Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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About Emotional Work

Here's a lengthy discussion about emotional work, which is mostly considered women's work. 

I am not good at most of this stuff.  Therefore, it is not my responsibility.  Tasks should be done by people who are actually good at them, so they in fact get done and are done right.  Some of these things I'm good at, and I do.  But they're mostly practical things, like cooking and making sure the food is something people can eat.  Don't like my cooking, you don't have to eat it, I'm not going to angst over it.  My identity is not all wrapped up in pleasing people.

This may simply be because I'm not a woman.  Some people tried to get me to do this stuff, and I would poke at it as long as there were mixed groups.  But I had exactly zero tolerance for dividing groups by sex and making the female-bodied people do this girly shit while the boys got to gather firewood.  For fucksake I am good at lighting fires.  You want me to clean the kitchen because I look female  to you?  Those conversations ended in fiery doom.  Yes, this has cost me some things; I resent people trying to saddle me with stuff just because of my crotch shape.  But I would rather do without those things than try to stop being who I am.

As an adult, I have somewhat more freedom and flexibility about what tasks I do.  My partner happens to be much much better at most types of emotional work and organization than I am.  So he does most of it, and it typically gets done right, and I am very appreciative of that because if I tried to do it then it would be a disaster.  Do not try to pound nails with a screwdriver.  Conversely there are things he is not good at doing, and which I do, even if it is an inconvenient interruption at the time, because I am good at them and they are responsibilities I have accepted accordingly.

Your crotch does not determine what you are good at or like doing.  Everyone has stuff they are good at and not good at.  All the work needs to get done.  It should be fairly divided.  Everyone should be pulling their own weight in some way, but it doesn't not all have to be the same way.  So figure out what you do well, and do it, and if other people don't like the relation of your task selection to your crotch shape, it is their fucking problem.
Tags: gender studies, networking, reading
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