Re-Domestication: Are We Re-Claiming the Feminine or Being Herded Back into the House?

I read an article in Forbes this morning entitled, The Redomestication Of The American Woman. It really struck a chord and I have so many things spinning through my head as a result. I will try to organize those thoughts as best as possible.

DIY Marketing: Targeting the wants/needs of the current generation

For those of you who aren’t already familiar, the last decade has seen a bit of an explosion with DIY (Do-It-Yourself)/ crafting. There are numerous concepts and ideas tied into this explosion – wanting to go green, wanting to be less dependent on/ fighting against mass consumerism, wanting to save money, hoping to make money, wanting to create something – the list is rather long, and different people come to DIY/ crafting for different reasons. I’ve seen a lot of books and sites that market themselves on taking traditional activities (sewing, crocheting, etc) and bringing them up-to-date/ de-grannifying them. (My favorite line from The AntiCraft’s AntiFesto: Never again would we be forced to gleefully execute a sweater of intarsia puppies.) I actually got a book from the library yesterday titled, The New Granny Square, which boasts that the patterns in the book “are not your granny’s granny squares!”
Of course we don’t want to do the same things our mothers and grandmothers did! But… why? Why does this marketing work and what is it saying? Is it as simple as new generation, new wrapping paper? Is it really even new wrapping paper? There is an excellent article in the Fall 2007 Interweave Crochet magazine, “Crochet Heydays”, that discusses the cultural role of crochet in the 1960’s and 70’s. From the IC article:

Crochet was play, but in the late sixties it was also political as a highly visible communication of a generation’s radically different values. Crochet was one way to express the young generation’s need to craft its own image and identity and to move beyond conformity and the status quo.

So much for being different from our parents and grandparents, huh?

Who’s Space is it Anyway?

Handicrafts such as knitting, sewing, etc. have traditionally been considered to be feminine. Because women were homemakers for so many years (and in many parts of the world, still are), there is a kind of social tendency to associate these activities with femaleness. Do we still feel this way as a society? I’ve seen a handful of knitting books and blogs geared toward men (See: Knitting with Balls and a similarly titled blog Knits with Balls that I follow), 6bdf47c13bd10525354272ea646edfccbut these still seem to be novelties to me. By and large, most books and patterns are still written with women in mind. But at least we’re starting to acknowledge the fact that men like to pick up hooks and needles too.
I can remember going through a phase during high school/ my first couple years of college where I was steadfastly tomboy and wouldn’t give the time of day to anything traditionally deemed “feminine” or “girly”. I considered myself to be a feminist and, at the time, I was convinced that somehow wearing men’s cargo jeans and working on cars with my Dad was somehow superior to wearing a dress, carrying a purse and cooking or fashion. Of course, I eventually realized that what I was doing was still giving power to men/ maleness/ masculinity and denying myself things I would come to love. (I am reminded here, of the song “What it feels like for a Girl” by Madonna, where she intros, “Girls can wear jeans and cut their hair short, wear shirts and boots, cause its ok to be a boy. But for a boy to look like a girl is degrading, cause you think that being a girl is degrading.”)
So, as I read the Forbes article, I can certainly understand her concern that, “scratching at the organically-sanitized surface … is the haunting notion that the pro-creativity movement is in bed with strong societal forces to bring women closer to procreativity (and ideally “full-time” motherhood) …” However, I think, so long as we are aware of what is going on, aware of our own interests in these activities, and we’re not choosing to engage or not engage in them based on what society’s ideals for us are according to what we have between our legs, I think we’re safe. The important thing is having options, knowing what they are, and making our own choices. (I suddenly want to watch Mona Lisa Smile for the millionth time. Re: The part where Julia Stile’s character tells Julia Roberts’ character, “This *is* what I want.”)

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The Boyfriend is Recording a Show and I’m Reading Crafty Stuffs…

Just as the title says. I’m trying to be all nice and quiet while my boyfriend and his friend record an episode of their wrestling podcast (www.untitledwrestlingshow.podbean.com if you’re interested, and the boyfriend also has a sports show I actually listen to every week called Not Another Sports Show, which is also on podbean and iTunes. I don’t plug him just because he’s my boyfriend, I plug him because I believe in him AND because he’s my boyfriend!) and so I’m perusing the internets.

With all this wrestling chat in my ear, I decided to try looking for wrestling inspired patterns on Ravelry. Christmas may be over, but it’s never too early to get a jump start on the next gift giving season (given that I’m still trying to finish the man’s xmas gift for _this_ year, that really couldn’t be truer, heh) and besides, I just know he’d smother me with praise and hugs if I knitted him his own Zack Ryder inspired tight pant wrestling style skivvies. And those 2 minutes are what motivate me to try to make it happen. Well, surprisingly (perhaps not), all I found was a luchador inspired ski mask. Eh, not quite what I was looking for. So, Google steered me in a better direction: Lixie Makes It.

It was everything I could do to stifle my laughter, especially when I saw the Cena shorts. Yes, I’ve already forwarded it to the boyfriend, yes, I’ve already told him I’m going to make him a pair. ::giggles uncontrollably::

Switching topics a little, the boyfriend also sent me a news feed about some WWII POW cross stitch. Here is the complete article: Craftzine – Subversive Finds. This really is a worth while read and I’m totally fascinated. Aside from having a love for crafts, I’ve also got a minor obsession with cryptology. Morse code and stegonography in cross stitch?? ::explodey!::

On that note, I’m going to end here, as the boyfriend has finished his recording. I hope to update again here in the next week or so with a post-holiday “what I’ve been up to” entry.