This is a continuation of my review that was moved to a new post for the sake of brevity.
What made me realize how much I had been needing a book like The Gentle Art of Domesticity was an explanation. Something I had been unconsciously aware of but could never put in words and which had shadowed all my attempts at the domestic arts. Mrs. Brocket explains that as she was growing up, feminism was particularly rabid. And the most tragic victims of their rampages were the domestic arts. It was implicitly and overtly discouraged to learn needle-work, cooking or any other shackles of the modern woman.
Even though I assume I am younger than Mrs. Brocket, these effects were evident in my childhood, too. In middle school Home Economics was considered the most pathetic course to take. We sympathized with those who didn’t have a real elective. Those who took it voluntarily were mocked for their desire to sew an apron and bake brownies.
This attitude even made itself felt at church. We had a specific term for a young woman who showed an interest in or aptitude for the domestic arts: “Molly Mormon.” This horrible title was given in a light voice with an undertone of disdain. Although I loved to cook and craft, I refrained from admitting it to myself or anyone else. In the domestic sense, I was still firmly in the closet. When my parents gifted me with appliances & spices in preparation for college, that should have tipped me off. But it wasn’t until I had been two years married that I announced to the world: “I love to cook and there’s nothing you can do about it. So there.”
I’m all mature like that.
However, I was still very embarrassed of any inclination to craft, be it sewing or beading. You see, cool girls just did not sew. But, through the years, my desire to create gradually wore down my fear of being discovered. And was then completely knocked down when I read The Gentle Art of Domesticity.
It was almost like I had been given permission to enjoy these natural pursuits of the mother, wife, and woman. I only wish that society hadn’t made me feel like i need permission.
Sheesh, I sound like some kind of radical.
But what’s radical about homemaking?