not compatible with maintaining the het partnership — to the extent that the truth is not compatible with maintaining a lie, or a structure founded on and maintained by pouring, building and maintaining lies — regarding the problem of men not appreciating a nice home, may i suggest the following thought exercise: women, imagine that the entire world is your literal and figurative toilet.  now imagine the dissonance you might feel — you, who experience the entire world as your toilet — if you were then simultaneously expected to keep your actual, real toilet — the one in your bathroom — clean.  why bother?   and indeed, men dont bother — their actual, real toilet — where they shit — is supposed to be clean, while the rest of their world is dirty because they shit there too?  why?

this takes on additional significance for modern men, doesnt it — men who literally piss outdoors, or wherever and whenever they please despite indoor plumbing.  i cannot even imagine the entitlement they must feel.  i know i dont want them in my space, to the extent i can help it — and definitely not in my bathroom, thanks anyway.  whats a little spatter to someone who regularly pisses in the alley, or knows he could, or that he would with no hesitation or logistical problems at all?  they do not care about this, and they apparently cannot be made to care about it.

but sadly, and not unexpectedly, theres more.  the home is the only place many women can go, where we can BE where we are relatively safe, and i think that includes abused women too, doesnt it?  i dont mean safe from abuse, i mean safe from the world which is an extremely difficult and dangerous place for women in general.  the “public” where we have literally no control or power, and are leered at by necrophiliac pervs and harassed and assessed by rapists every single second of every single moment we are out there.

and granted, being forced to “keep house” is often the beginnings of trouble for women who are coerced into this role, including with threats of and actualized violence for not doing a good enough job (in reality, its used as a pretext to inevitable abuse from an abuser) but in general, wouldnt women keep a nicer home than men even if this role were not coerced?  i think we would.  because its the ONLY place where we have some control over our surroundings, where we are subjects — rather than objects — in our own lives.  where our environments are or can be reflective of *us* at all, even though this is limited too, by what (for example) is available to us to purchase or make.  or, maybe in the absence of patriarchy, everything would be different, including this.  maybe if we werent animal feed and rape-objects in real life, we could afford to let a few things slide.

its also possible that we are a different species from men, and that we do not share their beginnings and will not share their ends, and that *this* explains or better explains what i am calling “the dishwasher dilemma” and why women in general tend to keep a nicer home but either way, its not exactly consistent with maintaining the het partnership now is it?  not if actually resolving this conflict is important.  species-difference is suggested in “the sisterwitch conspiracy” to explain this and other observable sex-based difference — and that book is at least as subversive and damaging to men and the institution of the het partnership as the SCUM manifesto, if not more — i suppose this one isnt on the radar because the author didnt speak mens language (the language of violence) and valerie solanas did, or she did once?

note to self: men are stupid, and speak *only* one language — and that appears to be the language of violence.  that is all.

META:  please note the change in the comments policy at femonade below. 

(more…)

The Dishwasher Dilemma February 17, 2012

Posted by FCM in authors picks, gender roles, news you can use, pop culture, sorry!, thats random.
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i found this on you tube (obviously).  i was actually looking for an episode of “teen mom” where the happy couple was fighting in the car about “having the same conversation over and over.”  about cleaning the house.  i couldnt find what i was looking for, but its not like its difficult to find examples of that particular argument, which is, in fact, my entire point.  you know the one: it goes “you never help me clean the house” then “i do too help you clean the house, i do this, this and this all the time” and then “no you dont, i always do everything and you never do anything unless i nag you about it” and so on and so forth.  its as common as…PIV in het relationships, and fights about PIV in het relationships.  now, why might that be?

i would really like to write an english-to-radfem translation program for these things, but im not a programmer so…small obstacle there.  but i can write about it, so i will.

you see, the very repetitive “housework” fight is about patriarchy!  just like everything else.  its about women getting constantly shit on by individual men and by men collectively and by mens patriarchal institutions.  and if there are no words to express this, its not a coincidence.  its very deliberate, this language problem, so that women are literally unable to even frame the issue in a coherent way, and in this case (as in many others) are rendered completely unable to express their dissatisfaction in reasonable terms that “make sense” (to men and other male-identified persons) mute so that womens reality is never acknowledged, so they never get what they need.

or perhaps more to the point, this language problem functions to ensure that womens reality is never actually actively and obviously discarded, with extreme and obvious prejudice, with an obvious culpable agent making those decisions, where even the men who allegedly love us tell us we can go to hell, to our faces.  no, its never hardly ever that obvious.  theres a reason for that.  it ensures that we never quite get whats happening here, or gives men plausible deniability when its pretty obvious they are fucking us over, deliberately.  so we never give men what they really and actually deserve, which is less than nothing.  and so we never see them for what they really are: the enemy.  of women.

