IWD2023 - Continuing the Education

Cheery - IWD2023
What a year it’s been since last International Women’s Day! Our Loop team hopes this past year of challenge, resilience and regrouping has you looking forward to spring sunshine, travel, and finding the bandwidth to support issues that matter most to you.


Here at Loop, we’re adjusting to being a more ‘global’ team, with our co-founders now living on different continents for the first time in our nearly 13-year history. While we miss being all together in Shanghai, it’s been an interesting exercise to describe our new “daily.”


Co-founder Heather Kaye has a new term to share with you this IWD. Enjoy and Happy International Women’s Day!


“As of Summer 2022, Washington, DC is our family’s new hometown. Everyone, including our Shanghai dog and cat, and all those boxes made it over. Our kids complain that DC isn’t urban or cool enough even though the nearest boba tea is only a 10-minute walk (not bad for America!), and that there’s something wrong with the paper. Turns out “Letter” size does look a lot smaller than its metric cousin, the A4. 


And while it’s not a fashion capitol by anyone’s standards, Washington, DC has a lot of thinkers. We’ve met most of our neighboring thinkers the same way we met people in Shanghai - through our dog, Ruthie and one of them has become a good friend.


She has a PhD in economics and works for the SEC (U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission), keeping citizens safe from market manipulation. On a recent evening at my house, we were toasting her latest accolade when my husband suddenly ran in to the kitchen, appeared to start dinner, then ran out. Soon, a burning smell broke up our celebration, followed by smoke. 


“That,” she said, “is called Weaponized Incompetence.”




“I can calculate it for you,” she added. 


No way. There’s a term for people burning dinner? According to Care.com, “To date, the hashtag for #weaponizedincomptence has more than 67 million views on TikTok, and it's being used to call out partners — mostly heterosexual men — who use or feign incompetence as a way to get out of doing things they don't want to do and leave their partner carrying the majority of the mental and household load.”


Now don’t get me wrong - I have an extremely competent and initiative-taking husband. He’s a true partner, but after 14 years of ALL of us relying on Ayi to keep us alive, clean and fed we’ve each been guilty of some basic incompetence. Our do-it-yourself skills are rusty. So when an economist tells you there’s an actual term and research yielding qualitative and quantitative results, you listen up.


How do we recognize Weaponized Incompetence, aside from just enjoying saying it?


They Do Simple Tasks Badly
You Take On Most or All of the Work
You Feel Manipulated or Taken Advantage of
You Feel Alone
You Don't Trust Them
You Feel Burnt Out
You Find Yourself Hearing (or cursing?) Certain Phrases Repeatedly


Just for fun this IWD, you can run through this Weaponized Incompetence checklist for each partner or member of your household and see how they measure up. Now that we know the official signs, as parents we are doubling down here in the land of DIY to teach our kids to clean their dishes, rooms, and pitch in much more than they did in Shanghai.


Learned behaviors start early and add up to cultural norms over time. It’s up to all of us to keep pushing on the stubborn metrics of gender inequality, whether at work, home, or school, across paid and non-paid labor.


We miss you, Shanghai!”

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