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nil  ·  7 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The Coronavirus Is a Disaster for Feminism

This article was disappointing. Nowhere does she support the central thesis that the coronavirus is a "disaster" for feminism.

    During the plague of 1606, the playwright was lucky to be spared from the epidemic—his landlady died at the height of the outbreak—and his wife and two adult daughters stayed safely in the Warwickshire countryside. Newton, meanwhile, never married or had children.

First of all, this isn't a valid comparison because Shakespeare was paying rent to a woman who had children likely very young, so probably didn't have many care responsibilities at this point. Newton never got laid, not once. William Blake, the vocal feminist made fun of him for that. The argument could be made that being an unwed woman and not having children in this time period was more socially dangerous. That even if nobody was interested in you somebody would still send you off. As a counterpoint however, I would add that men were more expected to engage in physical work and not write their magnum opus. The lack of self-actualization for women during this time period was largely due to social norms, not child-rearing 24/7.

King Lear even has feminist themes. His third daughter doesn't want to play that stupid fucking male power trip. Good on her.

    A pandemic magnifies all existing inequalities (even as politicians insist this is not the time to talk about anything other than the immediate crisis).

If politicians are insisting this is not the time to talk about other issues, it's likely because a) they're panicking, and want to make sure we don't die first or b) they're trying to ram through corporate tax cuts or other Republican bullshit. Which is bad for women, but also the average male labourer and fuck if a feminist discussion isn't happening or certainly about to happen, especially for everyone slightly left of McConnell. Nothing will bring an issue to the forefront than personally experiencing it. And talking about it is good.

    Working from home in a white-collar job is easier; employees with salaries and benefits will be better protected; self-isolation is less taxing in a spacious house than a cramped apartment. But one of the most striking effects of the coronavirus will be to send many couples back to the 1950s. Across the world, women’s independence will be a silent victim of the pandemic.

This doesn't make sense because women's entrance into the workforce has been predominantly into while-collar professions. Check this out. Women aren't predominantly working in construction, trades, labour. The exception to this appears to be customer service, sales, and the food service industry, including restaurants. Check this out. But it's mostly 50-50. Do you know what would be a good argument, the fact that women are predominantly nurses and getting exposed.

    We can both work, because someone else is looking after our children. Instead, couples will have to decide which one of them takes the hit.

The argument is that a household is going to potentially lose one of its breadwinners. That's just the already existing wage gap being rubbed in your face. And if you're working full-time you still aren't writing King Lear, unless King Lear is your job. The main reason second wave feminism happened is because unpaid work and housework is generally unfulfilling and you don't make money. It's also boring as fuck. Now she's making a valid point here in that women tend to be paid less than men and being shoved back into the house is returning to the 1950's. But it's not a disaster for feminism. It's good for it. It's making people cognizant of issues which were previously ignored such as the wage gap. Beyond that it's entirely cultural expectations and maybe the fact that part of you might want to look after the kids.

Again, the whole nature vs. nurture argument. Big conservative psychologists tend to argue woman want to work less and look after kids. Others think it's entirely socially conditioning. But there are people who fall into camp 1, like my mother.

    Among the most exasperating is the West’s failure to learn from history: the Ebola crisis in three African countries in 2014; Zika in 2015–6; and recent outbreaks of SARS, swine flu, and bird flu.

That's a sweeping statement. We're all going about our lives. Nobody is anticipating a global crisis, unless it's your job. None of this supports the idea this is a disaster for feminism in America because you're making comparisons to places where people practice female genital mutilation and witch hunts.

    “It’s not just about social norms of women performing care roles; it’s also about practicalities,” Wenham added. “Who is paid less? Who has the flexibility?”

Again, the central issue seems to be the wage gap which this is rubbing in our face. Which I agree with. But nothing rubs it in your face more than this.

    The joke only works because “Susan” and “Karen”—stand-in names for suburban moms—are understood to be responsible for household management, rather than, say, Mike and Steve.

