Ah….gender. The rub of so many jokes and bad one liners. Newsweek has even coined a new term, BWM or Beached White Male to describe the fall out of 2008’s Wall Street downturn that sounds so much better than the rather snotty and ever so haughty, ‘Mancession.’
But what do I mean when I pull together two words like ‘gendered and discourse’ in the same breath? In the weird and somewhat off-color world I inhabit, gendered discourse is ANY discourse that defines itself reflexively by referring to another more prominent discourse for its internal logic or rationale. So feminism is not just ‘feminism’ but a sub set of itself. For instance, for some, feminism is a political discourse – Republican, Democratic, Libertarian, Marxist, Socialist, etc. etc.
I started out with this idea while reading a social history of the West by Jacques Barzun. From Dawn to Decadence was an informative book for me when I read it ten years ago. It was a timely read too. But that is another story.
Substituting images of the Ocean with metaphors of Sex has a long history and is an example of gendered discourse. The gravitational tides of sexual forces we are led to believe, are as ‘feminine’ as the movement of the markets are ‘masculine’ as is the politics of those who manage them. Yahoo actually produced an article on Newsweek’s article, which reposits the originals central question ” Can manhood survive the lost decade” and goes on to suggest that college educated white males are the downturns true victims. That the decade is said to be ‘lost’ already notes that a woman was not driving to begin with but I digress.
Even USA Today got in on the act with an article that showed the percentage of people employed in 2010 vs. figures from 2000 that suggested the number of women who are entering the workforce are no longer offsetting the ‘traditional’ and presumably male, statistics, used to calculate economic growth.
So who’s been hit harder? And if gender is not the great equalizer of economic indicators, what discourses, what ideals have gone into or emerged from a Wall Street Recession?
Why not question if the Moon hides its face from the Earth or from the Sun every thirty days?