Whatever women do will always be defined in the negative.
And it is for this reason that pregnancy, childbirth and child-rearing (breastfeeding) have been devalued to zero.
It is why as you walk past a heavily pregnant lady you feel a shiver of revulsion rather than awe. Awe of pregnant women is not taught in school.
It should be.
It is why childbirth must be tamed, the birthing woman sedated and tipped on her back, feet in stirrups.
It is why only the most uneducated women raise children for a pittance. Or if (heaven forbid) the mother raises her child herself she must do it for FREE.
It is the reason why mothers are impoverished (unless they have a man). If work has no value then there is no need to pay for it.
And this is the essence of our “diseased world created by men” (Dworkin)
To hear patriarchal media tell it, it is men, not women, who work. This has always been a lie: a patriarchal reversal.
It is women who collect the firewood and carry heavy water in developing countries. It was women’s work that built the industrial revolution as they stood- literally- pregnant,barefoot and starving in the factories, the cotton mills. Women and children were sent down the pits to mine coal and were paid less than men for the privilege.Women would haul tubs of coal with a rope and chain. The chain usually passed beneath the body between the legs.
To hear men tell
their lies it, it was only men who mined coal.
Aren’t they embarrassed about leaving the most dangerous work to women?
That’s right. Men refused to use a windlass because it was too dangerous (and they might have snapped a nail?) .
“Six year old girl:
“I have been down six weeks and make 10 to 14 rakes a day; I carry a full 56 lbs. of coal in a wooden bucket. I work with sister Jesse and mother. It is dark the time we go.”
Jane Peacock Watson.
“I have wrought in the bowels of the earth 33 years. I have been married 23 years and had nine children, six are alive and three died of typhus a few years since. Have had two dead born. Horse-work ruins the women; it crushes their haunches, bends their ankles and makes them old women at 40. “
Women did it to feed their children. Men could probably see that alcohol and prostitutes, their main expenditure, was not worth risking their lives for.
Incidences such as the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire in 1911, where over a hundred women were trapped inside and died in the flames or leapt to their death, continue to this day.
The reason so many women die is because their male bosses lock them in. Young women continue to die locked in sweatshops all the time in the developing world.
Wikipedia prefers to call the women of the Triangle shirtwaist factory “people” or the gender-neutral “garment-workers” but actually they were women. Underpaid women whose lives had no value.
But the most interesting piece of history I’ve found is the Japanese pearl Oyster Divers.
“Traditionally, Japanese pearl diving was done by women who were called “Ama” . The word ama literally means “sea woman.” This Japanese tradition dates back 2000 years. As recently as the 1960s, Ama divers wore only a loincloth. Even today, Ama dive without scuba gear, using free-diving techniques. Free-divers often descend to depths of over 100 feet on a single breath. Only divers who work at tourist attractions use white, partially transparent suits to dive in”
Diving could be very dangerous, as the divers were often required to go to depths of 100 feet. There were many dangers to pearl diving, including sea creatures and drowning. Drowning often occurred as a result of blacking out while resurfacing.
The Ama have a thousand years of diving tradition on the south-eastern coast of Honshu, and the profession is passed down from mother to daughter, generation after generation. The Ama had originally been the wives of fisherman forced to contribute to the family survival. This is why a male-dominated society such as Japan has an exception to the rule for this profession.
Even today Japanese women are considered better divers than the men as they are able to hold their breath longer and withstand the cold better. In the old days, the women started work in the shallows at age 11. By the age of 17 they were able to remain submerged for up to three minutes at a time diving as deep as 10 meters. Eventually they would go as deep as 35 meters with a weight attached to their bodies.” [thescubalady.com]
What do you think the value was of this highly skilled work?
Life-risking, Physical, Highly-skilled .
Gotta be highly valued, right?
But remember: whatever women do will always be defined in the negative.
So because of the life-risking element of their work the social status of the Ama mermaids was very low and some were slaves.