The query of psychological load comes up incessantly in feminist struggles, and the latter is usually accompanied by one other phenomenon: that of invisible work. On a day by day foundation, women usually discover themselves at the forefront of managing family, parenting and household duties. More and extra of them denounce their exhaustion linked to this standing of “first chore”.
“Since I was 15, I have been managing everything instead of my father: bills, cleaning, his medical appointments … Everything!” The testimony of Jade, a younger woman aged 18, matches all the definition of invisible work, a idea more and more denounced by feminists. This invisible work represents all the duties carried out at residence, the overwhelming majority of that are carried out by women. Because regardless of what many males say, who declare to “help their partner” with family chores, the distribution is nonetheless very unequal. According to an IPSOS study published in 2019, three out of 4 European women say they do extra family chores than their associate. A psychological load which might have additionally worsened since the first confinement.
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The scenario stays the identical because it was a number of years in the past, when Simone de Beauvoir theorized the concept. At the time, she stated: “If women were to make the revolution in terms of housework, if they refused it, if they forced men to do it with them, if this work was no longer the clandestine work to which they were doing. are, I would say, doomed – because I find that leading this life through years and life, with nothing productive, is really a condemnation – well, if that were changed, all of society would be upset. . (…) I believe that one of the keys to the condition imposed on women is this work that is extorted from her, unpaid work, unpaid work that barely allows her to be maintained more or less luxuriously, more or less miserably by her husband, but in which there is no fabrication of surplus value, in which the input value of labor is not recognized. “
“He groans and says I’m not doing anything, because he doesn’t notice everything I’m doing”
In the 12 months of her fifteenth birthday, Jade’s mother and father divorced, and the woman was placed on alternate custody. But if all the pieces went very properly the weeks she lived together with her mom, these spent at her father’s residence had been rapidly disillusioned. “My father did not know how to take care of a child and a house. So, from the age of 15, I took care of the shopping, cleaning, the garbage, and even the management of bills and mail.” A troublesome scenario to handle for the teenager: “It was a lot of mental load for a girl of my age, still upset by the situation of her parents.”
As a bonus, her father by no means actually made an effort to make her presence any lighter. On the opposite, he complained commonly about his perspective. “He always found something to bitch about, to say that I wasn’t doing anything, because he didn’t see everything I did for him. Yet it was I who put his own dirty things in the laundry basket, I also managed his medical appointments. In the end, not only was I not entitled to any recognition, but as a bonus, he sometimes went to bed without warning, because he “forgot that I used to be at his home this week there. “A real ordeal for the young woman.
“I needed to handle my internship, a part-time job and my dependent grandparents”
There is no age to endure the psychological load related to invisible work. Jade is proof of that, and Alistair went by the identical factor a few years in the past. “Newly arrived in Paris, my grandparents offered to offer me accommodation, which was really lucky for me. At first it was great, but things changed when my grandfather had a stroke. He couldn’t be alone, so with my grandmother, we took turns taking care of him. Only, at the same time, there was a big digital shift, and they couldn’t manage to take care of them. line, so I took care of that. “
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At the time, the young woman, in her twenties, found herself accumulating support for her grandparents, who refused to admit that they needed help, her internship in a NGO, his studies, an odd student job … “I was exhausted. I had to clean up droppings in the morning, and take out-of-packages since the supervisory service or that of the bank are surcharged. The situation lasted a long time. year and a half, and none of my grandparents’ seven children ever lifted a finger. home help in individuals, because I couldn’t go on like this. “
“I would have to be dead for my brothers to take care of my mother”
Alistair had no choice, she found herself in a caring position for his grandparents. Louisa had to do the same for her own mother. And if the latter is rather grateful for the efforts she makes to make their lives easier, this is not the case for her brothers, who do not do much. “At this exact moment, I am going to the hospital to accompany my mother to the ophthalmologist. She is diabetic, and although few people know it, diabetes can make you blind if it is not. not treated. I am the one who makes the appointments, I am the one who accompanies her to all the appointments … And it is not only ophthalmologists, since my mother is a reduced mobility in recent years: she had part of her foot amputated, precisely because of gangrene linked to a undiagnosed diabetes, three years ago.”
Over the course of the multiple medical appointments, Louisa made a gloomy observation: “The caregivers are almost always women. The male caregivers accompany their partners or their children, but when it comes to a parent, they are always women. Girls, sisters, daughters-in-law. ” They themselves come from a large family, the forty-something can only count on herself: “I have five brothers, with whom I could share this burden, but no. For two of them, who have children. , I could understand, and more. But the other three are single, thirty or four, and they do not do much. ” Their “excuse” to justify their lack of involvement? “They tell me ‘We don’t know’. But I would like to brief them, if necessary! Sometimes, they even tell me: ‘Yes, but it’s early, the date. afraid of not waking me up, ”she sighs.
As a outcome, she struggles with appointments, journeys, changes to her personal schedule, and the psychological load that goes with it, properly conscious that her mom is extra reassured together with her, by her involvement. “If I used to be not obtainable, my mom would nonetheless slightly name on one of my aunts than on my brothers. Anything slightly than depend on them, as a result of they purposely suck in order to not be solicited. I’m very indignant about this, I attempted the ultimatums, and it does not work. ” Anger which is accompanied by a sad observation: “For them to react, I must both be useless or dwell 10,000 kilometers away.”
In his guide Invisible Women, the feminist activist and British journalist Caroline Criado Perez says: “Globally, 75% of unpaid work is completed by women, who commit between three and 6 hours a day to it.” A job that does not matter, however, in the eyes of the general public who consider it normal for a woman to take care of her family. But a job that does not count in the eyes of all other fields, including the world of work. Because in addition to being penalized in hiring and in the calculation of pensions by maternity, women must also be just as efficient as men, or even more. All while still being paid much less.
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