Emotional [Labor] Rescue July 16, 2015 5:32 PM   Subscribe

I just wanted to call out as fabulous this thread on the concept of emotional labor. It shifted something in the way I see the world and made obvious so many things I noticed every day but thought of as disconnected. There are so many fascinating, honest, brutal, mind-altering stories in that thread; it is worth anyone's time to read it, even if you think you might not be interested.

I give thanks as always to the brilliant and interesting women and men of this community. If Mefis ruled the world...
posted by sallybrown to MetaFilter-Related at 5:32 PM (324 comments total) 103 users marked this as a favorite

Same here. It was eye-opening, informative, and it made me so happy. Thanks to everyone who shared their stories.
posted by Kitteh at 5:33 PM on July 16, 2015


Agreed! I really appreciated it, too.
posted by ocherdraco at 5:44 PM on July 16, 2015


Yes. This.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 5:48 PM on July 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


It was indeed a great thread. I tend to find it obnoxious when people make comments on Mefi along the lines of, "Why don't you just sit back and listen rather than commenting on a subject that doesn't directly effect you, you might actually learn something", but with that thread, I realized early on that I had nothing to add but self-flagellation, so I just read and it was revelatory.
posted by The Gooch at 5:54 PM on July 16, 2015 [20 favorites]


Yeah. I'm really enjoying it.
posted by rmd1023 at 5:56 PM on July 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


(Also the modding on that thread was excellent.)
And big ups to sciatrix for posting.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 5:57 PM on July 16, 2015 [28 favorites]


Emotional labor is sort of my hobbyhorse, but I got my head exploded with some insight into family dynamics that I had never really been able to pin down before. Amazing thread.
posted by Lyn Never at 5:57 PM on July 16, 2015 [10 favorites]


It's definitely one of my recent favorites, and I really appreciate everyone's focus and interest - it's actually required a lot less modding than similar threads have.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 6:14 PM on July 16, 2015 [23 favorites]


This topic came up a while back on the blue in a semi-related thread. It was here on mefi that I first heard emotional work come up as a concept. If anyone remembers that thread please link it! It was similarly grear. Unfortunately I don't remember anything else specific about it.
posted by phunniemee at 6:15 PM on July 16, 2015 [1 favorite]




I think it was a good example of the value of mods being specific and forceful in their early messaging, which seems to have preempted a lot of animosity, which in turn kept things thoughtful and engaging and in a positive spirit. it's an incredibly compelling and valuable thread to read, without the train wreck-iness.
posted by Kybard at 6:34 PM on July 16, 2015 [17 favorites]


Yes, that thread was fantastic, and from the perspective of a guy who is trying to work at being better on this front, hugely useful. So much so that I really wanted to contribute to the thread to say thank you to everyone involved (mods included!), but I thought that would have been making it all about me me me. But I guess this MeTa seems like the right place to say THANK YOU to everyone making that thread a much nicer place, and as an added side benefit, a much more helpful one.
posted by langtonsant at 6:37 PM on July 16, 2015 [12 favorites]


I think it may have been this one? (Thanks to adrienneleigh for just now favoriting a comment I made in that thread over a year ago and effectively pointing me right to it!)
posted by phunniemee at 6:38 PM on July 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


You know, I nearly didn't post the link--I loved the piece, but I thought probably people would be dicks and bog the thread down in rules-lawyering and JAQing off and it would just be a huge headache. I worried a bit about the framing, too--those two summary lines were the hook that had made me click the link in someone else's linkspam, but I worried that they'd really encourage the kneejerk contrarians to push back.

And that didn't happen at all. (Well, it did in a few places, but mods nipped that shit in the bud beautifully before it had a chance to sour. And I'm also grateful for several male posters who backed up female voices and took care to hang out in a supporting role in discussion.) Instead, people shared their stories, and other people made sure to listen, and that turned into a really great discussion.

The thing is, while the original piece is really great, I don't think I had much to do with the thread going so well. I think that the community as a whole was being its best self, and that this discussion was absolutely a function of that. I am so delighted to have helped provide a platform for that best-self kind of discussion. There are women in that thread who really illuminated my understanding of how emotional labor gets shared around. There are dozens and dozens of absolutely beautiful comments there. FelliniBlank, flex and sockermom made my heart ache (hugs for you all!). Peppermint Snowflake made me bark with laughter. We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese made me briefly, delightedly wonderfully about the future, and triggerfinger brought up another awesome way to pay this forward. EmpressCallipygos and Jalliah illustrated how this labor plays out in the workplace in real time. I could go on--actually, I have like a dozen other tabs open with comments I would have liked to spotlight. It's no one person's doing that this thread went well. It's all of us, listening to each other and encouraging each other to bring out different angles on this conversation.

Basically, I really love all you guys right now and I'm feeling pretty fucking soppy.
posted by sciatrix at 6:41 PM on July 16, 2015 [110 favorites]


aw.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 6:48 PM on July 16, 2015


Well, I do think Jalliah buried the lede a bit. How does one get a job where taste-tasting cheese is part of the job description, are they hiring, and do they provide relocation assistance?
posted by The Gooch at 7:40 PM on July 16, 2015 [24 favorites]


Oh, that thread. So GREAT. I've started and then deleted like a half-dozen comments, because the whole topic reaches into all 62 years of my life experience and I really can't begin to jam all that into a quickie MetaFilter comment. It's the kind of thread where, instead of typing out words, I'd like to grab many of the commenters, and teleport us all to somewhere with many comfy sofas, and flomp down and drink lots of wine and talk and talk and talk.
posted by Kat Allison at 7:47 PM on July 16, 2015 [44 favorites]


Yes, it is a great thread.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:51 PM on July 16, 2015


That was an eye-opening post. I just ordered flowers to be delivered to my wife at work on Monday.
posted by double block and bleed at 8:08 PM on July 16, 2015 [23 favorites]


I would've missed the thread if it weren't for friends talking about it, and then seeing it here. Digging in and absorbing it all.
posted by naju at 8:39 PM on July 16, 2015


That was an eye-opening post.

Indeed. I learned that there is a place in the world where adults still expect/send greeting cards.
posted by HiroProtagonist at 8:39 PM on July 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


yep that was it that was the whole thread

just nothing but greeting cards

well done, you got it exactly
posted by KathrynT at 9:02 PM on July 16, 2015 [139 favorites]


Indeed. I learned that there is a place in the world where adults still expect/send greeting cards.

Totally normal in Japan. We do this as a family every year. Division of emotional labour. We live part-time in Japan, most of the time in Canada. In Japan my wife takes care of the "emotional work." In Canada since I know a bit more about what the etiquette and expectations are, I handle it mostly. This includes dealing with teachers, setting up playdates, coordinating or negotiating with family about holidays, dealing with teachers, arranging doctor appointments, getting the kids to buy Christmas presents for the rest of the family... all the things my Mom would have done when I was a kid.
posted by Nevin at 9:51 PM on July 16, 2015


yep that was it that was the whole thread

I sort of wondered why if a wife/female partner was unhappy about taking on unpaid emotional work, she just wouldn't communicate the problem to her husband. I sure hear about it from my wife if I let things slide.
posted by Nevin at 9:53 PM on July 16, 2015


Like any MeTa, please carefully consider whether your comments belong here or on the Blue. Thanks.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 9:54 PM on July 16, 2015 [15 favorites]


I know it's a very large thread on which to chew, but it's so worth it. I have learned a lot, even as someone who considered myself well-versed in the ideas of emotional labor. I've been thinking about it for days. I really am grateful to all the people in the thread who shared their thoughts and stories about emotional labor.

I think that reading that thread will give some interesting answers and thought-provoking commentary on some of the questions about the topic raised in this thread we are in right now, actually.
posted by sockermom at 10:03 PM on July 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


Judging by the earlier comments in this thread I thought that my comments would likely be unwelcome in the thread itself.
posted by Nevin at 10:03 PM on July 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Then they don't fit here either, sorry. This isn't the b-side of the blue thread.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 10:06 PM on July 16, 2015 [84 favorites]


HiroProtagonist: Indeed. I learned that there is a place in the world where adults still expect/send greeting cards.

I'm not sure whether this is precisely eponysterical, but it sure is... eponysomething.

I'll admit I was kind of shocked that the concept of emotional labor was so unfamiliar to people, because it's always felt so distinctly 70s academic feminism popularized to what I'd assume was just kind of common knowledge, even amongst the people who reacted to it. Like one of those bits of radical or progressive theory (taken completely out of context) that everyone "knows about" just because at one point it was trotted out as an example of the excesses of women's/queer/African/Chicano/etc studies by the right wing. Andrea Dworkin on rape, basically, kind of a thing. In retrospect that was extraordinarily blinkered of me.

It was (is?) a really, really good thread.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 10:10 PM on July 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


Was. Now it seems to be a jump-in beat down for membership to a biker gang or something. Hope aph. enjoys his new colors.
posted by phearlez at 10:15 PM on July 16, 2015


yes that is totally a fair estimation of women's legitimate reactions to a dude hijacking a thread about feminism and turning it into LET'S TALK ABOUT ME TIME, with bonuses in the form of biotruths and a highly male gaze coded breast description

i get that it's hard for men to deal with the idea that there are certain places where their opinions are actually less than useless but jesus, dude, cover up your masculine fragility, you're in public
posted by NoraReed at 10:30 PM on July 16, 2015 [97 favorites]


Was. Now it seems to be a jump-in beat down for membership to a biker gang or something. Hope aph. enjoys his new colors.

It's interesting and relevant to the topic of the FPP that you blame the derail on all of the women participating in it rather than the dude who decided to waltz in and repeatedly drop offensive shitbombs.
posted by Conspire at 10:38 PM on July 16, 2015 [81 favorites]


Lewis'_Law.txt
posted by NoraReed at 10:41 PM on July 16, 2015 [9 favorites]


It was a facile and dopey line of thought worthy of dismissal. The abusiveness is bullshit.
posted by phearlez at 10:52 PM on July 16, 2015


It is also interesting and relevant to the topic of the FPP that you characterize firmly-worded and direct statements from women on their own experiences as "abusiveness".
posted by Conspire at 10:59 PM on July 16, 2015 [76 favorites]


that thread is one of those where i'm pretty sure it strengthened the foundation of my marriage. i know it's not metafilter's job to do that, but the way we talk through threads like those really do bring some things into focus. it's also an example of how good a thread can be if every devil's advocate derail isn't allowed. the quick and pointed modding really allowed a better conversation to flourish, i think.
posted by nadawi at 11:00 PM on July 16, 2015 [37 favorites]


It is also interesting and relevant to the topic of the FPP that you characterize firmly-worded and direct statements from women on their own experiences as "abusiveness".

Especially considering how many of the comments in the thread were speaking very eloquently about the actual abuse they've sustained and both the way that it colors expectations regarding emotional labor and the way that expectations regarding emotional labor can enforce it. It's an obvious co-option of a social justice term to describe women not performing the correct amount of emotional labor to be "nice enough" to someone actively acting to disrupt a space that was, before that, mostly centering of womens' experiences. As a woman who generally is not willing to put up with very much bullshit from people who've never bothered to earn the benefit of the doubt and one who has to spend an enormous amount of energy coping with the backlash that comes from having made that choice, this is something I see very, very often, and have very, very little patience for.
posted by NoraReed at 11:09 PM on July 16, 2015 [53 favorites]


It's a great thread. It reminds me some of the one a while back about who's the default parent. That was also eye-opening in a lot of ways and had some really terrific comments from a lot of people.
posted by rtha at 11:10 PM on July 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


NoraReed, one observation that several people on this site have independently shared with me is that while you and I both frequently jump to shut down shittiness with the same degree of abruptness, sarcasm, and bluntness, it's always you who gets accused of and associated with nastiness and in far more severe and retaliatory ways. Surprisingly, when I do that, people will often shut up - whereas when you do that, they'll buckle down and throw a tantrum. I'd like people who think of NoraReed as some kind of shrill SJW harpy, but somehow doesn't think of me in the same way, to think very hard about how gendered assumptions might have played a role in shaping those perspectives.
posted by Conspire at 11:18 PM on July 16, 2015 [88 favorites]


This thread was a wonderful thread, right up to the point where I offered the suggestion that it's possible that one reason women end up bearing the brunt of emotional burden might have something to do with motherhood (which still I think it might). That devolved into a whole other conversation, wherein I mentioned that I felt that I was outside the loop because my daughter's mother provided the most important thing - life-support (breast feeding) - and then some non-parent told me how easy it was to fix that just by getting my partner to pump, and when I explained how that was hard (actually impossible for her) because of her small breasts, we had a regular jump on.. A bunch of comments got deleted, but this was left stand:

Yeah, the breast size thing is really weird, especially considering that "A-cup" is a completely meaningless term for actually describing the size of a breast.
posted by NoraReed at 10:11 PM on July 16 [+] [!]


No, it's not completely meaningless. It's a medical term that professionals use. I explained how the lactation consultants at our (all-woman, no men, no doctors) birth-center referred to my partner's breasts as "A-cups"... and that got deleted, and a bunch of other comments I think, but the original comment stood. I spoke with the mod (r_m) over memail about why the original comment was left stand while the others were deleted, and the mod specified my "appeal to authority" over the experience of women in the thread. I'm literally talking about professionals who do this job every day, vs... what? If it's a derail about the merits of the term "A-cup", delete the comment from aforementioned user about that, which I asked the mod to do. For reference, the professionals who find that term acceptable are of this ilk:

HEAL . LOVE . RESPECT
To heal women through women. To unite as one through love, nurturing, honor, grace, wisdom, consciousness and deep respect. We must become peaceful with one another for all women to move forward into the divine feminine.


I'm not going to take your word over theirs, r_m. If it got into derail-land, delete the whole derail. And don't give me your private appeal to your own authority in memail.
posted by amorphatist at 11:23 PM on July 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


You can google how cup size changes with band size to see how that is a totally useless measurement. It's something men tend to, to borrow a phrase, literally not know what they're talking about when it comes up. It's kind of the lactation consultant to have dumbed it down for you, though.

NoraReed, one observation that several people on this site have independently shared with me is that while you and I both frequently jump to shut down shittiness with the same degree of abruptness, sarcasm, and bluntness, it's always you who gets accused of and associated with nastiness and in far more severe and retaliatory ways.

You should see the shit I get offsite, both from ex-mefites who are mad that I invaded their precious sanctum of boyzone and randos who don't know who I am but are PRETTY SURE that they know LOTS about ~misandry~.
posted by NoraReed at 11:30 PM on July 16, 2015 [61 favorites]


amorphatist, it would be nice if you didn't grudgewank this meta into a shitty proxy argument for stuff you're feeling blueballed about being cut off on the blue.
posted by Conspire at 11:34 PM on July 16, 2015 [57 favorites]


> one reason women end up bearing the brunt of emotional burden might have something to do with motherhood

Yeah, what it has to do with it is that because women can bear children we are assumed to naturally know... when to send birthday cards and how to arrange a schedule for taking food to someone who's sick and when to send out invitations to weddings and how to organize an office party and make dentist appointments and ....

....and seriously, you are acting like you did not read or absorb any of the comments in that thread.

It's not magic. Emotional labor is required of and taught to women because it's assumed that we must already have more natural capacity for it because babies. It's not hard-wired behavior: if it were, we'd hardly need such fierce enforcement of it. Women teach it to their daughters because their mothers taught it to them because their mothers (and aunts and other female relatives) taught it to them and by the same token taught you, and your male ancestors, that it's not your responsibility to care about or even pay attention to stuff like that. You think it happens because of magic or biology or something that has to do with bearing children. It doesn't.
posted by rtha at 11:34 PM on July 16, 2015 [93 favorites]


pssh don't be silly obviously it's because NoraReed always types like this and forgot where her shift key was five incarnations ago Conspire you are not a dude you are an adorable corgi i don't even SEE race gender what are you talking about it's you who are the sexists also Reed has never addressed anyone sincerely, earnestly, directly and unironically in her life without resorting to nigh-Joycean sarcasm out of sheer despair she is always only and forever freeform tumblr verse that is very very angry at about my penis

No, it's not completely meaningless. It's a medical term that professionals use.

No, it's an industrial/commerical term that medical professionals use because they're people. It's also a relative, unfixed measurement of the distance between two fairly arbitrary points and not one of actual breasts, completely eaving aside just how terribly cup sizes can very between or even within brands.

