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Reaction to "Rest and the Disabled Body"

Cecilia Morales's picture

"prioritize the needs of the body over the rigorous, unrelenting expectations of the body under capitalist prouction"

"Slowing down is seen as a luxury by society but is actually an ignored necessity"


These two sentences particularly stuck out to me because these are notions we can all relate to, especially prominent in the context of work or school. Around a year ago, a very close family member of mine passed away unexpectedly which was a very mentally and physically debilitating time. My mother's job offered her 24 hours of bereavement leave only to be used for "customary obligations" which included making funeral arrangements, meeting with representatives of a mortuary or funeral service, buying items for a funeral service and attending the funeral and burial. Customary obligations did not include visiting relatives, handling estate issues, selling property, etc. The policy states that an employee may be able to receive up to 40 hours of donated bereavement leave but only after they have exhaused all sick and vacation leave, compensatory time and personal business leave. I think this is a good example of how labor, productivity and efficiency are prioritized in our society. Not only was my mother's time for bereavement and greiving seen as worth only 24 hours, but there were strict conditions on how she could use that time. The time was to be used for handling arrangements, not taking into account the mental and physical rest someone expereincing intense grief must need. The policy calls for an employee's sick and vacation hours to be drained (which are also crucial to rest and recovery) before the employee could recieve more (but limited) bereavement hours from co-workers. This is the establishment's way of optimizing the amount of time employees spend being productive in office because after the individual in question has exhausted all of their time off, it is up to the other employees to donate their time off rather than the company simply offering more.