Friday, April 20, 2012

Katha Pollitt on Ann Romney and Women's Work

Very smart piece from the 7 May 2012 issue of The Nation.

the difference between a stay-home mother and a welfare mother is money and a wedding ring. Unlike any other kind of labor I can think of, domestic labor is productive or not, depending on who performs it. For a college-educated married woman, it is the most valuable thing she could possibly do, totally off the scale of human endeavor...But for a low-income single woman, forgoing a job to raise children is an evasion of responsibility, which is to marry and/or support herself. For her children, staying home sets a bad example, breeding the next generation of criminals and layabouts. 

All of which goes to show that it is not really possible to disengage domestic work from its social, gendered context: the work is valuable if the woman is valuable, and what determines her value is whether a man has found her so and how much money he has. That is why discussions of domestic labor and its worth are inextricably bound up with ideas about class, race, respectability, morality and above all womanhood.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Billionaire Paul Singer, Romney SuperDonor, on Gay Marriage

"I believe a generation from now, gay marriage will be seen as a profoundly traditionalizing act. It will have channeled love into the most powerful social institution on earth: marriage itself." From an All Things Considered report on April 17, 2012, part of a series on superdonors to superfunds. Background reading: Michael Warner, The Trouble With Normal.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Ashley Judd, feminist theorist

Ashley Judd responds to media and popular obsession over her 'puffy' face, in The Daily Beast. Fantastic. Please read the whole thing.

Patriarchy is not men. Patriarchy is a system in which both women and men participate. It privileges, inter alia, the interests of boys and men over the bodily integrity, autonomy, and dignity of girls and women. It is subtle, insidious, and never more dangerous than when women passionately deny that they themselves are engaging in it. This abnormal obsession with women’s faces and bodies has become so normal that we (I include myself at times—I absolutely fall for it still) have internalized patriarchy almost seamlessly. We are unable at times to identify ourselves as our own denigrating abusers, or as abusing other girls and women.