Monday, 3 May 2010

In defence of angry women Part 1

There is something wrong with a society where people decide that by placing the adjective radical in front of a word; suddenly its real meaning is magically inverted and the concrete noun it refers to is transformed from its true nature into something well, radically, different.

Take the word homemaker. Its the modrn version of the word housewife. But its still got connotations of the little woman, in the home waiting for hubbyy to come in from work so she can thrust his warmed slippers onto his aching feet. But put the word radical in front of it and voila you have something which to quote that veneral publication The Age, is a

“, anti-consumerist movement that is about providing for family and community rather than feeding the economy, where the home is seen not as a site of entrapment and servitude, but one of empowerment.”

Hail the arrival of the radical homemaker!

These women are staying home to look after their chidren and grow organic food. Oh and participate in a few community groups because otherwise they'd get bored. What I'm having trouble with is how this is radical.

In the 1950's women stayed home and lookd after their children and they tended their gardens and they joined the local sewing circle. So far, the ony difference I can see is that these newly radical homemakers are able to use that other buzzword organic, in front of the food they're spending their time, degrees and skills on.

But I'm clearly just a cynic. What I don't understand is that this is all about choice. And that all my feminine skills have been terribly de-valued by men and that in fact wanting to *gasp* have a life of my own outside the home is actually turning me into a man! As one of these rad wifeys says

“I think women have been masculinised to the point where anything that women had skills in that were important has been denigrated. Women now want to achieve the skills that men have, when their traditional skills were equally and sometimes a lot more important in society.''

The same woman goes on to list these skills as sewing and basketweaving. No joke. Basketweaving.But I'm clearly just being disagreeable because I haven't realised that we now live in a post-feminist world. Silly me.

And how short-sighted of me to think that all those skills that mean you can do things like ummm, read and write and engage in the wider world are the preserve of the male of the species. And here I was thinking that we all had to learn these things, whereas all along the possssion of a pair of testicles means that men emerge fully formed and intrinsically skillfull, like Athena from the head of Zeus. Or not like Athena at all.

The idea that somehow there are male skills and female skills is a bizzarely outdated piece of post-facto justification for a division of labour which serves the purposes of a system which needs women subjugated and in the home. How much easier to keep them there if they are busy telling themslves that its empowering and that a few hours a week in the local community garden and doing a permaculture course is world changing political action.

This stuff makes me angry. It makes me wall-punching, hippie-kicking angry. I want to rend and tear. And not just these truly foolish women who are trying to tell themslves they've made a choice to save the planet; when all they're doing is having the same lack of choice that women have always had. The difference is that now they pretty that up by saying that staying at home, growing veggies (organic bloody veggies), killing chickens and recycling clothes is – empowering.

Fuck these smug cunts and their gross attack on everything that the rest of us have been struggling for for the last several thousand years. Go live on your hippie fucken commune if you want just don't try and tell me its empowering; that its about equal but different. We've been listening to that crap since Hector headed out to meet his fate and sent Andromache back to finish her weaving. Its time to change the narrative not just the adjectives you use when writing it.


  1. I think growing organic food in your garden is a good, health- and life-affirming thing to do, and it is just possibly anti-consumerist. And when I was not working or studying for a 2 1/2 years when my daughter was a baby, I joined quite a few community-baaed action groups. Friends of Merri Creek--that is a quietly radical organisation that has wrought real change along the Merri.
    ok, so far so good. But what does any of that have to do with returning to 19th century 'spheres' of feminity and masculinity? I deeply like in when positive green agendas are appropriated as part of an insidious but deeply really anti-feminist backlash!
    Thanks, obsessquious, for taking a stand on this.

  2. Sorry, lots of typos. I meant to say I deeply dislike it when they do that!