She told me her theory that they are normative because US culture is pro-masculine in such a way that everyone has to perform masculinity in some way.
I don’t know if I agree with that thesis or not, but it got me thinking about how a pro-masculine culture might be reflected in the economy, in the utility functions, and what an alternative on that dimension might look like.
So obviously, Estadounidenses work out; “Fitness is a $19 billion industry”; those who don’t are shamed.
But hard-ness might be reflected in utility functions in other ways as well.
- preference of work (“I worked my #rse off to get where I am today”), busy-ness, regimens, organised workspaces, getting things done, goal-setting, achievement
- a preference for doing over not-doing (or maybe doing over being-done-to)
- a preference for hard-force over soft-relaxedness soft causing
- shaming of laziness, softness, sloth, people who are too relaxed or don’t work enough, people who aren’t busy, have no career, have no ambition
- a preference for my-own-space over shared-space
- a preference for working hard, even if it’s to the point of overworking (overworking is actually kind of a compliment)
- a preference for individualism over communalism
- a greater need for personal space (people stand relatively far apart from each other)
- “I wish I could spend more time with my spouse and kids, but I’m too busy running this business empire!”
- “I wish I could take a real vacation, or for longer”
- Confidence, competence, winners, power over gentleness, flabbiness, passiveness, meekness, passivity, sensitivity.
- creative destruction, building things, knocking them down, refurbishing, rebranding, striving for better, striving for more.
What about the alternative—what would a “soft” economy look like? Well, besides performing services and producing goods for each other, people can give utils to each other directly with
- softness toward each other
- Tumblr Likes
- listening to each other
- playing games together (think “childrens’ games” — why are they for children?)
- sitting next to each other
- holding hands
- communicating that “I accept you as you are” or “I care what you think” or “I think you’re awesome”
(and equally they can harm each other with innuendo, bickering, hurrying or harrying each other, glares, invocation of rank/status, backhanded compliments, body language, and other perhaps “feminine” moves).
Somehow I got to think about Odo from Star Trek.
In at least one episode, the others of his shape-shifting race want him to return to live with them so they can all shape-shift into a goo and flow around in each other’s beings and experience each other. Which is one idea of Heaven. But Odo (a hero on a US TV show) wants to keep exploring, penetrating the cosmos to greater lengths. Maybe a “more feminine” economy, though, would look more like that. People touching each other, lazily hanging out,
I think there’s a reason that “California Buddhism”
looks like finding peace on a marathon instead of this:
Look at that fat guy! He’s just sitting there! So, but what do you do? I mean, what do you do, do?