Thursday, August 26, 2010

Homesteading/Homemaking & Privilege

In this video, iremythpurr goes on a bit of a tangent about radical homemakers. Snooty delivery and vast assumptive strokes aside, she does raise some good points.

Many folks do not have the means to be stay-at-home parents nor self-sufficient homesteaders. That is where I agree with her. Her claims that the lot of us are all middle {or higher} class white women, individualistic, and pro-capitalism are just a tad much though.

Now I don't identify as a 'radical homemaker', but I think that similar characterizations have certainly been aimed at many homesteaders, and quite frankly it appears that she is taking a swipe at anyone who lives this way. To this I take offense.

Most of the folks that I know who are homesteaders have low incomes, are community oriented/involved, and are anti-capitalists; my better half and I included for all three things.

My partner does work full time for money, and I work for a different currency {barter and trade}, which gets us discounted rent, fresh organic produce, and sometimes the other odd necessity or luxury. We are involved in our communities and activism. And we would not shed a tear over the downfall of this unsustainable and unjust system that we currently have in place.

There must be others like us outside of the sphere of those we communicate with.

She goes on to knock women who make the choice to stay home {as a feminist 'house wife' I grit my teeth anytime one of my feminist peers do this}, state that this way of life is not 'radical' {right, because this is mainstream and doesn't go against the grain at all!}, and piss and moan about folks who are not activists {perhaps she forgot that many folks who are poor and/or homeless aren't even privileged with enough time or resources to actively participate in community organizing!}.

Anyhoo, apologies for the rantiness. Those of us who do get to homestead are indeed lucky...I just wish that folks would not assume that we were born with silver spoons in our mouths or horseshoes up our arses.




Medusa's Arrow belongs to said...

It makes me laugh how this chick goes on & on criticizing the "privilege" of others but in the same breath she will sanctimoniously tell others with less then her what they should think and want. Gotta love her. iremythpurr reminds me of the church lady.

FreeDragon said...

I've been the stay at home wife, and I've been working wife. I feel that this is a 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' thing. Sometimes the only way a woman can prove she's amking a choice is to make all of them. The problem is, no one can do it all for long. When I stayed home I was very happy, but the people who criticized me the most for it were women. I finding staying home to be a busier job than the workforce. I've never been one to lay on the couch all day. I garden and sew and cook and handle all the errands like waiting for repairmen and making sure the bills are paid. I enjoy most of this, and I would love to quit my job so I could put all my energy into making my home the ideal retreat from the world. One of the reasons I finding working to be the easier choice is that at the end of the day I can leave my job. The home is never really finished. Our homes represent our true selves. It seems to me most people have forgotten this. Instead of wanting to be ourselves we look to corporations and the media to tell us what to buy. I think that is why etsy is so popular, somewhere along the way we lost our skills. We don't seem to know how to reclaim them. Sometimes I bring my sewing projects to work and the women have the most comments. The say they never learned 'that stuff', they don't have time, or 'why don't you just buy it?' I think if we suddenly lost all our retail stores people would go crazy. No one would know what to do for food or heat or anything else. Our current system is very broken and we have no alternate plans. I think the question is not if captialism will fail, but when.

Ivy said...

::grits teeth:: I hate feminists who demean house wives and women who make more domestic choices. I don't stay at home (lacking the 'wife' portion of housewife) but I do have a slew of traditionally domestic hobbies. I'm really tired of the looking down the nose, or the lectures about how I'm too 'smart' to stay at home if I mention I'd consider it.

That said, there is a degree of privilege, namely in the 2nd income. I do wish that we had a system that made it possible to fully support oneself but I don't think we as a single person, I read a lot of homesteading blogs and sigh wistfully. I've still got a few trick up my sleeve, though...and as things change in the world, who knows what will become possible?

Bek said...

It's always the same...finding something you do believe in and actually doing it is not considered activism, only selfish. Sometimes we need inspiration not yet another thing to oppose.

There are many females - and often blokes 'staying at home' (I've heard of countless examples of it being an equal thing) who are actually trying to prove that 'another world is possible' however they can, with whatever they've got (and that's also often NOT a huge second income!). One that's not just wage slavery and cheer-you-up consumerism.

nefaeria said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts folks! :)

Medusa’s Arrow: Ya, unfortunately this shit is not out of character for her. At least there are some folks on YouTube who are not prone to asshatery. ;)

FreeDragon & Ivy: I am glad to hear from other women who are interested in the ‘domestic arts’ and I agree with both of you. I do think eventually our current system will fall on its arse and am quite hopeful of the potential afterwards. And I do wish you both luck in being able to homestead {or whatever you choose to call it} in a way that is both rewarding and realistic. :)

Bek: Indeed! I was hoping you would reply to this. I had you in mind when I was originally writing this post and the last thing I think of in regards to you folks is selfish/individualistic…more like inspiring and awesome. :)

Hertha said...

I am one of those people she is talking about and I live on a pension. That woman should really keep her assumptions in check because they are way off base.

Medusae said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Medusae said...

As someone who rants for business and pleasure, I say embrace your angry side! It will serve you at times - as long as you know when and where to employ it. There's nothing wrong with calling shenanigans when someone's shoveling the bullshit around.

This woman, with her views, can claim to be a 'feminist' but hers are such patriarchal views that I have to wonder if feminists even think of embracing actual 'matriarchal' ways of thinking for all they claim to be on 'woman's side'.

"Since most patriarchal socialized women and men are not able to think out of patriarchal norms, they don't get the meaning of the term 'matriarchy'.
Most people believe mistakenly, that matriarchy is a simple reversal of patriarchy: What men do now would be taken over by women. Just an exchange of roles. ...
The patriarchal way of thinking is about the "Active Doing", means people are measured on their actions. It is difficult for us to think the matriarchal way, where persons are measured by their "Being" and their form of energy. "

Men can think in a matriarchal way as well, and I think that's what this woman needs a good dose of - that, and perspective.

I truly understand how women from ... say 1990 and previous, would cringe at the idea of a woman choosing to stay at home instead of wedging herself into a power-suit with massive shoulderpads and 'showing men a thing or two'. Those women had to endure SO MUCH to get us where we are today and I'm so thankful.
But they should remember they fought to give us CHOICE.
They shouldn't bitch about what choices we make now - or they're just as bad as the system they fought.

Keep up the great posts, Laurel :)