“On a global average, women will spend ten years of their lives performing unpaid care & domestic labour, compared to men’s four years.” (UN Women, 2020) In our society, we tend to praise men for performing any task that is culturally perceived as feminine. We award them for taking parental leave, invite them to talk shows for braiding their daughter’s hair, write enthusiastic articles about them baking a cake, and applaud them for doing the dishes. In the zine “The Reese Witherspoon Effect”, more
Contemporary C*nt Collective offers a humorous critique of this glorification and invites the reader to reflect and examine the topic through satire and research. The two-part zine starts with the short story “She had Picked a Good One”, a carica- tured portrayal of the modern heterosexual relationship inspired by one of Reese Witherspoon’s Instagram posts. Reese is the driven superwoman upholding a career as well as a household – which she, of course, couldn’t do without the “constant encouragement and complete support” of her husband, Jim – but how supportive is he, really? The second part of the zine is named “The Pedestal Effect” after a term coined by sociologist Tal Peretz to describe how men are treated preferentially even in feminist spaces. Here the reader is introduced to carefully sourced quotes by scholars and journalists covering these topics, statistics and facts from organizations like UN Women and MenCare, and real-life examples of men being put on a pedestal. Throughout the zine, the texts are accompanied by distorted images of smiling women. These photos were created with imagery sourced from mass media and popular culture where women’s reactions to men performing domestic labour or child care are depicted as over-the-top excitement, cheeriness, and often sexually loaded, underlining “the pedestal effect”.