Thursday, December 20, 2007

Homemaking as Activism

I found this article on crafting through a link on the Buy Handmade website It was very interesting! "Craftivism: Is Crafting the New Activism?"

A few years ago, the feminist movement generally dismissed traditional women's work as "anti-feminist" and encouraged women to find "meaning" in their lives by pursuing careers and activities outside the home. That is beginning to chance, and today, third-wave feminists are returning to activities that have been traditionally labled as feminine (knitting, sewing and other crafts) and arguing that these activities are important as well. How refreshing! If you follow this idea to its natural conclusion, it also means that homemaking can also be celebrated by feminists as a valuable, viable career choice. If crafting can be activism, can't homemaking be a form of activism too?

One of the problems with the early feminist movement was that it discounted the value of traditional feminine pursuits. While first and second-wave feminists accomplished a great deal we can all be thankful for, it doesn't mean that feminism can't evolve! I learned about this from my own mom. She taught my sister and I that we could pursue any career we desired, though she had chosen to be a career homemaker and home-educator. I never saw this as being at all self-contradictory. I really admired her growing up and I hope to one day follow in her footsteps.

Have you ever read Laurel's Kitchen? It's a vegetarian cookbook that, along with my mom's example, laid the groundwork for many of my attitudes towards homemaking. It came out in the mid-1970s and the book's attitude towards being a wife and mother is incredibly positive. In the original edition the author begins by describing her disappointment with the junk food she'd been feeding her kids. After meeting Laurel she follows her around for months picking up on her cooking techniques as well as a wholistic philosophy of homemaking. The book has a heavy emphasis on the importance and value of giving our families healthy, "slow," food. While I'm not a vegetarian, I find that I still take the book of the shelf on a regular basis just to remind myself that caring for other people is a valuable goal in life (interestingly, I just noticed that Carol Flinders, co-author of Laurel's Kitchen has written a book called Rebalancing the World: Why Women Belong and Men Compete and How to Restore the Ancient Equilibrium interesting! I'm putting it on my wishlist).

I'm glad to see that these ideas seem to be getting more attention. Perhaps more of todays women will fight to have the value of their traditional crafts and activities recognized!


Tracy said...

Great article links! I am a homemaker and proud of it. I am a crafter and enjoy it and sharing what I make and do. Whether a woman works at home or outside the home, we are all in many way homemakers. In spite of role-changes in recent decades, much still falls to women in regards to home and childcare. We do our best every day for our near and dear one, and we should fee good about that. To care for and nurture our families is a gift of love. I enjoy the topics you bring to your blog--very interesting! Happy Holidays, Peace and Many Blessings in the New Year! :o)

Bebe said...

Hi Meggie!

Thanks for posting the links! I always enjoy reading what you've posted and this bit about home-making was very interesting!

Hope you have a delightful Christmas and a blessed blogging New Year!! Stay warm up there in Canada!!

Bebe :)