8 thoughts on “Anti-Social”

  1. Synopsis of book please? I agree with you about all the things to kvetch about but I have soooo many books on my to-read list that I may never get around to this one.
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    Jen Watkiss Reply:

    Basically the author looks into the rising DIY movement (crafting as job, attachment parenting, anti-vaxxers, extreme food growing/preserving, homeschooling), and why so many women are choosing (and glorifying) it. And what effects it’s having on the greater society. Basic conclusion: opting out is temporarily attractive to many individuals, but results in a downward spiral for society, since there’s then no impetus to fix the broken systems, and then no safety net when the DIY efforts go wrong or don’t pan out, or other ‘life’ happens (or, in the case of anti-vaxx, you cause a measels epidemic).

  2. Also, the comments on the “is parenting a job” post are closed but I thought I’d add a little idea. It’s not that parenting is a “job” and should be given a monetary value – this assumes that everything worthwhile in the world can be given a monetary value. But consider the metaphor of a leaky bucket in terms of household finance. This is a metaphor often used to address community economic development needs.

    Everything you earn or acquire from outside your family unit is the input to your bucket. Whatever you have to buy or pay for to outside suppliers is what’s leaking out of your bucket. So the more self-reliant your family can be in terms of using its own resources to meet its needs, the less is going to leak out of your bucket. If you don’t have to pay someone else to look after your child, that’s one less area of leakage (balanced with the cost for a therapist if you’re going batty from staying home with a toddler). On the other hand, if both parents’ income is needed to bring enough into the bucket to serve all the other needs, then the child care expense will be a small leak which is compensated by the effects of two streams of income.

    So rather than call parenting a “job” in traditional terms, perhaps it would be better to consider that it is about distribution of resources. Ultimately this is what economics is supposed to be about, right? We just lack the convenient terminology to describe the non-monetary effects of using family resources in the home instead of outside the home so we call it a “job.”

    The whole “new domesticity” could be looked upon as an attempt by families to reduce their leakage. By reducing the amount paid to others to meet food, clothing and educational needs, the family as a whole enjoys a fuller “bucket”.

    Jen Watkiss Reply:

    For the ‘parenting as a job’ I’m thinking more about the language we use, rather than the practicality of the bucket (which I agree with; it’s all about distribution of resources). It is important work, but assigning it as a ‘job’ makes it too easy to use that definition to hold women back. Because a ‘job’ is something that is given monetary value. And parenting is not. You can be a parent with a job, or a parent without a job; both are equally valuable. But if you call ‘parenting a job’ it becomes very easy to say “We don’t need to make the workplace friendly for that woman, because she already has a job – childrearing – she shouldn’t even be here.”

    As for the New Domesticity, the issue isn’t so much the leaky bucket. Because while a lot of the choices being made by the Extreme DIYers might be under the guise of self-sufficiency, the book reveals that they’re mostly ego and class-driven. Choices made by people who have the luxury of making that choice. Problem is, that means those people are the ones who used to fight for better social systems for everyone (rather than their own immediate family and network), so it’s a self-perpetuating downward spiral. Leaving the middle-class increasingly disenfranchised (so opting out keeps looking more attractive to wider groups), the poor end up as bad and worse off, the the rich carry on in their usual oblivion. It also has the handy side-effect of reinforcing gender stereotypes at the same time. All around lose-lose.

  3. “Because in North America, anti-social doesn’t mean ‘against society,’ it means opting out of it”.

    I’ve never come across this North American usage (do you have an example?).

    However, the UK definition is also current in the US. For example (clearly aimed at a North American market) includes in “antisocial behavior” harrassment, bullying, abuse, taunting, gossipping, threats, and intimidation.

    Jen Watkiss Reply:

    Coloquially (and anecdotally) I have only ever experienced its use as a discussion of ‘opting out.’ The phrase “I’m feeling anti-social today” is quite common, but doesn’t mean “I’m going to go rip shit up,” it means “I feel like being withdrawn or away from everyone.”

  4. Have lived in Canada for 60+ years and am only familiar with the U K use. If I’ve heard “I’m feeling antisocial today” I would have taken it as a joking misuse of the word.

    Jen Watkiss Reply:

    Interesting. Maybe a generational thing?

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