When this popped up in a new release feed, I clicked on it, sure, because of the knitting on the cover. And I read through the description and began to sour on it.
1.) The only difference between what this book claims is happening here vs. what people have been wringing their hands over in Japan re: “grass-eating men” for years now is that there these roles are assumed to be belonging to women, and god help us all if men want to take them up. Can we all just stop pretending we’re coming at this from some saintly altruistic “well I’m just worried about our country” perspective. Every hand-wringer is coming at this with their own presuppositions about what males and females should and should not be doing with their time. Enough.
2.) Amanda Marcotte’s twitter description made me twitch in the same way. Great, wonderful, you have no interest in knitting. That’s super-important for us to know, since of course we wouldn’t want to confuse you with those other, lesser feminist bloggers who do knit. Get over yourself, woman. Would you emphasize to people that yes, while you are a trendy Brooklyn feminist writer who follows political news, you would never wear your hair in a braid? No? Then STFU. Your haste to disassociate yourself from hypothetical comrades-in-fiber labels you as kind of an uninformed jerk.
Perhaps what the WP should focus on next is the problem with heteronormative expectations of domestic life and the culture of “make me a sandwich,” as well as the topic of non-heteronormative people who enjoy “domestic” activities without buying into gender roles, why that’s a good thing, and how we can take back our activities from the gender police. Furthermore, as a culture, we need to highlight the strangeness of separate spheres and stop privileging the “masculine” above the “feminine.” As for Matchar, I sincerely hope she will address these issues as well as food feminists more in depth in her forthcoming book.
I’m going to bed. Having begun work on this. Because, you know, my husband is making me provide woolens for our family like it’s 1833. Or because yarn is my one option for validation since I’ve only been providing most of the money and all of the health insurance/savings/computer hardware for the both of us for—oh right—years.*
*And it was my goddamn choice to do so, thank you very much.