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My husband does a lot He helps me out with the housework, he takes care of our children if I will be out, he will do anything I ask him to Personally, I think I m pretty lucky In response to praise such as this, author Gemma Hartley asks, Does he do a lot compared to other men or does he do a lot compared to you Emotional labor is the invisible job handed down to women of every generation to make sure the days run smoothly, the household is efficiently managed, and everyone is happy and My husband does a lot He helps me out with the housework, he takes care of our children if I will be out, he will do anything I ask him to Personally, I think I m pretty lucky In response to praise such as this, author Gemma Hartley asks, Does he do a lot compared to other men or does he do a lot compared to you Emotional labor is the invisible job handed down to women of every generation to make sure the days run smoothly, the household is efficiently managed, and everyone is happy and not inconvenienced It s the mental energy spent on managing and micromanaging, all without rocking the boat Hartley suggests that if women want help with this extra load, the options generally are, Do it alone, be a nag, or let it go , and any help that may be offered is met with the expectation of resounding gratefulness After all, they re doing us a favor It s our job Even when it s their house, too Their children, too Their life, too Note I am very fortunate in my partnership at home to have a spouse who shares home responsibilities Thank you, honey, for being my beautiful rarity xoxo.In Fed Up Emotional Labor, Women, and the Way Forward, Hartley gives personal examples from her household, but also discusses how emotional labor has followed women into the workplace which I can personally attest to I ve had work positions in which the phone for our team was placed on my desk I was the woman, the subliminal secretary Committee assignments for female employees were themed with in office morale improvement and potluck birthday celebrations versus males who were assigned to out of office opportunities where networking could occuropportunity I could go on So could Hartley, and she does Women aren t fed up because we expect too much We re fed up because we re told we shouldn t expect anything at all We should just let it go as if it were so easy As if our work were so easily disposable Hartley suggests that all the dots connect to the underlying theme of undervaluing the work of women Hartley does a good job of pointing out the imbalance and how it hurts everyone It s not only a heterosexual issue, but it is a patriarchal issue, and when women accept this extra load without contradiction, when we continue to train the next generation to do the same, we naturally create a barrier for men and enable it to continue With honesty, she documents the results of her personal attempts at finding balance at home and it s clear that finding a solution will require much trial and error but it s worth it because we re worth it It starts with books like this that raise awareness and inspire dialogue Insightful reading material.My favorite quoteIt s OK to want Let me start out by saying that Hartley ain t wrong.Secondly, my credentials I am a stay at home dad, I do much of the schedules, maintaining shopping lists, remembering to set up the kiddos doctor s appointments, then setting them up, then taking the kids to them, and so on I do the stuff Hartley is talking about It s not easy I don t do 100% of it, but let s get to that in a moment.The biggest gap in Hartley s book is this while she characterizes as emotional labor pretty much everythi Let me start out by saying that Hartley ain t wrong.Secondly, my credentials I am a stay at home dad, I do much of the schedules, maintaining shopping lists, remembering to set up the kiddos doctor s appointments, then setting them up, then taking the kids to them, and so on I do the stuff Hartley is talking about It s not easy I don t do 100% of it, but let s get to that in a moment.The biggest gap in Hartley s book is this while she characterizes as emotional labor pretty much everything women do, and declares it invisible, she is notably silent on the similar work that men do It is as if this work is, well, invisible to her.At one point she is interviewing another woman, talking about that woman s emotional labor, and into the conversation as an aside we see that the interviewee is happy to let her husband take care of the insurance.This is telling Hartley believes that remembering the birthday present for the party is qualitatively different from buying insurance That it is emotional labor whereas acquiring insurance is, something else Something easier Buying insurance isn t easier It involves much of what looks a whole lot like emotional labor, as defined by Hartley There are phone calls, comparisons, complex and emotionally charged decisions to make, and then there are payments to be remembered, to be made I will use man stuff and women stuff to refer to traditional gendered jobs, and trust me, I know what a ridiculous breakdown that is As a dad who does a blend of man stuff and women stuff I can assure you that the gestalt of work around, say, coping with a leaking roof is not that different from the gestalt of stuff around getting Susie to her friend s birthday party with a present, a suitable costume, and the signed waiver for Trampoline Zone I have done both But to Hartley, the leaking roof, the car that needs an oil change, the life insurance policy that needs to be updated, the house that needs to be painted next year at the latest, these things are not emotional labor , and therefore are basically easy work Hartley is too busy telling us about how her work is undervalued to value that work, or even, let us be honest, mention it.I can state unequivocally that the man stuff involved in running a house is modestly easier than the woman stuff It typically comes in large painful bites, but when you re done, you re done and there is a sense of accomplishment and completion in a way that there is not when dealing with many of the traditionally female work Laundry never