Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Are The Feminist Movement and The Personal Environmentalism Movement Compatible?

It's the night before I fly back to London, and I should be ... doing any number of things. Sleep comes to mind.

But I can't sleep right now, because I'm a little riled up. See, I've been following Crunchy's excellent discussion regarding Depletion and Abundance, and today's discussion topic delved into the subject of domestic work.

I haven't read Depletion and Abundance, so I don't mean this to be a critique of the book one way or the other. Instead I want to specifically talk about the feminist movement and whether or not it can be compatible with personal environmentalism.

Because, see, here's the thing. Unlike a lot of eco-bloggers, and unlike a lot of my readers, I hate all kinds of domestic work. And yes, this includes cooking.

Oh, I'll do it. I've cooked three course meals. I've made homemade butter and homemade jam. But frankly? If I had to cook for myself every day of the week, I'd shoot myself. My dream life involves having my own chef and maid and gardener. And maybe my own personal butler who would feed me hand-peeled grapes. Given this, I tend to resent it when it is suggested to me, that, oh! but cooking and canning your own food is so much fun! And so rewarding! And you should totally make all your own tomato sauce, because, AWESOME!!

Um, how about, instead, I don't. And I let you make your own tomato sauce because *you* enjoy it, and then I buy some off you instead, because, yes, I would prefer to spend more money on a jar of tomato sauce, than make my own. Yes I would.

The problem is, all this cooking and canning and pickling and storing, not to mention all the line-drying and non-toxic cleaning, and non-toxic child rearing, generally falls to the woman in the relationship. I know there are exceptions. But in most of the blogs I read, it's the woman who is doing the bulk of the domestic work. Sometimes, they continue to do the bulk of the domestic work even when they have a job that is just as demanding as their husband's.

Now, maybe the women who do this work do it because they enjoy it. And if so, then, more power to you, sister! I salute you. But I think a lot of women don't enjoy said domestic tasks. But, because we live in this Martha Stewart-obsessed culture, we are told that a) we are wrong for not enjoying scrubbing toilets or baking cookies and b) that we should just suck it up, and domesticate.

As a result, a lot of women live with a lot of guilt. Guilt that is compounded by every freaking eco-blogger touting do it yourself laundry detergent! and do it yourself soap! and do it yourself jam! and do it yourself ... you get the picture.

And at its core, we're not seriously addressing the gender inequities that result in one person doing all the canning and cooking and cleaning while the other gets to enjoy the perfectly canned fruits.

The truth is, we're never going to address gender imbalance when one set of people, largely women, are consistently being told "you should enjoy cooking and cleaning, and if you don't, you're not feminine." Or that if you don't enjoy making organic baby food from scratch you're not a good mom. Because the truth is, you can be a good woman, and you can be a good mom even if you would rather pay a service to wash your baby's organic cloth diapers. Or you would rather buy $8 jam from the farmers' market. Or you think that if the toilet only gets cleaned once a month ... well, no one will die.

So let's not claim to tell people what they will or will not enjoy, or how they should spend their time. Instead, let's try to get people to do what they actually *do* enjoy. For me, that might mean that I would rather get a paid job in the workforce than stay at home. And maybe that would mean that I would use my money to then pay someone who would rather stay home for their homemade jam. Because in the end, my paying someone else for homemade organic local jam benefits the environment, benefits feminism, and freaking benefits me. And all of you. Because all y'all don't want to be near me when I'm cranky. /End rant.

28 comments:

Joyce said...

This is what I've been thinking about all year as I've read about all these women going back to doing the things everyone my age was trying so hard to leave behind! When I was a teen, and radical feminists were burning their bras in the streets, I was the weirdo that had to keep quiet about how much I wanted to have a family and stay home with them all day. This was a BIG SIN to think this way! In college, my girlfriends were all about the careers and putting off having their obligatory two children until they had become chairman of the board and could afford a nanny to raise them. The only people raising gardens or cooking all afternoon were either poor or living in the country. And now, here we are, back to the whole "earth mother" thing!! It just cracks me up.

