Jul 15, 2009

Gender stereotypes alive and well in the Irish Times

This piece of trash is a cheap shot at gender stereotypes and those who are unemployed.

Women have been insulated from the worst of the carnage since they had already retreated to the home full-time or took the three-day week, convenient safer jobs in the public sector, college, or set up their own low-risk small business: home-catering for one friend, counselling for another, or column-writing in my case.

Oh really? Women have been insulated from the worst part of the recession? Are you referring to women like you Carey? Upper middle class, married, het, cis women presumably. That is not the majority. Way to devalue the work that women do.

Projecting your personal experience on to the backs of other women, is a fucking disgrace, Carey. It's insulting and in error.

I think it is telling that someone with the economic privilege to work part time at column-writing during the recession is generalising her experiences. She has no idea how the rest of us live. I doubt she was one of the 200 people to line up on Grafton Street to interview for a cashier's position in Londis. I doubt she understands that money worries pervade every aspect of your life, when you don't have any. There is no "joy of autonomy" in unemployment during a recession.

Anyway, here’s our dirty little secret – whether down-shifting or opting out – life is great. We are masters of our universe. Whether working from home or in the home, women have discovered the joys of autonomy. Not completely of course – bills still have to be paid, deadlines obeyed and the insatiable needs of children to be met. But there are no tortuous Monday morning management meetings, no hellish commutes, no power point presentations and no angry clients.

Now it’s all been ruined with these husbands hanging around at home. Leaving aside the financial strain, an alien creature has invaded the house. It reminds one of the soaring divorce rate among older couples in Japan where a retired husband shows up and a 30-year marriage ends. Ireland’s unemployed husbands may not be facing abandonment but are finding their wives aren’t exactly thrilled about unlimited quality time.

I hate the chatty "between us girls" tone of this article. Carey assumes that all of us girls agree with this point of view and that all readers are the straightest straight people in the world. Another bloody hetero-nomative assumption.

Since when do the "joys of autonomy" include taking care of children and cleaning the house. It remains me of those fundie freaks that believe that housework is empowering. A big, fuck you to that.

Welcome to the 21st century, Carey. There are different family groups, sexual orientations and negotiations between partners. This article plays on the "men do not contribute to the housework" trope. It's tired and frankly pathetic.


la glitz said...

The article also works from the tired premise that women don't really like their husbands, and would rather not spend time with them. How depressing. Presumably the underlying assumption is that middle-class white straight cis men are somewhere between feckless children and a meal ticket.

Mór Rígan said...

Of course not! Arg the hetero-normativity and economic privilege emanates from it like toxic sludge.