Posted on | May 20, 2012 | 3 Comments
Feminist calls for better work for women, as important as they have been, have on the whole resulted in more work for women. Beyond the intensification of many forms of waged work… the burdens of unwaged domestic and caring work have also increased, both because of the pressures of neoliberal restructuring along with the double day, and because of the increasingly dominant model of intensive parenting presented as what is required to develop the communicative, cognitive, and creative capacities increasingly necessary for reproducing, let alone elevating, the class status of a new generation of workers (see Hays 1996). Given all the ways that the institution of the family — on which the privatization of reproductive labor has been predicated and sustained — is so clearly not up to the task of assuming so much of the responsibility for the care of children, the elderly, the sick, and the disabled, the refusal of the present organization of reproductive labor may have much to offer contemporary feminism.
Feminist antiwork critique would need to accomplish several things at once: to recognize unwaged domestic work as socially necessary labor, contest its inequitable distributon (the fact that gender, race, class, and nation affects who does more or less), and, at the same time, insist that valuing it more highly and distributing it more equitably is not enough — the organization of unwaged reproductive labor and its relationship with waged work must be entirely rethought. For feminist postwork imagination, it raises the following question: if we refuse both the institution of waged work and the model of the privatized family as the central organizing structures of production and reproduction, what might we want in their stead?
– Kathi Weeks, The Problem with Work: Feminism, Marxism, Antiwork Politics, and Postwork Imaginaries, Duke University Press, 2001: 110-11.