Okay, but Karen believes the Magna Carta and second wave feminism went too far. My mother quit work 30 years ago to be a stay at home mom. Voluntarily. She probably agrees with Phyllis Schlafly, and I'm not exaggerating there. Being forced into that role for a few months, or worse, voluntarily choosing that because you want it is hardly a return to the culture that demanded women be stay-at-home moms. Like as follows:

    “My spouse is a physician in the emergency dept, and is actively treating #coronavirus patients. We just made the difficult decision for him to isolate & move into our garage apartment for the foreseeable future as he continues to treat patients,” wrote the Emory University epidemiologist Rachel Patzer, who has a three-week-old baby and two young children. “As I attempt to home school my kids (alone) with a new baby who screams if she isn’t held, I am worried about the health of my spouse and my family.”

You're homeschooling! You never had them in public education to begin with! What, did you epidemiologize at home while teaching your kid their times tables? I'm sorry.

    The coronavirus crisis will be global and long-lasting, economic as well as medical. However, it also offers an opportunity. This could be the first outbreak where gender and sex differences are recorded, and taken into account by researchers and policy makers. For too long, politicians have assumed that child care and elderly care can be “soaked up” by private citizens—mostly women—effectively providing a huge subsidy to the paid economy. This pandemic should remind us of the true scale of that distortion.

Oh, for fuck's sakes. Sorry for the French there. This whole thing has been using gender and sex differences in literally everything to make an argument. Including in West Africa. There are a shit-load of statistics. Since when is universal child care not a major political issue? One of my formative experiences was learning game theory from a professor who wrote a paper using economic "science" to declare that universal child care was evil and government intrusion into our lives, much like public education., and therefore if we created a libertarian society we'd all statistically be better off.

    Wenham supports emergency child-care provision, economic security for small-business owners, and a financial stimulus paid directly to families. But she isn’t hopeful, because her experience suggests that governments are too short-termist and reactive. “Everything that's happened has been predicted, right?” she told me.

But people are still working around the clock to send you fucking money. so this shit doesn't happen. So Dad can take time off work and he can look after the kids. The fact there's a plan to send people money at all in countries should be a sign that people do give a shit, that not all hope is lost, and expecting perfect preparation for something that just kind of sneaks up on society is ludicrous in my opinion. It'll be a lot better the next time around. Because governments, like all of us, learn from their mistakes.

    We knew all this, and they didn't listen. So why would they listen to something about women?”

Coronavirus is a disaster for women, not feminism. Feminism will stay the same or be strengthened. We're trying to make sure people don't die first. And hang on a second, isn't she working from home?

veen  ·  5 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I’m on the same page as you - I have little to add to your points. This is one of those articles that I share not because they’re good, but because I think there’s something worth discussing or examining here.

One, the pandemic is putting a lot of stress on households and relations, and this affects women differently from men. Two, women are likely pulling the shorter straw, due to their financial position being on average weaker. Three, what does this mean for feminism as a whole?

I don’t think the author does a good job of exploring those three points, and agree with you that she doesn’t underpin point three in particular. I’m unsure if it’s a disaster. Anecdotally, what I’ve seen is that when both parents can work from home the family efforts seem to be divided up just fine 50/50. Someone on Twitter made the point that the postwar wave of feminism was in no small part because during the war, women had to run businesses while the men were at the frontlines, and when those men came back the women didn’t want to give that new freedom back so easily. That sounds slightly oversimplified, but I do wonder if we’re now in a similar situation where a crisis like this one forces reevaluation of household division of labor.

For me it’s pushing me even more towards feminism. My girlfriend applied for graduation the other day, so this week was supposed to be the start of her looking for a job. I’m the sole breadwinner with economic crisis-resistant job prospects and phat savings. (For the record - I do my best to do half of the chores.)

In all likeliness her dependance on me is not gonna change soon - but it feels like a fragile arrangement. I now want more than ever for her to be financially independent of me. But I’m not sure if that’s the same in the rest of society, especially not on your side of the pond.