These past three weeks have been confusing, but in a good way. I am confused because Moxie is constantly challenging my perception of the world and introducing me to social justice issues that I hadn’t paid attention to.
Last week we visited National Domestic Workers Alliance and talked about reproductive labor and its impact on women’s role in the private and public spheres. The readings and discussion really challenged me to think about the relationship between globalization and low-paying jobs, regarding both domestic work and offshore sweatshop labor.
Let’s talk about domestic work first. Because paid domestic work takes place in the home, a sacred place, and requires tremendous emotional investment, employers are often reluctant to establish a formal employer-employee relationship. People also remain profoundly ambivalent about positioning themselves as employers of domestic workers because of the implication of the racialized master-servant relationship. So should we establish a professional relationship when it comes to domestic work? If we do, how do people measure emotional labor? What can women do to effectively fight back the notion that performing domestic work is part of a feminine attribute? I would say I am starting to recognize the power dynamic in domestic work, but also becoming more confused. What happens when women challenge our social role in the gender-based division of labor created by capital?
The frustration does not end with domestic work. In order to keep labor costs down and profits high, many companies, including Apple and Samsung, have chosen to set their factories off-shore. These factories are more likely to hire women because women are viewed as docile, easily manipulated and willing to do boring, repetitive assembly work. Oh and because they can be paid less. It is upsetting and infuriating to see people still view women like this in the year 2017. What is more frustrating is that these companies are willing to expose human bodies to occupational diseases, such as leukemia, for faster production and higher profit. What else has to happen to make these companies stop? What can actually be done to change the entire industrial system?
At the beginning of Moxie, I was hoping to get answers for my questions on feminism and other social justice issues. However, I am now stuck with more questions that nobody knows the answers to. Honestly sometimes I feel like Moxie is messing up my world. This raising-more-questions thing is not working for me, because I need answers. Even though it gets frustrating sometimes, I am so glad that I am doing this program and that there are people working on these issues.