ends Maintaining the grocery list, and the schedule of which child needs to be where, with what stuff, never ends These are real, qualitative differences.But there are also many similarities between the roles, there is much of what Hartley would call emotional labor in the life of Ward Cleaver June Cleaver has no monopoly on emotional labor, it turns out Hartley just can t see it.Separately, I find myself puzzled by Hartley s descriptions of her husband On the one hand she praises him endlessly, recognizing him as so much better, by her lights, then other husbands On the other hand, when it comes to actually telling specific details of his life, he comes across as a doltish man child Is this guy real Are these stories real Are they composites Are they outright fictional Is Rob a doltish man child or a great guy I can t tell, and the whole narrative refuses to reveal him to me.Ultimately, I have to agree, the book is just a magazine essay, fluffed up to book size by endless repetition of kind of muddled material.It s not wrong , though Hartley is right, there is work here, and it is hard, and we don t really appreciate it fully Cathartic af, you guys To be honest, you can probably get the point and a measure of the release you might need on this topic from reading the Longreads article the author wrote which is essentially most of Chapter Three of this book , but man if you wantedlike I did, this book is here to deliver the and another thing you need It also dives into underdiscussed groups that don t get enough voice on this women of color, stay at home fathers , and the last part does offer some ways Cathartic af, you guys To be honest, you can probably get the point and a measure of the release you might need on this topic from reading the Longreads article the author wrote which is essentially most of Chapter Three of this book , but man if you wantedlike I did, this book is here to deliver the and another thing you need It also dives into underdiscussed groups that don t get enough voice on this women of color, stay at home fathers , and the last part does offer some ways forward that she recommends for spreading out the load of emotional labor a bitevenly in the future So there is some value here But I did feel that even for someone like me some who is 100% at the place in life where I m just waking up and seeing all of this going on and wondering how on earth I can get off the merry go round and neeeding to read this even for me it did get a bit repetitive by the end Hence the three stars But please don t let that diminish how important this message in and how much many many people need to know what emotional labor is and that it is labor understand its various faces and evaluate how they can help with it I was expecting aresearched book given what a fascinating and dense topic this is I understand why the author would ve wanted to insert her personal experience at times, but she did so to such an extent that the end result felt closer to a memoir Ultimately, Fed Up left me withquestions than answers. From Gemma Hartley, the journalist who ignited a national conversation on emotional labor, comes Fed Up, a bold dive into the unpaid, invisible work women have shouldered for too long and an impassioned vision for creating a better future for us allDay in, day out, women anticipate and manage the needs of others In relationships, we initiate the hard conversations At home, we shoulder the mental load required to keep our households running At work, we moderate our tone, explaining patiently and speaking softly In the world, we step gingerly to keep ourselves safe We do this largely invisible, draining work whether we want to or not and we never clock out No wonder women everywhere are overtaxed, exhausted, and simply fed upIn her ultra viral article Women Aren t Nags We re Just Fed Up, shared by millions of readers, Gemma Hartley gave much needed voice to the frustration and anger experienced by countless women Now, in Fed Up, Hartley expands outward from the everyday frustrations of performing thankless emotional labor to illuminate how the expectation to do this work in all arenas private and public fuels gender inequality, limits our opportunities, steals our time, and adversely affects the quality of our livesMore than just name the problem, though, Hartley teases apart the cultural messaging that has led us here and asks how we can shift the load Rejecting easy solutions that don t ultimately move the needle, Hartley offers a nuanced, insightful guide to striking real balance, for true partnership in every aspect of our lives Reframing emotional labor not as a problem to be overcome, but as a genderless virtue men and women can all learn to channel in our quest to make a better, egalitarian world, Fed Up is surprising, intelligent, and empathetic essential reading for every woman who has had enough with feeling fed up Man this book sucked I was so ready as this is a very important topic within feminism but she quoted Sheryl Sandberg in the opening chapter and I rolled my eyes Really I just feelresearch was needed into this it was all very personal and poorly supported when there is great information about this topic out there The conversations around REAL emotional labour are actually muchin depth than this book provided She seems like a first year feminist theory student who got a book dea Man this book sucked I was so ready as this is a very important topic within feminism but she quoted Sheryl Sandberg in the opening chapter and I rolled my eyes Really I just feelresearch was needed into this it was all very personal and poorly supported when there is great information about this topic out there The conversations around REAL emotional labour are actually muchin depth than this book provided She seems like a first year feminist theory student who got a book deal Disappointed Oof Stretching an essay that went viral to an entire book was a bit too ambitious for this one I felt half of the book was just repeating itself we get it, dads husbands don t clean or take care of kids as much as women do, no need to spell out every example and the anecdotes got repetitive and not very insightful I barely got