But here's the thing. Now, women actually get to CHOOSE whether they climb the corporate ladder or stay home spinning and knitting. We can choose the size of our family. We can be doctors or domestic godesses, and sometimes we can be both. That's what the feminists did for us.

Just be yourself, Ruchi. Be the greenest career gal you can. Find your own balance.

Fix said...

Amen, sister. Which is why sometimes I don't feel all that connected to the current 'movement.' No kids, no house, no space or desire to learn how to make butter or canned food...

Megan

Katy said...

Ditto.

I'm a single mom with an 8-5 job. I would love to be at home with my daughter, but honestly, even if I was a "stay at home mom" I don't know how much canning or jaming I would do.

Like everything I know that its all about finding the balance that works for you, but I do agree that constintly reading about people who tell you that making your own cheese is the most rewarding thing ever and if you don't try it you're missing out on life just gets old after a while.

CT said...

I couldn't agree more, and I approach this from the opposite side. I hated working, and I like to cook (the cleaning...enh...and take care of the house and all that. And I feel like a total freak because I'm staying home, despite my master's degree, ironing shirts. If I were forced to do this, if society required me to do this, I would hate it. But it's a choice, and I am so happy to have that choice.

So you go ahead and buy your jam and don't feel guilty for a minute. Someone out there is probably making that jam and feeling guilty about staying home when she "should" be out having a career.

(Meanwhile, my grandmother and great-grandmother both worked out of the home all their lives because they had to. This whole fantasy of the stay-at-home wife is a post-war, middle-class invention that ignores all of the poor women who worked in factories, mills, stores, farms, etc. or took in ironing, boarders, or other paid work in the home. It wasn't a choice, it was the only way to keep their families fed and housed.)

Green Bean said...

I'm one of those people who generally like to do this things. I will say though, that I appreciate this post because it dovetails with the idea that we don't have to do everything to be eco. We don't have to be self sufficient. We can all contribute in one way or another. We can choose to be "green" by buying at the farmers' market or by hiring a cleaning service that uses only green cleaning solutions or any myriad of other things.

Farmer's Daughter said...

I feel like I have no choice. Due to the cost of living here, I have to work. And the housework has to get done. That's all there is to it. I feel slighted sometimes by the feminist movement because it used to be that a family could survive on one salary, and with one car, but around here that's not the case. I was having this discussion with my high school friends the other night. We all are well-educated women with good jobs, respected in our fields, with partners who have good jobs as well. So why are we all struggling to survive? Why can we barely afford to live in an area where our parents raised us, with mom at home? YES I know there are people who can make it work with one salary. But I DON'T know any who live around me, in my situation. And I know for a fact that I will always have to work. One look at our bills makes me well aware of that. And we do NOT live extravagantly.

One thing I wanted to include in this comment is that your post struck a nerve with me. And it may be my interpretation... so I appologize if you're offended, Ruchi. But I got the idea that you're assuming that women like me are doing all the household work, while men are lying on the couch being waited on hand and foot. For us, that's simply not the case. I do all of the traditional women's work, that's true, like cooking, cleaning, canning, preserving food, etc. However, in our household, my husband does all the work considered to be traditional men's work. He splits wood and stacks it in the basement. He cleans out the woodstove. He built a fence for our garden, shoveled lots and lots of manure into it. He built our house, for goodness sake. My husband is a mover and shaker just like me. That's how our household runs, and I'm certainly not some opressed housewife/working wife. We do the work that needs to be done, and the truth is that while I don't LOVE cleaning the house, I prefer it to stacking wood in the basement. I did plenty of that when I was a kid and I'm happy to do laundry instead.

So my frustration does not come from a husband expecting me to do "women's" work. It comes from a society that requires and expects us to both do paid work in addition to all of the work we have to do at home in order to survive.

PS- I think you should read at least this section of Sharon's book. She talks about how work at home has lost value, how people who do this work are viewed as doing nothing and looked down upon by society. Both women and men. I found it to be very interesting, like "Hey! I DO a lot of work and nobody appreciates it! Well, except me and my husband."

