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Feminists Invent Concept of 'Emotional Labor' to Blame Men for Everything

Man lying on sofa watching tv

How to be a modern feminist in seven easy steps:

1. Invent a problem.

2. Explain why you have absolutely no agency at all to solve it yourself.

3. Explain why it’s the responsibility of men to solve the problem.

4. Yell loudly that women aren’t damsels in distress, don’t lack agency, and don’t need a man to solve all their problems.

5. Yell loudly about how unfair it is that men won’t solve all your problems, which they obviously need to do because you have no agency whatsoever and only a man can help.

6. Say “toxic masculinity,” “the patriarchy,” “#MeToo,” and “I told you so,” at random intervals apropos of nothing.

7. Repeat.

Let’s do an example.

1. Invent a problem.

“Emotional labor” is a made-up feminist problem. It’s defined as “repeated, taxing and under-acknowledged acts of gendered performance.” As an unenlightened agent of the patriarchy you might be asking, “What’s gendered performance?” Well, you know how the wife is so put upon because she has to run the household and be the emotional caregiver of the kids, and the husband is a total dolt and brings home cabbage when you specifically asked for kale (and who doesn’t know the difference between cabbage and kale)? And you know how the wife is always keeping track of the kids’ activities, and picking up the dirty laundry off the floor, and emptying the dishwasher, and the husband is always sitting on the couch with a beer and not even noticing anything his wife is doing? Well that is emotional labor, and it’s a totally unfair form of “unpaid labor.”

2. Explain why you have absolutely no agency at all to solve it yourself.

Here’s an example from parenting site Scary Mommy: “You have to pile the rubbermaid tubs of the kids’ clothes in the middle of kitchen floor, then ask, ‘Can you take these up to the attic?’ And wait. And wait. And after several days later, after stepping around them and your simmering rage, they will carry the tubs up to the attic.” (Take note of the “simmering rage,” that’s very important — you’ll never be a good modern feminist without it.) God forbid that we should assume that a husband and wife might sit down, at some point, to discuss the division of labor in their household. God forbid that a woman might marry a man who shares her values when it comes to “gendered performance.” That would imply that a woman has agency in the situation. No. Much better to never discuss this at all. Then she can just be angry when he doesn’t read her mind and thinks everything is going along just fine when it isn’t (oh it isn’t, oh how it isn’t, it’s so wrong, so terrible, and so so bad).

3. Explain why it’s the responsibility of men to solve the problem.

So, even though the woman has the problem, and even though she hasn’t explained her problem to her husband, or chosen a husband whose values align with hers (or is a mind reader), the husband ought to know how horribly misogynistic he’s being. According to Harper’s Bazaar, you see, “even having a conversation about the imbalance of emotional labor becomes emotional labor.” See, you have to stay quiet if you want to be a good feminist, which means having no agency, and waiting around for a man to fix everything.

4. Yell loudly that women aren’t damsels in distress, lacking agency, and needing a man to solve all their problems.

Presumably the whole idea of “emotional labor” is that it’s unfair and that men and women should shoulder the burden of household tasks equally. If it isn’t equal, then this surely means that men are forcing women into domestic tasks against their will and they won’t have it, do you hear! Of course, women — being the hard-charging, multi-tasking, excellent organizers that they are — have most likely put themselves in this position in the first place. “Women need to realize what they’re expecting themselves to do,” writes Elizabeth Broadbent on Scary Mommy. See, women have so much agency and don’t need anyone at all, that they’ve created a situation in which they’re doing everything in their household and isn’t that just so unfair?! (Never mind that some women actually enjoy filling this role, or that mothers really are better than fathers at nurturing, multi-tasking, and organizing.)

5. Yell loudly about how unfair it is that men won’t solve all your problems, which they obviously need to do because you have no agency whatsoever and only a man can solve them.

“Bearing the brunt of all this emotional labor in a household is frustrating,writes Gemma Hartley in Harper’s Bazaar. Women, you see, place a lot of stock in their emotions and how important they are and how much men need to manage them. But they can’t express their emotions in actual words. Instead, they should leave “appointments unscheduled, toys strewn about, clothes in drawers. It may mean not planning meals for the week, and making your spouse do it instead” (Scary Mommy). Be passive-aggressive! That’s the key to a healthy relationship.

6. Say “toxic masculinity,” “the patriarchy,” “#MeToo,” and “I told you so,” at random intervals apropos of nothing.

This one’s fairly self-explanatory.

7. Repeat

Because, once you’ve got a nonsensical plan that really seems to work, don’t mess with it.