Quickhit: “Womanspace”

After years of apparently expecting his professor wife to work second shift, and suddenly finding that domestic work is not as easy as he thought: Cretaceous manchild virologist cracks “men hunt, women gather” shopping joke as if it’s novel and hilarious, acts surprised about said wife having developed Actual Skills, postulates universal gender-essentialist alt-U explanation, and feels compelled to share with an audience he presumes to be entirely male and heterosexual.

In flagship scientific journal, Nature.

Categories: gender & feminism, Science

Tags: ,

11 replies

  1. That’s quite an impressive lack of self-awareness.

  2. Jeepers. Although, some of the comments in response are ace.

  3. But his wife thinks it is funny and as she is female she therefore represents the entirety of the female species…or something.

  4. Uhm… What? What was that? Was that supposed to be funny? Nature actually published that crap? WHY. WHYYYY?

  5. We’re MEN! We hunt! We do not stuff about, we go up to the thing we want and STAB IT!


    So we went to look for knickers, but spent so long in the apple store that we ran out of time and couldn’t get any


    My wife was too busy cooking dinner to bother

    being in two places at once

    My Nigel cooks!

    whilst in another suburb shopping for undies!

    My wife has to tell me to make sure the family was clothed


    She buys stuff I don’t even know the purpose of, and therefore it must be purposeless, because if I don’t know about it, it must be trivial

    Are you telling me that’s not funny?

  6. Okay, so essentially the article is a screed of the standard masculine passive-aggressive tactic to get out of dealing with the Second Shift. For those who might have missed it, here’s how it runs:
    * Certain areas of behaviour are culturally and socially defined as Woman’s Work.
    * It is not congruent with conventional masculinity for a man to successfully perform Woman’s Work.
    * Therefore, when a man is asked to perform an action which is defined as Woman’s Work, he is faced with these possible choices:
    1) Refuse to perform it (deprecated in these modern times);
    2) Perform the task, but require constant supervision and reassurance every step of the way; or
    3) Perform the task so poorly as to ensure he’s never going to get asked to do it again.
    * The majority of men I’ve known will tend to use the second and third of these tactics combined (or in other words, they’ll need constant supervision and instruction every damn step of the way, and they’ll still do so badly it’s easier to just do the fucking job yourself).
    For the record, for any male readers who are handed this particular task in future: girl’s knickers are found with the socks and underwear in just about every single Woolworths I’ve been to. Socks and underwear come on the shelves just after things like dog and cat food, and automotive necessities. (If you have an i-phone or an Android phone, Woolies actually provide an app which lets you look up what you’re after and tells you where to find it!)
    There are big signs at end of each aisle (look up) which say what each aisle contains. Find the one which mentions clothing, socks, stockings or underwear (all of these are approximately in the same location). Now, go looking for socks or jocks in your size. Found them? Good. Look on either side of this display. Somewhere nearby, either to the left or the right, will be a similar display which has underwear and socks for children.
    Find the underwear for girls, and then look at the entire display to find the correct size for the girl you’re buying the clothing for (it probably won’t be at eye level). As a hint, the sizes get larger as you go down the column of displayed items – so clothing for an eight-year-old will be about mid way down, clothing for a twelve-year-old will be near the bottom. You may need to bend your knees.
    Once you’ve found the correct row for the size you’re looking for, you need to look across it to find the correct column for the item you’re looking for. Get a pair in the correct colour and size for the child you’re buying them for.
    It should be noted that no particular “special skills” are required for performing this task – all that’s needed is a certain amount of observation, and a willingness to do more than take a brief glance at a display, and say “can’t find it”. The task itself is congruent to finding a book in a library, or finding a particular article in a journal – first find the vague location, then narrow down the search each step as you go. As an academic, the gentleman who wrote that article presumably has this particular skill as a part of the bundle he thinks of as “research skills” (or if he doesn’t, he’s managed to bluff quite successfully for a number of years, and would be better off writing an article about how he managed to get by in academe without being able to find a book in a library!).

  7. What all of you said. Especially blue milk. Some of those comments were gold. Especially the one where the author himself said:

    But reading “…as if all Nature readers (or maybe all scientists?) were aged men with housewives at home” as a criticism, comes from out of nowhere, as far as I am concerned – or possibly, from an alternate universe only the critic could enter.Where was this enunciated / stated / written / implied? Not in my story – and my problem with literary or other criticism of stories by living authors is that before you go implying motives to them, you could ASK them what they meant. And I didn’t mean what you think I mean. I think…?

    Just. comedy. gold. The total absence of awareness. It’s simply beautiful. /gag
    [Edited for tag failure]

  8. And Megpie71, I love your instructions for, you know, LIFE. *sigh*

  9. I’m, as a male reading this, simulatneously insulted, sorry for the ignorant author’s wife and annoyed at the ignorant author for insulting everyone else.
    I think the most enraging line was this: “Have you never had the experience of talking to your significant female other as you wend your way through the complexity of a supermarket — only to suddenly find her 20 metres away with her back to you?”
    No. No I haven’t. I pay some gods damned attention to my surroundings and to my partner, you bumbling fool! I’m also wondering, Mr Bigshot Virus Researcher, what the hell you think you’re doing in viral research while simultaneously thinking a supermarket is complex.
    As a sidenote; I’m also rather pissed off that he’s riffing off Hammerspace and/or L-Space, both of which are actual comedy.

  10. Although, some of the comments in response are ace.
    I have to confess, on some days, I might have taken the article itself as a parody.
    I do wonder if there is a supermarket space though, because I was shopping with a friend one time – we’d gone through the checkout, and three steps and two seconds later, the assistant had completely vanished. Either an S-space* or Asda hires ninjas.
    * SM-space has the wrong connotations, though it makes working at a supermarket sound more exciting

  11. Nick: No, what happened is after serving your friend and yourself, your checkout assistant was released back to whichever six tasks they were doing before their checkout was opened. Retail spaces are largely understaffed these days, as margins start to drop, and one of the first things to go was specialised checkout staff (that is, staff who only dealt with checking out items). First the staff are cross-trained, then they’re handed an area of shop-floor to deal with, and told that’s their responsibility whenever things are quiet at checkouts. Which is why a lot of big box retail stores these days tend to have displays which look as though there’s been a highly-localised earthquake just before a tornado followed by a tsunami gone through lately – it’s because they’re having a busy day, and the staff are too busy working the checkouts to be able to tidy and/or stock their floorspace.
    (This entry courtesy ten years experience working in retail. My sins in a previous life were apparently many).

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