Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Love The Femivore's Dilema

Peggy Orenstein wrote a fabulous article for the NY Times about a new crop of women in Berkeley, California who are taking the kitchen and backyard garden to another level and raising their own chickens. It's about so much more than that though. The article explores the feminine predicament faced by so many educated stay-at-home moms who want to embrace their new positions outside of the "work force" without, as Orendstein put it, "becoming Betty Draper." The innate desire for self-sufficiency, autonomy, sustainability, fullfillment and a feeling that live is made - not merely purchased. My paraphrasing isn't doing it justice...

"...Hayes pointed out that the original “problem that had no name” was as much spiritual as economic: a malaise that overtook middle-class housewives trapped in a life of schlepping and shopping. A generation and many lawsuits later, some women found meaning and power through paid employment. Others merely found a new source of alienation. What to do? The wages of housewifery had not changed — an increased risk of depression, a niggling purposelessness, economic dependence on your husband — only now, bearing them was considered a “choice”: if you felt stuck, it was your own fault. What’s more, though today’s soccer moms may argue, quite rightly, that caretaking is undervalued in a society that measures success by a paycheck, their role is made possible by the size of their husband’s. In that way, they’ve been more of a pendulum swing than true game changers.

Enter the chicken coop.

Femivorism is grounded in the very principles of self-sufficiency, autonomy and personal fulfillment that drove women into the work force in the first place. Given how conscious (not to say obsessive) everyone has become about the source of their food — who these days can’t wax poetic about compost? — it also confers instant legitimacy. Rather than embodying the limits of one movement, femivores expand those of another: feeding their families clean, flavorful food; reducing their carbon footprints; producing sustainably instead of consuming rampantly. What could be more vital, more gratifying, more morally defensible?..."

Raising chickens for eggs alongside your tomatoes may not be for every mom, but it is certainly lovely to read and dream about. And I hope it is alright that I reposted a photo by Katherine Wolkoff from the article. It is such a perfect photo I couldn't resist.

Read the entire piece here.

1 comment:

Deborah said...

Also, thanks for the scoop on this, DW. Is definitely a nice dovetail on what you were saying.