Feminism Outside the Market System

I support and celebrate my sisters who are participating in the international day without women (the women’s strike), which I want to note is international. (I expect the usual “wealthy white American women” smears of dismissal. However, the entire transit system in Italy is down, and some of the schools.)

With that said, I am myself working at my job which I like, which not only disseminates news generally but which specifically serves the deaf community so that its members are not excluded from full participation in society.

The existence of high-quality closed captioning of live television satisfies the Americans With Disabilities Act, as interpreted and regulated by the FCC. It is the kind of thing market-driven small government would do away with, because it’s not profitable for television stations. Instead, it’s one of those things that expands equality to include a larger share of American citizens and residents. What it is is fair. It’s “all lives matter.” It’s an illustration of the necessary role of government when it comes to balancing the playing field so everybody has a chance, and so nobody can fall so far we lose sight of them.

As a feminist, it is my active protest every day to put my body and my voice in places I’ve been told implicitly it does not belong and is not wanted – in places where decades ago, it would have been forbidden, and I would have been restricted to the home, unable to work, unable to buy things with my own money. There are still parts of the world where every day is a day without women, where women are kept from the public square.

I’m here. I am, incidentally, queer. And I absolutely refuse to embrace a male-archetyped politics centered on “labor,” just as I reject the idea that my income tells you my worth. I matter because I am human, and because I am kind. Those are the only reasons I matter. They are more than enough.

It hasn’t escaped my notice that when women do work, we are disproportionately the caretakers of non-laborers – children, sick people, retired people, people with severe disabilities and limited incomes. Are they worth less because they can’t strike, can’t “take my business elsewhere”? Do those of us in traditionally-female fields deserve less because the work we do to help them doesn’t boost GDP like some car part?

I reject the notion that my value to society is based on being a worker and consumer, and that these should be the levers by which I speak to power. I have never made or spent enough money for my purchases to amount to much. I wasn’t worth less when I was a student, or when I was unemployed, or when I was ill.

I am working today. I am working because of and in support of big government. I am working to force for-profit companies to pay to provide for every human being and not just the rich, loud ones. I support my sisters who are making themselves visible, whether by their temporary absence or by wearing red. But it is my hope that I myself am invisible to the people who need me, that the support I provide is something vulnerable members of society can count on without any fear it will ever go away. I will fight to make sure it never does.