Book review: Homeward Bound: Why Women are Embracing the New Domesticity
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Hardcover, 288 pages, $26.95
Published May 7th 2013
Formats: Hardcover, e-readers
Amid today’s rising anxieties—the economy, the scary state of the environment, the growing sense that the American Dream hasn’t turned out to be so dreamy after all—a groundswell of women (and more than a few men) are choosing to embrace an unusual rebellion: domesticity. A generation of smart, highly educated young people are spending their time knitting, canning jam, baking cupcakes, gardening, and more (and blogging about it, of course), embracing the labor-intensive domestic tasks their mothers and grandmothers eagerly shrugged off. Some are even turning away from traditional careers and corporate culture for slower, more home-centric lifestyles that involve “urban homesteading,” homeschooling their kids, or starting Etsy businesses. They’re questioning whether regular jobs are truly fulfilling and whether it’s okay to turn away from the ambitions of their parents’ generation.
How did this happen? And what does it all mean? What happens to American culture as a whole when our best and brightest put home and hearth above other concerns? Does this sudden fascination with traditional homemaking bode ill for gender equality? What role have the media and blog culture played in making domesticity look so darn appealing?
In Homeward Bound, acclaimed journalist Emily Matchar takes a long, hard look at both the inspiring appeal and the potential dangers of this trend she calls the New Domesticity, exploring how it could be reshaping the role of women in society and what the consequences may be for all of us. In riveting interviews with all kinds of people from coast to coast, Matchar examines the motivations of those who have embraced this movement, from Southern food bloggers to chicken-keeping “radical homemakers” on the East Coast to Etsy entrepreneurs in Provo, Utah, to attachment parenting devotees in Chicago, and many more. This groundbreaking reporting on the New Domesticity is guaranteed to transform our notions of women in today’s society and add a new layer to the ongoing discussion of whether women can—or should—have it all.
My thoughts: I was ready to really love what author Emily Matchar is saying. I think these are thing that many of us have noticed and experienced, I mean come on, all you have to do is go to "Pinterest" and see the explosion of crafting and home canning, the resurgence of things my Mom and Grandmother called "hand crafts" - knitting, sewing, crocheting. IT'S EVERYWHERE! The upsurge in DYI programs, magazines and online self help videos are amazing! Last fall I wanted to knit one of those cute ruffley scarves, but I couldn't remember how to "cast on" stitches, so I fired up the computer and went to "Youtube" and sure enough, tons of young women had recorded and uploaded instructional videos!! Shoot, I've even started making my own laundry detergent! shhhhhh!! I know...don't tell anyone, 'cuz it ruins my image. ;)
As women, I think Homeward Bound tries to show that we've almost come full circle, if you want to stay home, raise your kids, home school and craft, no one should look down on you. Actually, in my circle of friends, the women who choose to stay home - raise the kids are admired, are what my mom and the aunts used to call themselves - "home makers! Their "mom" "wife" roles are 24/7/365. Those of us who work, at least get a vacation usually once a year and sick leave. I'm in awe of the new "pioneer" women, the "Martha Stewart" wannabees.
They are everywhere in all walks of life and Homeward Bound attempts to evaluate and show how this is really taking place all over the country.
The issue I had with Matchar's book is the constant political commentary. That was a huge turn off, can't we enjoy and appreciate people's talents and concerns for a good life without bringing in politics?
3 out of 5 stars, great concept, interesting material, but for me, it strayed a bit off base at times.
**This e-galley was provided to me by the publisher through Edelweiss: Above the Treeline, in exchange for a fair and honest review.