9. THE FEMALE PERSPECTIVE ON PEAK OIL
Some peak oilers think street lights are a waste, and should be eliminated. I couldn't help but think how this would come into conflict with, for example, on-campus feminists who want to *increase* the number of street lights as a countermeasure against rape and sexual assault.
Peak oil has a strong male bias. They want to get back to basics and eliminate wasteful electrical appliances. Guys: you may not need that appliance, but how does your wife/girlfriend/mother, who actually uses it, feel about getting rid of it?"
It reminds me of the program "Frontier House" which I saw on public TV. In that program, a number of modern families were selected to go back and live on the land in Frontier style for a summer. No make-up, no conveniences, no energy other than that available to the pioneers (wood and kerosene, I believe). You can read about the program here:
Anyway, the eye-opener about that series was how hard the women's work was in those days. They were washing dishes/clothes, fetching water, cooking, sewing, milking, cleaning-up non-stop from dawn to dusk everyday. It was totally exhausting and monotonous and they complained about it. The men, on the other hand, were outside chopping wood all day and building, and generally enjoyed it and had a favorable view of the whole experience.
That's part of the male bias of peak oil. Men think it's fun to rough it and go back to nature, and shoot guns in a Mad Max scenario. It's like playing cowboys and indians. Women, on the other hand, don't like it, because they can see themselves in the backdrop of this male fantasy, getting raped or rubbing their fingers to the bone on a washboard.
So my point is this: It may very well be that an energy surplus is a precondition of emancipating women from household slavery. So when we lose that surplus, how are you men going to explain the need for drudgery to your women? They may *demand* that you fix the problem by finding more energy, not by rationalizing how important it is for them to be a drudge again.