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Posts Tagged ‘marriage’

images I’ve heard that Deniece Schofield’s book is one of the best on this topic but I’ve never picked it up before. Then I read about it again in Almost Frugal and the next day found a used copy on sale so I thought I would give it a try. 

First a couple of thoughts and general points. Ms. Schofield is, I strongly suspect, in the category of “Christian Homemaker” – a breed of women who feel a deep connection between the work they do in the home and their religious piety. From what I can tell, Schofield is fairly understated about her beliefs in the book, a fact that I appreciate as I do not fall into that category at all and find the frequent references to scripture and womanly duty distracting and off-putting in other books and blogs on homemaking. 

Which is not to say that I don’t have some sympathy for the broader connection that these women are trying to make – that there is real value in that reproductive work (i.e. raising and nourishing a family – both physically and emotionally) that has been assigned to women in our culture and despite the lip-service paid to mothers and homemakers, that value is largely ignored (or openly belittled) in our contemporary social system. However, I do find the framing of this argument – in terms of a natural god-given male-dominated division of labor between the sexes to be reactionary and problematic. 

The history of the cult of domesticity and the domestic goddess/perfect homemaker is a rich one and it is something I teach in my gender class. The students find it fascinating to trace back the current cult of craft and domestic perfection (hello Martha!) to the rise of the Industrial Revolution, the contemporary capitalist system (which depends on women as the reproducers and consumers of society) and in Victorian culture in the second half of the 19th century. Many of them thought that the focus on domesticity and perfect housekeeping began in the 1950s after WWII. 

Another point, related to the first is that there is an assumption in the book (and in others, and in popular culture) that the wife (and I won’t even get into the heteronormative assumptions at play here) is the primary household manager, and cleaner and cook and childcare provider, even if both adults work outside the home.

Here is a quote: 

So, you spend most of your life studying rapid eye movement or maybe you specialize in Asian drug smugglers. Domesticity sort of pales by comparison.(pg.2)

Now to be fair there is nothing that specifically identifies the gender of the reader in the book, but I think it is safe to say that the book is aimed at women and marketed to women. To be even more fair it may be that she addresses this issue in the book and she may have responded to these concerns in her second book Confessions of an Organized Family.

Given the history and the subtext, I am still drawn to this and other resources on homemaking, decorating, entertaining, organizing and so forth for a number of reasons. First and foremost because my house is a mess and we are continually frustrated by our lack of organization and domestic harmony. Second because being organized saves time and money. Third, I just like this stuff. I would love to have time to sew and bake and concoct great art projects to do with Buddy. 

So let’s plunge in – in the next post…

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  • When your 2yr-old’s favorite game is crawling around on  the floor picking up “fluff” off the carpet, it might be time to vacuum.  
  • SuperGuy and I shared a bottle of wine last night and watched Pineapple Express. He also gave me a backrub and told me I was pretty. Both were much needed. We’ve both been going full-speed-ahead with Buddy and work for awhile now we’ve sort of lost touch with each other. He also made it clear that he is proud of me whether or not I get this job at Big University. I still really want it but he made me feel better about the possibility of not getting it as well.
  • I watched the final few episodes of West Wing this weekend – and I have to say that the REAL election of Obama and the REAL inauguration of  President Obama was much more satisfying. How nice not to have to take solace in fictional characters any longer.
  • I’ve started listening to classical music on the radio when I have to drive. It is not something I know a lot about, but I like that it makes the drive seem like you are in the midst of a Merchant Ivory film – it really does make all the ordinary (and annoying) things around you seem better – elevated and more interesting somehow.
  • SuperGuy got paid half for his big contracting job so we are going to the bank today and by the end of this week we will be DEBT FREE! It is a huge accomplishment for us and a fresh start.

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