Clinging to My Toilet Brush and Rolling Pins

I suppose I should feel vindicated by an opinion piece in the Washington Post last week, announcing that the feminist movement has finally blessed a woman's right to engage in what two generations ago, were considered traditional domestic pursuits associated with homemaking, and childrearing.

After slightly more than thirty years of defending my role as a stay-at-home wife and mother, I was justifiably skeptical. But, as I skimmed the article, I was pleasantly intrigued by what I read.
I've lately been hearing things like, "There's just something natural about women taking on the nurturing role in the home" coming out of the mouths of women's studies grads and Ivy League PhD's.
Praise the Lord!  The powers-that-be have finally affirmed my right to not only collect as quaint-vintage-relics of the past, but use, my rolling pins and pastry cloth?  Are they suggesting, that I needn't hang-my-head in shame, when exposing myself at dinner parties, as a stay-at-home wife and mother?
What used to be a reactionary right-wing view now passes as almost progressive - stuff like "We're biologically hard-wired to do this" or "It makes evolutionary sense."   
At last, the declaration I've been waiting for.  A grudging admission from the culture-police that I haven't betrayed my gender by raising my own children.

With gratification, I read further, as the author pointed out what has been obvious to me; that while pursuing careers outside the home, women have sacrificed the ability to take care of themselves.  Once simple tasks such as attaching a button, mending a hem, removing a stain from an article of clothing, home-cooking a meal, truly cleaning one's own home, and rearing one's own children, are now hired out.

She recounts how salmonella and e-coli scares have renewed women's interest in gardening and home cooking, and presented data on the increased sales of canning supplies and home schooling.

But beware dear reader!  The final few paragraphs revealed a dreaded caveat.

In her article, The new domesticity:  fun, empowering, or a step back for American women, twenty-something, free-lance journalist Emily Matchar suggests that women like herself, are embracing some aspects of house-husbandry because they see domesticity as a '"choice" rather than a role imposed upon them by society.

(Choice!?  There it is - the favorite word of the feminist elite.  I just knew, if I waded further into the article, I'd find it :)
" . . . But how many moral and environmental claims can we assign to domestic work before it starts to feel, once more, like an obligation?  If history is any lesson, my just-for-fun jar of jam, could turn into my daughter's chore.
So there IS a sinister side to domesticity. Apparently, those that might benefit from our zeal for hand-knit socks, organic jam pots, and a house that smells of lemon oil, can't be trusted. Give them a taste of the good-life, and the men we've spent two generations beating into submission may rise up against us, with shackles and toilet brushes.

Get a grip ladies!  Turn off that stove, set aside those mason jars, rent a copy of the Stepford Wives.  And, when you're done with the movie, cowered in fear, grab your briefcase, blackberry and bottle of antacid, and get back to work!  Crack!

Emily Matchar's opinion piece ran in the Washington Post on November 25, 2011, and can be read on-line.  

1 comment:

  1. I wonder if these woman jumping on the domestic bandwagon will eventually tire of the work and move onto a new hobby. Is this just a fad for the overprivlaged?