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The Golem and the Jinni > TGATJ: Emotional Labor (spoilers)

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message 1: by Steve (new)

Steve (plinth) | 179 comments While I was reading the book, I was reminded of this essay on emotional labor.

(view spoiler)


message 2: by Trike (last edited Oct 16, 2016 07:05AM) (new)

Trike | 8315 comments Fascinating essay. I'd never heard of this before.

I do wonder about the men who behave this way toward women. I can't imagine thinking these sorts of things, let alone talking to anyone about them. Assuming that a woman would be willing to listen my maunderings is so utterly foreign to me that it's not even on the menu. From my perspective it sounds a lot like weakness.

People are so weird.

Edit: although... upon reflection, don't women do this for each other, too? It sure seems that way, based on every reality TV show I've seen and every book I've read and every conversation I've had with women about women. So maybe this essay IS pure misandry. It's not the emotional labor she's objecting to, it's doing it for men. In which case the entire notion is suspect.


message 3: by Dara (new)

Dara (cmdrdara) | 2693 comments Interesting article but I can't say I agree with it. Listening to your friend's problems and feelings and offering support is generally a kind thing to do and what you should do for your friends. It's being a decent human being and, at least in my friendships, it goes both ways. I listen to them and they listen to me.


message 4: by Darren (last edited Oct 16, 2016 07:25PM) (new)

Darren Steve wrote: "She has been given the ability to sense other people's needs and the desire to resolve them. When these are all put together, she is the emotional inequality of women in relationships incarnate."

This doesn't sound like any woman I've ever dated, especially that second part. The golem are engineered minions. If Chava was male would we be talking about The Remains of the Day?


message 5: by Melani (last edited Oct 17, 2016 08:51AM) (new)

Melani | 179 comments Trike wrote: "Fascinating essay. I'd never heard of this before.

I do wonder about the men who behave this way toward women. I can't imagine thinking these sorts of things, let alone talking to anyone about the..."


I'm going to interject here. The issue is not that women do this only for men, or that women do it at all. It's that men DON'T do it, but expect it to exist as part of a relationship. She's arguing that men don't do their share of emotional lifting in relationships.

It was one of the things that bothered me about the book actually, that it upheld that relationship standard. Not too much, but a little. The djini, being a magical creature, had a hard time understanding and feeling human emotions where the golem understood them preternaturally.


message 6: by Trike (new)

Trike | 8315 comments Melani wrote: "The issue is not that women do this only for men, or that women do it at all. It's that men DON'T do it, but expect it to exist as part of a relationship. She's arguing that men don't do their share of emotional lifting in relationships.."

Which isn't true.

I get that there are emotionally stunted males seething with entitlement who demand such behavior from women without reciprocating (just look at Trump and many of his supporters), but the idea that this is the majority of us or that it is our default position is simply untrue. It's a communication error rather than a base fault.

We all have the same needs to varying degrees, but we communicate those needs differently because of our inherently different brains reinforced by culture. If all she's ever encountered from men is takers, she's experienced a statistical anomaly due to sampling error.


message 7: by Dara (new)

Dara (cmdrdara) | 2693 comments #NotAllMen


message 8: by Melani (new)

Melani | 179 comments Trike wrote:"Which isn't true.

I get that there are emotionally stunted males seething with entitlement who demand such behavior from women without reciprocating ..."


.....

Way to miss the point there. Dara said it best I believe.


message 9: by Matthew (new)

Matthew (matthewdl) | 341 comments Whoa, that was an interesting article. As a good socialist I find the idea of monetizing that labour a little revolting but I can certainly get behind the idea of reciprocity.

Trike wrote: I get that there are emotionally stunted males seething with entitlement who demand such behavior from women without reciprocating.. but the idea that this is the majority of us or that it is our default position is simply untrue.

I think that you're painting a bit of a caricature in the beginning there Trike. With the usual caveat, #NotAllMen (thanks Dara), I think it's safe to say that there is some truth to what they're saying here and I don't think the man has to be a total misogynist to fall into this trap.

