‘TAKE CARE – NO BUT REALLY’: GENDER, LABOUR, AND CARE IN TIMES OF CRISIS

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Excerpts from an article by Asiya Islam, Junior Research Fellow at Newnham College, University of Cambridge.

A message with email signoffs adapted for use during the coronavirus pandemic has been doing the rounds, one of the many memes that this crisis has generated. The usual ‘Best’, ‘Sent from my iPhone’, and ‘Take care’ have been replaced by ‘Best (but could be better), ‘Sent from my living room’, and ‘Take Care – no but really’. It seems that, perhaps for the first time, people actually want to know the answer to ‘How are you?’ and that it is acceptable to venture past the cursory ‘I’m fine, thanks, and you?’ 

This change in the way we communicate with each other may have been prompted by a sense of unity in feeling lonely, anxious, and insecure. But perhaps this change is also a realisation, on a collective level, of what is absolutely essential to the survival and sustenance of society – care.

Ethic of care
When the things that distract us every day – the emails that need to be sent, the profits that need to be calculated, the booking that needs to be made at the new restaurant – are stripped back to make space to deal with a crisis, we may arrive at an awkward realisation. That as urgent as we may believe our everyday activities in times of ‘normalcy’ to be, they are indeed (quite literally) not matters of life and death. At this moment, people are thinking much more closely about provision of healthcare, neighbourhood support groups, manufacture of ventilators and masks, sanitation, food production, and delivery services. Is this what a society premised on the ethic of care look like?

Read the full article here

Asiya Islam, ‘TAKE CARE – NO BUT REALLY’: GENDER, LABOUR, AND CARE IN TIMES OF CRISIS, Discover Society, April 1, 2020

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