Heather @ SGF said...

I hear you. I'm one of those people who absolutely LOATHE anything domestic. That being said, I guess I encourage people to at least try some of these things because some of the things I've tried (like baking bread and canning foods) have turned out to be a lot of fun for this non-domestic. I've shocked myself to be sure.

No, I don't cook big meals and the few things I do cook, I cook for myself. My hubby and I don't eat the same things so other than buying food for him, he's on his own when it comes to preparing it.

Of course, as much as I hate domestic stuff, I also have never found fulfillment in paid work. Hopefully, as I am exploring eating locally (which I do now feel very passionate about), something will come about at which I can make a living (part time). Hopefully...

In the meantime, the only thing I would say would be to try things once. I did all the cooking and cleaning and decorating AND working in my first marriage. When I divorced, I decided that was it. No more cooking, cleaning, nothing. I hated it. It was for this reason, I put off the idea of eating locally for so long - it would include some effort for sure. Now I've found some joy in a few of those things I once hated. It's worth trying once. You may not like it. You may find a new passion.

Mouse said...

Martha Stewart's season high was only a 1.0, and that's when Paula Abdul was subbing-in. Contrasted to Oprah' season low, 4.3, when she was in re-runs. I don't think mainstream culture is as obsessed with stay at home wives as you perceive.

Certainly, the stereotype is by no means wholly vanquished. But I can not think of a single prime time television show or film where the principle female character is anything other than a hotshot special detective, top-notch lawyer, badass ex-con, etc.

ruchi aka arduous said...

Thanks, Joyce. I think the choice factor is the most important thing. And it's great that now people get to choose. But if we could just let go of the guilt!!!

Megan, thanks. I feel you.

Katy, yes. It *does* get a little old after a while, doesn't it? Le sigh.

CT, I agree that it's all about choice. And thank you for pointing out that the traditional housewife thing is basically a post WWII middle class concoction.

GB, exactly! I am all about outsourcing!!

Abbie, I think it's probably a little unfair to blame feminism for the fact that it is difficult to live off of one salary these days. As CT pointed out, the whole stay at home wife tradition was always a bit of a myth anyway. The truth is that it was really only between 1950-1970 that a good number of people could live off one salary, and what ended has more to do with globalization than feminism. There are a bunch of other factors as well ... the two post-work decades benefited from twenty years of pent up demand for consumer products, etc, etc, and that had to end sometime. But I don't think there's much evidence in the literature to suggest that the feminist movement greatly contributed to the depression of wages.

And look, I didn't intend to slam men with this. My ex did ALL the cooking and half the cleaning in our relationship. And I'm sure that when you're living on a farm there is more than enough work to go around. I was more getting at the societal perception, which seems to suggest generally that women need to maintain a career, and then come home and can food and LIKE it. Which actually I think is similar to what frustrates you!

Heather, you make a good point that it is important for people to try new stuff out. Which is true. And frankly, I don't mind making jam and butter on occasion. I just refuse to make them regularly. ;)

Mouse, you may have a point... I wonder if I could be a bad-ass ex-con....

Heather @ SGF said...

I'm the same way with butter. I've made it a few times, but don't do it on a regular basis. I think it's more important that we KNOW how to do some of these things for ourselves rather than doing them all the time. If anything horrible happened, we'll be in a better position to help ourselves and others id we at least know HOW. Then, if you actually enjoy it, do it all the time, if you like.

bemusedart said...

I think that each family has to work it out for themselves. I might be a stay at home mom, but I hate cleaning. I love cooking home made foods, reminds me of the good times as a kid with my grandma canning and making homemade pies and such. I love finding ways to get more wear out of the old clothes, but actually sitting down at the sewing machine, not so much. But I can spend hours with a crochet hook working on some home made gifts from some organic cotton yarn.

