That last post was apparently fairly popular. More views than any post yet on this here blog-o-mine. Which leads me to believe that feminist housewifery is a hot topic, and that perhaps quite a few ladies, errr, womyn, out there are grappling with these same issues.
About a year ago, when I was scheming my next venture (my last was a zine and then blog, called Subsist/Resist), I sketched out ideas for a name on a scrap of paper. Apron Strings had been kicking around in my brain for some time, but I do love me a good subtitle, and I was really torn on whether to use the word “housewife.” Was the punk/DIY/feminist/liberal world ready for such a blasphemed word? I really wanted to see it reinvented, but could it be done? In the end, “Revolutionary Housewifery” was just too clumsy a mouthful. “Revolution Starts at Home” not only rolled better off the tongue, but said succinctly what I meant. “Housewifery” was relegated to the sidebar description. But I still have quite an unusual fondness for the word, precisely because it makes me (and everyone else I know) uncomfortable.
After the popularity of that last post, I can see I am not alone.
I don’t particularly think of myself as a feminist (though of course I most certainly am). I grew up with hippie parents– dad as likely to be cooking dinner and mom as likely to be fixing the plumbing. (Both more likely to be devising a new business plan.) I was shown how to use a power drill at age 6. I never really got feminism at all until I left home. And even then, though I had plenty of opportunities to get riled up, and listened to more than my share of Ani DiFranco when she was still pissed off, Alaska is a relatively progressive place in the gender department. Women hunt, fix cars, cut firewood, all in a day’s work. Check out the Talkeetna Mountain Mama contest.
But even more than that, dogmas tend to get my back up. Liberals make me want to flaunt my hunting rifle, greenies make me want to drink out of a styrofoam cup, and feminists make me want to brandish the word housewife with a teeth-gritted pride.
Because how in the world did the work traditionally and even, dare I say, biologically done by women, get to be so thoroughly disrespected?
Let’s go back to the beginning.
I, personally, believe patriarchy started with birth– the most sacred, most complete, most mind boggling power of all. The boys got jealous, and who wouldn’t? We women could do it all. Grow another human being in our bellies, push it out into the world, and nurture it to independence. I thought all this before I was a mother, but now, having seen birth particularly, I really understand the significance. The raw power of a woman in labor is not to be underestimated. Anyone else in the room must feel small. Powerless. Insignificant.
Patriarchy is a big wheeled truck attempt to hide feelings of…. well, inadequacy.
I think over the course of history, our culture became more and more dictated by a giant Napoleon Complex. Men scorned women’s work because they feared it. For a long time women said, ‘Whatever, screw you. We know what’s going down.’ But as time went along, things got worse, and the men with their little ego stoking got out of control. They had invented new kinds of power, and seated themselves as Kings. Women lost eventually patience and got pissed. Enter the Feminist Movement.
But I believe, and I know I tread dangerous ground here, that the feminist movement made a vital mistake. Things had gone too far, and the male mindset had infiltrated our strong female selves. They had convinced us on so deep a level that the work we did was meaningless, that when we looked for change, we took a wrong turn. We tried to claim our own seat in their big wheeled truck. When what we should have done was torched it.
Don’t get pissed off too quick. I am not saying “a woman’s only place is in the home.” Of course a woman should be able to do whatsoever she chooses, and get paid and respected equally to any man.
But in the heat of the moment, let’s not forget that we hold the ultimate power. Let’s not forget to value and respect it. Let’s not forget to kick some ass in our very own, uniquely female way.
Because true revolution starts at home.