SO.  let me put words to this one, if i may.

the very repetitive “housework fight” is about mental labor, and project management.  this has parallels to the work that men do, and that men get paid very well to do, and when men do it, its an actual, real thing, and is a skill that is very difficult to teach, requires intuition and good judgement, and constant vigilance and around-the-clock mental and physical labor (or whatever passes for that in mens world, 9-5 i guess?  8 to 8?  that one time some dood couldnt sleep?  cry me a river asshats.)  project management is one of the highest paid and most prestigious positions men reserve for themselves, because its the hardest and most important, and not everyone can do it, or is willing to do it.  so, lets go with that.  running a household is project management.

and project management, no matter what the actual project is, refers to both mental and physical labor, and includes that awareness thats always going on in the back of the project managers mind, where she knows the entire layout of the entire project at all times, is attuned to the slightest change and reads the tea leaves constantly to assess whats needed, to avoid potential exacerbations and escalations that will require even more work (and possible catastrophic failures, and snowballing catostrophic failures) down the road, and has many, many schedules running in her head simultaneously.  and it necessarily involves delegation of certain duties, especially very menial tasks that even the most unskilled laborer could do.  because the project manager’s time is worth more.

dont shoot the messenger, i didnt make this shit up.  im just using mens words and mens concepts here, since nobody seems to get it when women use their own words.  in fact, it might even be true: certain projects might actually need project managers.  its possible i guess?  that one seems right to me, having actually worked on projects before, in life.  how men deal with this reality and create their hierarchies around it is on them, im just saying.

so anyway.  an example of this kind of mental labor is as follows: i watered the plants that need to be watered every month 2 weeks ago; i watered the plants that need to be watered every 2 weeks 2 weeks ago, so…i need to water those plants, but definitely not the other ones, or all the plants will die.  and then i will reset the schedule in my mind.  that kind of thing.

so the actual watering of the plants is only part of it.  its a large part of it, because if all the mental labor happens but the plants dont get watered, we will have a very obvious failure on our hands.  but as incredibly important as that is, theres even more to than that, running below the surface that causes those plants to stay alive.  so if i ask you to water a plant, and you do it, how much is that really worth?  im just asking.  you arent the reason that plant stayed alive, now are you?  you wouldnt even have known which one needed water, or known which one wouldve died if you watered it just then, without me telling you.

and if i have to fight with you for more than 10 seconds about watering the fucking plant, its a complete waste of my time and i couldve just done it myself.  but even if theres no fighting involved and its done immediately, and graciously, its still not like very much of *my* labor was rendered obsolete.  you have made my life easier, but only a very little bit.  note that the value of the physical labor, and how much of it there really is to do, varies, based on the size of the project.

so.  if we borrowed the hierarchies that men use when they are talking about their own projects, and applied them to the example of the household, the men would be the unskilled labor, who only make a dollar an hour (or whatever) because thats all their labor is really worth.  you know, according to themselves.  and yet, rather inexplicably, they act like they deserve their own personal superbowl-victoryesque parade dedicated to all the awesome that is THEM, for watering a plant, and performing other very unskilled labor, when, in applying their own hierarchies, the work they just performed is only worth a dollar.  and when you give them the dollar, they act like the dollar is a penny.

this is really about mens dishonesty, and using and framing womens labor in a way that they would never use and frame mens labor, because it supports male power and damages women to do that, and thats what men do, and they never stop.  and they take away womens ability to express their reality, through disingenuous issue-framing and controlling language, because it supports male power and damages women to do that, and thats what men do and they never stop.  and women dont like this reality.  and men do.  thats what this fight is really about.

men are so impossible!

YES, yes they are, if by “men” you mean “the het partnership in a patriarchy, from women’s perspective.”  its based on lies, and in the case of the housework dilemma, its literally impossible to reconcile this one.  it is literally impossible to explain or confront this in a way which is consistent with maintaining the relationship, or maintaining the heterosexual partnership in general, at all.  and *thats* where advice-columnists go off the rails.  even “dear momma” pulls her punches on this one big time: she tailors her advice so that its consistent with maintaining the relationship.  its advice with an agenda.  in reality, this one cannot be reconciled.

i hope this is helpful to someone.

PS.  heres “dear momma” on PIV.  its pretty good.  no fun for whom indeed.