In a recent opinion piece for the Washington Post, Emily Matchar, who writes regularly on the phenomenon frequently called the 'new domesticity,' wonders whether the resurgence of interest in canning, knitting, and generally DIY-spirited homekeeping is not, in fact, regressive—a 'step back' for women. Homekeeping, and all the domestic arts, are a minefield in our culture, often thought of—and treated as—degrading and menial work. The more creative domestic arts—sewing clothes, preserving food—are enjoying renewed popularity, and while Matchar concedes the pleasure to be found in making for yourself that which you'd otherwise purchase, she's suspicious: after all, domestic work is unpaid work, and in a culture where women still earn, on average, less than their male counterparts, celebrating the domestic arts as creative, liberating fun is, for her, potentially dangerous:
"If history is any lesson, my just-for-fun jar of jam could turn into my daughter's chore, and eventually into my granddaughter's "liberating" lobster strudel."
For many within evangelicalism, the issue is further complicated by the ongoing debate on gender roles. Recently, this blog hosted a exchange between Owen Strachan and Laura Ortberg Turner on the respective roles of men and women in the home as a follow-up to Strachan's controversial blog post in which he declared "Dad Moms" (stay-at-home dads) a "man fail." Many Christian resources on homemaking assign domestic work virtually exclusively to women; this, proponents of the view insist, is profoundly counter-cultural but is certainly "God's way." Proverbs 31 is frequently cited, with the emphasis heavy on the home crafts and light on the real-estate dealings. As Nancy Wilson ...1
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