The way it works in my home is that my husband and teen some take on the bulk of the cleaning (except laundry hanging, I actually like that part, but they get to hang at put it away), and I cook and run all those errands during the day. Then fill my day working part time as an artist. And I get to use my creativity desiging ways to stretch my daughter's wardrobe and a friend does the sewing part of it, because she enjoys that, in excchange I do her cutting and pressing for her sewing projects because they don't bother me if I have someone to talk to while doing them.
While leaving the cleaning to the boys in the house does mean that my house is never perfect, If that was my top priority in life I would probably be doing it myself anyway....

kimberly said...

I've been thinking about this more these days, especially as I'm trying to figure out what to do with my degree and where my relationship is going with my Love. Lately I've really been resenting being a woman, mostly because I think there is no way for me to be happy in this world. I want an engaging, intellectual job. I want to do my Masters and PhD and have a job that makes use of that education. And I also want to have a family with the man I love. I don't know if that's possible though. My mom was a very driven, strong, ambitious business woman. She is an incredible role model in that sense, but because of her focus on her career, we suffered so much by not having her around as children. You can argue what you want, that children can have role models elsewhere, that mothers do what they can, that if she'd had a less demanding job I would suffer because of financial woes. But all I know is this: I can't possibly do to my kids what was done to me, and that is, to not be around as much as they deserve. What this means for me though, is that I have to sacrifice one of my plans for my life. Do I give my career all the attention I want to give it, or can I be the kind of mother that I want to be? Maybe I'm disillusioned, but I don't think I can have both.

Having said that, in my current situation I'd say that I've definitely found a balance. For example, my partner and I share the domestic tasks. We cook dinner together almost every time, and he does the dishes. We don't live together yet, so we'll see how it goes once that happens. But neither of us want to be getting a free ride, and neither of us want me to be the mom in the relationship. Maybe I'm getting too ahead of myself, worrying about the future. 'Cause right now, things are pretty good.

In regards to feeling the pressure to do certain things in order to be feminine - I hear ya. I don't feel that pressure so much, just because I do enjoy cooking and cleaning. Mostly because it's therapeutic for me - I put minimal effort in, and I see results. It's reaffirming. But I'm not by any stretch a domestic goddess. I have no idea what I'm doing most of the time, I just enjoy doing it. But I see women like my mom who tried to be every kind of woman, and really that's just unfair.

Farmer's Daughter said...

I guess my perspective is just different. In my family, everyone stayed home. Not just mom, but dad, too. And they lived a self-sufficient lifestyle. You say that women staying home was a myth, but I'm talking about everyone, not just women. And in my family, it was the norm, at least since the 1600's which is the oral tradition I know of. On a farm, everyone, including children, do what they have to do for the family to survive. It's really interesting to look at the dynamics of a farm family and how they're different from other families. Sometimes I forget that everyone doesn't have the perspecitive I do. Perhaps that's why I can relate so much to what Sharon writes.

You're right that the current state of affairs can't be solely blamed on feminism. And I don't think that there's a "wage depression," but rather a dramatic increase in the cost of living, and wages haven't caught up. Two wages can't pay for two homes, etc. There's been a push for both men and women to leave the home and go to paid work. It just seems unfair when the choice has already been made for us. Not that I'd want to stay home necessarily, since I really like my job. I just feel that there is no choice for me.

Crunchy Chicken said...

Others have already touched on this point, but all of this works both ways. The same argument can be made for men who have traditionally male jobs to do (yardwork, fixing stuff - the car, the roof, the plumbing) and I'm sure many men will admit they don't like doing those tasks either. Granted these tasks are not required at the same rate as laundry and cooking so there can be a bit of a break, but do the men feel guilty that they don't enjoy unclogging the toilet? Probably not. They probably do feel bad or guilty if they don't like fixing cars or other manly tasks.

So, here's the situation. Every household has shit that needs to get done. Some of it falls under "female" duties and some "male". The best way to get this shit done is to divide it up however it keeps everyone happy. If the woman likes caulking the bathtub and the guy prefers cooking, then so be it. If nobody likes it and they would prefer to pay to have someone else do it, then so be it.

