Janna Klostermann, a post-doctoral fellow in Sociology at Brock University, wrote a piece published in The Conversation about how women can often feel stuck while caring for others, and what can be done to change that.
“Having people constantly rely on you can make you feel stuck. Author Makenna Goodman’s novel The Shame speaks to the experiences of people who feel stuck in relation to others with care needs who depend on them.
In talking about wanting to escape the responsibility of caring for her children, the novel’s narrator wrestles with whether she’d ever be able to “escape the pain of both being a bad mother and being without them.”
The book registers the “stuckness (one feels) from adhering to a rigidly cultivated life” and the complete and utter heartbreak that can come with not being able to live up to the moral, feminine expectations you’ve set for yourself. “What if life could be otherwise?” is a question that seems to underpin the book. It’s also a question I have been exploring as a feminist sociologist of care.
While The Shame focuses on the life of one mother, I was reminded of the stories of other paid care workers and unpaid family or friend carers when reading it. With the COVID-19 pandemic, women, and some men, have been pressed to take on additional care, work or family responsibilities.”
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