What does it mean to bear the burden of emotional labor? This unpaid, unending work falls disproportionately to women, and it can be hard to define because it depends on the context. At work emotional labor includes adjusting the expressions of your emotions to benefit a colleague or client in a positive way (i.e. “service with a smile”). In relationships it can mean engaging in intensive conversations with friends and loved ones, listening to their problems, being in charge of hosting people when they visit, communicating with children’s teachers and doctors about their care, etc.
We kick off our conversation with two resources that have helped us understand what emotional labor is. Ashley shares about her discovery of the Metafilter thread in which hundreds of people commented about what it means to them. Katey lifts up the “You should’ve asked” comic about the mental load.
What We’re Reading and Listening to
As part of her Read Harder Challenge Ashley discusses All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. Set in World War II, the main characters are two children who grow into adults over the course of the war. Ashley connects some of the themes of the book to the dynamics surrounding the white supremacist rallies that have been happening around the United States.
Katey has been listening to the Faith Disrupted podcast. These conversations about faith and life between three Australian women take on topics we care about at Kindreds: domestic violence, dating, and Christian feminism.
Kindreds of the Moment
This episode’s Kindreds of the Moment is the Texas Diaper Bank. Established in 1997 by ten United Methodist churches, the Texas Diaper Bank strengthens the lives of over 33,000 individuals annually through their programs. They collect and distribute diapers, incontinence products, feminine hygiene products, and other essentials to families throughout the state, including in times of emergency and crisis. If you want to help the Texas Diaper Bank, you can visit their website texasdiaperbank.org to find out how to donate.
- Right after we recorded our episode, Harper’s Bazaar published this important piece, “Women Aren’t Nags–We’re Just Fed Up” by Gemma Hartley.
- In case you missed it up above, check out the Metafilter thread on Emotional Labor. So. Good.
- And if you need a laugh, check out this brilliant piece of satire, “Woman Decides It’s Too Much Labor to Describe the Concept of Emotional Labor.”