So… I’m kinda-sorta one of those “radical home-maker” types who is trying to eat more locally-grown (wild-foraged or farmers’-marketed or product-of-the-Ottawa-Valley or garden-grown, which-ever is available at the time) food, do more home cooking, and get better and better at the Domestic Arts that a lot of my mother’s cohort (read: mostly white, mostly middle class[1], mostly more-than-high-school educated) walked away from as soon as they had the opportunity[2].
I’ve been edging towards this for the past 10-15 years, so it’s not exactly anything new for me. Though my skill-set has grown exponentially in the last three or four years and I’ve learned that this stuff that I do actually has a Hip, Activisty Movement Name and isn’t just “Ms Syren is a Big Ol’ Hippie under all that leather and high heels”.
But I have to tell you: I am a LOT more comfortable with my rather house-wifey inclinations and financial dependence (yes, really – even now, my Servant makes the lion’s share of our household income) on my spouse now that said spouse is a woman. It takes a lot of the “Am I a bad Feminist” guess-work out of the situation[3].
I mean, yes, it’s very possible that, had my first spouse been a very different person who I could talk to and trust rather than be slightly afraid of, being house-wifey with him wouldn’t have included so many fears about not having money (or enough money) that was “mine” in order to pay my rent myself if it came down to it. But I don’t know if I wouldn’t have struggled with the “bad feminist” feelings, none the less.
I’m bringing this up because (A) I’ve been reading a lot of Eco-Frugal Mama blogs (see blogroll on Urban Meliad for details) – well, for a given value of “a lot” (in my case, I think this means “two”); and (B) I’ve been chatting with people about the notions of “having it all (or not)” and “what do we really, really WANT” and “risk taking vs risk-mitigation” and a whole bunch of other stuff… and this reluctance to rely on one’s (male) partner for specifically feminist reasons keeps coming up.
Does anyone else struggle with this stuff?
Anyone working from home and having difficulty *not* thinking of themselves as *also* the default house-keeper (yes, gotta put in my eight hours at the job, but also gotta make sure the vacuuming and the laundry get done, and that dinner’s on the table by six)? Anyone else feel like (to site my own occasional struggles) working on their novel plus hustling for (and doing) freelance work plus making most meals from scratch = “doesn’t have a real job”? anyone in that boat feeling that the situation is compounded by the gender of their real-job-having partner?
Do chime in. 🙂
Ms Syren.
[1] My mom is a farm-kid, so I’m not entirely sure she qualifies, up-bringing-wise, though she definitely does now.
[2] Not that I blame them. Feminism is all about Having Options and the option of making your own money and being able to hire someone else (who is making her own money) to do the cooking, is just as valueable as the option of growing and preserving a Winter’s worth of tomato sauce and frozen veggies – because you know how to do it (in the garden, in window baskets, through bartering, etc) so that you don’t have to pay someone else to do it for you.
[3] You know what I mean. It’s the same stuff that has us second-guessing ourselves when we like being kinky-submissive to men (or at all), or when we’re sadistic dykes grappling with the notion of “I hit her because she was asking for it” as potentially being anything other than a really, really horrible justification for abuse.