a while ago, doing a report on syndicalist feminism, I wrote to Jule Goikoetxea to ask him some questions. He answered me with a half-hour audio that was a master class. I think that if he reads this he will be embarrassed, because in his day he warned me about the veneer that he had put on me. But not at all. It was a lesson on the role of women in the production chain. I lost the audio, but I kept, among others, this sentence: “We materialist feminists reconceptualize production to talk about the production of subjects, women produce modern men and women, and that builds them as a social class. It is the biopolitical production that decolonial feminists have also studied a lot, how modern Western subjects are produced.
This production of subjects is done, currently and at least in the West, according to a productive model, namely, that of building subjects who work, who produce. And also according to gender, class and race. Subjects are created with certain traits, masculine or feminine, and many other social norms that configure us according to what is expected of us.
In the book technofeminism (I think I have told this anecdote a hundred times, but it is very illustrative), the sociologist Judy Wajcman illustrates with the example of the microwave how technologies are configured. The microwave was a device devised by men to prepare food for US Navy submarines. When launching it to the domestic market, it was made with single men in mind and they were placed next to televisions and what we would call high-end technology, or hi-techit depends on whether we are more or less with the Falco uploaded or not.
I imagine those microwaves like sober devices with straight lines and controls reminiscent of those of a car. Something similar to shaving ads for them, where the blades grab onto the skin like the wheels of an Audi to the road, for a “Perfect shave and no irritation with Precision System 6”, which must be very different from that “soft skin without pain or smears” what does a venus girl look like. The fact is that, regardless of the idea that those who launched microwaves on the market had, it was the women who worked outside and inside the home who had the audacity to buy a high-tech product to be able to cook quickly and feed their children in the minimum time. And then the microwave went on to be in the electrical appliances section and to enter the type of machinery in the domestic work sector. Wajcman’s reflection is that technology, although it has been created by white men and what follows, does not end with the first prototype, but rather is configured according to those who use it. The market adapts that technology to sell it, of course. And that is where women have intervened, too, in technological development in modern societies.
With the production of people I imagine a bit the same. Women start creating modern subjects, as Goikoetxea says, so that they can produce, and of course, that’s where all the shit comes in, because the bureaucracy and complication of the system end up turning the microwave into a combi with oven, grill and pyrolytic cleaning.
For men to be good managers, workers, etc., they must be clear about their gender and class. I know that this is not math, because there are children of construction workers who end up being hairdressers or wearing Zara suits every day to go by subway to work their 15 hours a day at a multinational consulting firm. Also daughters of domestic workers who exhibit works in independent galleries or are programmers in a large company. But this type of logic of change within families, what every working-class family wants for their offspring -that they live better and with less hard work-, they are disruptive logics that capitalism does not love. He likes them as an aspirational model so that you leave your life at work but, we already know that, if the aspirations of the working class were fulfilled, the numbers of the upper class would not give.
And that’s why this class doesn’t really like disruptive things. His model of production of subjects is more of an iron family Fordism that leads to the serial reproduction of the same models within the same families for generations. Compound and hyphenated surname clans are an example. Inheritance is the form of perpetuity, not to mention family businesses or, even more so, titles of nobility. Families based on professional sagas too, although they are a little step behind the lovebirds and the preyslers. Medicine, law, architecture, politics and things like that are family professions. of clans But when this idea is launched on the market, it happens as with the microwave, that the use made of these people configures and perfects the prototype of the subject to be produced. And, since women are the ones who produce these subjects, they end up appropriating that production like the microwave. And it also happens that, then, the mother family of Fordist sagas find themselves coupling as best they can so that the chain continues to function, because it is their duty. That yes, many times the production is not entirely under their control: there are caregivers, interns, domestic workers who may be able to take advantage of the upbringing. But it is the mother families who ensure that the series continues.
I draw on several real stories -horror-. The cabals of a mother of a large current family, in her thirties and living in Madrid, to get her sons and daughters accepted in the same school with cache in which her husband, the father of the children, had studied, and before that he the father of this. Points had to be scratched here and there based on parking the car three times a week in a street located within the perimeter of no more than 200 meters from the center, making purchases in at least three stores in the neighborhood and living no more than One kilometer. I am exaggerating, yes, but she did not solve the logarithms that this woman had to solve in order to continue manufacturing the same prototype over and over again, nor did any appliance designed to facilitate housework. Another example: family man, politician and architect. That the girls didn’t go out for the construction branch didn’t matter to him -after all, they were girls and they dedicated themselves to communication-, but that they didn’t vote for the same party as the family was a betrayal, and so he did. the mother made clear. That introduced a broken link in the chain that spoiled all the Fordist production of that family. And let’s not say that you get a fagot son, and if on top of that you’re from the opus very opus or from the anvil or substitutes, it’s over. Or that the girl cut her hair “to the boy” or get something tattooed. Something so simple can sometimes serve to upset a Fordist family and blow up production. And bring your knees together when you sit down, girl, and put your shirt inside your pants, kid, and don’t swear or gesticulate so much, pretty; And don’t be so mannered, boy. And all the details and frustrations, desires and expectations that can occur to us.
In Yankee movies, family Fordism is well illustrated by the obsession that sons and daughters go to the same university as their father/mother, from the Ivy League, of course, because if not, why not? Private universities among the best in the world, according to the rankings of imperialism. The obsession can even be transferred to enrolling in the same fraternity or sorority as their parents, where they will undergo the same initiation rites and learn the same perennial codes.
The objective is clear: it is necessary that these people perpetuate the relationships and contacts that matter. Status must be maintained. And furthermore, if the girl has to play the piano and do ballé and speak English, and the boy has to go horse riding and go to the boat and the golf club and he’ll have a whiskey if he’s not good with the stick, then strength and point. My colleague Tamia Quima, who has a more entrepreneurial mentality than me because that’s what job specialization is for, tells me that she likes the concept because Fordism reduces the production times of a company, and also the production times of a person – I would add- because that way you don’t have to think about understanding your daughter very much: your daughter is like you, that’s it. But at the same time, says Quima, it implies that society is created based on equal families, anchored to the same thoughts and with the same values perpetuating themselves, blocking diversity and debate: “In social networks, for example, they are selling that idea: serial families, the perfect woman who is a mother, goes to mass and has a good husband”. And hence the pressures of the upper class to perpetuate themselves are opposed to the aspiration of the working class to improve. Sometimes she does it by imitating the patterns of the subject produced by Fordism, a practice that she does not usually have much of a way beyond dressing as the enemy, but as Inditex. Other times, the way to achieve it is with class consciousness, demands in favor of the public sphere and union struggle.
In the latest paper yearbook Pikara Magazine We have dealt, among other things, with the issue of families as a broad concept: from the concept of the chosen family that comes from the LGTBIQ+ movements to the misogynistic roles in which, for example, stepmothers and mothers-in-law have been fitted. Because if there is something that we feminists want to break, it is family Fordism. Because it oppresses, pigeonholing us into roles that almost never fit us. We want disruptive familiesbut we fight against sagas of large families. Still, we are more.