Monday, June 15, 2009

More on Motorcycles--and What Would Be the Female Counterpart?

I'm intrigued by how often I am writing about some of the same topics that others write about in larger venues; I'd like to think it's completely accidental.

Stanley Fish has an article in The New York Times where he considers three books about motorcycles: the Pirsig book, the Crawford book, and one I hadn't heard of, Big Sid’s Vincati: The Story of a Father, a Son, and the Motorcycle of a Lifetime, by Matthew Biberman.

All of these books make me wonder about the female counterpart. Are books on motherhood the arena in which daughters take up the work of the mother and wander off on philosophical musings? While I have enjoyed those books, even though I don't have children, somehow they seem different than the motorcycle books that Stanley Fish considers: in those books, there's fatherhood and there's work. In recent motherhood books, being a mother is the central work, even if the mothers are working outside the home too.

I'm sure that there are many female-authored books I'm not considering, books that wrestle with the best life's work as a separate issue from being the best parent one can be. But none are coming to my mind right now. I can think of many blogs that deal with this issue, particularly in academia, like Mama PhD over at Inside Higher Ed.

I've also been thinking about the issue of work, work that can be delivered over a wire, and thus is in danger of being outsourced, and work that needs to be done on site. Very few of females I know are interested in learning to be an electrician or a plumber or a motorcycle repair person. What is the female equivalent?

My mind immediately leapt to all the crafts my friends like to do and to sites like Etsy. Could we make a living that way?

Don't count on it. Before you quit your day job, you should read this post on Slate's Double X site. It's very disheartening, especially if you create big pieces that take lots of time or lots of money in terms of materials.

I don't have the answers, but I suspect I'm not the only one thinking about these topics. I'll keep my eyes open and report back.


Hamlet2007 said...

Very good blog post, Kristin. I thought about this quite a bit, especially since I have a daughter and to me my book at least gestures in this direction.

I am planning a symposium of sorts on and think this line of inquiry shoul (must, really) be included. I know my friend Melissa Pierson (author of The Perfect Vehicle) will throw in her two cents. You might too.


matthew biberman

Kristin said...

I'd be delighted! I'll keep my eyes open for your symposium at, which I didn't know about before your comment. Thanks for stopping by. And good luck with your book. I look forward to reading it.

Hamlet2007 said...

Hi Kristin,

Deep's post is up

I am not sure if a broader round of blogs is going to be done on thevalve so I invite you to participate either on your blog or perhaps crosspost it as a comment on Deep's.

I look forward to your thoughts!