Rob Schaap rws at
Sat Oct 20 06:59:31 PDT 2001

G'day Kel,

>how does structural gender oppression work? it works primarily through
>implicit norms, ideals, and assumptions about what older sociologists call
>roles. eg., the graduate student, in an idealized manifestation, is most
>successful, on general, if he lives the life of a single white man with no
>responsibilities and (quite likely) a wife to take care of his needs and
>alzheimer inflicted parents.

No, the graduate student *is* most successful, *qua a graduate student*, if he *or she* lives the life of a single person. But then such people don't cop any of the joys of involved parenthood. Let's stop dressing up parenthood as nought but an irksome inhibition to life, eh?

>similarly, the conception of activism put forth here is about what an
>activist SHOULD be; it is most conducive to the life of a single person
>with a job and no one to support. (this is why my point about how a
>feminist critique of grad student role is important to ALL grad studs.)

Well, it is easier to be an activist if you're sans loinfruit. That's true for all of us, isn't it? Why just women? Fatherhood and husbandhood ain't the simple privieged assignments you make 'em out to be.

>you support an individualist analysis that refuses to see how, embedded in
>her idealized notion of "the activist", is a blame individuals analysis of
>why some people don't spend as much time as others do organizing.

I think it's generally true that the best activists are single without children. How does that automatically embed a blaming manouevre?

>you denied that a worker with a child has different burdens

Well, if he did that, he made a mistake, that's all. But ya gotta watch how you bring that to people's attention. Else Matthew 10:36 (no, I'm no biblical scholar - just picked it up on Breaker Morant), the curse of the modern left.

>In fact, a feminist critique of workerism sees ALL people has burdened by
>>workerist conceptions of these "roles".

Good on it.

>that, steve, is what churchill (and what you and yoshie) did: he denied a
>structuralist analysis and, instead, blamed individuals for caring about
>what kind of outfits little johnny wore. he trivialized their lives. you
>trivialized the lives of parents.

I think Churchill fails on two counts. Firstly, a floor trader does not deserve to be incinerated (Who among us is in an occupation neatly divorced from the system, eh? And who among us knew everything when they selected their career, eh? And who got exactly the career they anticipated, eh?) and secondly, I seem to remember that famous picture of that poor lad going down head-first, was one of a cook. People who work in buildings where high status workers work, work alongside armies of not particularly privileged service personel - cooks, waiters, secretaries, cleaners, clerks, couriers, gophers etc - and then there's the little matter of firemen and (boo now, thou purists) constables. It ain't the suits who enter deathtraps to save people ...

>if you still don't get it, how about i send your comments to a couple of
>feminist listservs. i'll bundle up their answers and send em your way. put
>on your armour, though, because you'll need it after they get
>done explaining what you should have learned in sociology 101.

I learned it, Kel. And then I used what I'd learned, in the world in which I lived, to arrive at my own bloody conclusions. So mebbe I'm wrong, too. Would calling me a bad student and a sexist and a racist and an individualist be the best way to put me right, I wonder?

Cheers, Rob.

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