On Working

Normally, I err on the side of women. I vote on the side of the most down trodden. I believe the oppressed over the oppressors reflexively. I look around at friends who are passionate about a subject and often will–if it is their area of expertise and not mine, default to their judgement on an issue.

My own life has not been without its adversaries. I’ve had assailants. Wicked stepfathers. Oppressive male coworkers. I could easily slip into the prejudices of men are evil, most women are good.

But that isn’t always so.

I know women who are #metoo-ing that have nothing to #metoo about. That’s infuriating. Like please, save space for actual victims of harassment. If you’re not in this sisterhood, good for you. But for heaven’s sake don’t undermine the credibility of those that have.

Perhaps nothing infuriates me more than a woman who uses womanhood as some sort of crutch. An excuse not to work. An excuse not to contribute to society in a positive way somehow. Recently a woman of that description came up in conversation. She was said to have wanted “a traditional life of a wife.” What is that? I wondered. She didn’t want to work outside the home and wanted everything handed to her. She didn’t want to work inside the home either. Oh she wanted to be a *traditional* wife.

Did that ever exist? Economically working class white women and all women of color have pretty much *had* to work despite marital status. Where is this fantasy land of non work?

What is this idea of using the word “had”? What is that supposed to imply. To live on this planet and survive most people regardless of gender “have” to work–what that work is changes depending on our geography, skill level, etc. But also implied here is that there are yet still some women who have this idea that marriage or living with (usually) a man is a ticket to sit on the couch.

I read this god awful whiney piece in the Washington Post this morning: Minority White Workers are upset because they had no gumption for learning skills or higher education so they are working factory line work where those around them are largely immigrant labor. Aye dios mio.

There is always something one can do to be a productive member of society. My inmate students often talk about their time fighting fires as inmate firefighters as some of the proudest moments of their lives–when they did for others –regardless of how shitty the pay is.

Work at each of our own paces. Work the work that suits us best. Work the work we have the opportunity to do whether its for cash, on our selves, our families. Work to make our world a better place.

Some of my jobs involve no pay at all. Some pay well. I don’t know what it’s like not to want to engage enough to provide myself with a reason for living. I’m programmed to want to work and pay my own way.

A good friend of mine was involved once with a woman who moved in with him, quit her job, and announced her desire to be a housewife. No kids were involved. No volunteer work. No housecleaning. Nothing you could think of that might take up space in a day productively. She’s still upset that she got called on her mooching and now that she has to fend for herself it’s the fault of illegals. (Yeah, I don’t see the jump in logic either).

I remember when my ex-husband and I first moved to the mountains. I worked online, but he didn’t have work yet, but he volunteered in the thrift store while he was busy putting in applications. First off it meant he got to meet people up here and get to know the cast of characters. I try and tell my kids that going to school is fine but what’s that other piece going to be each semester? What will they volunteer for? What will be their job? How do we acquire empathy for others if we don’t leave the couch?

That’s my rant today. Now I have to jump in the shower, haul kids to their respective activities and their work, and then get to my work as well.

One Comment

  1. Jenny

    The internet can’t know the depths of any human’s experience. The flattening of experience is the worst thing the machines do to us humans. Sound bites used as political shaming isn’t a new thing. It’s an old thing but it’s faster now – more complete. I try not to fall into that, try to remember compassion and the idea that there’s always more to someone than I know.

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