Tuesday, January 29, 2013
I am really curious about this, and have been for ages.
I am actually surprised that I haven't tackled this topic earlier.
As someone whose capabilities of 'multi-tasking' extend no further than talking and driving at the same time, I admit that I feel incredibly inadequate sometimes.
Because women are supposed to be these queens of multi-tasking.
And I am not.
So naturally, to appease my hamster, I have to ask two questions:
1. Is multi-tasking not simply a myth created by people with a vested interest? (I'll explain!)
2. Is multi-tasking actually necessary?
Yes, I am knocking something I am no good at.
But...jokes aside, I am really interested in this.
What is actually meant by multi-tasking?
Men can also drive and talk, so does that mean that men can multi-task too?
(I am not being intentionally dense - I honestly do not understand this term very well).
In one sense, I can see that (in answer to question 2) it is useful for carers of small children to 'have eyes at the back of their heads', so to speak. This is one realm where I think 'multi-tasking' is indeed a necessary evil.
And given that in most cases, the care of small children is a task of women (mothers, nannies, elementary school teachers, au pairs, etc.), I can see that one needs to be able to somehow give attention to several things at once, including keeping a watchful eye.
'It only takes a second'...where small children are concerned...
The case of 3 year old Jamie Bulger who was kidnepped and later tortured and killed by two ten year olds many years ago. The biggest and scariest lesson I learned from that case was....It only takes a second.
A child drowning in the family swimming pool. A frantic mother repeating over and over again: my back was turned for literally one second...
And so on...
But aside from dealing with (unpredictable) small children, what are the other benefits of 'multi-tasking'?
And now I am back to question 1.
Why has multi-tasking in the last few decades become such a big deal?
Is this a sideways attempt at re-inforcing the notion that 'women can do it all, have it all'?
Forgive me if this is a bit of a stretch. I have grown predictably suspicious of anything that might have 'feminism' associated with it.
As I build towards formulating my own thoughts on the evoltuion of feminism, as commissioned by PVW, I am learning to recognise certain lamp-posts and red flags along the way.
'What a man can do, a woman can do better'. I grew up with this phrase in mainstream media.
Is muti-tasking a cousin of this statement?
But something else bothers me.
If multi-tasking is so necessary, why aren't men clamouring to contest the idea that women can multi-task better than them?
Are men not bothered?
Or do men accept this as 'women's work' and therefore not contesting this notion?
Is this a form of chivalry that says, 'let them have this one'?
I really don't know.
But I am curious enough about it.
There is some science to suggest that multi-tasking could indeed be 'women's work'.
Men may have bigger brains per square metre of body surface area, but women have more 'connections' or synapses which ensure that several activities can be performed all at the same time.
I don't contest this.
But...is it necessary to do several things at once? Indeed, is it desirable other than for the above - care of small children at risk of coming to grief if someone does not have their eye on them?
Wouldn't it be better to concentrate on one thing at a time?
In the case of driving, I guess it would, if we were talking about driving and texting, for instance...
Also, is there a benefit to the 'multi-tasker'?
Or just stress and hassle as the picture below seems to suggest?
Is this whole post just sour grapes on my part because I can't do two things at once?