I don't see it much as a feminist issue. It's a human living on the planet issue. You can still make choices that are in line with being eco-friendly without all the overhead of working full-time and doing everything by hand. I think it's impossible and unrealistic to expect that.

Joyce said...

I'm with Crunchy. At our house I do most of the yard work and take the car to the shop, etc., mostly because I have the time and enjoy it. My husband's always been pretty good about cleaning up the kitchen after the meals, bathing the kids, etc. It works best if you just divide the work by who likes and is best at certain things.

Alison said...

I think that one thing we've lost is the community aspect. Abbie touches on life on the farm and everyone pitching in. I've been slowly increasing my canning quota for the last three years. This year I did a ton of canning and came to the conclusion that if I had personally can and preserve enough food for my family for the winter -- we'd starve! Except for very remote homesteaders, no one has ever had to do it all and do it alone, which is what our society asks of individuals and families today. We’ve lost our extended family and our network of community. We outsource and pay corporations to do work for us and we indeed get much back in return. Unfortunately, much of what we get back is neither edible nor sustainable – money does not necessarily buy food or happiness.

And so, we are in need of a paradigm shift. I don't think it matters who does what (female or male), but it does matter what gets done. We have a huge middle class that doesn't like to do "chores" and sees cooking as a "burden." Well count yourself lucky that you can pay someone to do those things for you; however, chores are not really chores, they are a way of life.

I am very fond of Thich Nhat Hanh's theory on doing dishes and I think this applies to just about any so called chore. (http://www.serve.com/cmtan/buddhism/Treasure/bathing.newborn.html). No one really LOVES to wash the toilet we just think we'd rather be doing something else, but when we are doing something else we are already planning what we will do next or buy or eat and so the cycle goes on.

For society to be sustainable we need to be able to find joy in washing the dishes or making dinner or raking the leaves. The answer is not in some new gadget or soap that will do it all for us, so that we have more time to do something else. And, I don't think this has anything to do with feminism. What you do or say or believe is fully within you. You cannot change the world, but you can change yourself. And, if the world decides to change it (they) will. Likewise I don’t think that true happiness will come from being a purely career guy or gal and paying someone else to do the so called dirty work. There was just an article in the Boston Globe on how the “City Hurts Your Brain”(http://tinyurl.com/8zyb28). Humans benefit from seeing nature and I would argue that the human brain also benefits from taking life a tad bit in the slow lane and taking the time to make our own food and clean our own house. Ultimately these tasks can be very satisfying.

Di Hickman said...

If you had told me 20 years ago that I'd be working part time from home as a freelance writer/designer, and the rest of the time I'd be a housewife I'd have laughed in your face! I was career driven, who thought that women should have a career, I definitely had feminist tendancies.
Fast forward to now and I admit I LIKE staying home. My husband works long hours, I like preparing meals for us, I won't go so far as to say I like housework, but I do it. I prefer gardening. I think it was only in my 30's that I truly began to feel comfortable in myself, in what I was doing, and with what my future looked like.
The thing for us was that I had no choice initially, when we moved to america I couldn't work due to visa issues, now I can and I CHOOSE to work part time. That "time off" gave me space to think. I still don't know what I'd like to do long term, but right now I am where I choose to be.
For me that is feminism, CHOICE.

Meg said...

Chores are chores, and sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do. It's a rare woman -- or man -- that likes things like scrubbing toilets or vacuuming. I can understand why some people like cooking, but I'm more into eating ;)

I do think that it's unfair that certain chores are still firmly assigned to one gender or another. Times change. It's about time that guys were encouraged to also help out with domestic chores and even be stay at home parents. Only then will we women really have more choices when it comes to our own roles (vs. now when you can "be whatever you want to be" so long as that includes all the old roles, too).

My husband and I split up our chores according to what best works for us -- and it often changes depending on who has the time, energy, or inclination. I feel very lucky that he has no problem doing "womens'" work. And in fact, he enjoys cooking -- lucky me :D

Neither of us is a Martha Stewart, but we get done what needs to get done and we're proud to also be doing more and more things that are better for the environment.

