Capitalism needs women to work. The far right’s shift to economic ‘rationalism’ and the expansion of the low-paid service industries mean that cheap labour is always in demand. And as far as capital is concerned, nothing comes cheaper than women. Capitalism’s motto is: if you want to shell out less money and make more profits, employ women – they’re worth less.
Nine out of ten single parents are women, and even in two parent households many women are the main bread-winner; yet capitalism still pretends that women’s wages are ‘pin money.’ Women don’t need a living wage, because we don’t actually have to live off it. Despite a wealth of evidence to the contrary, men are still seen as the main ‘providers’. Our wages pay for the little extras: food, shelter and warmth. And as we get older, in a society which judges women on appearance, we become worthless.
Single mothers on benefit are the group who have borne the worst of the post-feminism backlash. Capitalism has outlawed all non-monetary relations. In a capitalist society to have no money is to have no identity. We’re not what we eat, but where we work and what we earn. Single mothers have been targeted because their existence threatens the right’s social, political and economic aims. Hence the constant media attacks and housing and benefit cuts. ‘Back to Basics’ blamed everything from loose morals to the rising crime rate on single mothers.
Work and wages – no matter how menial and low – are often cited as proof that we’ve achieved our objectives and no longer need feminism. Try telling the woman who gets up at six to clean offices, that if she worked harder she too could have two homes and inter-continental air travel. The role models post-feminism holds up as ‘successful’ women (scum like Anita Roddick) get to the top by promoting ruthless capitalism. Gender plays no part in their story – other than their having to prove that their killer instincts are twice as sharp as men’s.
One of capitalism’s strategies for reducing wages is to take what has traditionally been ‘men’s work’ – manufacturing etc – automate the plant and then bring in ‘unskilled’ women at a lower rate of pay. Then it is women, rather than capitalism’s sharp practice, who are blamed for men being chucked out of the workforce.
From “MAKE YOUR OWN TEA: WOMEN’S REALM AND OTHER RECIPES AND PATTERNS”, by Alice Nutter. Read the full article here.