Coca-Cola encourages us to “choose happiness.” Politicians take time out from building careers in the debris of democracy to remind us of the importance of regular exercise. Lifestyle bloggers insist to hundreds of thousands of followers that freedom looks like a white woman practicing yoga alone on a beach. One such image (on the @selflovemantras Instagram) informs us that “the deeper the self love, the richer you are.” That’s a charming sentiment, but landlords are not currently collecting rent in self-love.
Some of the left critique of self-care as a neoliberal conspiracy has to do with dismissing the work that women and queer people do to survive. “I have heard feminism be dismissed as a form of self-indulgence,” writes Professor Sara Ahmed of Goldsmiths, University of London. So have I. I’ve heard men on the left write off anti-sexist, anti-racist politics as hopelessly individualistic, whilst also refusing to do the basic work of self-care and mutual care that keeps hope alive and health possible, because that work is women’s work, undignified in comparison to watching your life fall apart while you wait for the revolution or for some girl to pick up the pieces, whichever comes first.
The ideology of wellbeing may be exploitative, and the tendency of the left to fetishize despair is understandable, but it is not acceptable—and if we waste energy hating ourselves, nothing’s ever going to change. If hope is too hard to manage, the least we can do is take basic care of ourselves. On my greyest days, I remind myself of the words of the poet and activist Audre Lorde, who knew a thing or two about survival in an inhuman world, and wrote that self care “is not self-indulgence—it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”
Lue koko teksti: Laurie Penny: http://thebaffler.com/blog/laurie-penny-self-care