I've flat out had my tits done and just because my surgeon talked about taking me from an H down to a C and I wrestled her down to a B, that doesn't mean when she weighed the removed tissue before sending it off to be biopsied she wrote down the measurements down in letters and not grams. At one appointment she also told me my bag was, quote, "really cute" and also when I came in for before/afters that my tits looked "perky", neither of these are medical terms.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 11:35 PM on July 16, 2015 [35 favorites]


At this point amorphatist we've been crystal clear in repeatedly asking you to let it go. You're not letting it go. Taking it in here as well, I can't see what else I can do but give you the night off.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane (staff) at 11:41 PM on July 16, 2015 [37 favorites]


Conspire you are not a dude you are an adorable corgi

wow

such misandry

much meninism
posted by Conspire at 11:41 PM on July 16, 2015 [23 favorites]


you can tell how angry i am about her penis because of my cruel SJW insistence on the use of the DICKSDICKSDICKS tag
posted by NoraReed at 11:42 PM on July 16, 2015 [10 favorites]


It's odd to me that a parent can have such contempt for a comment on an aspect of parenting from a non-parent, while not being able to see why some women would not care for a comment on motherhood/emotional labor from a man.

I thought the thread was very interesting, and while it went far better than similarly themed threads here, still shows there is always room for improvement.
posted by dogwalker at 11:50 PM on July 16, 2015 [12 favorites]


I wish I could go on a tagging spree and apply that tag to every single post where a guy gets so mad about women doing things that he literally melts his own brain down to an IQ that's so negative it's best expressed in Kelvin.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 11:51 PM on July 16, 2015 [10 favorites]


noooo then how will we find relevant DICKSDICKSDICKS content

also IQ is a terrible, ableist and frequently racist measurement that doesn't actually gauge intelligence, though I do appreciate the combining of the "fake intelligence measurement" with "real temperature measurement" in a 40 gallons of homework way
posted by NoraReed at 12:00 AM on July 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


At this point amorphatist we've been crysta clear in repeatedly asking you to let it go. You're not letting it go. Taking it in here as well, I can't see what else I can do but give you the night off.

I am loathe to any kind of personal callout, but this user has been consistently toxic in thread after thread about feminism, and has been timed out over it before, so I leave it to you to decide what else can be done.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 3:17 AM on July 17, 2015 [25 favorites]


Just jumping in to say that this thread has really shifted my perspective too. It's opened up a long-needed conversation with me and my wife about when & how I need to be a more conscious, caring partner, and where my blind spots are. Really glad we're having this discussion now, before we have kids, so we can try and provide an example of a caring & equitable marriage and partnership. (We'll both always have blind spots, but this was a huge one for me... thank you, Metafilter!)
posted by duffell at 4:36 AM on July 17, 2015 [7 favorites]


Colfax's comment here is an excellent example of emotional labor's effort, invisibility, and presence in the workplace. Please read it.

At this point in the thread, I could make a second and substantive list of emotional labor so that when it is questioned, there's an additional body of evidence.

Thank you, mods, for your work there. Thank you, participants, for your candid stories.
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:36 AM on July 17, 2015 [7 favorites]


Something about that kind of tone (the one evidenced in the derail) just hit me suddenly: there was one strip from the former webcoming Queen of Wands where the main character was complaining about a personal situation she was facing, and the person she was complaining to pointed out the other person's perspective, making it really obvious that the main character had been acting selfishly and foolishly. And her response, after a beat, was to defensively say, "okay, wait. let me try explaining it again so that this time I'm the one who's right."

A lot of the pushback that happens in these threads sounds like people trying to say "no, wait, let me explain it again so that I'm still right." The character in that webcomic came around, but too many others don't.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:40 AM on July 17, 2015 [31 favorites]


Also chiming in to say I really enjoyed that thread, and specifically call out Eyebrows McGee for so perfectly rehashing the exact same conversation I have with my husband every year around Christmas, as well as giving us the line "and go send your college roommate a goddamned "thinking of you!" card so he doesn't croak"
"
.
posted by damayanti at 5:15 AM on July 17, 2015 [13 favorites]


I'm pretty upset about that amorphatist derail there and then here. It's like I'm holding the thread by its corner now and now there's big spot of wet shit sliding down the end of it.

I would like to think in future his combative and condescending tone right off the bat would've resulted in a night off before he got to this thread and did the same thing, because he was either remarkably unable to understand the concept of the thread or lying about having read it.
posted by sallybrown at 5:20 AM on July 17, 2015 [16 favorites]


In the future it won't be an issue because we've warned him a few times and I'm not seeing any kind of improvement here. Middle of the night is the worst time to try and put together a mod consensus so giving him a timeout once he wandered in here was a pretty responsible safety play by goodnewsfortheinsane, but I'm awake now and have zero problem at this point just calling it a for-good ban and being done with this routine.

Sorry about the mess, folks, internet is hard sometimes. Please carry on with the non-blarg portion of the discussion.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:27 AM on July 17, 2015 [92 favorites]


I'd like to thank everyone who took the time to share their stories and perspectives in the thread. I certainly learned a whole lot.
posted by Harald74 at 6:11 AM on July 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Like any MeTa, please carefully consider whether your comments belong here or on the Blue. Thanks.

Pony request? If ever I must be admonished thusly, address me as "Citizen," please.

How does one get a job where taste-tasting cheese is part of the job description

Work at Hickory Farms over Christmas?
posted by octobersurprise at 6:20 AM on July 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm in love with that thread so hard I demand my partner read it. I hope he will.
posted by Kitteh at 6:28 AM on July 17, 2015 [5 favorites]


> Yes, that thread was fantastic, and from the perspective of a guy who is trying to work at being better on this front, hugely useful. So much so that I really wanted to contribute to the thread to say thank you to everyone involved (mods included!), but I thought that would have been making it all about me me me. But I guess this MeTa seems like the right place to say THANK YOU to everyone making that thread a much nicer place, and as an added side benefit, a much more helpful one.

This exactly. So many times I wanted to leave a comment saying "This is a great thread, thanks everyone!"... but that's sort of a conversation-killer, and I'm glad this MeTa was opened so I could say it here. (I'm deeply sorry amorphatist showed up to shit on this thread as well; thanks for removing him from the equation, and I certainly won't shed a tear if it's made permanent.)
posted by languagehat at 6:32 AM on July 17, 2015 [10 favorites]


Kitteh, I just read the cheese-testing comment to my husband. His response: "Boss sounds like a dickhead. Not all men would have said that stuff."

He has never heard of #notallmen, and thus did not understand the pained sound of rage and frustration I emitted.
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:32 AM on July 17, 2015 [57 favorites]


That thread is possibly one of the best/most useful threads I've ever seen on MeFi. Thank you everyone who contributed and also thank you everyone who thought better than to contribute.
posted by griphus at 6:47 AM on July 17, 2015 [24 favorites]


Oh wow, I really appreciate sallybrown calling this thread out because I hadn't seen it. There is so much to read and re-read. The thread is full of other women articulating experiences that I've had in ways that are incredibly illuminating and empowering. Thanks to the people who contributed to that post.
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 7:12 AM on July 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


also thank you everyone who thought better than to contribute.

No problem! I didn't want to make it about me, but now that you're calling me out on this, I agree that I am extremely great
posted by Greg Nog at 7:19 AM on July 17, 2015 [101 favorites]


I really like the add to activity feature making it easy to follow that really good thread even though I had nothing at all to add to the discussion.
posted by MoonOrb at 7:22 AM on July 17, 2015 [8 favorites]


your word over theirs, r_m

I know it's a typo, but now all I can think of is restless_monad.
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:24 AM on July 17, 2015 [11 favorites]


also thank you everyone who thought better than to contribute.

It was the least I could do.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:46 AM on July 17, 2015 [9 favorites]


It's funny/sad. I wound up performing a small amount of emotional labor later in the thread, because I'm self-conscious about my (struggles with) writing and was uncomfortable with being favorited over what I assumed was a semantic misunderstanding based on my choice of words.

I overstepped not only by performing the work, but by assuming responsibility (and blame!) for that part of the discussion -especially when it clearly wasn't about me.

Assumption of this role and labor (soothing, clarifying, explaining)without realizing it until much later, involves past experiences where gender and perceived disability (instead of difference) intersect.

In light of the article, I'm thinking of a more concrete way (or cognitive shortcut, if you will) to avoid this tendency. Perhaps, in some cases: $50 to explain what I really meant.

(after this post of course, because even if I'm engaged in explaining/clarification of self, it's within the context of the discussion. Right? right? ...)

Anyway, add my thanks for awesome thread -While I was aware of the concept of emotional labor based on writings of second-wave feminist authors, I'd mistakenly associated it with child-rearing. Now I have a label and recognition of shared experiences for the type of work my wife and I acknowledged but couldn't quite define.
posted by bindr at 8:23 AM on July 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


I read this as a result of seeing this linked in an AskMe. It did a beautiful job of illustrating the unspoken problem in so many relationship, life, work and money AskMe threads. Not just "how do I (the lady questioneer) address this problem" but "why am I the one having to address this??"
posted by French Fry at 8:25 AM on July 17, 2015 [5 favorites]


I am two weeks out from what was absolutely the worst breakup experience of my life so far and I just wanted to say thank you, thank you, thank you for the thread. It has been so helpful. I knew all this stuff intellectually, but reading other people's stories has really helped me sort through and solidify my realization that I was being exploited for my emotional work and was then subsequently disposed of the moment I made noises about reciprocation. I don't know if I feel better, but I feel like I have made important progress.

I also think we should start some kind of MeFi single-not-by-choice-but-because-men-are-largely-unable-to-do-emotional-work support group.
posted by WidgetAlley at 8:39 AM on July 17, 2015 [50 favorites]


Amazing thread, still wending my way through it. I feel like 'the cheese of patriarchy' needs to get called out for awesomeness.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:47 AM on July 17, 2015 [14 favorites]


A couple weeks ago the man of twists and turns linked to Carol Hanisch's "The Personal is Political," which included a new, retrospective intro by the author.

One of the takeaways for me was the process Hanisch and her NY Radical Women colleagues developed to privilege and politicize so-called "personal problems" that were not taken seriously by the rest of the movement and also give those issues a materialist grounding (Hanisch et al were/are Marxists, after all). What they came up with were discussion groups during which they settled on a couple of topics "(like, Which do/did you prefer, a girl or a boy baby or no children, and why? What happens to your relationship if your man makes more money than you? Less than you?)" everybody chimed in with personal experience, and the meetings closed with some general comments they could agree on. The discussion helped members see that their frustrations and experiences were shared, and also that they were connected to larger, systemic oppression. From there they felt they could make better decisions on the sorts of actions they should take because they'd be more directly linked to women's lived experience.

Anyway, that Emotional Labor thread went just about how I'd guess those old Pro-Woman Line meetings might have gone with the personal stories and the "ah-ha!s" and it has been a fun one to read and learn from. Hanisch might describe it as "therapeutic" rather than political, but then she doesn't really have a problem with that, either:
This is not to deny that these sessions have at least two aspects that are therapeutic. I prefer to call even this aspect “political therapy” as opposed to personal therapy. The most important is getting rid of self-blame. Can you imagine what would happen if women, blacks, and workers (my definition of worker is anyone who has to work for a living as opposed to those who don’t. All women are workers) would-stop blaming ourselves for our sad situations? It seems to me the whole country needs that kind of political therapy.
It's a lot to think about.
posted by notyou at 9:24 AM on July 17, 2015 [13 favorites]


It is indeed a fantastic thread, thank you to everyone. I sent it to my partner as well-- and when he claimed that the whole thing was too long to read, I linked him directly to about 20 comments. It sparked a useful discussion that I think will be ongoing. Having more vocabulary, and reading so much anecdotal support and links to actual research (!!) in that the thread was so, so, so great, you guys. Thanks a million times to everyone.
posted by Kpele at 9:26 AM on July 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


It was a a really good thread, and it got a lot of great perspective on how this happens in pretty much every social sphere (home, office, friends, relationships), which really made it connect with me. And it also reminded me that a lot of the time I should lurk more, instead of posting, which I'm sorry about.
posted by FJT at 9:26 AM on July 17, 2015


Anyway, that Emotional Labor thread went just about how I'd guess those old Pro-Woman Line meetings might have gone with the personal stories and the "ah-ha!s" and it has been a fun one to read and learn from.

The thread linked in the OP is a great response to the eternal "why are you talking about this? everyone already knows this (so you should stop talking about it)" complaint.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:43 AM on July 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


Can I get a hand for sockermom, who generously offered to provide access to a study relevant to the discussion? Because she didn't have to and did anyhow. Thanks, sockermom!
posted by MonkeyToes at 9:51 AM on July 17, 2015 [19 favorites]


I'm in love with that thread so hard I demand my partner read it. I hope he will.

I sent it to my cousin's wife and now my cousin is like I HAVE BEEN BETRAYED and is hiding in the garage with his pet snake who never asks him to call the pediatrician
posted by poffin boffin at 9:54 AM on July 17, 2015 [67 favorites]


The thread linked in the OP is a great response to the eternal "why are you talking about this? everyone already knows this (so you should stop talking about it)" complaint.

And also to the eternal "If you don't allow debate and arguing and opposing viewpoints, there will be nothing to talk about!" complaint.
posted by jaguar at 9:55 AM on July 17, 2015 [22 favorites]


To that effect, I think the thread serves as a great counterpoint to the lower-back tattoo thread. In that people who have insight to the material in the link didn't have to spend most of their time, energy and goodwill defending the validity of the core concept.
posted by griphus at 10:10 AM on July 17, 2015 [28 favorites]


It's a nice 1-2 punch with the livetweeted assdate thread the other day.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:17 AM on July 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


That post and discussion really helped me piece some things together. I'm a 1st career engineer and 2nd career nurse, so I've ended up working side by side with mostly women who perform emotional labor at a pretty damn high level. The thread really helped me see some of my second career responsibilities in a unified way and understand what exactly my preceptors and peers have been trying to teach me. Several puzzling interactions I've seen or participated in make a lot more sense now. This will inform my daily practice.
posted by klarck at 10:47 AM on July 17, 2015 [11 favorites]


It's an excellent, excellent thread. It's not a new concept to me, but I am super grateful for the conversation that provided a vocabulary to talk about the nuances of this complex issue, and even more so for the surehanded moderation that meant people didn't have to spend the majority of their efforts defending the validity of their lived experience. For the first time in a while I actually went back and caught up on the 150-odd new comments that'd been posted since I last read it. I posted it on Facebook even though I normally avoid mentioning MeFi to my IRL friends, because it was just that important that more people see it.

I also sent it to my fiancé explicitly and one of my male best friends and we had a bunch of occasionally-exasperating-but-ultimately-fruitful discussions about it and how to balance those needs in our respective relationships. But mostly that thread made me realize that one of the things I appreciate so much about my current relationship that I have never ever ever had in any previous relationship is that I am not the one doing the vast majority of the emotional work (so it's a good thing I'm marrying him). He has some blind spots when it comes to caring about housework and how to be a good guest when we're out at a dinner party and such things, and sometimes doesn't get why social interaction is exhausting for me even though I am "good at it" (hint: it's because I'm good at it), but for the most part is just a totally lovely man who goes out of his way to check with me about my ongoing level of emotional burden and who I know performs similar duties with his friends. He is doing the majority of the legwork of wedding planning because I have been super stressed about work and I get to tinker around with designing the invitations and making paper bouquets and trust that he will get the logistical shit done because he said he would. And while I obviously know he's awesome, framing that awesomeness in context of emotional labour is kind of a super nice realization to have. I am damned lucky.

It also makes me think about situations in his past where his emotional availability has been taken advantage of and it makes me hulk out so much that anyone would do that to such a lovely human being but that's neither here nor there.
posted by Phire at 10:50 AM on July 17, 2015 [19 favorites]


Thanks for the moderation in this thread and the one on the blue. Sometimes I've wondered if mefi is less able to handle feminist topics these days and I'm relieved to know it still can.
posted by desjardins at 11:08 AM on July 17, 2015 [15 favorites]


Just chiming in to both thank the mods for cutting short that "no really, this thread should absolutely be about the mens" derail and to apologize for my outright all-caps mockery of said derail before it vanished.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 11:20 AM on July 17, 2015 [19 favorites]


> Just chiming in to both thank the mods for cutting short that "no really, this thread should absolutely be about the mens" derail

I caught some of that in my recent activity before it vanished (thank you!) and I gotta say, it puzzles me to no end, because in a thread full of comments about the kind of work that is done, from the very concrete to the more amorphous, some mefites are still insisting that they can't possibly know exactly what's expected or desired in terms of taking up the slack? I really don't get it.
posted by rtha at 11:36 AM on July 17, 2015 [12 favorites]


Are there metrics on the current gender breakdown on MetaFilter / Ask MetaFilter? I would like to think it close to population representative but I have no idea. I assume we aren't representative on race.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:52 AM on July 17, 2015


rtha it must have been frustrating. You were pretty civil to amorphatist and yet he was totally not getting it.

bindr I favorited your comments because they were extremely thoughtful, brought up a nuanced point, and shared your personal experiences. Please don't worry if people favorite you for the wrong reasons, especially when you've clearly thought a lot about it; that's on us.

