April 10, 2009

Don't Get a Job, Get Married?

This article in the Globe and Mail is about the "he-session." As you may know, the recession is hitting jobs traditionally performed by men, like factory work, much harder than the woman-dominated service sector. The men in the article are now learning to appreciate the domestic labour that has traditionally been done for them by women much more AND their wives are becoming the breadwinners. This is interesting to me in particular, because biology PhD kept trying to convince me that today's women were screwing themselves over by giving up the only bartering trip we have to offer too easily, which, in her words, is "Sex."

I argued with her by pointing out that women like sex too, so men could probably manipulate us with sex as well, meaning it's not a very good bargaining chip. She disagreed. According to her, men always like sex more. Hmm. Perhaps the men she knows like sex more, I thought. Perhaps she has a low sex-drive? Or, as I pointed out, perhaps she was just socialised to BELIEVE men like sex more. Nope, she totally didn't believe in theories of social construction, preferring biological determinism. She wouldn't even CONSIDER the idea that maybe, just maybe, her biological theories could become self-fulfilling prophesies.

So, according to this particular academic, my life will suck if I don't get married. I HAVE to get married so a man can support me and protect my children, and in return I should give him unlimited access to sex. Hmm. Fun. It's like the world before spousal rape...I must make a man marry me at once! Oh, and apparently if a woman claims not to believe in marriage, "That's bullshit! You just can't get him to marry you!" Not just that, but also from this family friend's perspective, birth control never fails and women who get pregnant accidentally were actually ALWAYS "trying" to get pregnant are jut tricking their men into having to stay with them because they don't have a ring on the finger. Dear God, is this biology or misogyny? Oh, and don't even get me started on how heterosexist all of this is. Seriously, it's just obvious that this is all from the world's most heteronormative set of theories.

This brings me back to the "he-session." Social evolution and the factors humans have to deal with would logically influence biological evolution, no? And if women are turning into more reliable hunters and gatherers than men, perhaps heterosexual unions will evolve too. In the Globe article I linked to, men had started doing the housework their wives traditionally did and raising the kids. Perhaps, a hundred years from now, people will be telling young men to save themselves until marriage to get women to commit? Not that this would be a better world. I'm not advocating just inverting the gender binary. I'm just saying, I think this recession shows women aren't just good for sex and babies - we can support our families too!

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