There's a kind of stoicism fetish that runs through a lot of discourses on maleness and it makes for men who aren't as skilled at the kind of emotional labour mentioned in the article (or are flat out afraid of it). I don't think it's prevalent anymore but it's definitely still out there. There are still boys out there who are getting the emotional equivalent of foot binding.

What I really like about TGATJ is how the gender stereotypes bleed into the theme of struggling with/against natures.


message 10: by AndrewP (new)

AndrewP (andrewca) | 2471 comments I think your missing that the attitudes of the main characters are from a different age and culture.


message 11: by Rick (new)

Rick | 2783 comments Melani wrote: "
Way to miss the point..."


You wrote:

"It's that men DON'T do it, but expect it to exist as part of a relationship. She's arguing that men don't do their share of emotional lifting in relationships."

I get the source of #notallmen and why it exists, but when you use a generalization, it's not on other people to infer what you mean. It's on you to use English properly to express your actual intentions. It's actually pretty annoying to have people passive aggressively use a general case construction but then say, effectively, "well you should have know what I really meant...." No. Express what you really mean. English is a lovely, rich language. Use it.


message 12: by Matthew (new)

Matthew (matthewdl) | 341 comments Rick wrote: "I get the source of #notallmen and why it exists."

Lol, that makes one of us. Just looked it up and realized I missed a layer of irony there. Guess I'm a little behind the times. My faux pas.


message 13: by Darren (last edited Oct 21, 2016 04:24AM) (new)

Darren Rick wrote: "I get the source of #notallmen and why it exists, but when you use a generalization, it's not on other people to infer what you mean. It's on you to use English properly to express your actual intentions. It's actually pretty annoying to have people passive aggressively use a general case construction but then say, effectively, "well you should have know what I really meant...." No. Express what you really mean. English is a lovely, rich language. Use it."

Jesus.

Like mansplaining on that scale is going to further your argument. I don't agree with Melani at all, but wtf.


message 14: by Melani (new)

Melani | 179 comments I'm here to discuss the books, not feminism 101. If Dave would like to do more investigating into why emotional labor is a thing, that's his business. Feminism does inform my readings, because lo I am a feminist and that is how I think. This isn't the first time I've said something on this forum where people have disagreed with me, and that's fine discussion is good. Disagreement is good. However, I think the book ought to be the main part of the discussion, and while I'm sorry that some article on the internet has hurt Dave's feelings I don't think those hurt feelings have much bearing on how the article is reflected in the book.

I do think emotional labor is important to the book and I like that it was originally brought up. I like Mathew's take on how the gender expectations bled into the cultural expectaions, I hadn't looked at it that way, and I like it.

And I've now blocked my very first goodreads user, so that's fun.


message 15: by Matthew (new)

Matthew (matthewdl) | 341 comments Melani wrote: "I like Mathew's take on how the gender expectations bled into the cultural expectaions, I hadn't looked at it that way, and I like it."

At the risk of fanning a hot thread I'm going to try and clarify that. I actually wasn't referring to cultural expectations but to the idea that there is a human nature, or a male nature, or a female nature inherent in each of us. Personally I think that we can point to such natures but they are inevitably artificial, incomplete, and insufficient if not openly oppressive. That doesn't mean that they can't have an impact on us though.

I think a lot of the Golem and the Jinni is about both of our main characters coming to face their "natures", struggling with them and eventually coming to understand them in a way that allows them to transcend their constraints and gain agency over their own lives. They remain touched by these natures but by the end, I think, not ruled by them.

The Golem comes face to face with the shopping list of traits provided by Rotfeld; the Jinni comes to see the impact his "Jinni-ness" has had on Sophia and Fadwa. There is then a tension that develops between the path layed out for them by others/chance/history and the paths they can unfold for themselves.

Now we can connect this tension to feminism or immigrant narratives or cultural commentaries but when I look at this story I see the struggle between nature and agency.

So where Melani sees the reproduction of male/female traits that bother her I'm not really bothered by it because (while the concept does bother me) I see it as a part of the old baggage that they try to overcome. Of course, we all have our own reading.


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