From Gemma Hartley, the journalist who ignited a national conversation on emotional labor, comes Fed Up, a bold dive into the unpaid, invisible work women have shouldered for too long—and an impassioned vision for creating a better future for us all.
Day in, day out, women anticipate and manage the needs of others. In relationships, we initiate the hard conversations. At home, we shoulder the mental load required to keep our households running. At work, we moderate our tone, explaining patiently and speaking softly. In the world, we step gingerly to keep ourselves safe. We do this largely invisible, draining work whether we want to or not—and we never clock out. No wonder women everywhere are overtaxed, exhausted, and simply fed up.
In her ultra-viral article “Women Aren’t Nags—We’re Just Fed Up,” shared by millions of readers, Gemma Hartley gave much-needed voice to the frustration and anger experienced by countless women. Now, in Fed Up, Hartley expands outward from the everyday frustrations of performing thankless emotional labor to illuminate how the expectation to do this work in all arenas—private and public—fuels gender inequality, limits our opportunities, steals our time, and adversely affects the quality of our lives.
More than just name the problem, though, Hartley teases apart the cultural messaging that has led us here and asks how we can shift the load. Rejecting easy solutions that don’t ultimately move the needle, Hartley offers a nuanced, insightful guide to striking real balance, for true partnership in every aspect of our lives. Reframing emotional labor not as a problem to be overcome, but as a genderless virtue men and women can all learn to channel in our quest to make a better, more egalitarian world, Fed Up is surprising, intelligent, and empathetic essential reading for every woman who has had enough with feeling fed up.
Journalist Hartley serves up a passionate and personal assessment of the nature and costs to women of "emotion management and life management combined... the unpaid, invisible work we do to keep those around us comfortable and happy" and households running. Hartley's 2017 Harper's Bazaar article on the topic, "Women Aren't Nags We're Just Fed Up," was shared nearly a million times; and here, Hartley expands her argument that men must become more "engaged" in their domestic lives, women let go of perfectionism and feel "more free," and everyone value domestic labor more highly. She buttresses her case that women, even straight women with enlightened male partners, are unfairly expected to perform the overwhelming majority of emotional labor in American society with sociological, psychological, and anthropological studies; magazine articles; her own marital experience; and the experiences of other women, varied in class and financial status, ethnicity and location, profession and trade. There is much here likely to engage, comfort, and possibly help women who share Hartley's fed-up feelings.