Interview: Selma James

First published in Canvas: 10th December 2012

On Friday 19th October, noted feminist campaigner Selma James visited The University of Sheffield Exchange to lead a discussion on “Sex, Race and Class — What are the Terms of Unity?” Before the event, she spoke to Chris Olewicz of Canvas and Hannah Rudman, chair of The University of Sheffield Women’s Committee and answered questions relating to her work.

Hannah Rosin has recently released The End of Men, which focuses on the idea that traditional forms of masculinity are being replaced by a new paradigm. An increasing number of males are becoming stay at home parents.  Do you think this is an opportunity for change?

There is no question that it will have still impact, but an increasing number of men still means a very small number. It may double and it would be one in a hundred. It would only have limited impact because the focus of society is the market. The reproduction of the human race is secondary, or third, or maybe even tenth in terms of importance.

Will this cause us to re-assess the value of housework?

Society is currently so pushed into prioritising the market over human beings, and over human reproduction, that there is no chance of something like a few men, relative to the number of men, having a great impact on the value of housework. Once you prioritise the market, the value of caring is irrelevant. It is a hell of a pill to swallow to accept that for children, and people with disabilities, and each other for that matter, caring for each other is not prioritised, even hardly mentioned.

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