This essay about the legacy of Tiqqun’s Theory of the Young girl from July of this year is recommended reading.
An excerpt from the essay and the link has been making the rounds thanks to foucault-the-haters and class-struggle-anarchism, but i wanted to post it as a link and excerpt a different portion. So, kudos to the OP and rebloggers.
Moira Weigel and Mal Ahern write:
We could go on like this. Others have. Since Theory of the Young-Girl appeared in France in the late 1990s, the Man-Child has wandered far afield from the barricades, turning up more and more often in the mainstream liberal press. When Hanna Rosin published her widely discussed Atlantic essay and subsequent book, The End of Men, proposing that “modern, postindustrial society is just better suited to women,” she inaugurated a genre. A spate of articles lamented how the “mancession” was discouraging even nice boys from fulfilling the roles traditionally expected of them—holding a job, taking girls on dinner dates, eventually choosing one to marry, outearn, beget kids with, etc.
“The End of Courtship,” which the New York Times ran in January, is exemplary. “It is not uncommon to walk into the hottest new West Village bistro on a Saturday night and find five smartly dressed young women dining together—the nearest man the waiter,” its author concludes. “Income equality, or superiority, for women muddles the old, male-dominated dating structure.” Meanwhile, an online panic-mongering industry thrives by offering more or less reactionary advice to female page-viewers about how to turn whatever romantic temp work comes their way into a long-term contract.
Mancession Lit portrays the Man-Child as pitiful, contrasting him with women who are well-adjusted and adult. But it rarely acknowledges the real question that this odd couple raises. Namely, are women better suited to the new economy because they are easier to exploit?
In the mid-1970s, Italian Marxist feminists attempted to integrate an account of “immaterial labor” into their critique of capitalist society. They argued that when a shop attendant smiles for a customer, or a teacher worries too much about her students, or a parent does housework, they perform real labor. No accident that their examples came from spheres traditionally occupied by women. Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt later used the phrase “affective labor” to describe the emotional exertion that white-collar jobs increasingly require. Employers in economically dominant countries now primarily demand “education, attitude, character, and ‘prosocial’ behavior.” When job listings ask for “a worker with a good attitude,” what they want, say Hardt and Negri, is a smile.
In the culture sector, economic precarity constantly reminds employees of their expendability and, therefore, the importance of their investing affect in their workplace. To gain even an unpaid internship or a barely paid entry-level position in journalism, publishing, museums, or higher education, dedication is a must. Many jobs that used to be meal tickets for starving artists are now considered covetable and require “love.” A college freshman recently told us: “I have a passion for marketing.” A journalist friend recounts how, when she was still in college, a magazine editor approached her at a party with the line: “Yo, you should be my intern.” We imagine her smiling, as if to flatter his delusion that there were any print-media jobs still worth sleeping your way into; in any case, she did get a gig there.
Women’s long history of performing work without its even being acknowledged as work, much less compensated fairly, may account for their relative success in today’s white-collar economy. This is, at least, the story of the heroine that the new Mancession Lit has created. Call her the Grown Woman. A perpetual-motion machine of uncomplaining labor, shuttling between her job and household tasks, the Grown Woman could not be more different from either fat-year brats like Carrie Bradshaw, or Judd Apatow’s lady Man-Children. The Grown Woman holds down her job and pays for her own dinner. The Grown Woman feels like a bad mom when she sees the crafts and organic snacks that other moms are posting on Pinterest. She wonders whether feminism lied to her, but knows she will inherit the earth. Could this be because she is better than the Man-Child at performing what current economic conditions demand? She is certainly more practiced. Who among us hasn’t faked it, if only to make him stop asking?