Friday, December 10, 2004

Domestic Feminism **Warning, Non-Knitting Material Ahead**

A little Missive on Roles The old fashioned, traditional roles for women in our society are the new black. I've been questioning my belief system regarding my role as a human being, as a woman, and as a wife. To examine let us first ask the question, what is a wife? Main Entry: wife Pronunciation: 'wIf Function: noun Inflected Form(s): plural wives /'wIvz/ Etymology: Middle English wif, from Old English wIf; akin to Old High German wIb wife 1 a dialect : WOMAN b : a woman acting in a specified capacity -- used in combination wife> 2 : a female partner in a marriage What does being a wife entail? Can such few words embody our obligations and responsibilities to ourselves, our happiness, and our husbands? Is it the capacity, to quote Merriam-Webster that changes from generation to generation? A good place to start is the time before I was a wife. I was fiercely independent, crowing to the world how I would be a career woman. I put myself through college, in a field dominated by men. Was I still vying for my position (in front of the boys) as the number one spot in a pick-up game of four square? Showing the world, and myself that I could do it, if I set my mind to it? Well for brevity I'll say I kept up with the boys. I made it through to the end of the pipeline. I left behind my starving undergrad robe, and took on the robe of wife and graduate student. Aside **I should mention that my ill thought out dream of getting a PhD was left behind, not due to familial pressures but due to my unwillingness to devote such time, and resources. I also may have become a bit embittered over the experience, as it's hard to play with the big dogs while suppressing what makes you different.** My new role involved a cross-country move, which I did merrily. It wasn't until I made a home with my Husband {then fiance} that I started to feel the pull toward domesticity. Domesticity snuck up on me like a fox in an overflowing henhouse. Wedding planning opened Pandora's Box. It started small, sifting through all my Husbands crap stuff. Then onto bigger things, like framed photographs, curtains and throw rugs. Finally leading to crafted items. You may wonder about the status of my education during my time of craftiness, I was (and am) still involved. Still pushing to get that final degree after Eight Years of College. But my self image was shifting, and evolving. Into some entity I had never even considered. A common phrase in our home is my Husband saying, "Boy I bet you never thought you'd be {knitting, crafting, decorating} five years ago when we first started dating!" And he's right. Can I say my interest in handcrafted items is a rejection of multi-national corporations and options forced upon the consumer by big business? As an antithesis of the work-outside-the-home Superwoman of our parents generation? Perhaps. But it is also due to an inexplicable desire to make my home and life better. Taking disorder and making order. It's fun to be the creator. For these reasons, I'll keep crafting. I can't say I know the reasons that so many other women of Gen X are turning to handcrafts. I don't know if it'll be a generational trend. But I hope the collective "we" keep finding fulfillment in creating. Whatever the consensus, these times they are a changing. Today's post was inspired in part by the letter D, for Domestigirl, and the letter F for and Feminism and the New Domesticity