through the 250 pages of this one The point she makes is very important and the mission was noble but I wish it had gone deeper, particularly in terms of at the work Oof Stretching an essay that went viral to an entire book was a bit too ambitious for this one I felt half of the book was just repeating itself we get it, dads husbands don t clean or take care of kids as much as women do, no need to spell out every example and the anecdotes got repetitive and not very insightful I barely got through the 250 pages of this one The point she makes is very important and the mission was noble but I wish it had gone deeper, particularly in terms of at the workplace Emotional labor goes beyond motherhood I also couldn t help but feel that some of her personal anecdotes about her husband were just cringeworthy I hope that guy isn t getting nasty hate mail She does do a nice summary of other work on this topic and that was interesting Otherwise, I d pass if I were you Necessary I d like to see this be required feminist reading Gemma tackles The hard stuff here with insight and intellect Next step CHANGE. I was excited to read this book because the blog post that had led to this book being written resonated so strongly with me I read it in a day and was not disappointed It s not a long book but there is so much in here that matters that I m going to take it chapter by chapter after my overview Overall, it s about women doing the vast majority of the emotional labor Invisible work mental labor , for the purposes of this book, we will call it emotional labor This review will be a bit mo I was excited to read this book because the blog post that had led to this book being written resonated so strongly with me I read it in a day and was not disappointed It s not a long book but there is so much in here that matters that I m going to take it chapter by chapter after my overview Overall, it s about women doing the vast majority of the emotional labor Invisible work mental labor , for the purposes of this book, we will call it emotional labor This review will be a bitpersonal because it was impossible for me to read it without the filter of my own personal experiences And I m certainly not blaming a person or particular people or saying that men are bad or anything like that It s not about demonizing anyone butabout changing a culture that has put all of this on women I also understand that some will say that it simply isn t true because it s not how it is in their housethat may be true or maybe it s perception, but this isn t about the exceptions This is society in general And if it weren t so widespread and common, her blog post wouldn t have blown up like it did.This has been a source of resentment and frustration in my life since before I could give it a name This is a book that I could have written except for a couple of major ways my life differs from the author and that I differ from the author Chapter one How did we get hereThis chapter is about how women are socialized while growing up to do the emotional labor They are raised by a society that tells us that we are to cater to men emotionally and that it s our job to care for others The author talks about how she saw the females in her family doing this so she internalized it as normal.This is a major differing point between the author and me I did not grow up in a family where I saw the things she refers to because I was in a single parent household where the single parent was way too busy to do a lot of these tasks she refers to organizing social calendar, reaching out to relatives and friends on birthdays, doing holiday cards, etc etc etc The author does seem to assume that everyone grew up like she did which I found odd but then again, we are talking about general rather than exceptions Chapter 2 The Mother Load This is when a lot of women find the imbalance becoming severe It is still a society where parenting is seen as the mother s job and fathers are the helpers The outdated stereotype of the bumbling father who can t be trusted to watch his own child children is still played out on memes and sitcoms which I refuse to watch and in various other outlets This is ridiculous, not only does it give men an out for sharing full responsibility for their children, it is also incredibly insulting to them Chapter 3 Who Cares I ve actual got this part down I honestly do not care if people think I m dropping the ball because I m not tilling my organic garden for greens that I feed my children in morning smoothies This whole thing where women and men are so concerned about how they appear to others as parents is not an issue I deal with The author writes about how part of the problem is that she expects her husband to do things her way and I side with the husband on that Let it freaking go I have been on the other end of that Expectations need to be realistic You can t have a perfect showcase of a house when you are raising children, not without other things falling through the cracks and devoting your entire life to cleaning I don t do things like holiday cards and reminding anyone to call someone on their birthday , perhaps because I didn t see these things being done, it never occurred to me to do them The idea that they would even be MY job if I m in a relationship with an adult is nonsensical to me Chapter 4 It s Ok to Want More This chapter really resonated with me because I get so very sick of hearing about how dads are doingthan they used to so they need to be praised for it constantly want a trophy too and that we just need to be grateful that they participate at all Bullsh t You can be grateful while at the same time insisting that someone else do their part, fully do their part It s not doing us a favor to pull your own weight Chapter 5 What We do and Why we do It this chapter is about how relentless mental labor is, how it occupies an incredible amount of energy and time that no one in the household sees unless something doesn t get done This is something I ve tried to explain but defensiveness is always the response which isn t helpful and simply silences When you have everything from thinking about what s out in the fridge, who needs new shoes, how is your child