After being familiar with the comics, denouncing the “mental workload”, this expression meaning that the women need to manage many things at the same time, the engineer-informaticienne and author Emma denounces the benevolent sexism and other social injustices in his new book, princes not-so-charming.
The French author returns to the concept of the “mental workload” to properly explain it again, recalling why women are the costs, bearing upon their shoulders many responsibilities. These responsibilities are of a family, such as the organisation of the holiday, or make reference to the unequal sharing of household tasks within the couple.
It discusses also the concept of “benevolent sexism,” a practical cunning which is to protect or value women, while considering them as “small things fragile”.
In princes not so charming, Emma talks about the feeling of not being up to snuff, not to be assessed for his skills, but rather on other things that have nothing to do, as his appearance, his beautiful smile or his good mood, in the workplace.
Princes not so charming
Princes not so charming
By his drawings, his dialogues and his diagrams, she shows how this devaluing attitude can undermine the self-confidence, even in people who are very competent.
The “benevolent sexism”, that she describes in her album, is a form of sexism disguised in good intentions. “Proudhon said he liked it too the wife to let them vote. It would lose its charm, it is on a pedestal that it does not fall “, she says, in an interview by e-mail.
“Simone de Beauvoir said that the men exaggerated the influence of women in certain areas to convince them that they had the most beautiful hand. But “the female voice is silent where it meets the concrete action.”
“This is what describes the concept of benevolent sexism : it puts women on a pedestal, claiming to give them a privileged place, but this privilege is exercised only in the areas that the company considers secondary : the private, the household chores, and parenting, beauty.”
Emma adds that even today, these mechanisms are maintained in an unconscious way by the men. “We’re going to congratulate the women on their good work of mothers, on their look, because these are areas in which we do not want. And that it can spread to others.”
She explains, in his book, that the concept arose in 1996, following a study conducted by two psychologists. “According to Fiske and Glick, sexism, therefore, would have two sides : the hostile, well-known, namely, to deny women access to areas considered to be “important”, and the other, falsely benevolent, consisting in heaping praise on their skills in the tasks that are traditionally feminine, and devalued. They refer to these two sides met, of ambivalent sexism.”
Change the world
Since the publication of his book on the mental workload, Emma note that the term “mental workload” is entered in the vocabulary of hundreds of thousands of women, but believes that the mentality has not changed much. “I don’t think that we can change the world with a COMIC.”
What to do, collectively, to change attitudes? “I think the arts community has a big role to play in this case. It is necessary to work to represent women as subjects and not objects.”
“That’s when I realized this that I decided to share my discovery in the form of a comic strip. All alone, I could not change the things in my couple. But together, we could coordinate to improve our situation at all.
And it has pretty well begun : the BD has had a lot of success, and since 2017, the word “mental load” is entered into the current vocabulary of hundreds of thousands of women. “
- Emma has been chosen as one of six women of the year 2018 in 20 minutes.
- She is an engineer-informaticienne and lives in Paris.
- His books are translated in many countries.