13 min

Out of the Blue, episode #2: On emotional labor, with Jess Zimmerman Out of the Blue: Stories from MetaFilter

    • Arts

On July 13th, the writer Jess Zimmerman posted "Where's My Cut?": On Unpaid Emotional Labor on The Toast, an essay about how and why emotional work is often undervalued and treated as "women's work". Or, more to the point, not even work: just something women are inherently supposed to do. It's a good piece, and what it spawned was even more interesting: a huge, revelatory MetaFilter thread in which site members, women in particular, talked about all the ways this asymmetry and devaluation of emotional labor has affected their lives and their relationships. The resulting thread was immense, with surprising momentum: while many discussion threads tail off after a day or two, this one kept going for the entire month it was open (MetaFilter threads close after 30 days) and collected upward of 2100 comments by the end, from hundreds of different people. New folks signed up by the dozens to join in; members shared personal revelations, talked about the new vocabulary the discussion was giving them, posted both hopeful and heartbreaking updates about how these ideas were impacting their relationships with spouses, romantic partners, and friends. There were spinoff discussions, especially on Ask MetaFilter where several site members asked about emotional labor in various contexts. And there were even 170 or so comments about a proposed women-only retreat called Crone Island, for which ocherdraco made a travel poster. In this episode, I talk with Jess Zimmerman about her expectations and experiences writing the original piece, the reaction it got on MetaFilter, the collective disservice these gender expectations do both women and men, and some of the ideas that came out of that intense, personal collection of stories in the discussion thread. Helpful Links Podcast Feed Subscribe with iTunes Direct mp3 download @MefiOOTB on Twitter

On July 13th, the writer Jess Zimmerman posted "Where's My Cut?": On Unpaid Emotional Labor on The Toast, an essay about how and why emotional work is often undervalued and treated as "women's work". Or, more to the point, not even work: just something women are inherently supposed to do. It's a good piece, and what it spawned was even more interesting: a huge, revelatory MetaFilter thread in which site members, women in particular, talked about all the ways this asymmetry and devaluation of emotional labor has affected their lives and their relationships. The resulting thread was immense, with surprising momentum: while many discussion threads tail off after a day or two, this one kept going for the entire month it was open (MetaFilter threads close after 30 days) and collected upward of 2100 comments by the end, from hundreds of different people. New folks signed up by the dozens to join in; members shared personal revelations, talked about the new vocabulary the discussion was giving them, posted both hopeful and heartbreaking updates about how these ideas were impacting their relationships with spouses, romantic partners, and friends. There were spinoff discussions, especially on Ask MetaFilter where several site members asked about emotional labor in various contexts. And there were even 170 or so comments about a proposed women-only retreat called Crone Island, for which ocherdraco made a travel poster. In this episode, I talk with Jess Zimmerman about her expectations and experiences writing the original piece, the reaction it got on MetaFilter, the collective disservice these gender expectations do both women and men, and some of the ideas that came out of that intense, personal collection of stories in the discussion thread. Helpful Links Podcast Feed Subscribe with iTunes Direct mp3 download @MefiOOTB on Twitter

13 min

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