“The lesson is that, even under enlightened cultures, closing the gender pay gap is not easily amenable by progressive public policy—in fact, it may even be exacerbating. But as long as the gap is a reflection of increased autonomy on the part of women, why should it matter?”
It’s easy and convenient to look at the fact that in countries with less (easily measured) sexism women work even less than in countries with more easily measured sexism and conclude that sexism must not be a big factor in women’s choice in whether and how much to work. I get that. It’s easy and convenient.
It also flies in the face of common sense. Sexism exists everywhere, including in these countries with “low” sexism. Pressure on women to work less or not at all after having kids still exists in these countries and probably isn’t able to be measured with any accuracy. That pressure impacts women’s choices. How much impact it has is impossible to know right now. But it exists and it does impact those choices. So as long as that is true, it matters to me, and to anyone who opposes sexism.
It may be that women work because the pressure to earn is greater than the pressure to stay home and be good little mommies. So removing the pressure to earn, but leaving the sexist pressure to not work intact leads to greater income inequality. Does that matter? Fuck yes it matters. It matters if you want to murder scarcity, which I do. It matters if you can look beyond your sexism to see the uncomfortable fact that women are better suited to contribute profitably to an information-and-service-based economy. And so a society which pressures men to work outside the home and women to stay inside it robs itself, and the world, of the innovations women would be otherwise making if they were free from gendered expectations. Maybe that doesn’t matter to you. But it matters to me.
Howevs, that UBI could increase the gender wage gap isn’t a compelling reason to oppose it, for me. I don’t support refusing to take steps to alleviate economic pressure on people to work on feminist grounds. At the very same time, I do NOT buy that the gap between how much men work outside the home and how much women work outside the home results from pure autonomy, but rather the much more likely explanation that a combination of internal and external factors contribute to how the genders divide work. As such, I’m not sure whether you can get excited that alleviating economic pressure on people to work results in a meaningful, experiential increase in autonomy for women, if it just results in them being pressured by their husbands and society back into the home.
Anyway. Enough on UBI. Want to share some thoughts I had last night.
There is a gap between the sex I have with someone I love and the sex I have with someone I don’t.
My mother used to lecture me about how boring sin was. That at the end of the day it’s not ruin or drama that usually results from sin, but a sense of time and energy wasted on shit that doesn’t matter.
So it is with whoring around for me. It’s not a big deal, one way or another. It’s not the greatest and it’s not the worst. The whole premise of sex-positive feminism is that sex itself just isn’t that big a deal, one way or another.
What casual sex is, for me, at the end of the day, is horribly, profoundly boring. This is why people can’t stop fucking their exes. I don’t know why I’m saying “people” like it wasn’t me a few months ago.
We long for something meaningful. Because sex itself isn’t. It’s not meaningful. It’s not important. We make up drama to make the act worth the bother. We find something to put on the line, something to risk, after the novelty of a foreign body wears off.
When I’m with someone new, I remember what sex was like with the men I’ve loved. I just long to get back there. I miss it, viscerally and embarrassingly. The worst is hating someone while wishing with all your heart they could fuck you again.
But what I remembered tonight is that they weren’t always able to fuck me like that. The early days were heady and hot. But also full of stumbles and fumbles and miscommunication. I forget that it takes time to fall in love. And that that process, of learning each other, who we are and what we like and what we had no idea we always needed, is wonderful. It’s so fun! I can’t believe how separated my memories of this are from me. Can I really not remember where I’ve been until I’m there again? Unclear, lol. But I am here again. And it makes me nervous, as it did before. But now I’m not going to waste time hemming and hawing about the future. Who the fuck knows? I just know he’s hitting it very right right now. And I’m going to work hard to make it worth his while. Because I’d do just about anything to keep it coming. But hopefully I’ll just have to put a decent amount of effort into being a somewhat thoughtful and conscientious partner.
The thing that’s so great about it isn’t that it’s as good as it’s been in the past. That’s a weird way to look at it and not really something I could say with certainty. It’s that it’s getting so amazing and I feel strongly we’ve just begun. And I love love love getting better at it.
In longing for a destination I remembered I forgot how fun the path is to get there. How wonderful to be reminded.