On Why Women Should Want UBI More
*Foreword: This was originally mean to be a response to a question I received, which basically asked if it would be bad if women didn’t have to get married. I’ll rewrite it to be more context-free, but for now, I publish it as it is.*
Whoo, where do we begin?
First, I want you to question the assumption that women “should” get married. What is it based on? Chances are you or someone else will fall back on the “Biblical” argument — saying that we “should” get married and have children because it is a long-standing belief.
However, don’t forget that the Bible, in addition to being inconsistent, self-contradictory, and open to massive amounts of interpretation, was written many centuries ago, when the human population was tiny compared to what it is now, and dangers abounded. We did need to replenish our stock of live bodies to ensure the continuity of our species / tribes.
Yet now, we are overpopulated due to massive advances in technology that occurred in the past couple of centuries. We don’t need so many damn people any more. Unfortunately, we are stuck in an economic black hole that says we require more and more young people to produce more and more stuff.
But is that collective mindset true? Automation can resolve a lot of these issues, meaning we would not need more people once we have the machines and workflows in place. Except, of course, that most capitalists still think it is better to outsource to cheap (read: underpaid) labor than to automate; and even when they do automate, they see it as an excuse to lay off workers, because they don’t want to provide comfortable lives for their employees — they were brought up to only look at the profit margins. But, I’m getting off track.
Suffice it to say that I believe that the assumption that we need to keep growing our population is outdated. If it was simply an economic measure, it could have been much more easily replaced or adjusted. Unfortunately, it was wrapped up with religion, which crippled our ability to adjust it according to the times.
So let us set aside for now the “requirement” that women should have children, and just look at the “get married” part. Why just women? Why not men too?
Indeed, there is also social pressure for men to get married, but it is also linked to the “have children” clause. If we say that children are no longer necessary, then men and women have fewer reasons to stay married if they are no longer fond of each other, or to get married in the first place. What happens then?
This is where the glass ceiling and sexualized pay comes into play. An unmarried man can basically rise to massive wealth if they work like crazy (and step on people along the way — seriously, a lot of executives are assholes). But for women, it is much harder, or even impossible, depending on which cultures we are talking about.
Women get paid less than men do for the same amount and kinds of work. In addition to that, they are unable to rise to higher positions due to many different biases; and even if there was that possibility, such as in entrepreneurship, they would have much more difficulty in achieving those heights due to having to constantly battle systematic sexism. Little wonder then that a lot of women find the idea of working more soul-crushing than men do.
“But if they get married, they won’t have to work any more!”, some people say. True, being a housewife is not “work” in the industrial / economic sense, but it’s not easy either. In addition to being basically bored and fatigued, housewives are economically shackled to their husbands*. (*Note: I’ll attack the gender binary some other time.) It can be a psychological enslavement — many wives believe that they can’t walk away from the marriage because they would not have money to live otherwise.
Now for some positive arguments for UBI, in the context of social pressure to get married, and the context that extends from that:
- Not everyone wants to get married. It is a fact, but one that is whitewashed by social pressure to get married. With UBI, women who do not want to get married are in a much better position to choose not to, because they will still be able to get by without receiving money from a spouse. Without this pressure, women will stop propagating among themselves the idea that marriage is a necessity and that one is a “failure” otherwise (and we can also tell the male hegemonic media to go screw themselves). Eventually, this pressure to get married will also be reduced for men who don’t want to get married, or can’t get married for some reason or another.
- It will also redefine how we choose long-term partners. To be frank, rich men and women tend to attract a larger proportion of potential partners than their less-wealthy counterparts. However, if we can all have enough money to survive (or alternatively always have basic needs met), then would we still be “gold-diggers”, consciously or not? My understanding is that, freed of the fear of death by economic hardship, the value of wealth as a sexual criterion is lowered. Simply put, if we have UBI, people will look at wealth less and personal traits more. That’s right, UBI can lead to more long-term relationships built on love, instead of financial stability!
- UBI will allow not just women but also everyone else to walk away from abusive relationships, including employment. We would see quicker and earlier resolutions of cases of domestic violence, because the involved parties know that they or their partner are no longer dependent on them. Degrading work environments would be quickly exposed, and abusive employers must reform or fail.
- UBI would remove our fear of failure, meaning that a lot of people will try to do the things that interest them, knowing that even if they fall, they will only fall not to zero or negative states, but to a reasonable base state. Expect an increase in user-generated content and creative works, and even scientific and technological advances as people try out all their ideas early and quickly.