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 are just better at remembering birthdays. We love catering to loved ones, and we make note of what they like to eat. We notice people’s health, and force friends and family to go see the doctor.
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. We applaud success when it comes, the grant that was received, the promotion and so on. It was their doing, and ours in the background. Besides, if we work hard enough, we can succeed too: all we need to do is learn to lean in.
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. The concept of emotional work and emotional labor – as repeated, taxing and under-acknowledged acts of gendered performance – has been a field of serious inquiry in the social sciences for decades.
It’s just taken the rest of us a while to catch on.
By Raunak at indiaopines blog