Introduction: "WHO CARES" Zine

Are you starting the new calendar year with new (or old) resolutions? What resolutions keep you busy in the interpersonal sphere? Have you ever intended to stay in touch with a person more? Or to address problems and deal with conflicts differently? Who takes on such tasks in your relationships with others? How, when and by whom are needs and emotions communicated?

This month we would like to introduce a publication that deals with emotional labour in interpersonal relationships. In the zine "WHO CARES - Who cares for whom?" the collective Patriarchat Zerschmetterlinge (Instagram: @patriarchat_zerschmetterlinge) deals with the question: Who does emotional work for whom in our society?
In contrast to emotional labour which is (often unpaid) part of wage labour (such as customer contact, e.g. as a flight attendant), this is about unpaid emotional relational work in a close private environment. This is only a small aspect of "reproductive labour¹ and care work". The discussion does not stop here and the discourse on emotional work/labour and other forms of reproductive labour encompasses much more.
We are dedicating this month to this topic because the zine offers a practical introduction to it and helps to gain a better understanding of the distribution of emotional work. The practical confrontation of one's own relationship work should make FLINTA* lifes better and should contribute to a fairer distribution.

On the one hand, the zine is about making emotional work visible. On the other hand, it gives suggestions on which individual actions (in addition to structural changes) can contribute to its just design.
It actually emerged from a workshop that can be conducted with the zine itself. It offers suitable everyday examples and exercises. We would like to present you some of the chapters.

About the collective:

Patriarchat Zerschmetterlinge emphasise emphasise "friendships as stable constants in times of serial monogamy²" (quote from the zine) and describe at the end of the zine what this and the work of the collective is about:

"In our society, care is mainly concentrated in nuclear families and usually takes place in romantic relationships. But we in our collective don't want to base our well-being on and depend on just one person. Because that severely overburdens that one relationship and is both one-sided and unsustainable. This is also accompanied by a devaluation of friendships, which are seen as secondary to romantic relationships.
We as a collective want to actively work to value friendships and not put romantic relationships on a pedestal. Therefore, we have consciously decided on binding friendships between us. How we want to live these out is an ongoing process and has changed a lot over time.
We currently meet regularly for intentional emotional work (e.g. active listening) or just to spend time together. We also want to make long-term plans together, think about what resources we can share and what alternatives to the classic nuclear family we want to live as a care network."

WHO CARES – Wer sorg sich hier um wen?

ℹ️Explanation of terms:

¹reproductive labour – Reproductive labour is a fighting term and a term of dispute within feminist discussions. It is theoretically imprecise and contested. It is meant to be a demarcation from productive labour³ to point out (invisible) gender-segregated unpaid work and its exploitative structures, while at the same time highlighting the importance of this work for everybody. The distinction between production (making things) and reproduction ((re)making life/labour force) goes back to Karl Marx. Some other terms that try to describe parts of reproductive labour more precisely are e.g. care work, domestic work, parenting, emotional work.

²monogamy – Monogamy means 'one marriage' and describes that a person is married or in a relationship with only one other person at a time. It also describes the social norm that only two people are allowed to be married to each other, or that it is not socially accepted to have more than one partner.

³productive labour – Productive labour describes paid wage labour for the production of things or the provision of services. Productive labour is superimposed on reproductive labour in capitalist societies.