By Avery Stankus & Katie Peters – 1851 Staff
Joan Weiler Arnow ‘49 Professor and Professor of Sociology Tessa Le Roux delivered the 13th Arnow Lecture on Jan. 31 in Rosen Auditorium, highlighting the feminist perspective on professional caregiving.
In her lecture titled, “The Dignity, Duty, and Dependence: Feminist perspectives on caregiving in a neo-liberal climate,” Le Roux pulled from personal experience and scientific studies to give an insight into caregiving on today’s world. She underlined the importance of caregiving and keeping dignity while being a caregiver. She also gave perspective on issues caregivers face today such as unequal or no pay, caregiving being viewed as unessential work, and the decreasing age of caregivers.
Le Roux’s self-titled ‘journey of care’ started after her husband, an attorney with a Ph.D. in chemical engineering, suffered a brain injury while hiking. As a result, he suffers from Anomic Aphasia which causes memory issues. Le Roux took on the responsibility to be her husband’s caregiver.
Le Roux examined the many aspects of dignity of care through a feminist lens. This perspective was important for her to focus on as she is a caregiver herself. “Caregiving is pervasive, it’s something we all share,” said Le Roux. She emphasized that as a society, we must perceive care work be recognized as important work.
When asked about how important the feminist perspective is on caregiving, Associate Professor of Fashion Communications Luis Lopez Preciado believes it is, “crucially important because we live in a society that has assigned caregiving as if it’s only a female concern or function. I don’t believe there’s anything in a women’s DNA that says she should be solely responsible for caring for others.”
Faculty from an array of departments were in attendance. “You tend to just talk to people in your field but it’s nice to be able to share with a larger community so that we don’t become isolated,” said Le Roux. “We need to keep doing that. We can’t just focus on one thing.”
Health Education and Counselor Allison Whitcomb appreciated how the lecture “shined a light on marginalized identities, hidden work, and the impact this has on both micro and macro levels.”
Le Roux concluded by proposing the question, “How do we care, not for somebody, but with one another?”
Photo by Avery Stankus – Professor Tessa Le Roux shares her story as a caregiver for her husband.