October 24, 2005

Class Notes

My class today was about a very interesting topic: the production : reproduction binary that links men to production and women to reproduction in a hierarchical relationship. This creates an economically unfavorable situation for the person who brings up future citizens, and at the same time ensures that women are delegated this task for the simple reason that they were the ones who gave birth to the baby. Being economically disadvantaged was a vicious cycle, because it took away women’s bargaining power in household decisions. The only solution in sight was the recognition of household work as socio-economically productive and deserving of monetary recompense.
The professor was “cool” 25 years ago, which means that the whole class thinks she and her ideas are outdated, and I think she is the only person whose ideas make sense to my cobwebby mind.
I was wondering if this lecture was really relevant today, and were not minds opening up to sharing the responsibility of bringing up children, and weren’t wage gaps being closed… when this guy (a visitor - we castrate all regular male students in our gender class) raises his hand, and throws a tea bag into the coffee pot by making it plain that nothing has changed. He asks: “But, aren’t women, by neglecting their home and children, and by refusing to have babies in order to work, reinforcing the hierarchy instead of valuing the role of caregiver?” He is a compatriot, and I am sorry to say that 80 women will attack him with a scalpel if he shows up in class again.


Rash said...

grrrrrrrrrrr....attack him with a scalpel, dump body in a sack and throw in some murky part of the Thames. Sorry but I react murderously to such statements these days. Perhaps the lecture is still relevant. even if minds are opening up, social setups aren't. It'll still take ages perhaps.

Red said...

Quite a coincidence, we discussed the same topic in my last Work and Gender class. Its an interesting catch 22 situation. If the state gives benefits to women who stay at home is it valuing their work or merely making sure they stay out of the workforce?

PS- my female classmates treat have left me in one piece so far

Joker said...

Whats the politically correct thing to say now? [to be safe] :-P

Kahini said...

My two-pice bit:

When we separate women as a species to be studied, as though they are not human, then there will always be arguments like this.

What I'd like is human studies.

Ink Spill said...

Hey Kahini,

The trick is to not separate women as a subject of study, but to study the world and everything in it with a critical perspective to see if it is biased against a sex/race/class or a mix thereof...

neha vish said...


We had a similar discussion in class (well . that was over a year ago!). But the issue is this - while housework and caregiving may be seen differently - in terms of having equal value - the association is still gendered. So that's like saying - Lady, the work that you do is valuable, so keep doing it, but don't expect men to do it. The cost of lost opportunity is greater because of the associated gender.

We had two men in our class full of 20 women, and both of them survived thankfully. So while that chap is pointing out to a logical loop - he needs to be told that rules are written by patriarchy. Not men - but patriarchy. And these rules favour men, and are easier on men. The end point is choice. Ultimately, do women have an absolute no-guilt choice between childcare and career? And why do women have to be the best at everything they do? Why can't they be awful caregivers and wonderful career women. Whey emphasis on balance and harmony, when the man is more likely to wash down the friction with a beer?

asdasdhjjf said...


Could you get a piece of the guy for me the next time you see him! Haha..


Maybe we don't have too much of a choice. But a majority of us do have an inclination of being care-givers. And even if we are, we don't loose anything, do we? As for the male species that complains, perfection is a class no one fits into.