Green sexism | Bleader

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Green sexism

Posted By on 06.14.07 at 06:36 AM

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Chris Clarke at Pandagon (hat tip to Stentor): 

"In a paper published a couple weeks ago, Dr. Sherilyn McGregor of Keele University in Staffordshire points out that when environmentally sound living requires extra work, that work is usually 'women’s work.' ... What decisions are environmentalist citizens asked to make? Choosing the green laundry detergent and toilet paper and buying organic groceries. Carrying cloth bags to the supermarket. Using non-toxic cleansers. Adding corporate citizenship to one’s list of brand loyalty factors and schlepping the Seafood Buying Guide around. Sorting trash into the proper containers for recyclables, compost, and landfilling.

"Of course, we men carry all those containers to the curb, which perfectly balances the division of labor. But then you add Environmentalism 2.0 to the mix, and you have the Slow Food (read: hours spent in the kitchen) and Local Food (read: hours spent shopping) movements, and with that kind of scheduling pressure a woman likely wouldn’t even have enough time left in the day to type up her husband’s poetry."

That's not random snark -- Clarke is specifically referring to poet Wendell Berry's anti-computer tirade of a few years back, in which he explained that his wife types his stuff on an old Royal typewriter. It's all very well, as Keele writes in her paper, to idealize participatory citizenship as in Athens of old. But "as feminists have noted, these Athenian citizens were freed for politics by the labour of foreigners, slaves, and women who were not granted the status of citizen. Citizenship, understood as being about active participation in the public sphere, is by definition a practice that depends on 'free time'; it is thus not designed for people with multiple roles and heavy loads of responsibility for productive and reproductive work."

IOW, compartmentalized progressivism ain't progressive at all. 

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