I research parenting and masculinities in the workplace using dystopian fiction: These are my recent papers and other writing
Parenthood is a high impact, and culturally divisive issue; its influence over organisational life is as normalised as the negative consequences for working parents. The parental problem is indicative of patriarchal cultures idolising ‘hegemonic masculinity’ (HM), which privileges masculine careers. Such hegemonic problems demand radical, multifaceted approaches to re-imagine patriarchal organisational cultures; this is where dystopian fiction can help.
This paper uses Dystopian Fiction (DF) to offer a manifesto of five demands (adapted from ‘The Children of Men’ by P.D. James, 1992), as a speculative future for new conceptions of parenthood. Drawing on masculinities theory and feminist manifestos, the paper problematizes current parental decisions in the context of DF examples of hegemonic masculinity. The paper’s ‘scriptology’ incorporates DF and authorial reflexivity to subvert HM and imagine the future. These five demands promote a reconceptualization of existing problems affecting working parents towards equitable change.
1. Openly negotiate and make transparent organisational parental policies
2. Strengthen civil rights for marginalised mothers
3. Abolish the silencing of fathers in fertility discourse
4. Stop ‘deporting’ mothers out of their career paths
5. End the anticipatory discrimination of potential mothers
Adopting an intersectional feminist lens, we explore our identities as single and co-parents thrust into the new reality of the UK COVID-19 lock-down. As two PhD students, we present shared reflections on our intersectional and divergent experiences of parenting and our attempts to protect our work and families during a pandemic. We reflect on the social constructions of ‘masculinities’ and ’emphasised femininities’ (Connell, 2005) as complicated influence on our roles as parents. Finally, we highlight the importance of time and self-care as ways of managing our shared realities during this uncertain period. Through sharing reflections, we became closer friends in mutual appreciation and solidarity as we learned about each other’s struggles and vulnerabilities