The Womanhood Project - Domesticity

I don't know how I missed this great book idea/experiment by Rachel Held Evans, but it's fascinating. She's taking a year to live the "10 Commandments of Biblical Womanhood" literally... not cutting her hair, keeping her home, etc. I'll be following the Womanhood Project closely now! As an egalitarian, I'm quite interested to see what she finds through this journey.

One thing she's exploring is domesticity. I want to capitalize on this aspect because there seems to be an assumption that feminist/egalitarian women don't know how to cook, have perpetually messy houses (or spotless ones that other people clean), and turn their noses up at crafts and household projects. That, or they have "un-manly" husbands who just do all the housework.

I'll admit, I gave myself the moniker "domestically challenged" throughout much of my teenage and college years. On the rare occasion I attempted cooking, there were mishaps (in case you are wondering, you cannot substitute water for oil in a cake). I started and abandoned many crafting projects. And I certainly did not volunteer for kitchen work at church events (do you boys need a hand carrying those chairs?).

Much of this was self-imposed. Did I know how to cook? Yes, and I made more meals than most of my college friends, experimenting with recipes on my roommates. Was I capable of crafting? I've got 15 years of scrapbooks to verify that yes I was. Did I do housework? I could sure tidy up quickly, and do mountains of laundry at once.

But somehow that domestic stuff felt weak to me. Like I couldn't be good at it and also pursue a career. Or I couldn't broadcast it because it would look like I was husband-hunting for the kind of guy who wanted a stay-at-home wife/mom.

When I finally decided that cooking, cleaning, and crafting could actually be acts of independence, and I didn't have to do them b/c of cultural expectations but because I wanted to, my outlook changed quite a bit. And when Eric and I got married and moved in together, dividing chores, learning to cook challenging things together, and using crafts as a way to pursue creativity in my own space felt really empowering.

Sometimes when I talk about doing Eric's laundry, or when I clear the dishes after hosting dinner, or when I mention my love of scrapbooking and making things out of found objects, people raise their eyebrows at me. As if any domestic act interferes with my empowered, egalitarian persona. At this point it's all part and parcel. I'm just a woman taking care of myself and my home. When I was single, this was important. And in marriage, having a partner to help makes it no less important.

How about I cook you dinner, serve it to you at a table I've dressed, and we can talk about men, women, and domesticity? Don't worry, dessert will be pre-made.

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