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Radical Craftiness

This is nothing new, but I've just now stumbled across The New Domesticity manifesto at getcrafty.com. AMEN, sister!

"What if, instead of dismissing it, we thought of domesticity as an important part of women's culture? Don't get me wrong, I am not suggesting that every woman should enjoy knitting and cooking and embroidery. But I am suggesting that we give women's work its props as something valuable, interesting and important, like knowing how to build a house, keep accounting records or play basketball. Skill, love and creativity go into creating a nice home, making things by hand and raising children. It's not stupid and it's not easy; it's damn hard work that we need to respect. Moreover, it is our history, and dismissing it only doubles the injustice already done to women who didn't have any choice but to be domestic in the first place. And it is as relevant as ever. Taking care of our homes and children is important for our happiness and the health of our entire society."

-Jean, getcrafty.com

I especially agree with Jean's opinion on Betty Friedan's analysis of "the problem that has no name" as "too narrow." I read The Feminine Mystique last year and felt the same way. I agree that no person should be forced to stay at home, but I also felt like Ms. Friedan degraded the importance of some of the "domestic arts," and the contribution to society and the family that can come from one parent (whether it's mom or dad) maintaining the home life with care. Between this manifesto and the interview on MPR yesterday morning with Maureen Dowd, I feel a renewed connection with feminism.

Speaking of the Maureen Dowd interview, it's pretty disturbing how little most young women (including myself, but especially women in the generation after me) really know about the first wave of feminism and the doors it opened for all of us. I think we take the opportunities we have for granted, and forget that some of our mothers had to fight for us to get there. So, ladies: hug your hippie bra-burning mama if you got one!

This is a far-too-short post on a far-too-important topic, but I have baby clothes to pre-wash, a house to clean, and a lunch date at Evergreen. Now if only I could manage to do all of that in heels...

Posted November 23, 2005 9:27 AM



In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I want to share one of my many thanks. I am thankful to you - for enhancing my life with your blog. I used to work with your lovely mother and this blog has truly been a source of "ah ha" and "amen" moments since the first day I visited. Thank you and I wish you a happy, healthy baby and marriage.


This is Mike's sister. I just wanted to tell you that I saw some of your wedding pics tonight and you looked stunning.

Impending motherhood just suits you. You absolutely glow.

I've always thought that mainstream feminism was way off base in dissing and dismissing the "domestic arts," too. In fact, it put me very off feminism for a long time.

Of course, as you said, no one should be forced to stay home and make babies if they don't want to, but all my life I was made to feel guilty and like I wasn't allowed in the pink army because I really liked the thought of being able to have a couple of kids and stay home and raise them.

Of course, what with cost of living, it ain't lookin' too good for that option, but you can't dismiss the women who do it as "less than." Everyone has something they're good at, and if mine's cooking, cleaning, being crafty and (hopefully) raising kids, why shouldn't I embrace that as much as someone who's really good at electrical engineering?