'Women are just better at this stuff': is emotional labor feminism's next frontier?
We remember children’s allergies, we design the shopping list, we know where the spare set of keys is. We multi-task. We know when we’re almost out of Q-tips, and plan on buying more. We listen to our partner’s woes, forgive them the absences, the forgetfulness, the one-track mindedness while we’re busy organizing a playdate for the kids. But what if, much like childcare and house keeping, the sum of this ongoing emotional management is yet another form of unpaid labor? If you think this is pushing it, you would be wrong. It’s just taken the rest of us a while to catch on. Jennifer Lena, a sociologist and professor of arts administration at Columbia University, stares at me from across the rocky wooden café table we’re sharing. Lena doesn’t drink, though. “Your next story is on emotional labor as the next feminist frontier?” I take a sip of my beer and mumble, apologetic. In all fairness, Lena’s friendly dismissal makes a strong point. “I don’t really get it.
Related: Sociologie anthropologie et histoire des femmes