When we talk about the value of things we talk about the amount they worth (money wise), the degree of importance and usefulness they have, and their special characteristics. The value of things is attached to the context where they exist and are therefore evaluated. People and society create value, value is a construction and the value of things changes over time.
What has remained unchangeable tough is the value of service. Service intended as ‘something done for someone to meet certain needs’. While there are many types of services the type I mostly want to address here is the service which is connected to care, care for something and especially for someone. And to care is to love.
Bell hooks talks a lot about the importance of service and mostly about the lack of importance it has in our society. In hierarchical chains of power service is always something irrelevant and that one may dispose of. Therefore the value of service, care and love is barely understood or considered.
Linking this to gender equality I would like to call attention to the fact that in terms of traditional and stereotypical gender roles service, care and love, are mostly attributed to women. On the other hand service is also a ‘business’ of lower class and non-white folks. Women are still those who are mostly expected to engage in service related tasks as they are still the one mostly working in kindergartens, primary schools, caring services, raising children, and so on. Due to the lack of value capitalist-patriarchal society attributes to service and love these jobs are low paid what leads to the gender pay gap evidenced by many statistics on gender equality and economic participation.
While care professions are so low valued, professions that foresee money multiplication through exploitation of natural and human resources are very well paid. I am always awed about this fact, how is that possible that making money is considered to be of more value than to care about people’s lives, as it is to be a kindergarten educator for instance. This is completely crazy and makes no sense at all.
Every time I think about my gender, my being a woman, I feel I am pretty happy about it. I am happy of being capable of love and care, of finding joy in providing for other people’s needs. I don’t want to change this; I rather would prefer to invite men to try it out, and this way to experience the joy of being and not performing. To be and not to do/produce. Love is actually one of the ways we can choose to escape the concept of humans as beings that produce disconnected from their product. What about being, just being? What about caring and seeing the impact of the love you give in the well being of the other person? This is rewarding and not alienating at all.
What I really aim for in my struggle for equality is not to be one of ‘the boys’ but rather to change the values system heartened in society. To create a new values system where love, care and service are of equal value as money generation (although ideally I would prefer to attribute less value to money). Meaning to uplift the value of life, to invest in education and in child rearing, to humanise food growth, and to attribute the real value to all those essential parts of life that are totally denied and devalued in nowadays world. I dream of a political system informed by love and which political decisions are based on love. Dream or utopia, I continue to hope and to believe, and my faith in the love revolution is one little step forward to achieve it. More people will join, more of us will actually realise that ‘people have the power’!