This is a *very* good interview defining the term "emotional labor", with Prof. Hochschild, who introduced the term. It speaks to my feeling that the term is applied to scenarios it's not suited best for:
"It seems like this is mostly becoming a popular term in feminist conversations. But if we talk about all the unpaid labor women do in the home as “emotional labor,” we’re insinuating that any kind of labor that falls most often to a woman is “emotional.”"
@rixx one more item on my ultra long "to read" list, but this sounds so interesting, thank you!
@rixx I always thought that emotional labor was what in german is called "beziehungsarbeit". to put in work that keeps relationships healthy, keeps a good communication going, so that everyone can feel safe/okay in that interpersonal relationship. (be it at work or at home.)
now I'm curious what the sociologist says about it!
@rixx hm. interesting! "referred to the work of managing one’s own emotions that was required by certain professions. Flight attendants, who are expected to smile and be friendly even in stressful situations, are the canonical example."
really interesting. and that definition holds a lot of potential for feminist analysis, too.
I'm not a friend of watering down a term until it's rendered meaningless...
@distel Yeah, me neither, so I found her take of "chores are not emotional labor, chores are straight up labor" very helpful. Because it makes talking about *potential* emotional labor involved much clearer and better – it doesn't refer to chores in themselves, but to broken structures that lack support (often for reasons pertinent to feminism, of course).
@distel @rixx the work in maintaining relationships is called emotional work if it's not in a context where you are paid. emotional labor refers to paid labor where in addition to the job requirements, you have to act happy no matter how you are actually feeling (restaurant server, flight attendant, etc).
@rixx That makes me think that the groups of people who need to do the most emotional labour are people with anxiety or other mental health problems they have to mask, as well as any minority just because they are more likely to have to "brace themselves" against the emotional effects of being treated unfairy.
@Anke Sounds plausible, I guess? But it's not an automatic thing – I know people who fit those groups who still don't see household chores as emotionally draining, and it's important to acknoledge this (for reasons the interview went into much better than I could).
@rixx I did not mean household chores, but what's mentioned as emotional labour in the interview: masking your real feelings and outwardly showing different feelings. Hochschild keeps saying that if something causes you anxiety that you need to manage, that makes it emotional labour.
for example, women are deemed more "emotional" and if they control and manage their emotions a lot, which they do just as anybody else, they are still seen as "emotional" and so that emo-management is not acknowledged, really.
also marginalized people have to manage their emotions more in normative settings, thats why you feel you can't "just be yourself" in those settings.
@distel @Anke Definitely, there's no question of that (I misunderstood Anke at first). For me it was just helpful to hear some explanation for my feeling that "chores are emotional labor, and men don't do emotional labor, but they should" is a sentiment that's pretty common lately and always struck me as somewhat wrong (and yet, somewhat right).
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