Erin aka Conscious Shopper said...

I think it shows that you read a lot of environmental blogs that you feel like "women are consistently being told 'you should enjoy cooking and cleaning, and if you don't, you're not feminine.'" I've only been reading environmental blogs for a couple months now, and I can definitely see that message there. But before I was introduced to the eco-blogosphere, I would have said I feel like women are consistently being told "you should be working your butt off toward a high-powered high-paying career ad if you don't, you're anti-feminist."

We as women are too prone to feel guilty about whatever it is we think we should be doing that we're not doing. Like Joyce said, I'm just grateful now that we have a choice about which path we take, That is the beautiful result of the feminist movement.

I have to add though that as a stay-at-home mom, I am a huge supporter of the stay-at-home parent, whether it's the mother or the father. I'm grateful that I get to choose staying at home or working full-time or working part-time or whatever else fits my situation, and I'm looking forward to the day when men will also get to make that choice without looking "unmanly."

Going Green Mama said...

So, Erin, here's the question. Is the housewife/green theme on many of these blogs a result of peer pressure or because the working mom who's trying to incorporate some of these changes just doesn't have enough hours in the day to blog about it?

lauren said...

First, I enjoy "outsourcing" of some household duties, but we do need to acknowledge they are more energy-consumptive than DIY.

I outsource, and accept the less than eco-friendliest option, because I work 11 hour work days. So, I am glad there are options to minimize my household duties.

But, I have huge problems with maid service.

I've reposted two comments from Crunchy's post that resonate with me.

The first is from Sharon, herself,...
"Now if we just say "women should go back to the toilet cleaning" then we're screwed. But I don't say anything like that - I say that the version of feminism that said we can't stick this solely on women was always right - but that the current model is unsustainable. IMHO, the growth economy model of feminism has gotten us off the hook of the hard questions of how to equitably divide the work - instead of asking our husbands and sons to do their full share of toilet scrubbing, we've been able to say "oh, let's just get poorly paid maid service, and let her get the repetetive strain injuries." So now we may actually have to go back to where feminism started, and start allocating the work justly."

From Mango...
"The fact that middle/upper class, usually white women were "liberated" from unpaid domestic work is not a good thing in my opinion. That "liberation" came, literally, on the backs of poor women, usually of color, who had no damn choice in the matter of what work to do.

In addition to being wholly unsustainable, the very nature of this scenario depends on making sure there is a constant supply of people (again, usually poor women of color)available to do the dirty work for the rich.

You call that equality? You call that feminist? HARDLY."

I don't enjoy scrubbing my toilet, but I don't hate it. I just do it. I won't have someone else do it for me.

Rosa said...

DIY doesn't have to be more environmentally responsible. If we had a local cannery that canned local produce, it would be *way* more efficient than my home canning. If some of our walking-distance restaurants used reusable plates, and local produce, and paid living wages, they would be *way* more efficient than cooking at home. Just think how much smaller of a house we could live in, without the pantry and the canning jars and the seed starting equipment...we got by for about six months without a working shower, because we belong to the Y and it's within easy biking distance.

Shared resources are more efficient in general - we have just managed to make waste the standard.

I'm waiting on that 19th Century feminist utopia where all the city people live in apartments and the kids go to the community daycare by the train station, and you pick up your dinner at the cafeteria by the daycare, eat in a public park, and leave the dirty dishes in the handy collection box there. Possibly after your day long shift at the solar cell factory, or the urban farm, in the 21st-Century version.

I think a city where everyone lives in small spaces, walks or takes public transit, and does their socializing in shared spaces sounds ideal - and IF IT WERE DONE RIGHT it would be *way* more sustainable than a bunch of little homesteads.

But I live in a city where all the little restaurants use styrofoam plates, and the apartment buildings are all full of lead and toxic carpet, and the local juke joints only serve Budweiser. So I do a lot of stuff myself, and try to starve the bad parts of system and encourage the (few) good ones.

So I do a bunch of stuff myself. But it's a coping strategy for the world we have, not an ideal for the world we should have.

