If you go, please go gently

Death of a Spouse is a new blog that has been started by someone who has recently lost his wife.  It’s an attempt to deal constructively with his own grief while actually helping other people.

It aims to provide information and to convey what this person has learned, which often amounts to unanticipated problems he is trying to solve.

The author, whom I know,  lives in quite a conservative world.  I don’t think now is the time to try to change that.  We have discussed whether the blog is heteronormative.  That his first reaction was “What’s that?” might give you an idea of where he is from.  I don’t think “spouse” is heteronormative, since it seems to me to have been effectively co-opted.

In fact, some people might find it a useful resource, or some of us might  have some good ideas of how to make it more so.  It’s very new and so could probably go in all sorts of different ways.

So have a look if you are interested.

3 thoughts on “If you go, please go gently

  1. I’m assuming that this is posted more as a general “hey look at this thing that someone I know put on the internet; I think it could be a helpful resource for some people” rather than a “Hey let’s use this site as a jumping off point to talk about something feminist.”

    I don’t think there is much to worry about though, as far as the site being problematic with assumptions or treatment of gender. For instance, I found this:

    “Men and women share many of the same feelings when their spouse dies. Both may deal with the pain of loss, and both may worry about the future. But, there can also be differences. While married, one person may have paid bills, cleaned house, and handled car repairs. The other person may have cooked meals, filed income taxes, and mowed the lawn. Splitting up jobs works well until there is only one person, who has to do it all.

    Some men are at a loss when it comes to doing household chores. But these jobs can be learned over time. Men are sometimes surprised when they’re widowed. Some men who are both widowed and retired may feel very lonely and depressed. If you or any family member is having this problem, see your doctor. Treatment can help.

    Facing the future without a husband can be scary for some women. Many have never lived alone. Some women will worry about money. Women who have never paid bills or balanced a checkbook will need to learn how to take care of their money.”

    This is a reasonable portrayal that doesn’t make any assumptions about men or women as such; it just reports some tendencies (based mostly on social conditions).

    The bit about the author “living in a conservative world” confuses me a bit. Is this code for “he says some heteronormative things but let’s let it slide for now” or more “I’m assuming more people who read Fem Phil are liberal leaning, so let’s not discuss conserv/lib politics over there if you visit”??

    Overall seems like a really helpful blog for a lot of people.

  2. Logoskaieros, I’m so glad you came away with a good sense of what he’s trying to do. I think my worry was more generally about attacks that can occur on the blog. The philosophy job market blog sometimes has really horrible comments.

    If I had any specific comments in mind they were like “well, it must be nice to have enough money to worry about taxes after the death of a spouse. A lot of people in this world have to worry about bare survival. So you want us to feel sorry for you?” Or maybe, “how nice you have all the laws and things, but of course many people are deprived of that protection in their relationship since they can’t marry. But you don’t seem to think about them at all.”

    My own ur-negative experience was on DKos, very early on, when I defended some comment someone made against private charities – along the lines of “you are just letting the gov’t off its responsibilities.” I was so shocked to have people get on and say I was evil and belonged in hell.

  3. I should add: I don’t think anyone I’ve gotten to know here would do that, but we do have to remove comments occasionally and I know there’s a lot of nastiness on, eg, the philosophy job market blog.

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