And that was a really, really great thread. It contributed majorly to my first hitting of the favorite limit. Thank you everyone for sharing your experiences.
posted by halifix at 12:10 PM on July 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


I recognized at least one behavior in the thread that I'm guilty of, and am now working on cutting that crap out. So, nthing that that's a great thread.
posted by Gygesringtone at 12:20 PM on July 17, 2015 [7 favorites]


Are there metrics on the current gender breakdown on MetaFilter / Ask MetaFilter? I would like to think it close to population representative but I have no idea. I assume we aren't representative on race.

Nothing formal. The idea of a site demographic survey comes up now and then, but we haven't done one in a long time; something I'm considering doing at some point.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:21 PM on July 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


I told my co-workers that I relayed our cheese story on a discussion board and a bit about the topic and the response. When I explained that I had related it to emotional labor and patriarchy it led to a great discussion about the dynamics with Bossman.

And now I'm amused to say that 'the cheese of patriarchy' is now our little in office joke.
posted by Jalliah at 12:39 PM on July 17, 2015 [74 favorites]


I believe the cheese of patriarchy is what one is force fed while dancing
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:42 PM on July 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


I believe the cheese of patriarchy is what one is force fed while dancing...on women's feet.
posted by futz at 12:46 PM on July 17, 2015 [14 favorites]


First, it's a really great thread. And an excellent example why "be quiet and listen" is really good advice for men, both on MetaFilter and elsewhere.

rtha: it puzzles me to no end, because in a thread full of comments about the kind of work that is done, from the very concrete to the more amorphous, some mefites are still insisting that they can't possibly know exactly what's expected or desired in terms of taking up the slack? I really don't get it.

Well, aren't the constant requests for explanation and clarification demands for emotional labor? It's not enough to say that the information is out there for the motivated to educate themselves, it must be nicely packaged and served up on demand (preferably in a user-specific way and specially formatted to make it non-threatening)....
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:50 PM on July 17, 2015 [30 favorites]


I mean, it's not like you have anything better to do, do you?
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:53 PM on July 17, 2015 [12 favorites]


I read it as just JAQing off, which is a specific and hostile "you better do this emotional labor for me OR ELSE" thing, generally also done in a "well you better be nice to me or you'll lose a ~VALUABLE ALLY~" way
posted by NoraReed at 12:53 PM on July 17, 2015 [7 favorites]


I don't care if the cheese isn't all that super, i just want to see Cheese of Patriarchy (tm) in a blue and gold wrapper at the deli now.
posted by asockpuppet at 12:53 PM on July 17, 2015 [7 favorites]


Well, aren't the constant requests for explanation and clarification demands for emotional labor?

That brings to mind another aspect of emotional labour that seems obvious in retrospect but that hadn't really occurred to me until just now: When we talk about how exhausting it is to be constantly providing 101 education on social issues (eg feminism racism intersectionality etc) in discussions, part of that is the labour of having read and thought extensively about those issues and spending the time to write them out in a coherent way, but part of it is also emotional labour of striving to maintain balance within a community conversation while still being heard. That, more than the actual act of transmitting information, is absolutely exhausting. You have to take into account the tone of the room and the history of the site and whether or not you're piling on too much or else being too conciliatory and frame your argument in a way that is neither condescending nor overly simplistic while also being polite to people who just told you that your lived experiences are invalid and your perceptions are false because you care about harmony in the community. That's a lot of heavy lifting to do.

And then you think about how many activists get bombarded with such requests on social media from total strangers on a daily basis, people who demand to have their hand held or else risk losing their (non-existent, highly conditional) goodwill as members of the privileged class, and it's no fucking wonder activism burnout is such a big issue.
posted by Phire at 12:58 PM on July 17, 2015 [53 favorites]


I just wanted to thank the mods for being so smart and assertive in that thread. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. I know Metafilter isn't always "about" feminism, but that thread was solid gold. Sometimes the mods are so good that I am in awe. I might start a worship band or something.

And if permabanning anyone who tries to mansplain to women that cup size is a "medical term" is a new hardline site policy, that's fine with me too.
posted by easter queen at 1:14 PM on July 17, 2015 [36 favorites]


I like to imagine the Cheese of Patriarchy being served on Little Toasts of Racism presented on China of Class Warfare at all the swankiest parties!
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:15 PM on July 17, 2015 [31 favorites]


it goes equally well with the wine of transphobia as it does with the sparkling cider of genocide
posted by poffin boffin at 1:18 PM on July 17, 2015 [20 favorites]


This is the worst dinner party I have ever been to.
posted by griphus at 1:20 PM on July 17, 2015 [66 favorites]


Cheese of Patriarchy: curdled with emotional rennet
posted by moonmilk at 1:20 PM on July 17, 2015 [14 favorites]


I find the Cheese of Patriarchy gives me the farts as I'm sometimes mantose intolerant.
posted by barchan at 1:22 PM on July 17, 2015 [46 favorites]


Cheese of Patriarchy: curdled with emotional rennet
posted by moonmilk


I suspect you are just stumping for Big Mooncheese.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:26 PM on July 17, 2015 [5 favorites]


but it's so soft and splainable
posted by moonmilk at 1:27 PM on July 17, 2015 [9 favorites]


Oops, I jumped in with the cheese jokes without also saying that's a great thread and I'm learning a lot.
posted by moonmilk at 1:29 PM on July 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


I linked the metafilter thread (instead of directly linking the main article) on my facebook, specifically because I wanted people to concentrate on individual voices and stories, and see the rising crescendo of "This shit is EXHAUSTING and INVISIBLE."

I made one of my bestest best friends extremely happy after it knocked some sense into her partner, who she has been battling with ever since they started dating. There was some back and forth between him and I with me going "No you're concentrating on the wrong part" and "See the larger trend at play here" but in the end, it worked. You guys worked. My friend is speechless and in tears now, going so far from not even having the right vocabulary to express her frustrations.
posted by erratic meatsack at 1:54 PM on July 17, 2015 [40 favorites]


1) That thread has been so helpful and eye-opening, and it's taught me a lot.

2) It's also taught me that I am a person who shirks emotional labor in partnerships, which is part of why my relationships end up being sucky, and I now have a whole hell of a lot to think about (and learn).

3) The Cheese of Patriarchy is almost certainly one of those little foil-wrapped wedges of spreadable Laughing Cow that manages to be both creamy and rubbery at the same time, and has garlic or herbs mixed in to confuse and trick the senses, and is only 100 calories so no, really, you don't have to feel bad for eating it because it's not going to make you fat you stupid, weak glutton.
posted by mudpuppie at 2:11 PM on July 17, 2015 [15 favorites]


All of the personal testimony in that thread was great, and even if you're already kind of aware of emotional labor as a thing that is foisted on women, it's something else entirely to see all of the particular ways that it manifests, and how (from a man's perspective) you have likely performed some of that offloading in your own life, even if inadvertently. So, thanks, y'all!
posted by invitapriore at 2:45 PM on July 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


[Couple comments removed; I really don't want us going off onto an argument about specific user behavior in this thread if we can manage it.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:59 PM on July 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


I've participated more in this thread than I have in any other on the blue in years. Not because other conversations weren't nifty or fun or engaging. I'm just a lurker a lot of the time. This conversation speaks so directly to my experiences, though, and it makes me so damn happy to see other people talking about this stuff, clearly, articulately, intelligently. And with so little mansplaining and recentering around The Dudes! I am super grateful to the mods for keeping the conversation on point and running smoothly, and super grateful to this community for being the awesome thing it continues to be. (This makes up for that goshawful thread a while back about difficulties getting medical care when fat. Ugh. So much erasure of people's experiences. That one made me cry.)
posted by lriG rorriM at 3:01 PM on July 17, 2015 [15 favorites]


I don't care if the cheese isn't all that super, i just want to see Cheese of Patriarchy (tm) in a blue and gold wrapper at the deli now.

Hmm...well I do design a lot of our labels....
posted by Jalliah at 3:02 PM on July 17, 2015 [9 favorites]


Yes, great thread. I thought about it a lot this morning while I was passing around a birthday card for one of my colleagues. I have, on multiple occasions, had male coworkers describe me as intimidating (check that square on your bingo card!), yet I'm the one with a box of assorted greeting cards in her desk. Hasn't done a thing for my reputation, either.
posted by Ruki at 3:20 PM on July 17, 2015 [7 favorites]


I always wonder if the people who shitpost in threads like this are like, on call or something. There's ALWAYS someone to concern troll it up or just generally walk in to the room and rip a huge loud noxious fart.

Do they have pagers? Do they get overtime if the shitposting happens at 3am?

I have so many questions.

When i read the original post and started to read the thread though all i could think was "wow, someone is going to get really saddlesore about this and BUT BUT BUT to infinity". And surely enough...


Absolute best of the web though, overall.
posted by emptythought at 3:44 PM on July 17, 2015 [15 favorites]


I really like 'saddlesore' as a replacement for 'butthurt.'
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:50 PM on July 17, 2015 [35 favorites]


I just want to extend a heartfelt thank you to all who contributed. My husband sent me a link to the thread with a note about him recognizing all the emotional labor I do and how he appreciates it/me. It's an old conversation we've had but you all articulated it so much better than I could ever hope to. He loves MeFe and this isn't the first time I've noticed this community accelerate his growth in awesomeness. Thank you.
posted by Aunt Maude at 4:08 PM on July 17, 2015 [23 favorites]


Okay, since I don't think anybody posted this yet (and since it got stuck in my head seeing this thread title):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9iw_BE_X9sA
posted by I-baLL at 4:21 PM on July 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've never understood what emotional labor means until now. It's like seeing reality in a new light and I better understand the crap that my mother and sister have to deal with on a daily basis. Not just doing the emotional labor part but also being seen as unkind or defective if they don't do emotional labor for all the people in their lives.

Thank you everyone for sharing your experiences and taking the time and energy - emotional work again! - to explain what this is all about for the nth time to people like me.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 5:05 PM on July 17, 2015 [7 favorites]


I always wonder if the people who shitpost in threads like this are like, on call or something.

I think of them as "Dodgsons". Remember that scene in Jurassic Park where the guy named Dodgson shows up - you know, the guy there to screw up the other people's world out of selfishness and greed - and walks into the scene totally out of place, knowing nothing about the situation, but immediately tries to establish his authority and is all, "This is the way it should be! This is the way it is!" by asking Nedry to not use his name? So Nedry waves his arms and goes, "Dodgson! Dodgson! We've got Dodgson here!" and then goes, "Nobody cares. Nice hat. What are you trying to look like, a secret agent?"

So when guys show up to shit in threads like this - in a fedoras instead of a panama/trilby hat - I always mutter, "Dodgson! We've got Dodgson here!" When they're smacked down I mutter, "Nobody cares. Nice hat," and cackle. Not saying we're Nedrys but yeah, those guys. . . totally Dodgsons.
posted by barchan at 5:16 PM on July 17, 2015 [55 favorites]


I always wonder if the people who shitpost in threads like this are like, on call or something. There's ALWAYS someone to concern troll it up or just generally walk in to the room and rip a huge loud noxious fart.

I wonder this too, and it's annoying in part because there's this sort of impasse that develops where whoever's on duty in this rotation reacts with apparent surprise that they're being implicated as trolls, and the other people in the discussion can't generally bring up the fact that it's one thing to have a position and another to doggedly attempt to advance it in every thread possible (even across wildly different topics linked only by the fact that they concern issues affecting, e.g., women) without violating the "don't bring up a user's history" rule. That's a good rule, and I'm not advocating that it change, but I think in this case it repeatedly leads to a frustrating dynamic.
posted by invitapriore at 5:19 PM on July 17, 2015 [10 favorites]


I love that thread so hard. I started explaining it and the concept of emotional labor to my husband as I was reading it and thanked him for being emotionally involved in our marriage, our lives, and our children's lives (and yes, I've said it to him before, and he also often expresses his appreciation of the work I do). Our 18-year-old son was present as well and said, "But why *wouldn't* men want to be emotionally involved and do the work, too?" He really, honestly couldn't comprehend it.

I feel really, really good about that. Also, apparently I'm really freaking lucky that I purposefully sought out a partner who is the absolute opposite of my father and I was successful.
posted by cooker girl at 5:24 PM on July 17, 2015 [41 favorites]


*bill arrives, awkward moment* Don't get cheap on me, Dodgson.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 5:35 PM on July 17, 2015 [8 favorites]


The point that barchan made about how "women 'stepping up' to get things done is not just expected and unappreciated, it's called 'teamwork'; but when guys do it, it's called 'leadership'" is brilliant and I've been thinking about it all day. It applies to the careers of so many women I know.
posted by thetortoise at 5:40 PM on July 17, 2015 [50 favorites]


Update: Mr Ruki went golfing tonight, so Kid Ruki and I had dinner on our own. He came home with a bag of Taco Bell, which Kid Ruki loves. He pulled a taco out of the bag, said, "Oops, wrong one," and handed KR her favorite taco. And that, dear readers, is why I married him.
posted by Ruki at 6:48 PM on July 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


I love the thread too! Also because now I know there are other people who mentally argue with patriarchy in the shower. My showers are like 80% argument, 10% thinking about my hair, 10% actual washing. I felt SO ALONE in this secret weirdness!
posted by E. Whitehall at 9:00 PM on July 17, 2015 [50 favorites]


I am so stealing Eyebrows McGee's "I have been having a hypothetical fight with you in my head and now I'm really mad at you."

Hopefully my husband will be just as understanding. I will up the odds by warning him that this is something I've been struggling with in my head not because of him but because Patriarchy Cheese.

(It's going to be a fun conversation.)
posted by erratic meatsack at 9:10 PM on July 17, 2015 [7 favorites]


That thread and article made me want to be a better husband. And I'm not even married! I did want to show the article to my fiance and discuss it, but I haven't actually talked to her in days because she joined the Coast Guard and is out floating around somewhere.
posted by A Bad Catholic at 9:54 PM on July 17, 2015 [22 favorites]


Did the influence of MeFi have any effect on her decision to join up? Did she truly Join The Coast Guard And Rescue People For A Living?

(Regardless, good for her! But it would make me so happy if someone finally took Cool Papa Bell's advice.)
posted by ocherdraco at 11:51 PM on July 17, 2015 [16 favorites]


I always wonder if the people who shitpost in threads like this are like, on call or something. There's ALWAYS someone to concern troll it up or just generally walk in to the room and rip a huge loud noxious fart.

I think it's much easier to explain than this. Many MetaFilter users are straight men in relationships with women, or who have been in relationships with women. And if you're in that situation, you read that article, and you read the comments, and you reflect on your situation, and you ask yourself how you're doing, and very naturally you start to say "OK but what about -- OK but in my relationship -- OK but here's how my own personal situation doesn't exactly match the article because my wife doesn't like birthday cards either" -- or whatever. So there are thousands of people reading the thread and having this kind of reaction.

Of those thousands, most of us are going to take a step back and say, you know where would be a great, relevant, useful place to talk about the exact particulars of my relationship and how it does and doesn't fit into this schema? In my house, with my wife.

But out of those thousands, there's always going to be some people who just can't hold it in and have to talk about birthday cards in the thread. Whoever's otherwise having a cruddy day or the 1-in-100 straight man whose wife is actually crap at emotional labor or whatever.
posted by escabeche at 5:54 AM on July 18, 2015 [44 favorites]


Of those thousands, most of us are going to take a step back and say, you know where would be a great, relevant, useful place to talk about the exact particulars of my relationship and how it does and doesn't fit into this schema? In my house, with my wife.

Preach, escabeche. Thank you.
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:03 AM on July 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


I wrote this in the emotional labor post, and I re-post here, because I am still working out just how the "But it's not that way for me" dynamic plays out across MeFi discussions.

