This Reddit Post About The "Uptight Woman" Stereotype Sheds So Much Light On The Consequences Of Emotional Labor
It's no secret that women shoulder the brunt of emotional labor at home and at work. Each day, we remember birthdays and holidays, laugh politely at jokes that aren't all that funny, and smile when we're told to by perfect strangers. We pick up after our friends and family and smooth things over between coworkers so the rest of the office doesn't feel awkward. If we don't have the time or inclination to perform a chore, we're expected to delegate. Otherwise, it simply won't get done.
Although it's a familiar concept to many women, the thankless task of taking care of everything often goes unnoticed (and unappreciated) by others. From a, young age girls are conditioned to take on managerial roles in their own lives, wrangling everything from household chores to their loved ones' emotions. Emotional labor has been well-documented in sociology since the '80s, and it has become a common topic of discussion among feminists. In a recent Reddit post, though, one user pointed out that women don't just deal with emotional labor itself, but the repercussions that come along with it.
"It seems analogous with expectations for women to look pretty and put together, but to do so in a magical, effortless, woke-up-like-this way — to hide all evidence of the actual time and effort involved," wrote user Guilty_Treasures in the subreddit TwoXChromosomes on Monday. She went on to detail the many ways emotional labor plays into stereotypes like the uptight nag and the self-pitying martyr. In her post, she wrote:
"You're a nag for reminding someone about a task or a schedule, even when repeated experiences have shown you that if you don't remind, it may not get done. If you're less than satisfied with the results of someone who procrastinated or half-assed it or couldn't be bothered to pay attention to detail, you're too demanding. If you just go ahead and do it yourself, well then, you're a martyr. You're a wet blanket for saying yes, the kid really does need to stop playing and nap now or there'll be hell (for you) to pay later."
Judging from the comment section, plenty of women seemed to agree. Hundreds chimed in with their own experiences with emotional labor, and when you read their stories below, you may identify all too well.
1Not Your PA
Can I get a round of applause for this user?
2A Husband Who Actually Listened
It may be rare for partners to actually listen about emotional labor, but it happens. Unfortunately, it doesn't always turn out so well. "That's almost exactly what I told my ex, except with added in if I'm going to feel and live like a single mother I will just go ahead and become one," replied another user. "He didn't listen."
"I don't know how people think this stuff gets done. Fairies do not clean overnight. And I'm sick of the underhanded comments about my neurotic need to clean up after everyone instead of relax," she continued. "I can't relax because I'm the only freaking 'adult', out of seven people, who is doing anything."
Delegation is yet another form of emotional labor, but sometimes, it gets the job done.
Eventually, families have to learn to either pitch in or lower their expectations.
6Let Things Get Messy
Here's a thought. When was the last time you heard a husband say he felt guilty over not doing enough housework?
7What A Housewife Does All Day
Old jokes aren't normally this feminist, but this is definitely going in my repertoire.
8It Isn't Just Men
Even women sometimes fail to notice their fellow ladies' housework. Consider this your reminder to call your mom today.
9Restoring Faith In Humanity
This comment didn't entirely restore my faith in humanity, but it's a start.
Planning a vacation for yourself is difficult enough, but doing everything for everyone? It's not much of a vacation.
11Toxic To The Marriage
Do a dish, save a marriage. OK, maybe it's not that simple, but it's close enough.