Toward a Historical Theory of the Bad Dad and Husband
about 2 years ago
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"I believe it’s a salutary exercise to look back at the bad marriages of the art monsters (and politics monsters, and sports monsters, and war monsters, and finance monsters) whose names are so prominent in our historical record. Remembering how the worst among them treated the women in their lives is one way to see the invisible labor—women’s labor—that went into nourishing, cleaning, arranging, regulating, and picking up the pieces at every turn. Like white space around a striking image, this reproductive work takes squinting to see. The work of maintaining is much less glamorous than the work of making, and leaves fewer traces. "
"I often look at “women’s history,” as it’s commemorated in March of every year—the nods to a few women who managed to succeed in a “man’s world,” to overcome censure and barriers in order to innovate or create or write or fight—and wish for an alternate history of the women whose names won’t be known. The ones who changed the diapers, swept the floors, and openly seethed when their monster husbands or boyfriends decided a road trip sounded like more fun than work. Show me your wet blankets, nags, and shrews; I’ll show you the essential grease that made the wheels turn."
Dickens was such an asshole on so many levels. While I had no great love for his work before finding out more about him, he and Milton are in my list of "authors so vile to their female relations I have trouble reading their work."
I wrote a helluva rant about this phenomenon once. The (Western?) paradigmatic original may be Xanthippe.
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