I am working my way through Deoridhe's comment, but particularly this and this:

when errors are brought up or critiques are made the conversation is quickly bent towards "stop making me feel bad"

"I don't really thing members of X group are people with internal experiences I should think about"


The quick bend *does* something. It's a rhetorical jump toward steering the conversation along a particular line of certainty, an alleviation of discomfort, and a foreclosing of any other possible responses, such as quiet self-examination, or articulated empathy, or recognition that this is a real dynamic for others that one has never known existed. The quick bend is a continuation of the refusal to see how it is for someone else. It comes across as dismissive and defensive, and as a rejection of a good faith effort to explain a subjective experience.

Your momentary discomfort and recognizing my humanity puts us on more congruent terms of discussion. As long as your first and only response is #notallmen, you are re-creating the dynamic that I am trying to explain to you. Believe me. Actively process what I say. Make listening, empathy, and self-examination options in responding before resorting to "But I don't do that." See whether it makes a difference to the shape of the subsequent conversation.
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:07 AM on July 18, 2015 [19 favorites]


Kpele: I sent it to my partner as well-- and when he claimed that the whole thing was too long to read, I linked him directly to about 20 comments.

This is nuts, 'cause he's making you do the emotional work of sorting out the wheat while you're trying to tell him about emotional labor. So insidious. If my husband sent me a thread and said, "This is really important to me and how I feel and how the world treats me," I'm fairly certain I would read the whole damn thing. This made me realize I've been a little reluctant to send my dude the thread link, because I'm afraid of just the same outcome.
posted by lauranesson at 7:25 AM on July 18, 2015 [94 favorites]


the thing about #notallmen is even if a man doesn't personally engage in this behavior, every woman in his life has had it done to her by someone. so even if you are 100% perfect at not offloading emotional labor, it's worthwhile to stop and listen and learn how the women in your life have been affected.
posted by desjardins at 8:48 AM on July 18, 2015 [40 favorites]


This made me realize I've been a little reluctant to send my dude the thread link, because I'm afraid of just the same outcome.

I just groaned inwardly in recognition. Yes.
posted by Lexica at 10:35 AM on July 18, 2015 [14 favorites]


That thread has been pretty amazing and I'm glad so many have shared. I know it's not about that but I sent several postcards this morning. One was from a trip to the UK in December. One was from the 80s and I don't know why I still had it but it had a mule deer on it and allowed me to write about deer. People like deer, is my theory.
posted by mountmccabe at 11:22 AM on July 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


tl;dr?

/s
posted by Pyrogenesis at 11:48 AM on July 18, 2015


Did the influence of MeFi have any effect on her decision to join up? Did she truly Join The Coast Guard And Rescue People For A Living?

She was actually already in the Coast Guard when I met her. And she doesn't so much rescue people these days as much as she murders ice floes and help ships get unstuck from the ice.
posted by A Bad Catholic at 11:58 AM on July 18, 2015 [12 favorites]


Now I have great mental images of her breaking up ice floes with her own two (properly protected) hands. Please do not disabuse me of this. :D
posted by ocherdraco at 12:25 PM on July 18, 2015 [13 favorites]


Using Kung Fu.

She's also wearing aviator shades in my head.
posted by winna at 1:31 PM on July 18, 2015 [17 favorites]


"Are there metrics on the current gender breakdown on MetaFilter / Ask MetaFilter? I would like to think it close to population representative but I have no idea. I assume we aren't representative on race." — posted by Going To Maine

Yay, I think I can help! I surveyed MetaFilter in 2010 and 2012 for my PhD thesis and found the following info that might be of interest (starts at page 150 of the thesis here, if you like):

(summarizing Table 14) In 2010 the gender breakdown was 63% male, 35% female, 1% QUILTBAG, 1% declined to state; In 2012 the gender breakdown was 51% male, 43% female, 4% QUILTBAG, 2% declined to state. There are some methodological and other factors that add some caveats to this, but the sample size is large and the data are internally and externally valid.

(copied from my thesis, re: other surveys) "Warnick (2010) reported 48% Male, 47% Female, 10% declined to state in his 2009 survey data. Sessions (2010) and Lawton (2005) both reported results from a survey conducted in 2004 by MetaFilter user ‘fvw’. Referring to the same data, Sessions reported fvw’s findings differently, with MetaFilter being 68% male (Lawton reported 63% male). The survey data are no longer available for verifying the actual results."
posted by iamkimiam at 3:13 PM on July 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


[One comment deleted. "I don't believe what people are saying in the thread" isn't a productive way to join the conversation at this point. If you find this all silly, go ahead and spend time on something else, don't come in here and start a flamewar.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 3:31 PM on July 18, 2015 [34 favorites]




Gone now, and for the better.
posted by Too-Ticky at 4:02 PM on July 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yeah, flagging stuff like that is always a good first step.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 4:04 PM on July 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


I dunno. It feels weird to flag someone's well-meant advice, even if I disagree with it. Which in this case I did.
But I'm still glad it's gone.
posted by Too-Ticky at 4:10 PM on July 18, 2015


If it's something that's going off on a weird tangent, or is clearly going to spark a giant debate (or similar problem), you can flag just to put it on our radar, too.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 4:13 PM on July 18, 2015


I flagged it and also hit the contact form to say that I thought it was victim-blaming bullshit. It may have been well-meant, but the road to Hell and all...

It's good to remember that flagging, and even using the contact form, is just saying "Hey, could you take a look at this?" sometimes with a "...pronto??" note to it. The mods will act on it according to their best judgment. I feel like flagging and using the contact form is a way of helping them stay aware of the general emotional mood of the place: okay, here's a thing that at least one user thinks is a problem. If enough people flag things they think are inappropriate, I'm guessing it would help them calibrate their sense of what's okay and what's not.
posted by Lexica at 4:14 PM on July 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


I feel like I said this in a previous discussion, but QUILTBAG is not an actual gender identity category and shouldn't be used as such. It may be inclusive of non-binary gender identities and transgender individuals, but I don't think that it means what you want it to in that context.
posted by gingerbeer at 6:17 PM on July 18, 2015 [17 favorites]


yes, thank you, gingerbeer. That raised my eyebrow too. Half of those letters have nothing to do with gender ID.
posted by desjardins at 6:45 PM on July 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


WRT angry guys coming in; it's gotta be hard to read an entire thread of rage and not take it personally when you're a member of the class being raged at.
posted by Ambient Echo at 8:53 PM on July 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


That's an understandable impulse on people's part.

But it's also one that members in disadvantaged groups (in whatever context) have been asking people in advantaged groups (in whatever context) to get better about -- understanding that it's not about them, that they should step back, consider just reading along instead of kneejerk protesting. We've had a bunch of people who are doing exactly that and have said they're getting a lot out of that approach (for example men in this thread).

It makes better conversations possible too, if for example, you can have a lot of different women talking about how this dynamic works in their family, as opposed to five reiterations of the same "but it's not true of all men" loop.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:59 PM on July 18, 2015 [40 favorites]


I feel like I said this in a previous discussion, but QUILTBAG is not an actual gender identity category and shouldn't be used as such. It may be inclusive of non-binary gender identities and transgender individuals, but I don't think that it means what you want it to in that context.

Yeaaaah. Not to mention that "transgender" is not necessarily in and of itself a gender identity. A trans woman is still a woman, she's not some kind of mysterious Third Option here--so you're missing out on, e.g., binary trans people by categorizing "QUILTBAG" as "neither male nor female." You're also likely to be confusing people like me who are QUILTBAG but who are also male or female--I mean, as a cis ace lady, what do you 'want' me to pick? Different people will guess that you want different things depending on how they're primed while answering the survey, and you'll really muddy the water on the results.

For that reason I think that the QUILTBAG identity data basically has to be thrown out of theorizing at best. At worst it actually destabilizes your other gender results--what if you have more queer women than men and they wind up being disproportionately likely to check 'QUILTBAG' instead, for example?
posted by sciatrix at 9:23 PM on July 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


WRT angry guys coming in; it's gotta be hard to read an entire thread of rage and not take it personally when you're a member of the class being raged at.

Adults learn to manage their emotions. There's an option of closing the browser and taking a walk and not giving into kneejerk reactions and assuming you're being raged at or attacked when you aren't.

Also, that was hardly "an entire thread of rage." Maybe exasperation, and exasperation that can be understood, especially as people recount and share their own personal experiences.
posted by discopolo at 11:18 PM on July 18, 2015 [52 favorites]


Any emotion showed by a woman gets put in the "rage" category because we're expected to be so NICE and ACCOMMODATING all the fucking time.
posted by NoraReed at 12:00 AM on July 19, 2015 [78 favorites]


Thanks for the comments on the QUILTBAG label in my data. I should have mentioned my rationale for using it in the original comment, but this gives me the opportunity to address it more directly.

The 2012 survey was a free form fill in type question and many participants responded to it with non-gender ID labels. When the data were normalized I had over 370 unique responses from over 1500 participants.

In trying to decide what to do about this, I reached out to Twitter, Facebook and other places (I think I may have even written anonymous AskMe). The QUILTBAG label was suggested and then overwhelmingly preferred to anything else ('other' was repeatedly suggested, then rejected, for obvious reasons). The 2010 survey was not entirely free form fill in but had four categories (which were less problematic than binary gender categories but still troublesome, and prompted the methodological change for 2012), and the non-binary gender categories accounted for less than 1% of the responses. Some of the fourth category fill in responses in 2010 were also not gender IDs per se.

In the end, I went with the label I felt best represented all the data I actually had (as provided by the participants themselves), and was preferred by those who responded to my enquiry about how to label the data.

Thanks again for bringing this up, and giving me the opportunity to explain the rationale behind the label!
posted by iamkimiam at 12:17 AM on July 19, 2015 [11 favorites]


tldr; the label 'QUILTBAG' came about after data collection, not during. It was a result of the responses in the data and discussions with others about how to refer to this collection; the label could have been anything, but it was important to me to get it as close to representing the actual data responses I had. I agree with you all saying that it's not a gender ID category and possibly a non-conventional way to use the label, but I think in this case it very aptly describes the responses.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:52 AM on July 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


That thread is amazing. It should probably be sidebarred.
posted by limeonaire at 1:23 AM on July 19, 2015 [12 favorites]


I also quite like the #FeminismThroughDadJokes side topic in that thread. That's the best thing I've heard since 'F*ck That: A Guided Meditation'. MetaFilter has been good for my mental health this week.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:31 AM on July 19, 2015 [21 favorites]


I love #FeminismThroughDadJokes, and am super disappointed that (as the dad) I can't use it to full effect. I wonder if I can convince my partner to tell dad jokes ... a win for her if the kids start bugging me instead of her, and I get to be the one doing ALL THE EYE ROLLS. I'm pretty okay with that trade off.
posted by langtonsant at 3:56 AM on July 19, 2015


One thing that thread did for me was give me better vocabulary for articulating the kind of toxic dynamics I see going on in my workplace and others, i.e., the women on staff are expected to be team players (in the sense of 100% supporting what some guy wants to do) but are left doing three times more work than their male co-workers, which the guys leave for them to do, and when these women raise the point that they're overworked, the guys pfft at them and say "but no one expressly asked you to do those things, ergo that's on you", and the way any sort of pushback, resistance, or - heavens forfend - emotion is regarded as being a bitch or hysterical. There is a sort of cushion the male staff rest on, it's supported by the women in this place, and the guys either don't notice or don't care. I've always had difficulty illustrating this, but that thread really helped me bring my thoughts together, so thanks for that!
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 4:37 AM on July 19, 2015 [23 favorites]


This made me realize I've been a little reluctant to send my dude the thread link, because I'm afraid of just the same outcome.

I've been pushing for my husband to read it and finally this morning he said that he was afraid to read it because he thought he was going to have to comment. I told him that it was a shut-up-and-listen thread, and he said, no, he meant it was 500 comments and he was going to have to talk to me about it. I said "that's emotional labor".

He's reading the thread.
posted by immlass at 10:16 AM on July 19, 2015 [54 favorites]


I've sent this thread to so many people. I'm going to be months thinking about this, and the complicated way it interacts with my existence as a trans woman.
posted by Ambient Echo at 10:33 AM on July 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


The emotional depth of that thread is incredible; my mind is reeling -- I think I must be suffering a version of the bends.

It's the thread I'd point to to show what's unique and valuable about Metafilter.

I wonder what the word count is -- is it up to novel length yet?

It certainly has the feel of a new form of literature to me, in any case.
posted by jamjam at 11:51 AM on July 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've been loving it too, and had so much food for thought from it. Word count was up to 95,000 when I checked earlier. Displayed words only, but I didn't take the comment footers etc. out.
posted by ambrosen at 12:00 PM on July 19, 2015


Thanks for this meta! I missed the thread and it is in fact a very good thread.
But so, also, vis a vis this post by languagehat:

This exactly. So many times I wanted to leave a comment saying "This is a great thread, thanks everyone!"... but that's sort of a conversation-killer, and I'm glad this MeTa was opened so I could say it...


Not to derail but is this a consensus? I often have nothing much to say but feel like a positive "Great work" comment is helpful and encourages engagement.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:26 PM on July 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


I guarantee it's not a consensus; almost nothing is. It's my personal observation, and it doesn't apply to everything (I often leave "Great work" comments myself), but when a thread consists largely of women sharing their experiences and remarking on how liberating it is to be able to do that and how much they're learning from each other, I just feel like a guy wandering by (so to speak) and going "Hey, ladies, great stuff you got going on there!" wouldn't be the best thing. I exaggerate, of course, and I know they appreciate male support, but that's what I had in mind. Take it for what it's worth (five cents, same as in town).
posted by languagehat at 4:44 PM on July 19, 2015 [7 favorites]


As languagehat says, I think it depends on the topic and the tone of the comments in the thread. I try to stay away from comments that could boil down to "Thanks for being oppressed so that I can learn to be a better person!" For me, variations of "I hear you and I'm listening" can work, but I usually try to save those for situations where it seems like someone shared something really wrenching and personal and for whatever reason, it's been ignored or glided over or it seems like people aren't addressing it (either because they missed or just don't seem to know what to say). If there's already a "Yes! And!" series of responses running, then it can seem to break the momentum.

For well-crafted posts about music or cats or something, I think "Great work!" or "Thanks!" directed at the OP can make sense.
posted by jaguar at 4:58 PM on July 19, 2015 [10 favorites]


For me, variations of "I hear you and I'm listening" can work, but I usually try to save those for situations where it seems like someone shared something really wrenching and personal and for whatever reason, it's been ignored or glided over or it seems like people aren't addressing it (either because they missed or just don't seem to know what to say)

I see the emotional labour you did there...
posted by Thella at 5:24 PM on July 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


Interesting. Aight, noted.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:28 PM on July 19, 2015


I see the emotional labour you did there...

It's emotional labor I'm happy to do, because I think it makes the community better. (I mean, I'm happy to do it in threads I'm already in. I don't, like, scour MetaFilter looking for wrenching-and-unresponded-to comments. That would be weird and exhausting.)
posted by jaguar at 6:19 PM on July 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Chiming in that I also love the post and I've read every word of it. It has been revelatory for me.

Also, I was just reading askme and came to this question and it made my heart grow a few sizes to see several people in there rightly identifying that the other wife was doing emotional labor on behalf of her husband, attempting to pull the OP wife into it, and advising her to JUST SAY NO. Keep on going forth and spreading the good word, my awesome mefites!
posted by triggerfinger at 7:08 PM on July 19, 2015 [10 favorites]


To that effect, I think the thread serves as a great counterpoint to the lower-back tattoo thread.

I said that to a friend of mine when we were chatting last night as I read through. The thread prompted me to talk about something I'd kept silent on for 18 months because it is hard, as someone said in thread, to take the anger to the right place.

Yeah I'm fucking angry, yeah I'm raging - because he fucked up in a way that men keep fucking up. I am sick and tired of assholes, when confronted with their bad behaviour, turning around and crying about how they feel bad now. And that's not an exaggeration, I got told last year (read my posts and guess who) (not my husband) that "when you're angry at me about these things, I feel like I'm a bad person and I'm not, it's not fair that you make me feel like I'm a bad person just because you're hurt by something I did". All because I said "I have a boundary and a sensitive spot and you know that and still decided to share something that wasn't yours to share" and dared to be hurt instead of pasting on a smile and pretending that I'm fine.