On the other hand, I think Sharon's right that we need to value that work more - part of why we're so damn wasteful is that we devalue the labor of the people who make and grow things until we think it's OK to ruin it or let it go to waste. Since I pick my own tomatos instead of paying someone in Okalalee 7 cents a pound to do it, I am a lot more careful with them.

Donna said...

I enjoyed this post and wow, have you gotten the comments! I think there may be some truth to the notion that it's the SAHM's who have the time to blog and so that's why eco-blogs seem to be bent that way. For myself, I would go crazy in an 8-5 job, no matter how satisfying the career. It's just not me! So I've bent over backwards to avoid that. My husband works full-time at a modestly paying job. I work maybe 10 hours/week at a job I find extremely rewarding, and the rest of the time I'm a SAHM trying to save as much as possible so we can continue this arrangement. That means cooking from scratch, making my own detergent, all the things that make you gag. :) It's a choice, and I'm very grateful to be able to make that choice. We've done it this way the whole 12 years we've been married, but now that we have a son, I can't imagine it any other way. It also means that now I devour everything I can on the web to figure out even more ways to save money!

Beany said...

I thought the point of feminism was to do the things that women are doing today - be it working 9-5 or canning jars or sauce or having a kijillion kids. Or hiring people to do those things that one dislikes doing.

I liked Crunchy Chicken's comment, there is stuff that needs to get done and people do it. Between me and my husband he does do alot more domestic chores than most husbands (and yes, even more than me - but don't tell him that!), but so do alot of other husbands and boyfriends. I happen to like a lot of "guy" activities in addition to cooking and knitting.

I think the point brought up by Donna reflects the eco blogosphere to some degree - that many of the bloggers are SAHMs so there might be a leaning toward certain activities over others.

knutty knitter said...

Wow! Nothing much left to say here. All I ask is that my dishwasher not fail. I'll happily (mostly) do washing sewing cleaning etc but I hate dishwashing. I did it by hand for 30 years and I'm not going back!

A career would have been nice but it wasn't to be despite various qualifications. Them's the breaks.All feminism achieved for me was to abandon bra wearing.

Choice seems to me to be limited into a narrow range of expectations within the community you live. Most of us don't have the ability to move outside this norm so we gripe about it but still conform at least on the surface.

Those who do break away mostly find another group with which to conform. This is fine too as humans seem to need community living for happiness.

Those who really break out completely are either mad, martyred or brilliant. Sometimes all three.

I think the compatibility issue between these two groups is more one of various levels of overlapping aver two communities than one of confrontation and exclusion.

In the end it depends on where you as a person are coming from.

viv in nz

Erin aka Conscious Shopper said...

Going Green Mama, I think there's some merit to the idea that stay at home mothers have more time to blog about canning and gardening and cooking from scratch, etc., but for me, it's more of a financial issue. My blog is about going green on a budget, so I blog about those things on occasion because they are ways to show that going green is possible even if you can't afford the $8 jar of jam from the farmer's market. That may be true for many SAHM's because living on one income for the most part requires learning to live more frugally and looking for money-savers where ever you can, as Donna pointed out.

Maria said...

Dude, I hate to interrupt the sunshine parade but this blog sort of pissed me off. I feel like harping on these so-called gender inequalities and what "society is constantly telling us" just perpetuates the exact gender stereotyping you're complaining about. Gender roles are dying. Act like it and make them deader. I've known you forever and I haven't noticed society telling you to do much of anything. Not that you'd listen anyway. =D

Also I feel like six months ago you were telling me it was so satisfying to make your own butter and you were saving the earth from all the excess wax paper and cardboard, so WTF. I don't really get what you're trying to say here at all.

p.s. I can't find your phone charger

mother earth aka karen hanrahan said...

i recently befriended a man who loves to clean - down on his knees with knee pads kindof clean - for someone who has trained 2 male domestic engineers I find this guy refreshing...i concur withy crunchy chicken that in the area of this stuff has to be managed, finding and delegating to those who appreciate and find pleasure doing just makes sense