going to get to that activity when you are at work , the slipping of grades, paying the lunch bill this list could literally be a thesis so I will stop here , it s exhausting I had this wild idea that when I became a sahm, that I would finally have time to write I know, cue laughter here but what I didn t realize was how emotionally and mentally exhausted I would be from a day of doing relentless continuous physical and mental and emotional labor I had nothing left in me to be creative Chapter 6 Whose Work is Anyway This is about the fact that this is considered the women s job Why And how is it fair There is an idea that women naturally like to do it yes, some do but even they need appreciation and recognition for it generally and that women are naturally better at it some but not enough to consider it a majority This results in women being judged criticized blamed when something falls through the cracks and men being treated like they ve done their wife a favor for doing a household chore errand Are women really better at it or have they been socially conditioned to believe it s their job A lot of people will say but men take care of the car household repairs lawn in a traditional marriage and maybe they do but those things don t even come close to making up the difference The idea that those things are men s work and literally everything else is women s work is an unfair division This idea that men are helping when they do what they should be doing may seem like mere semantics but it isn t because it still places the burden on the women and gives him points for doing a favor Chapter 7 A Warm Smile and Cold Reality basically about how women are expected to always be pleasant and accommodating and are criticized harshly when they aren t.Chapter 8 Too Emotional to Lead about the ridiculous assumption that women can t lead because they are emotional Many other countries have had women Presidents and Prime Ministers and women have been leading for eons think Cleopatra so this doesn t even have a basis in reality Chapter 9 What Quiet Costs talks about the resentment that builds up because of the unfair division of laborChapter 10 Finishing the Fight references Betty Freidan s problem with no name and how we haven t finished that fight because now we are expected to do it all Why should we have to do it all When we have partners Chapter 12 Nature vs Nurture addresses the assumption that women are better at it because they are women when in fact society forms us to be a certain way And of course some women arenaturally suited to the role but so are some men The interesting thing is that men generally have a period of living alone before marrying and manage to do things like notice what needs to be done around the house but once they marry, that switch goes off in many Subconsciously, they no longer see it as their job yet of course they are capable of noticing what needs to be done and doing it Men are intelligent aware human beings I give themcredit than that The last few chapters are about what to do about it They are about actually making lists of everything that needs to be done to make partners aware of it all because usually they don t know what it takes to keep a household running It is about becoming situational aware There is this idea that if one parent takes one child to their physical and the other takes the other child, then well I did my part 50 50 but no, who had to remember the kids needed physicals and then go through the mental gymnastics and logistics of finding times that worked and scheduling them and being on hold, etc It doesn t sound like much but when you multiply it by exponential issues, it is It also discusses how many women criticize how a man loads the dishwasher, etcand I agree that anyone who does that, needs to stop If you want a partner to do their share, then you can t cut them down constantly Last chapter is about finding balance Things will never be 50 50 because of different phases and stages but one partner shouldn t be killing themselves while another one has time to pursue hobbies and hang out on the couch It s about making your partner aware of everything that has to be done and giving them ownership of those tasks having to constantly delegate is still work This was long but overall, I recommend this book to all women who are struggling with these issues It s about damn time we talked about it and no, even if one partner is a sahp, I don t think it should still ALL fall on them, that leaves one partner working 24 7 and the other getting to pursue what they want for hours a day outside of work even if they do the traditionally male things like lawn, car, repairs Being a sahp is work And in the vast percentage of marriages, both partners have outside jobs It s been a long time since I haven t finished a book This one was a shame I was really interested in the topic of women s emotional labour, but thought the author had real problems expanding an article she wrote for Harper s Bazaar into a book There s some interesting information on a surface level, but it s very repetitive, an uneasy blend of would be social commentary and analysis with aself help tone And So Much About Her Marriage Not even juicy stuff Sock drawer laundry b It s been a long time since I haven t finished a book This one was a shame I was really interested in the topic of women s emotional labour, but thought the author had real problems expanding an article she wrote for Harper s Bazaar into a book There s some interesting information on a surface level, but it s very repetitive, an uneasy blend of would be social commentary and analysis with aself help tone And So Much About Her Marriage Not even juicy stuff Sock drawer laundry basket stuff I got about half way through, but just couldn t keep on Fed Up: Emotional Labor, Women, and the Way Forward


About the Author: Gemma Hartley

Gemma Hartley is a journalist and writer whose work has appeared in Glamour, Women s Health, Cosmopolitan, Redbook, Good Housekeeping, Harper s Bazaar, Huffington Post, and the Washington Post, among other outlets She lives in Reno, Nevada with her husband and three children.


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