I am done with that. I am no longer pretending I am happy, that things are okay, just so some asshole who can't think further than the words spilling off his own tongue can keep feeling good about himself.
posted by geek anachronism at 10:40 PM on July 19, 2015 [48 favorites]


That hurts me to read. Hug.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 12:21 AM on July 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


This post and the other thread are making me proud I support Metafilter. That's all.
posted by yoHighness at 1:25 AM on July 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


Ingredients: Pasteurized milk, glass ceilings, modified milk ingredients, mansplaining, bacterial culture, rape culture, salt, sugar, honey, sweetie, baby, microbial enzymes, lavaballs.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:19 AM on July 20, 2015 [22 favorites]


Geek Anachronism, he should feel bad because he is being a bad person (being inconsiderate is something bad people do after all). But even if he weren't being a bad person, just because someone is a good person does not mean there isn't room for improvement.
posted by Meeks Ormand at 8:03 AM on July 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


I am loving the thread and thank sciatrix, who has, BTW, started a number of excellent discussions in her relatively short tenure here on MeFi. So, there's that.
posted by Sophie1 at 9:52 AM on July 20, 2015 [12 favorites]


...just because someone is a good person does not mean there isn't room for improvement.

My own definition of a "good person," or at least the standard of a good person I try to live up to, includes the inevitability of improvement, or at least the inevitability of the opportunity to improve. And the way that opportunity is handled goes far toward defining the character of an individual. And while obviously "good" and "bad" are imprecise terms at best, a lot of the issues that dudes have in re: emotional labor is coming from a place where "I'm not a bad person" is good enough. But the problem is when you have that mindset, when you consider your current behavior as the apex of what you're capable of, there's nowhere to go but down.
posted by griphus at 10:11 AM on July 20, 2015 [20 favorites]


(NB: That's not directly addressing geek anachronism's comment at all, just a general observation spurred by the reply.)
posted by griphus at 10:13 AM on July 20, 2015


My own definition of a "good person," or at least the standard of a good person I try to live up to, includes the inevitability of improvement, or at least the inevitability of the opportunity to improve.

Reminds me of the idea of fixed vs. growth mindsets.
A “fixed mindset” assumes that our character, intelligence, and creative ability are static givens which we can’t change in any meaningful way, and success is the affirmation of that inherent intelligence, an assessment of how those givens measure up against an equally fixed standard; striving for success and avoiding failure at all costs become a way of maintaining the sense of being smart or skilled. A “growth mindset,” on the other hand, thrives on challenge and sees failure not as evidence of unintelligence but as a heartening springboard for growth and for stretching our existing abilities.
posted by jaguar at 10:45 AM on July 20, 2015 [19 favorites]


I can understand that we might all yearn for unconditional love and approval that never stops flowing, but really, none of us are unconditionally fabulous and mega-perfect, so we need to adjust. (Target of this comment is boyfriend who doesn't want to feel like a bad person.)
posted by puddledork at 10:53 AM on July 20, 2015 [5 favorites]


I can understand that we might all yearn for unconditional love and approval that never stops flowing, but really, none of us are unconditionally fabulous and mega-perfect, so we need to adjust.

I've been working on finding some kind of phrase that encapsulates the dichotomy of "I know you're not a bad person and I trust that you're not TRYING to hurt me," but combines it with, "But that doesn't mean you get to treat me however you want just because your intentions are good."

The closest I think I've gotten is, You can have unconditional love but there's no such thing as unconditional approval.
posted by WidgetAlley at 11:37 AM on July 20, 2015 [23 favorites]


I've been pushing for my husband to read it and finally this morning he said that he was afraid to read it because he thought he was going to have to comment. I told him that it was a shut-up-and-listen thread, and he said, no, he meant it was 500 comments and he was going to have to talk to me about it. I said "that's emotional labor".

He's reading the thread.


In our house, where we're both pretty avid readers and enjoy sharing things (but don't always have an interest in things that blow the other person's skirt up) we have taken to asking each other "are you suggesting this because you think I'll like it or because it's important to you/you want to talk about it?" But that is because otherwise we'd get wound up in our own pet bugaboos and eventually the other person wouldn't ever get to pick their own leisure reading items.

On the issue of sharing this thread with other people, I had not intended to bring it up while out to dinner with another couple and their toddler on Friday. But my wife's coworker mentioned that someone on this kickball league she's associated with (but has not had time to play with for the last two years because kiddo) is on Jeopardy and you would not believe the bullshit Trebek said to him...

At which point I said oh wow I head about that. Oh did you see it? No, this discussion going on... and we spent a lot of time talking about the idea of emotional labor and distribution and how men benefit and survival and support networks and and and.

For anyone who cares, apparently being snarky to this dude during and between rounds was an ongoing activity for Trebek, who thought "stay-at-home-dad" was a good pronoun substitute. File along with all the other "patriarchy hurts everyone" supporting material.
posted by phearlez at 12:06 PM on July 20, 2015 [12 favorites]


I've been working on finding some kind of phrase that encapsulates the dichotomy of "I know you're not a bad person and I trust that you're not TRYING to hurt me," but combines it with, "But that doesn't mean you get to treat me however you want just because your intentions are good."

Also: "Your intentions matter less when we've talked about this 50,000 freaking times already. The fact that you are not accepting -- or are not remembering -- that XX hurts is very much on you and not on me, and at some point you can't play innocent and blame "intentions" any longer."

Okay, where's that punching bag? I need to take out some anger now.
posted by mudpuppie at 12:39 PM on July 20, 2015 [30 favorites]


Thank you mudpuppie, I am now going to try to commit that line to memory.
posted by HotToddy at 12:43 PM on July 20, 2015


For anyone who cares, apparently being snarky to this dude during and between rounds was an ongoing activity for Trebek, who thought "stay-at-home-dad" was a good pronoun substitute.

Interesting, and good to know -- I thought the contestant looked annoyed at Trebek's idiotic assumptions, which was a point in the contestant's favor for me.
posted by jaguar at 12:43 PM on July 20, 2015


I know nothing about this person, nor do I care to assign blame or lionization to anyone, but running in circles that have a fair number of male primary caregivers I can tell you - being irked at that shit doesn't necessarily indicate any high (or any) degree of feminism. There are plenty of dads who don't get that the sneering or minimizing of their efforts is just the flip side of minimizing what women do, and hurts them way less than it does women.

For example, I used to be peeved on my own behalf when in the grocery and someone would call my shopping list a "mommy list," because fuck you - I wrote that! It's annoying to have your competency challenged. But that's not about me, really, or any belief that I couldn't have made that list. It's an expectation that a woman made that list for me because this is her job. I'm just seen as lowering myself briefly to doing women's work in between the important work of making the moneys! See: taking care of your kids being called "babysitting" when you're a dude.

So stopped saying no, it's a daddy list and now I say no, it's my shopping list; mommy's busy earning the money so we can pay for it.

And yes, it's fucking insane that this is common enough for this to come up multiple times. Seriously what the actual, people. Your kids hear you when you describe shit this way.
posted by phearlez at 1:33 PM on July 20, 2015 [13 favorites]


Trebek is terrible generally. I think someone pointed out that asking every woman about how she met her partner/how he proposed/something about the wedding looked bad, so he asks more of the dudes about it now, too. The tone's still different, though. (I'm pretty sure that they won't let me on Jeopardy because I can't promise not to kick him in the pants or not correct his mispronunciations or give him the lingering fish-eye when he gets knowier-than-thou.)

On a more direct note, this thread has really inspired me to think about addressing some familial dynamics, and how I can do that in a way that works for the particular dynamics of the family; I'm pretty sure I'd have let it lie and just been miserable for years without the benefit of the thread. So Thank You!
posted by julen at 1:40 PM on July 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


For example, I used to be peeved on my own behalf when in the grocery and someone would call my shopping list a "mommy list,"

Hear you there. I did all the food shopping and cooking until the divorce. When I pick boy up for a week we make the list together in the car on the way to the supermarket.

It was not true and I guess I am mean but one day that happened for the nth time and I whispered in this older lady's ear that his mother was dead. I'll bet she never did that again. Kid heard me but waited until we were in the car to ask. Now he does it all on his own and I give them the death stare and we can barely get out of the store fast enough to keep the laughter in. He looks so sad when he says it and we enjoy the mortified looks and apologies. I am a terrible parent.

Assumptions, just don't do that to people.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 3:19 PM on July 20, 2015 [57 favorites]


Fantastic thread, a perfect example of how good the conversation can be when bullshit derails are shut down early, and men, in general, shut up and let women talk about a women's issue. In case anyone missed it, the author of the original article showed up in there.
posted by Pink Frost at 3:25 PM on July 20, 2015 [4 favorites]


I am a terrible parent.

Terribly *awesome*.
posted by mudpuppie at 3:45 PM on July 20, 2015 [7 favorites]


Griphus and jaguar, thank you for articulating that bad person/growth thing. Much more elegant and helpful than my internal response is "well stop being a fucking asshole then". To clarify, that gem came from my brother-in-law - stories about him have led to my most recent friends being literally concerned that he's still around and in my life, and one friend is convinced he's abusive. He said sorry and it was a stupid thing to be angry about and if I just got better* then I'd be fine, why am I still upset and angry? Can't I see how being upset and angry is making him feel bad, don't I care that I'm hurting him?

I made the decision two months ago that I'm done. I'm not reaching out, I'm not making plans with them. I'm not going over for another meal where they try and serve me, the vegetarian, chicken risotto or roast beef. I'm not apologising for it either. I'm making every effort to use my other care options because my daughter doesn't need to see her mother treated like that either.

What it has done is outsource the emotional labour I used to do onto my husband - who already was responsible for 90% of the emotional labour in that relationship as well. And he's finally realising how hard it is, that it isn't just about me and my issues, that being told terrible things about yourself is not healthy to be around. I have no idea what will come from here on, but god my life has been so much better and easier without them in it, with limited contact.

*Therapy is supposed to make me nicer, right? And easier to be around?
posted by geek anachronism at 5:23 PM on July 20, 2015 [21 favorites]


*Therapy is supposed to make me nicer, right? And easier to be around?

Oh, good lord, I hope not. "Authentic" is so much more powerful and freeing than "nice" or "easy."
posted by jaguar at 5:43 PM on July 20, 2015 [34 favorites]


Therapy isn't for anyone but you. It's self-improvement and self-actualization and self-empowerment. It's not about making you easier to be around - this is something that I have heard a lot of people say, but it's not necessarily true.

I was my easiest to be around when I was as contorted and as small as possible - a people-pleaser extraordinaire. Therapy let me grow into a person - a person with agency, someone who could say "no." My therapy has made a lot of people that I was once close with very unhappy. And I am absolutely fine with making co-dependent, manipulative, and/or abusive people (like the ones in my past) unhappy. Their happiness is not my job.
posted by sockermom at 6:34 PM on July 20, 2015 [48 favorites]


I loved the thread but it's also undone me more than a bit and I don't know who to talk to about it. I suppose I'll just vent briefly here and then try to put myself back together. I've been randomly crying off and on all day. At the moment I'm in public and desperately trying to not look like I'm unhinged.
posted by kutsushita nyanko at 6:49 PM on July 20, 2015 [15 favorites]


I was wondering as I walked home earlier how many other MeFites are feeling unsettled and… what's the right adjective? Not agitated, not irritable — maybe sensitized? Having a surge of emotional antibodies, maybe, feeling reactive and everything has that slightly-realer-than-real quality that it sometimes does when one's feverish. A feeling that important things are unresolved and maybe it's no longer possible to let them go unaddressed.

I love my husband. We've been together for 20 years and when I think about how he was when we met, he looks great by comparison. And yet, we ordered a pizza tonight because although he did make the jumbo batch of chana dal I asked him to make while I was at work, he didn't think to set the rice cooker, so we wouldn't have been able to eat until 9pm or so if we'd gone that way.
posted by Lexica at 7:56 PM on July 20, 2015 [40 favorites]


Having a surge of emotional antibodies, maybe, feeling reactive and everything has that slightly-realer-than-real quality that it sometimes does when one's feverish. A feeling that important things are unresolved and maybe it's no longer possible to let them go unaddressed.

So this.
posted by pennypiper at 8:14 PM on July 20, 2015 [8 favorites]


Having a surge of emotional antibodies, maybe, feeling reactive and everything has that slightly-realer-than-real quality that it sometimes does when one's feverish. A feeling that important things are unresolved and maybe it's no longer possible to let them go unaddressed.

Yup.
posted by HotToddy at 8:28 PM on July 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


All these emotional labor conversations lately make me appreciate my husband so much. I just went and gave him a big hug and a kiss and thanked him for not only not dumping all of it on me but actually doing the bulk of it in our relationship -- he's the one who reminds me to call my parents on their birthdays, he knows what kind of breakfast sandwich I like at McDonald's (whereas I always forget his preference), I can send him to the store for tampons and pads and he comes back with the exact correct ones, etc. In fact, come to think of it, I barely know his brand preferences on anything -- I only know which deoderant he uses because the name ("BEARGLOVE") looks like "BEAR LOVE" and that makes me snicker.

Not sure how much it is my husband being a feminist vs. how much of it is me being incredibly lazy and scatterbrained, but thanks MetaFilter for reminding me of what a great guy I married. And today is our eight year anniversary!
posted by Jacqueline at 9:05 PM on July 20, 2015 [7 favorites]


Oh, good lord, I hope not. "Authentic" is so much more powerful and freeing than "nice" or "easy."

flagged as goddamn fantastic
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:23 PM on July 20, 2015 [7 favorites]


It's funny. I know, now, that therapy is making me better at being me, at living in a world pretty damn determined to kill me. Once my partner worked it out he was enthusiastically on board too, even with the bits that suck for him. Friends too, are happy. After all, I'm starting to believe that I'm worth something, which is a thing they've always believed.

I've found that the people who expected therapy would make me have less of a problem with their behaviour were behaving in terrible ways. Amazing, hey? But it's like they're still waiting - afterall, every other time they fuck up I go to ground and do all the work to get over the hurt, why is it gonna be different this time? They can just keep fucking up, and the therapist fixes me, that's how it works.
posted by geek anachronism at 9:47 PM on July 20, 2015 [4 favorites]


"I know you're not a bad person and I trust that you're not TRYING to hurt me," but combines it with, "But that doesn't mean you get to treat me however you want just because your intentions are good."
The closest I think I've gotten is, You can have unconditional love but there's no such thing as unconditional approval.

Oh my god, I'm so sick of this! I'm so sick of my mother, a natural helper, fixer, and problem solver who desperately wants to help, nitpicking every goddamned thing I do and rehashing it over and over again so "we" can figure out what went wrong so I can "fix it." Except then she complains about what I did to try and fix it and that wasn't right and maybe I should just go back to doing what everyone complained about in the first place?* And I seriously was yelling over and over again STOP NITPICKING EVERYTHING I DO, I GET THAT FIVE DAYS A WEEK DO I HAVE TO DO THIS ON EVERY WEEKEND TOO?!

People complain at me that I don't set boundaries, but jeebus, what do you do when someone won't stop, can't stop, no matter how much you yell and beg them not to? (And no, I can't always "just leave.")

* For example: "Give me your phone. I'm going to record a new message for you because you sound ANGRY."
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:08 PM on July 20, 2015 [6 favorites]


A feeling that important things are unresolved and maybe it's no longer possible to let them go unaddressed.


Raw.

And yet really hopeful that things can get better, all at the same time.
posted by susiswimmer at 10:12 PM on July 20, 2015 [5 favorites]


People complain at me that I don't set boundaries, but jeebus, what do you do when someone won't stop, can't stop, no matter how much you yell and beg them not to?

Me? I cut them the fuck out of my life. "If you will not respect my boundaries I am gone. The choice is now yours."

(I say that with the full weight of white cis male privilege and understand why that may not be an option for you.)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:19 PM on July 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yeah, she's pretty much the only close by family who cares about me and I don't have anyone else as backup, really.

So it goes.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:28 PM on July 20, 2015


Ouch. Maybe it's late and I've had a couple glasses of wine and maybe I'm oldschool with the whole being online thing and:

You've got family here. Yeah, online never substitutes for someone who can touch your shoulder. And... there's thousands and thousands of people right here in this community who have demonstrated they'll give and give and give.

Not a substitute. Not an 'or.' An 'and.' We're here. I've only ever known two online communities (#callahans and alt.callahans; linked by usership) where people truly cared. Mefi is the other. Not that whole "I heard a thing and I care for five minutes." Real, true, love and caring for another human being; "shared pain is lessened; shared joy is increased. Thus do we refute entropy."

