What Looks Like Personal Choices are Often Framed Up for Us By Society
Written by Kelly Diels
“Time is a Feminist Issue”: this was the heart of a speech that author Brigid Schulte gave a few years ago.
I read about it in an interview she gave to an Australian magazine (and she told me about it later, when I interviewed her in 2016).
She explained how the way we use our time is predetermined and overdetermined by our society and gender roles, rather than by each of us. (I’m paraphrasing.)
Some people take care of life-giving activities — like producing food and caring for others — which allows other people to be “productive” in “socially important” ways.
Some of the people — usually privileged white men — are on the receiving end of all this effort and time then have the leisure to make great works of art and books in the literary canons.
Their ability to create staggering works of genius was predicated on having leisure time in which they could think and be inspired.
The rest of us don’t have, and have never had, leisure time.
Anyway. At the time I read this article I’d just had a baby. He had colic. It was summer and all my other kids were home from school. My partner was out of town on a work project. And I could not figure out why, despite being on maternity leave and not having to “work”, I simply could not seem to find time to write a book.
To figure out where I was frittering my time and what other productive people apparently knew that I didn’t, I’d been reading productivity books that advised me to get up at 4am.
Internally, I flipped. I was like, **you mofo, I AM UP AT 4AM. Breastfeeding. Where in your time-hack system is my life going to fit?**
And then I saw that article about Brigid Schulte and followed the breadcrumbs and read her book, Overwhelmed(aff), and had on of the biggest a-ha moments of my life.
Truly, it changed everything.
After having written NOTHING for months — because my time was not my own — I went on to spend six months writing an epic essay about how time is gendered; how what looks like “personal choices” are actually systemically predetermined for us; and how that shows up in our daily lives.
If you are a caregiver and you feel constantly pressed for time and then ashamed of your poor time choices (ha!!) because you can’t seem to get anything done, I think my essay — and Brigid Schulte’s book, Overwhelmed(aff), seriously, read it — might help.
#TimeIsAFeministIssue #BrigidSchulte #OverwhelmedNoMore #WeAreTheCultureMakers