10 February, 2009

Joining the Privilege Pile-On?

I still have no idea what I think about this post. Normally, I very much enjoy Courtney Martin's writing, but this post, to me, screamed of privilege. I know she works hard, and consistently produces high-quality writing. The aforementioned post is not that. Am I supposed to feel envious of her lifestyle? Should I commiserate with her over the "email black hole"? Wish that I, too, could start my day at 11:00 AM? I am baffled.

I have long maintained that the feminist blogosphere has a fairly large number of blind spots (my use of this phrase is NOT intended to be ableist); if you read this blog regularly, you are probably aware that I consider disability to be one of these privilege(d) blind spots. Increasingly, as Lauren has pointed out, class position and work--particularly in this economic climate--are two others. I myself am not immune to worrying about the state of our economy--though I benefit from enormous privilege now (including familial and monetary support, having school as my primary "job," and health insurance, among other things), it is entirely possible that I will need to find employment that is not in the academic field in the coming months, when I have my completed BA degree in hand. [I have included the qualifier "entirely possible" because I am still waiting to hear from several graduate programs to which I have applied.]

Due to my disability, I am physically unable to work full time. The most I can do without depleting all of my available energy is about 30 hours per week. I am aware that it will be a challenge for me to find a job where I can work that amount of time and still be able to support myself; it is unlikely that starting work at 11:00 AM, checking email throughout the day, and eating "overpriced" sushi will be part of such a job. That is fine with me; what I take issue with is Martin's seemingly blatant disregard for those who may not be as lucky as she is. The tone of her post makes it appear that she is, for lack of a better word, "set." Some folks in the feminist blogosphere who may be in similar situations would do well to remember that this is not the case for many people.


ouyangdan said...

Yeah, that kind of rubbed me the wrong way too.

I remember a while back Melissa McEwan wrote up an itinerary of her day, and it started at about 5AM, and included a lot of work for other people, including organizing and passing on info to help people in need. When I read Courtney's it felt a little braggart. I wish I could casually get up at 8, and leisurely eat breakfast and do yoga b/f starting my work. Even as a mom my day starts about 0530, and surely doesn't end by 1800!

I have a lot of privilege too, such as being married while the fibro keeps me from holding onto a full time job. I can handle about 20 hours if I am on my feet, maybe 30 if not. I don't have to worry b/c The Guy provides the rest w/ his military career. I am able to play SAHM, much to my dismay, but I am working at finding the reward in that (when it's not being scoffed at by other feminists).

The point of my babbling (ha!) is that I understand, and it isn't just you. I find privilege and that things rub me the wrong way in the weirdest places. I think I felt like she was complaining somehow...

lauredhel said...

My typical day.