Mefi? Mefi actually does that shit. Mefi actually cares--look at the whole NYC sex worker thing a few years ago, or really anything on AskMe. People here give a fuck.

MeFi is a family, and some of us (me) are that assbag uncle few people want to deal with--and most of you are the family members who go "yes of course I will help you right now, there's the quilts and help yourself to whatever's in the fridge and tomorrow morning we'll start fixing everything that needs it."

We're here, and something that's really hit me hard over the ten years I've been here is this: the people here walk the goddamn fucking walk. People here care--okay so maybe the screen is getting blurry right now because the Onion Imps have shown up to do what they do--and they give zero fucks about what anyone else thinks about them caring.

MeFi is a chosen family, is what I'm saying. And from personal experience, no matter how objectionable and offensive a member of that family may be (that would be me)--and you are, in my experience, the exact opposite of both those adjectives--people will bend over goddamn backwards to welcome you into their world with hugs and smiles and food.

You're great people. And there's a worldwide family here welcoming you into their arms. Maybe, if it works for you, choose the people you truly give two shits about over the people who trade on a genetic relationship to push you into feeling obligated.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:52 PM on July 20, 2015 [54 favorites]


I feel like I've had some nameless worry brewing in my head for quite a while that I couldn't figure out, and kind of made me feel really worried that my concerns were illegitimate fears that spoke more about some kind of fear of intimacy I have (and should "work on" hahaha) rather than "legitimate" and realistic concerns.

And then the FPP just finally settled what was weighing on me and burdening me, and that it was a legitimate concern to have, that I shouldn't just not worry about it or not pay attention to that concern I have about relationships and marriage and expectations demanded of me as a woman.

See when the divorce between Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck was announced, I thought my feeling a huge sense of relief for Garner was maybe a strange reaction because we're all supposed to mourn the "perfect couple" and divorce is so sad and they have 3 kids and oh oh oh. I thought, wow, am I secretly cynical or pessimistic or just unnecessarily fearful?

Because whenever I see Ben Affleck, and couples where the guy is broody, sullen, self centered and doesn't even pretend otherwise or acts like marriage is this huge burden on him when she's the one trying to be make him happy, turning herself into a pretzel to understand him, make it work, while he resents her and treats her contemptuously in public....

I'm spinning my wheels here but I couldn't fathom how anyone could mourn the demise of even the appearance of that marriage. It looked awful. Just like you want to pray that she realizes how unhappy she must be and how she could be happier without his energy in her life.

Affleck seems like an okay dude (I bet Matt Damon had to do plenty of emotional labor when working with him or being friends with him) , but like Ben Affleck seemed and seems like a real chore to be married to or in a relationship with.

Even in red carpet photos, it seems like Garner and the kids were a real family, but he was some guy they were giving a ride to who resented being seen with them. And that annoyed me. How can they be the perfect couple? How could that dynamic not make every woman just wince or feel enormously burdened upon seeing them together or her all alone with the kids? It bugs me that the media still pretends he's a model husband or parent. I know they have to, But even all their window dressing didn't help. He didn't even bother trying to act like his marriage wasn't a huge burden on him even though he confessed to leaving the lion's share of parenting to his wife.

We make so many excuses for these guys just being total drags. We do it to be nice and supportive and because maybe, like me, we can't put our finger on what's not appealing or not quite what I think a family and relationship dynamic ought to be. I mean, she was forced to smile and hug him and smile and smile until you don't have any energy left. (Yeah, likely conflating this with the utter exhaustion I felt in my thankfully ended relationship but I'd bet money that Garner feels quite a bit of relief that this marriage is ending and she doesn't have to mommy her husband, hopefully.)
posted by discopolo at 12:19 AM on July 21, 2015 [13 favorites]


My wife and I frequently joke about how glad we are to be gay, but things like these threads and the article that sparked them really do make me grateful that I get to sidestep so much of this bullshit, at least in my married life. But I did spend much of my youth believing I was somehow a 'failed girl' or 'incompetent woman' exactly because I'm not much good at or interested in a lot of the emotional labor tasks discussed in these threads; simultaneously, the things I DO think I'm reasonably good at - listening, empathizing, looking after people - are things that I very deliberately tried to distance myself from in my younger days, out of a sense that these were 'weak' qualities to have (I've since gotten over that shit).

Thank goodness for threads like these to provide perspective. I really wish I could think of a way of sharing it with my (straight, married) sister because boy, even from the outside looking in it’s been nauseating to see how many of these experiences are active in her life. I wish I could get these threads in front of her without worrying that a) because I sent it, it would be dismissed as something from someone who doesn’t get how things ‘just are’ in a heterosexual relationship (and I'd be the first to admit that there are elements I don't get) and b) I would just providing yet another source of stress and judgment in her life.

Pretty sure I won’t end up sharing these with her because of these issues – it just doesn’t feel like my place to do so – but I am full of regret about that. I really hope they end up on her Facebook feed from one of her friends.
posted by DingoMutt at 7:23 AM on July 21, 2015 [9 favorites]


I'm really loving how that thread has turned into the opposite of the boyzone exodus.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:39 PM on July 21, 2015 [25 favorites]


fffm, I know, it's great! I hope OnlyConnect is lurking.
posted by Don Pepino at 2:30 PM on July 21, 2015 [6 favorites]


I adore this thread and I'm so happy we got to have this discussion. This is exactly the kind of thread that I envision when we have conversations about the importance of moderating sexist comments; we never could have reached the 400-level discussion we're having now if every ten comments, everyone was interrupted by some new person who wanted to deny that emotional labor was really a thing.

A huge and hearty thank you to the mods for allowing us to have nice things!
posted by dialetheia at 2:36 PM on July 21, 2015 [48 favorites]


This is exactly the kind of thread that I envision when we have conversations about the importance of moderating sexist comments; we never could have reached the 400-level discussion we're having now if every ten comments, everyone was interrupted by some new person who wanted to deny that emotional labor was really a thing

Totally agreed; I'll admit that while I was very pro-moderation of shitty sexist comments, I was a little worried that feminism threads would end up being stubs and there wouldn't be as much vigorous conversation without some conflict. But I'm now quite sure that fighting shitty misogyny on the internet is more heat than light, and that these conversations really do blossom when they're not being choked by the weeds of sexism! And women dig just as deep and share just as much when they're excited as when they have to defend themselves and their right to their experiences. When women are allowed to nerd out together, it's a beautiful thing.

I bow before the wisdom and hard work of both the mods AND the women who made the MeTas, defended women on Metafilter across the site, etc. etc. etc. <3
posted by easter queen at 2:55 PM on July 21, 2015 [24 favorites]


(women AND allies... usually I wouldn't go out of my way to say that, but there has been some good ally-ing around lately, so thank you guys as well. <3)
posted by easter queen at 2:57 PM on July 21, 2015 [21 favorites]


And women dig just as deep and share just as much when they're excited as when they have to defend themselves and their right to their experiences. When women are allowed to nerd out together, it's a beautiful thing.

#julybywomen brought a bunch of posts and participation to the site. The emotional labor thread, with encouragement from participants and skillful modding from mods, brought new members to the site. New and interesting conversations become possible when women are encouraged, believed, and supported.
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:44 PM on July 21, 2015 [39 favorites]


(I just want to say thanks to the 2 people who MeMail'd me to check in and offer listening. I appreciate this so much! I hope I will see some of you in the google group that Lyn Never posted about in the main thread.)
posted by kutsushita nyanko at 8:59 PM on July 21, 2015 [4 favorites]


I've been working on finding some kind of phrase that encapsulates the dichotomy of "I know you're not a bad person and I trust that you're not TRYING to hurt me," but combines it with, "But that doesn't mean you get to treat me however you want just because your intentions are good."

One of the thoughts I try to hold around this is the memory that I only speak up about this stuff to people I trust to take it seriously, so chances are if someone's taking the time to talk to be about something, they are trusting me in a pretty profound way.

nthing the "I am feeling schmoopy about you all" as well.
posted by Deoridhe at 11:42 PM on July 21, 2015 [7 favorites]


I'm glad there's a MetaTalk because I didn't want to derail the other thread with this flippant observation: the author registered for the site just to respond to that thread, and chose the username babelfish. I can't be the only person totally gobsmacked that "babelfish" hadn't been registered by someone else in 15+ years, right!?
posted by Ian A.T. at 5:23 AM on July 22, 2015 [45 favorites]


I thought the exact same thing, Ian A.T.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:26 AM on July 22, 2015


I believe someone used it years ago.
posted by agregoli at 8:01 AM on July 22, 2015


We've already had thebabelfish and babelfishstix, but no one ever nailed down the root variant.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:11 AM on July 22, 2015


If the babelfish handled translating toxic macho bullshit into understandable statements for the listener then y'all totally owe it an invitation to Crone Island.
posted by phearlez at 9:11 AM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's so frustrating that it's impossible to hug you all, but nice to know there are so many hug-worthy people in the world.
posted by emjaybee at 9:21 AM on July 22, 2015 [6 favorites]


It was not true and I guess I am mean but one day that happened for the nth time and I whispered in this older lady's ear that his mother was dead. I'll bet she never did that again. Kid heard me but waited until we were in the car to ask. Now he does it all on his own and I give them the death stare and we can barely get out of the store fast enough to keep the laughter in. He looks so sad when he says it and we enjoy the mortified looks and apologies. I am a terrible parent.

Assumptions, just don't do that to people.


Oh my god, you just reminded me of a thing that happened recently that made me so crazy angry on so many levels... male friend took his pre-teen daughter clothes shopping for summer camp, and she needed a bathing suit. So they're looking at suits and some woman sidles up to them and says in this snide tone, "You know, her mother should really be doing that with her, not you."

My friend's wife died of cancer three years ago. I'm still blown away that he was actually NICE to this snotty creature passive-aggressively telling him that in doing a mundane parenting task he looked like a pervert. He didn't drop the "well her mother's dead so it's kind of hard for her to help out with the shopping" bomb on her, which I would have had NO QUALMS about doing (and sort of wish I had been present to do because as it turns out as I age I am getting really comfortable just unleashing on people who pull this sort of shit on my friends in public, hoo boy). I don't even remember what he told me he said to her, but he sort of intimated that this is not an uncommon occurrence. And I guess I knew that, because I'm aware of how our society treats men who step into caregiving roles, but... that still really surprised me, that someone would have the nerve to just walk up and say that to a complete stranger whose life they know nothing about.

The kicker is, my friend could have sent his kid off with her grandma or her aunt to get the shopping done. But he wanted to spend time with her before she went away for a few weeks and make sure that she felt okay about being away from home and all that. So... doing the right thing and being a good dad gets him that kind of treatment. Great.

Thanks to the multiple threads on this, and thinking about incidents like this one that happened to my friend, I'm getting a better picture of what this is like for some men. Very eye-opening. Other people have called it a life-changing discussion, and I don't think that's an exaggeration.
posted by palomar at 9:26 AM on July 22, 2015 [31 favorites]


I made two against the grain comments in the thread and from the response, I don't feel encouraged to post a third comment because I do try to follow the two ears, one mouth rule.

The current mod and user culture that allows a discussion like this to happen is a great thing to see as compared to the men's club of old Metafilter. Having a balance where dissenting opinions are neither discouraged nor force derails would be better, but the unthreaded nature of Metafilter is very derail sensitive.

I do wish that there was a way to splinter off parts of a thread without disrupting the main thread because I believe there is a part of this discussion from men's perspective that could be insightful.

(Specifically, empathy has a cost on the empathizer, but sympathy is free. Male privilege means that I can talk to anyone about their problems and walk away and not think a second thing about it, which means that I can have my cake and eat it too with regard to being in the moment with a struggling friend and then walking away and doing my own business. That's a beneficial side effect to the number one harm to men, which is the message to never feel anything ever and never tell anyone anything.)
posted by Skwirl at 10:02 AM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


So, a solution to that would probably be to find a fitting article that's interesting and worth reading, and post a FPP of your own. Not to post your ever so important insights here, which is a thread about a different thing.
posted by Too-Ticky at 10:54 AM on July 22, 2015 [27 favorites]


The current mod and user culture that allows a discussion like this to happen is a great thing to see as compared to the men's club of old Metafilter. Having a balance where dissenting opinions are neither discouraged nor force derails would be better, but the unthreaded nature of Metafilter is very derail sensitive.

There have been many MeTas where the reasons that those "dissenting opinions" loom larger than the dissenter (at least sometimes) intends are hashed out in great detail. Oppression cuts in all directions, after all, although deeper in some.

Anyway, this thread and the one on the Blue have gone so much better than most "women's issues" threads, and that seems to have a lot to do with strong moderation. The tone and energy of the thread itself may have discouraged drive-by snarking as well, but I'm less certain about that. I've been thinking about this for a few days, and I have some tentative ideas about thread classification that could help if they were more developed.

Some of these thoughts come out of the world of table top roleplaying, where it's almost never the right call for someone to say "No, that can't happen" when another player suggests something, because it kills anuy momentum your shared story has developed. Better answers include "Yes, and..." and "Yes, but..." So, applying that kind of thinking to MetaFilter, dropping into a thread to just say "I hate this thing" is almost never a great move anywhere, since it can only kill the thread's momentum or derail it. There are a lot of threads, however, where "Yes, but..." can be a useful response "Yes, this is interesting art, but it has problematic element X," "That's one way to read this story, but here is another." However, there are some threads, especially threads dealing with various angles of oppression where "Yes, and..." is really the only good answer, where people are sharing their experiences of difficulty and oppression and the role of people not in that group (as I suggested way up above" is to be quiet and listen, because you don't have an "and" to add and your "contrary evidence" is probably not as persuading as you might think. They are discussions with a higher bar to enter, I think.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:07 AM on July 22, 2015 [20 favorites]


GenjiandProust, I was just writing in the original thread about how there's this new nerd!feminism trend where men write articles about how being a "fix it" person is sooo male or how "well, ACTUALLY" is a bad move, because women don't want to talk about facts, they want to talk about feelings! ... and it is really underwhelming how that is framed. I think the real approach is what you've outlined-- it's OK to contribute facts to a discussion (nay, it is encouraged), but you have described the real problem, which is that "yes, and" and "yes, but" are far more valuable communication tools than "NO, here's why! Me!!!"

I'm sure many men would still call that like dishonest or weak-willed or something, but it has yet to limit me in what I actually want to say. It just means I frame it appropriately as part of the current conversation and do not make the conversation about how I'm better than everyone else who doesn't understaaaaaand what I knowwwww

Doubly so in threads about oppression, where "no, and" and "no, but" are fairly unreliable responses anyway, because if you don't deal with that oppression, what the fuck do you know? Even if someone is blatantly, objectively wrong, shutting down the conversation to decisively deal with their WRONGNESS is so inappropriate, when you can be supportive while also supplying the necessary information/facts.

(The nerd!feminism approach seems to be that even if someone is objectively wrong, you shouldn't say anything! Facts are offensive to women and minorities! ... no, they are not, but refusing to do the emotional labor of listening and empathizing and supporting the conversation and supplying contextually appropriate information are.)
posted by easter queen at 11:59 AM on July 22, 2015 [18 favorites]


"yes, and" and "yes, but" are far more valuable communication tools than "NO, here's why! Me!!!"

Or, to phrase that dynamic another way:
I don’t know if my default fix-the-problem-attitude would have worked. If I chose that option, I think she might have heard: “How you’re feeling right now is not important. You need to feel differently.” She would have heard me not acknowledging how she was feeling, but instead, my own need to “fix” her so I could feel better.

But – and this is the reminder I need to hear over and over – it’s not about me. It’s about the unique and unrepeatable gift in front of me. She wanted to be acknowledged, to be embraced; not fixed.
("Hearts in Need: Practicing Presence & Embracing Reality" is not, strictly speaking, about feminism, and the "she" in question is an angry little girl. But I thought this insight was worth sharing.)
posted by MonkeyToes at 2:40 PM on July 22, 2015 [11 favorites]


Seriously, I don't know how much more of this I can take. I've never experienced anything like the last few days. It's been one mind-blowing insight after another. I feel like I'm becoming a different person and am in such a state of flux, I don't know where I'll end up.
posted by HotToddy at 4:14 PM on July 22, 2015 [17 favorites]


You'll end up you. The real you. Armed and armored against the past.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 4:38 PM on July 22, 2015 [15 favorites]


easter queen, wow. How deluded does one have to be to think others think facts are offensive? Perhaps they appreciate facts but others never bother to consider that conversations are not just instantaneous, selfless transfers of information, and that sometimes people would like some consideration for others?

