Friday, March 20, 2020

Is Coronavirus Bad for Feminism?

If we wanted to give out a special award for the dumbest remark about the coronavirus, the winner, hands down, would be Helen Lewis. Writing in The Atlantic, Lewis gets to the point, in her article, entitled: “The Coronavirus Is a Disaster for Feminism.”

You might have thought that, what with thousands of people dying, hundreds of thousands of people infected, economies and markets tanking, a zealot could give it a rest, at least for a time. If you want to be respected for your mind, pretend that you have one. 

As it happens, Lewis seems to think that the real question, the only question, the one true question is whether it is good or bad for feminism. If you are an ideologically driven fanatic you see everything through the lens of your ideology.

Now, before we examine Lewis’s insensitive palaver I will point out, if only to soothe her warped mind, that coronavirus kills more men than women. 

The Hour reports:

Even before the covid-19 pandemic reached Italy, early reports out of China suggested men were especially at risk. A study of 99 patients at a hospital in Wuhan, where the virus originated, found that men made up two-thirds of patients, and half of all the people who were hospitalized had chronic conditions such as heart disease or diabetes. More recent figures from China's Center for Disease Control, based on tens of thousands of cases, showed a strong gender breakdown of deaths, which were 64% male.

There you have it, the Goddess sent the coronavirus to make women the more dominant gender, at least in terms of longevity. When it comes to democratic elections, this will surely cause women of the world to rise up and vote out their patriarchal oppressors.

Clever of the Goddess, don’t you think?

Anyway, Lewis is terrified at the prospect that women might have to stay at home and not go to the office. Apparently, even after five decades of feminist protestations, inequality still exists, needing only a mass pandemic to send women back into the home, to care for others.

The indignity of it all is hard to fathom. 

A pandemic magnifies all existing inequalities (even as politicians insist this is not the time to talk about anything other than the immediate crisis). Working from home in a white-collar job is easier; employees with salaries and benefits will be better protected; self-isolation is less taxing in a spacious house than a cramped apartment. But one of the most striking effects of the coronavirus will be to send many couples back to the 1950s. Across the world, women’s independence will be a silent victim of the pandemic.

Yes, indeed. Mothers can care for children at home. Horrifying thought, that. And, nannies and babysitters will not be available. Now, thanks to the virus more mothers will be caring for their children. And we cannot have that, can we?

So, Lewis is railing against the idea that a mother caring for her child is not getting paid. How many mothers do you know-- outside of the contingent of feminist fanatics-- who, while caring for their children are bemoaning the fact that they are not receiving a paycheck? 

As much of normal life is suspended for three months or more, job losses are inevitable. At the same time, school closures and household isolation are moving the work of caring for children from the paid economy—nurseries, schools, babysitters—to the unpaid one. The coronavirus smashes up the bargain that so many dual-earner couples have made in the developed world: We can both work, because someone else is looking after our children. Instead, couples will have to decide which one of them takes the hit.

It’s an unmitigated horror. Lewis continues:

What do pandemic patients need? Looking after. What do self-isolating older people need? Looking after. What do children kept home from school need? Looking after. All this looking after—this unpaid caring labor—will fall more heavily on women, because of the existing structure of the workforce. “It’s not just about social norms of women performing care roles; it’s also about practicalities,” Wenham added. “Who is paid less? Who has the flexibility?”

Obviously, it has never crossed her mind that females are better at caring than men are. It has not crossed her pea brain that most of those who care for the children of working mothers are also women. Even feminism has not warped human reality to the point where people imagine that toxic male chauvinist pigs should be granted the privilege of caring for the weak and dependent. 

Surely, feminists did not think of the fact that while they were out denouncing men as perverted toxic horror shows, they would be encouraging the nation to turn to women to provide child care?


Sam L. said...

What can I say, but, "The HORROR!! The horror..."

370H55V said...

"Obviously, it has never crossed her mind that females are better at caring than men are."

Huh? I always thought this was the reason they always gave why women should rule in the first place. Toxic masculinity, you know.

Have you forgotten doublethink?

Leo G said...

The elephant in the room in this instance is the care workers. She bemoans the lack of ability to go out and earn a decent salary, yet never to her mind comes the hardship that she is placing on her care worker. It is the care worker who's low wage is more desperately needed in this time, then her cubicle salary. If she was a true feminist she would not take the day care of her children away from this lowly employee, but instead would keep on paying her, and in the time spent together would educate her about how the patriarchy "devalues wahmens value to such an extent, that we have to allow illegals into our country to care for our children at less then market value wages!"

Sam L. said...

I found The ATLANTIC something to disregard, some years back. Still do.

trigger warning said...

Reality is bad for feminism. Wuhan flu is now part of reality. Hence, Wuhan flu is bad for feminism.

She's right.