I've really, really appreciated how great that thread is. Thanks to scia for starting it all. Thanks to babelfish for writing the article and joining. Thanks to Maecenas as well for his Ask about ways men can notice and provide more emotional work. Also, shame on the rest of us for not really stepping up in creating that Ask.
posted by halifix at 4:51 PM on July 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


that thread is so amazing. And it makes me realize how my relationship, where we struggle with fairly apportioning the emotional labor, is so much better than one in which the concept of emotional labor can't even be discussed.

My eight year old daughter asked "Mom, what are you reading?" and I said "Well, sweetie, it's a big long discussion about emotional work -- about all the little work that needs to get done so that everyone stays happy and connected and functional and loved and taken care of. It's little work, but it's frequently hard work, and in a lot of families, it's very unevenly divided."

she thought for about a minute and then said "I am going to go take my snack plate to the kitchen and make sure my swimsuit is hanging up to dry."
posted by KathrynT at 6:57 PM on July 22, 2015 [59 favorites]


I had to go back and read again, and oh my god, Jalilah's cheese story. I love/hate that story. The moment when you and another woman/women look at each other, all "He's really expecting us to go along with this bullshit. Oh my god."
posted by emjaybee at 7:53 PM on July 22, 2015 [7 favorites]


I made two against the grain comments in the thread

You didn't make 'against the grain' comments, you did--not on purpose--that tiring thing of "yeah but but but what about the mennnnnn what about the mennnnnn and how patriarchy hurts us too."

Yes. Patriarchy hurts us too. And it doesn't hurt us with nearly the same depth and breadth that it grinds down women every single day. Which is what all the women in the thread were saying, maybe go reread what they have to say with a mindset of "okay, that is a thing that happens" and not "but but what about mennnnnnnnnn."
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:13 PM on July 22, 2015 [25 favorites]


I don't know where I'll end up.
...
You'll end up you. The real you.


OR you'll end up a fanged and invulnerable creature, ranging across the plains, thirsting for blood, the terror that stalks the night and fills petrified whispers through the day. Remember, dress for the job you WANT.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:35 PM on July 22, 2015 [44 favorites]


Wasn't there a thing in a thread recently about women forming gangs? I must go find this now.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:44 PM on July 22, 2015


ugh I can remember some of the verbiage but can't seem to find it (and keep getting distracted). It was a justifiably fed-up woman (might have been poffin boffin?) talking about forming vigilante squads of women.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:04 PM on July 22, 2015


Yayyyy so happy the thread was sidebarred. Thanks, mods!
posted by limeonaire at 9:04 PM on July 22, 2015


Remember, dress for the job you WANT.

As many women know, blood doesn't show up well on black.
posted by Deoridhe at 1:20 AM on July 23, 2015 [17 favorites]


ugh I can remember some of the verbiage but can't seem to find it

fffm, was it this post about street harassment?
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:48 AM on July 23, 2015


YES

packs of heavily armed eerily silent women!

Maybe call 'em the Crone Island Task Force?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:21 AM on July 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


It sort of feels off topic even here, but i kinda wince that the thread is being held up as recommended reading material repeatedly. Both to show people offline, and on the green and stuff.

It's taken me days, like at least 4 at this point, of spending a good amount of my screen time reading it to even get like 75% of the way in. And it's continuously and rapidly growing.

It's over 210k words at this point. Many popular novels are significantly shorter than that, even half that.

It's an amazing resource, but it's definitely becoming daunting as a "here, read this" goes. It's a time investment.

I'm not saying this as anything against it, or that recommendation. It's just become quite a huge thing. I plan on reading it all, but it's basically been keeping pace with me.

At the average reading speed of 200wpm, it would take 17.5 hours to read the entire thread at this point.
posted by emptythought at 1:53 AM on July 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


imagine then how it feels if its not just a thread, emptythought
posted by anthropophagous at 6:54 AM on July 24, 2015 [30 favorites]


"Here, take an hour and read this" sounds like a good suggestion. It's not that complicated a topic and if someone wants to read more, they can make time.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:34 AM on July 24, 2015 [5 favorites]


I guarantee the average woman with a male partner spends 17.5 hours in emotional labor per week.
posted by desjardins at 9:34 AM on July 24, 2015 [27 favorites]


I dunno, I feel like some dude who would complain about reading that thread is symptomatic of the problem, you know? Like that law about comments on feminist articles provingg the need for feminism,
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:43 AM on July 24, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'm not going to demand my male friends read through the whole thing, but you can bet your ass that every single one of my close female friends has read the entire thread and is still keeping up with new comments to this day. We talk about our revelations and epiphanies and frustrations daily since it began.

Why is it so odd to expect that our partners get through this thing that is obviously so incredibly important and meaningful? This isn't a question directly for you, emptythought. It's something I woke up thinking about. My husband tried but found keeping up with it across multiple devices difficult without an account (so get an account then maybe..?) and it boggles my mind every now and then that he thinks that's absolutely okay and his work is done.

Because if he pointed to something on reddit and said "This thread is crazy significant to me and it's very important that you read it and understand what I'm going through," I'd be pouring over the entire thing day in and day out for no reason other than I love and care about him.

How are some people so able to just... put in so little effort?

But I guess that's the running theme.
posted by erratic meatsack at 10:44 AM on July 24, 2015 [34 favorites]


Phone fail sorry.... I feel like refusing to read that thread is proof that someone needs to, you know?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:51 AM on July 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


"Here, take an hour and read this" sounds like a good suggestion.

It's way more than an hour unless you skim it. I'm gradually working my way through the thread in spare moments and finding it's actually better that way: read a little, digest, think, read a little, digest, think.

I'm also finding that the Popular Comments feed is doing a pretty good job at picking out some of the highlights (and has full text of the comments, rather than the truncated versions on the Popular page). Today it added KathrynT's comment on decision-making which was a real moment of "holy shit I do that and it must be so annoying" self-recognition.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 10:56 AM on July 24, 2015 [8 favorites]


We had a deal, Kyle, that's so great! I think if KathrynT were in charge of global international diplomacy, we'd all be in a much better place. (I'm in Greece, KathrynT; call us!)
posted by taz (staff) at 11:05 AM on July 24, 2015 [7 favorites]


Strategies for men to not actually read the whole thread are yea pretty depressing. I know it's long, but I can't count the number of times after having an argument with a boyfriend about something feminist related I just gave up and said "read a book!" Read a book, because I literally cannot break it down into bite-sized pieces and spoonfeed it to you anymore. Just try to care, for the duration of one book (or in this case, thread). I guarantee you've read one entire stupid book that you hated for the sake of some other reason; try this one. (Then, of course, it's always "but which book??" Which, fair enough, since it's in the context of our relationship, but I guarantee I've mentioned a thousand books to them already that they haven't bothered to remember or think about for one additional second.)

And you know, the truth is that once a boyfriend of mine actually bit the bullet and read The Second Sex... it was so much easier to have a conversation with him about feminism. Things weren't perfect, but once he ACTUALLY BOTHERED to read something from the female perspective, about the female experience... we actually had a shared reference point.

So I agree that Brandon Blatcher's suggestion for the real world is a good one, because good luck asking for more than that, but dudes: Please just read the thread. Without feeling the need to chime in. If it's uncomfortable, sit with it for awhile. I guarantee you your mother, sisters, girlfriend, wife, whoever has sat through your uncomfortable behavior without piping up for the sake of your relationship in the past. They have sat in quietness processing what happened without wanting to create an argument and worked through it and moved past it by themselves. Many times. When it stung them to the core. So just be a little nice for a weekend and read the thread. You will change their lives (and yours).
posted by easter queen at 11:09 AM on July 24, 2015 [30 favorites]


How are some people so able to just... put in so little effort?

Reading the article, the thread, thinking about it, talking it over and trying to change years of behavior isn't easy, so I can understand some guys being resistant at first, especially if a bunch of other things are going on in their life at that particular moment. Doesn't mean they shouldn't, but it can be a big pill for some to swallow.

But yeah, at least read the article and at least some of the thread. If not now, then make a point of setting a time to sit down and read it, especially if your SO mentions its important to them.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:24 AM on July 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


i've been posting links to individual comments and i've had more than one woman who is not a mefite tell me days later that they're still pouring over the thread. i've not seen the same from any of my friends who aren't mefites who are men. but honestly, while i hope men read the thread and get a clue, i think it's far, far more important that women read it and recognize it. this is one of those things where if men want to come along i'll welcome them with open arms but the real utility is women finding out they aren't alone or broken or hysterical - this is happening. this is a real thing. if we stop accepting a certain type of interaction in our relationships either our partners (friends, employers, family, etc) will come along or we'll find ourselves incompatible. if the partners of mefites who say this is important are so unconcerned with that outcome that they won't even skim a thread, well, they might find themselves waving goodbye to a woman on her way to crone island.
posted by nadawi at 11:31 AM on July 24, 2015 [34 favorites]


Yes, and I'm actually just going to say it: Read a book. An actual, weighty book about feminism/feminist scholarship. Try to remember back to when you didn't know much about say, World War I, but then you read one of the classic books about WWI, and all of the sudden you understood it so much more deeply! And then you read another WWI book, and you got through it even quicker because the facts were familiar to you, and then you had a new perspective on WWI. And then you were looking at the news online and saw a sidebar about "Scholars Engage in New Debate about Germany's Short-War Theory prior to WWI," and you had to click because whatttt, I gotta know, that's the crux of the whole issue. And then you're on a message board and you heard someone make a claim to England's patriotic heroism and loyalty and bold deployment strategy during the first leg of the war and you had to be like whoa whoa whoa hold up everyone, what the fuck are you talking about, that's a complete abuse of historical facts. And so on and so forth.

Seriously, just read a couple books. You'll be a fricking feminism expert. Of all the men I know who claim to be feminists and care about this stuff... probably none of them have read a single book about it. Even the most voracious readers in the bunch.
posted by easter queen at 11:34 AM on July 24, 2015 [19 favorites]


(I absolutely don't think that reading a book is NECESSARY to understanding feminism, but it's a huge shortcut, especially for men.)
posted by easter queen at 11:39 AM on July 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


#notallmenreadbooks

{/}
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:42 AM on July 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


God i did not mean that in some shitty "it's too much work!" way. I painstakingly tried to phrase it and think up a way that it didn't sound like some snerk in that direciton, and that's the best i could do.

It taking days to read is fine, because it's worth reading. What i was trying to communicate was that it's graduated from a sip some tea and read it in a half hour thing to a serious commitment.

...Which i guess is reasonable representative and a preparation for what applying what you learn from the thread is, a commitment of serious time of a whole other level.


The longer it gets, the more dismissible it feels. But maybe that's not a bad thing? Maybe it's a decent test for how much someone who needs to read it actually gives a shit about changing?

I don't know. I just don't want to come off as against it, or some weird concern troller, because that's not where i intended to go with that.
posted by emptythought at 12:33 PM on July 24, 2015


I guess it's just that saying, "you guys know... that this thread is really long, right?" is kind of like saying, "you realize this paid vacation to Aruba... is two months long, right?" Yea, we know. For once, as a woman, it's nice to not worry too much about how digestible my feelings/feminism/needs are, though. And not think and fret about how to present them to men so that they'll actually care (spoiler alert: even if the thread was 50 comments long, they wouldn't).
posted by easter queen at 12:39 PM on July 24, 2015 [16 favorites]


The longer it gets, the more dismissible it feels.

If a man looks at a thread with 1200+ comments and considers it "more dismissible" than it would have been if it had only had 200 comments, he's part of the problem.

Fine, it's long. Take some time. Read it a few comments at a time to let it sink in.

But the attitude that having more supporting evidence and anecdotes makes it less credible isn't anything that anybody should worry about catering to.
posted by Lexica at 12:51 PM on July 24, 2015 [23 favorites]


Yeah, I didn't take you as concern trolling. More like you were saying "this thread is long" and I'm saying "...and?"
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:52 PM on July 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the length of the thread isn't really why those guys aren't reading it.
posted by desjardins at 12:53 PM on July 24, 2015 [11 favorites]


Thanks for your comment Lexica. I was too flabbergasted to respond appropriately!
posted by futz at 12:56 PM on July 24, 2015


The longer it gets, the more dismissible it feels.

Nah, it's length feels more like "Yeah, ok got it after the first hour of reading, don't need to go through the rest."
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:21 PM on July 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


Based on your commenting history around the site, I guarantee you haven't got it yet.
posted by easter queen at 1:26 PM on July 24, 2015 [26 favorites]


Ha haaa, really? Har! That's how I was with Moby Dick. I was all, "Yeah, got it, Pequod, Queequeg, Ahab, Starbuck, yeah, thanks, we're good," on, like, page 92.
posted by Don Pepino at 1:27 PM on July 24, 2015 [5 favorites]


If anyone wants, I just made the thread into a pdf. No editing, except for the bottom stuff after I copied it all.

It's through google docs and warning it's huge. Just over 700 pages.
posted by Jalliah at 1:29 PM on July 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


Based on your commenting history around the site, I guarantee you haven't got it yet.

This is a comment to let you know that I read your comment, disagree with it, but don't see much point arguing about it because it is just commenting on the this site, not my marriage or life.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:32 PM on July 24, 2015


I am willing to believe that you live a double life in order to avoid getting into a pointless fight with you.
posted by easter queen at 1:36 PM on July 24, 2015 [16 favorites]


And because it finally pasted. I thought I blew up my computer when it all ground to a halt after hitting paste.

Straight text version.
posted by Jalliah at 1:37 PM on July 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


There's various formatted options above, but I definitely want to take a crack at dumping the thread into LaTeX once it's run its course (Always too soon, of course). (Part of that is posting this here so I both remember to follow up on it and make a public commitment to it.)

And just generally to show support for what's been an incredible thread, while still making sure that I'm adding something of substance to it rather than drawing attention away from it.
posted by CrystalDave at 1:57 PM on July 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Over in the fpp, snuffleupagus posted a link to a PDF of the thread as it currently stands, and says they will update it as the thread carries on. At the moment, the PDF is more than 11 MB.
posted by rtha at 2:47 PM on July 24, 2015


I am willing to believe that you live a double life in order to avoid getting into a pointless fight with you.

This does not communicate the tone of a person who isn't interested in a fight.
posted by phearlez at 3:09 PM on July 24, 2015


She probably realizes that.
posted by MoonOrb at 3:15 PM on July 24, 2015 [12 favorites]


Interesting how you pick a fight with me instead of the man who posted the initial dismissive comment as well as the dismissive follow-up.
posted by easter queen at 3:19 PM on July 24, 2015 [20 favorites]


This does not communicate the tone of a person who isn't interested in a fight.

It's almost like you entirely missed the subtext of the comment.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:22 PM on July 24, 2015 [17 favorites]


Yeah, I didn't take you as concern trolling. More like you were saying "this thread is long" and I'm saying "...and?"

I guess it's just that there's people i know i want to show this, who need to get smacked upside the head by this, that i know will just go "omg it's LONG".

And i guess i just didn't want to personally confront the fact that maybe i know people, who i otherwise like, who really will just never care enough to put in the work.

And that sucks. It's a shitty feeling.
posted by emptythought at 3:45 PM on July 24, 2015 [12 favorites]


I hear you on that. The closer those people are to you, the shittier the feeling is.
posted by erratic meatsack at 3:48 PM on July 24, 2015 [10 favorites]


It doesn't have to be a "read it from top to bottom" sort of book, either. I was doing that for a few days, then lost my place, and ended up dipping in to random comments and filling in gaps here and there when I had a moment. The signal-to-noise ratio is very high, so any random page you open up to in the PDF should give you another dose of insight.
posted by naju at 4:00 PM on July 24, 2015 [5 favorites]


I sent my people a link to MonkeyToes's comment here, since it's an excellent summary of layers in "emotional labor," with the email subject line "Ppl take for granted that women should effortlessly perform unacknowledged, unpaid, devalued emotional labor." It'll be a pretty good litmus test, finding out who nopes out from either the subject line or that one comment.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 4:50 PM on July 24, 2015 [6 favorites]


It's a long thread in part because women do frankly incredible amounts of EL, so much that often the laborers themselves don't even realize how much they do. That's why there are so many epiphanies being recorded on the blue. The hidden emotional labor is being dragged out into the sunlight and we are all getting a good clear look at it, some of us for the very first time. It is depressing and enraging to see how badly we are rewarded for the endless heavy lifting that we do but also exhilarating to be shown how important it is for all the human beings around us.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:07 PM on July 24, 2015 [9 favorites]


The longer it gets, the more dismissible it feels.


#notallpenises
posted by futz at 7:42 PM on July 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


If anyone needs a blurb to help convince a reluctant male to read the whole thing, or at least give it a shot: "Hi, I'm a guy and I not only have read the whole thread but keep going back for more. It's like a novel with all the boring descriptive parts left out, keeping just the great dialogue and fascinating revelation of character and life experience; I don't care how much you've knocked around, I guarantee you'll be taken aback, moved, and enlightened by what people have to say in this thread. You'll never look at the world the same way again!"
posted by languagehat at 7:56 AM on July 25, 2015 [27 favorites]


If anyone needs a blurb

Hee. We can get book jackets printed for the pdf!
posted by jaguar at 8:06 AM on July 25, 2015 [5 favorites]



We probably all project imagery and lore onto various Mefites the longer we are here - today I'm gonna put my hand up for imagining languagehat as a gentle and strong silverback. Love the blurb, and for me, it's been been helpfully validating and explorative to read your contributions across these EL threads.
posted by honey-barbara at 12:10 PM on July 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


Interesting how you pick a fight with me instead of the man who posted the initial dismissive comment as well as the dismissive follow-up.

"But yeah, at least read the article and at least some of the thread. If not now, then make a point of setting a time to sit down and read it, especially if your SO mentions its important to them."

HOW DARE HE!

I get disagreeing about whether that represents sufficient commitment. You decided to take it into a generalized and unsupported attack. Twice. Saying that it seems unnecessarily fighty isn't picking a fight with you, it's calling bullshit on cruddy behavior. If it had been on the blue I would have flagged it.
posted by phearlez at 1:03 PM on July 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


phearlez, it feels like you're playing "let's you and him fight." What's up with that?
posted by KathrynT at 1:13 PM on July 25, 2015 [10 favorites]


When I write something that indicates I think someone is being cruddy to other members I am never "playing." If I need to provide a directive of what I am wishing would happen, okay: I think this is a crappy way to treat another member and I wish you would just disagree in good faith instead of personal attacks, easter queen.

I didn't think that was at all impossible to get from my comment but I guess it was, since now it's twice been described as an advocacy for fighting rather than a basic criticism. I'm gobsmacked that a meta about the emotional labor thread can't contain criticism that isn't immediately taken as a personal attack.
posted by phearlez at 1:31 PM on July 25, 2015


I think it's more crappy to be dismissive of that thread by saying you can get enough from reading it for an hour and there's no need to trouble oneself with the rest of it, than it is to call out that kind of statement from someone who has a history of being pretty grossly dismissive of these threads when they come about. But mileage clearly does vary. You can be gobsmacked about your thing, I'll be gobsmacked that you're scolding a woman for calling out a man on his refusal to do emotional labor in this community.
posted by palomar at 4:01 PM on July 25, 2015 [20 favorites]


Not dismissive of the thread all, just disagree with the idea that one absolutely must read the entire thing to understand the concept and gender imbalances.

Brought the subject up with the wife last night and we had a really good hours long discussion about it in our relationship. So yah, good stuff all around.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:45 PM on July 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


I believe the thread is still shorter than, say, Stephen King's The Stand, and certainly shorter than the Game of Thrones series, both of which many men have read. It's also going to take a lot less time to read than it does to watch many serial TV shows. Listening to women always takes too long, though.
posted by bile and syntax at 5:38 PM on July 25, 2015 [26 favorites]


Reading a thread is even easier than making an actual change in behavior. If a guy can't even be bothered to read the thread after being asked to please just look at it, I can understand that guy's partner feeling like it's useless to waste any more time on him.
posted by palomar at 5:44 PM on July 25, 2015 [11 favorites]


I'll be gobsmacked that you're scolding a woman for calling out a man on his refusal to do emotional labor in this community.

If that is what you think I am taking issue with then I have failed to express myself even remotely clearly.
posted by phearlez at 5:55 PM on July 25, 2015


Yes, you have.
posted by Lexica at 5:57 PM on July 25, 2015 [10 favorites]


Honestly, if it had been anyone other than BB I wouldn't have said anything. But his history in feminism threads is very very bad.
posted by easter queen at 9:02 PM on July 25, 2015 [7 favorites]


And for the record, I'm glad you were able to have that convo with your wife, Brandon Blatcher, but I disagree that there's not more food for thought the further you get in the thread.
posted by easter queen at 9:04 PM on July 25, 2015 [5 favorites]


Seriously. The thread goes from broad concepts to really interesting and useful nitty gritty. The problem with skimming and going "oh, ok" is not understanding the details, just pretending to understand the major concepts.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:50 PM on July 25, 2015 [10 favorites]


Let's back away from an entrenched fight on whether people should read the entire thread, or X hour(s) of reading, etc. As far as a Metatalk post goes, if there are problems with the thread itself, we can discuss that, and generally, making a post to point out something extraordinary or noteworthy is also fine, but debating how much anyone ought to read of a discussion here is straying pretty far from our purposes for this part of the site, unless it directly impacts discussion (ie: don't ask questions that have already repeatedly been answered in the thread; don't bring up "But What About X" when it's already been discussed in the thread, etc.).
posted by taz (staff) at 11:31 PM on July 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


Another thanks to all for contributing. I'm too shy and am also too confused to add my own contributions but wow.

I really appreciate what people have added.
posted by mgrrl at 3:39 AM on July 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm not saying anything about how anybody should approach reading or not reading any metafilter thread at all because I would never do a fighty thing like that and make work for a moderator but I'll just mention that if anybody tries to get you to read the expurgated Moby Dick that cuts out god knows what all but definitely the insanely great chapter with the descriptions of every known-at-the-time cetacean, you should leave that person's presence immediately, get to a safe place, and call the police so that the person can be put in jail for extreme emotional abuse. And you should read Moby Dick many times over the course of a life--once in high school, once in grad school, and then again right now, I'm going to go find my copy now. And if you see the copy with the Rockwell Kent illustrations for $100 or $200 I forget which at the booksale and argue with yourself over whether you should get it or not and then don't get it, you'll regret it forevermore. Just go ahead and get the Rockwell Kent one: you deserve it.
posted by Don Pepino at 10:14 AM on July 26, 2015 [17 favorites]


Hah, this Moby Dick bit reminds me that in college they did make us only read selected bits of Clarissa rather than the whole thing...
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:26 PM on July 26, 2015


Book PDF updated:

https://app.box.com/mefi-UEL-CroneIsland-bookPDF

A couple notes:

-file size has grown to 20MB -- typical OS X Preview bloat from merging in the article and poster I think. I have Acrobat Pro at work so I'll see what I can do about that next time.

-The contributor index is not building. (The section divider for it shows up but not the index, so I deleted the divider page.) I'd assume it has something to do with the length of the thread. I haven't tried to debug that yet, and it's probably beyond my rudimentary code-reading ability to find the problem let alone patch it. But, we'll see.

-ocherdraco: I've included your poster as I thought that's what you'd want. Please let me know if you'd rather it not be in the PDF.
posted by snuffleupagus at 10:28 AM on July 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's an amazing resource, but it's definitely becoming daunting as a "here, read this" goes. It's a time investment.

I'm just going to point out that most people are talking of giving this to their spouses or partners - who they presumably have already invested a lot of time in. Asking for a small reciprocal commitment - even of 17 hours - is not really a big ask. Even if they think it's boring. Even if they don't want to do 17 hours of work spread over the course of god knows how many days. It's a reasonable ask. It may be daunting - but the fact that people are seeing it as daunting is an example of the stuff we are talking about.
posted by corb at 11:15 AM on July 29, 2015 [9 favorites]


"Why won't you educate meeeee?"
"I've got a lot of demands on my time and energy. Check out this link, though, there's a lot of insightful comments there."
"You're kidding, this would take me all day! I don't have time for that."
"..."
posted by kagredon at 1:00 PM on July 29, 2015 [23 favorites]


I was just on an F Train with an unusual proportion of women. I looked up at the destination sign and thought "Last Stop Croney Island".
posted by moonmilk at 3:27 PM on July 29, 2015 [8 favorites]


moonmilk, I keep thinking of Croney Island too. Also this Coney Island song.
posted by ferret branca at 4:56 PM on July 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


The contributor index is not building. (The section divider for it shows up but not the index, so I deleted the divider page.) I'd assume it has something to do with the length of the thread. I haven't tried to debug that yet, and it's probably beyond my rudimentary code-reading ability to find the problem let alone patch it. But, we'll see.

I have found the bug; not not sure why it's happening (and thus how to fix it).

If anyone reading this hacks on javascript and node.js, here's the code block that generates the HTML for the index (link is to pastebin) before appending it and rebuilding the PDF (most of the logging added by me for diagnosis). (I tried to insert the code in 'pre' tags here, but the preview box wouldn't properly display it so I gave up.)

Where I've added my note that the len variable (i.e. the length of the userNames array) should not be zero? That's what's happening:

Building Index HTML
userNames.length is: 0
(this is used to limit the counter for the indexing loop and should not be 0)
htmlIndex contents:
Invoking buildFinalPDF with htmlIndex

Thus the item index building loop is never entered. I think.

The original mefi2book MeTa thread suggests the index worked fine, so I probably need to test with a shorter thread and then look at the preceding code block that generates the userNames array.

Any suggestions from people who have more than a couple month's experience with JS are very welcome.
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:05 PM on July 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


(Preceding code block is here, for the curious or interested. Again, extra logging/training wheels added by me.)
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:15 PM on July 29, 2015


Using the poster is fine!
posted by ocherdraco at 8:02 PM on July 29, 2015


I agree with corb; I have put many seventeens-of-hours into my relationship, not only trying to explain/undo the things that are described in that very thread, but just doing unreciprocated emotional labor unique to my boyfriend and his personal life situation. That's where the insult comes from. I've probably done an equal amount of reading on earnest "how to communicate with men," "how to tell men this or that without threatening them," "why the male ego is SO IMPORTANT," etc. type articles, that were not only labor to read but also draining in how much they expect women to put themselves second and men first. So I think men can do this. Do I think they will? Maybe not. But I know they can, and I refuse to lower the bar of expectations.
posted by easter queen at 8:26 AM on July 30, 2015 [18 favorites]


So I think men can do this.

Indeed. I did! More than once. And I'm single.

Also all of the amazing biographical writing in the thread is gripping, and moving. Hearts and lives are poured out in that thread. It's not dry material. Reading it is not a chore. Seeing it that way is unfortunate, and perhaps telling.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:51 AM on July 30, 2015 [18 favorites]


Heh. From the Siderea link Ladyriffraff linked to in the thread, and echoing my opinion too:
Also, as a meta-aside, that Metafilter thread is a monument of moderation. That is the freaking Eiffel Tower of forum moderation. It's like social justice advocates were engineers who were saying for years that by their calculations there was a way of doing moderation which would allow huge coherent revelatory discources of unimaginable power to be erected, and somebody finally pulled it off, and, yes, yes – holy shit – that is exactly what happened.
Love to the Mods!
posted by Thella at 10:59 PM on July 31, 2015 [28 favorites]


Thanks to babelfish for the article and sciatrix for posting the thread. I keep reading it and learning about my own behavior.

At the moment, it appears to have passed 325K words, comfortably past Middlemarch (316K words) and The Fountainhead (311K words).
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:36 PM on August 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure if this needs to be a separate MetaTalk thread, and am happy to post it separately if the mods prefer but:

I've had Safari crash twice today and last night and had my iPhone 5 hang trying to load the main metafilter thread because it's just so long, and actively being added to.

I'm wondering if the thread could be split into a Part 2? I know that's not the regular way of things, but it does seem like an exceptional thread for sheer length - the comments shared are very long, and that's a good thing, but it's hard to reload the page repeatedly without my browser crashing.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 8:48 PM on August 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


Chrome is able to handle the main thread even on a lowly machine for me(with 2gb of ram! that's like 7 years old!), and on my iphone 5s? eh... it's hit or miss.

I've been shot down on asking for divided pages or something before. The best workarounds i can give you are chrome on the desktop and ??? on mobile. There's various android browsers with different rendering engines, but only safari on iOS.

And yes, it's bunged up safari on my macbook in the past day. I gave up and opened it in chrome after several crashes.

It reminds me of super long gamefaqs guides and other enormous text documents destroying browers ~15 years ago.

Try one of the generated PDFs? You can also catch up with a PDF and then just view it in recent activity. That's basically how i've kept up with it on mobile.
posted by emptythought at 9:01 PM on August 1, 2015


If the epic Sarah Palin thread (5555 comments! Load at your peril!) didn't warrant a part deux, I'm betting the fpp for this doesn't.
posted by rtha at 9:55 PM on August 1, 2015


Yeah, very long threads are a bit of a bear on some devices but that's sort of part of the grand tapestry of outliers on Metafilter. I find Recent Activity for regular checking in combined with the occasional sit-down-and-catch-up session on something that'll load a long thread works pretty well; sometimes that means you keep up via RA with more recent comments and then go back later to catch up on a gap, but that's okay, since nothing in the thread is really time-sensitive or anything.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:00 PM on August 1, 2015


So I think maybe something subtle has changed in the bylines since mefi2book.js was released? Possibly the substitution of 'posted by' for an em-dash?

I kept adding more logging and my suspicion is that this regex is no longer working, as an empty array is logged out at this point in the script. (The same thing happens running it against this shorter thread, so I don't think it's a problem with the input handling.)
// find the names of the authors of each comment on the page
    var usersOnPage = element.match(new RegExp("   — (.*)\n", "g")) || [];
    logger("raw usersOnPage contents from element.match:");
    console.info(usersOnPage); 
I'm miserable at regex but will continue to tinker as a contributor index would be really nice to have for the thread's PDF.
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:49 PM on August 2, 2015


Yeah, very long threads are a bit of a bear on some devices but that's sort of part of the grand tapestry of outliers on Metafilter.

After a certain point, it becomes pretty much impossible to comment on a thread using my phone.* Despite this, I'm against splitting threads because I think it would make them harder to follow in the long run.

*To paraphrase Nicol Williamson, "A bug to some, a feature to others!"
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:03 AM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


snuffleupagus, I think the problem (if your installation is like mine just now) is that the output of pdftotext has changed, not the format of the html. pdftotext seems to be putting each word on its own line, so the regex looking for usernames isn't ever matching anything. Or possibly it's earlier, and wkhtmltopdf is producing pdfs in a different way, causing pdftotext to do that. In any case, if I smash the elements loaded by pdftotext back up into long lines by replacing all the newlines with spaces (and then adding the newline at the end of the username back), it seems to work again. Just above the code you posted, try adding a couple of string replacements as seen here:
    pages.forEach( function(element, index, array) {
        var currentPage = index + 1;
        element = element.replace(/\n/g, " ");
        element = element.replace(/ *✸/g, "\n✸\n/");
        // find the names of the authors of each comment on the page                         
With those lines added, I'm getting a contributor index from pages 898 to 912.
posted by hades at 3:49 PM on August 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


PDF here (with Crone Island poster cover and linked article included.) Could still use some tweaks -- maybe the page numbers could be in a matching font -- but definitely readable, and includes the contributor index.

And, yeah, the original thread is a real eye opener, much like the "Whatcha reading" thread and a number of others here. Thank you to everyone who shared their stories and perspectives there.
posted by hades at 4:45 PM on August 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


A tweak I would appreciate is an indication on the copyright page that says something like "Cover image: from a comment by ocherdraco on p. 4XX", so that people can find where it came up in the conversation.
posted by ocherdraco at 8:34 AM on August 5, 2015


Oh, absolutely, sorry about that! It's been updated with a credit line on the copyright page now.
posted by hades at 10:17 AM on August 5, 2015


The emotional labour thread just closed today, after a very active 30 days. It is my favourite thing EVER on the Internet, no exaggeration...and I never wanted it to end, so I felt the need to come here and...mourn, or something. It changed many, many lives, and catalysed at least one divorce. And the last comment from bilabial is just the most perfect way to end the thread. Beautiful and heartbreaking.
posted by velvet winter at 7:31 PM on August 15, 2015 [16 favorites]


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