Reviews of Homeward Bound

“3.5 out of 4 stars” - People Magazine                                                               “The brilliance of Emily Matchar’s new book is that it exhaustively describes what disillusioned workers are opting into: a slower, more sustainable, and more self-sufficient lifestyle that’s focused on the home. Matchar synthesizes dozens of trend stories … into a single, compelling narrative about the resurgence of domesticity….Refreshing.” -The New Republic                                                       "[P]rovocatively explores what the movement says about the role of women in society today.” – The New Yorker                                                                       "I unreservedly loved it…It’s empathetic and funny and thoughtful and smart, and I encourage all of you to read it."– The Hairpin                                                         “Cogently argues that choosing a more hands-on, DIY lifestyle – family farming, canning, crafting, can, without sacrificing feminism’s hard-won gains, improve on an earlier time when ‘people lived more lightly on the earth and relied less on corporations, and family and community came first.’” - ELLE                                                               “[I]ntelligent and insightful...essential reading.” - Christianity Today                                                       “A lively and perceptive reporter… a valuable and astute assessment.”—Publishers Weekly                                                         “A well-researched look at the resurgence of home life…. Offers intriguing insight into the renaissance of old-fashioned home traditions.”— Kirkus Reviews

What is New Domesticity?

This blog is a look at the social movement I call ‘New Domesticity’ – the fascination with reviving “lost” domestic arts like canning, bread-baking, knitting, chicken-raising, etc. Why are women of my generation, the daughters of post-Betty Friedan feminists, embracing the domestic tasks that our mothers and grandmothers so eagerly shrugged off? Why has the image of the blissfully domestic supermom overtaken the Sex & the City-style single urban careerist as the media’s feminine ideal? Where does this movement come from? What does it mean for women? For families? For society?                                                                                     My book, Homeward Bound: Why Women Are Embracing the New Domesticity, which explores New Domesticity in greater depth, will be published by Simon & Schuster in May 2013.

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Live chat tomorrow at the Washington Post

Following my Washington Post opinion piece on new domesticity, I’ll be taking questions in a live chat tomorrow at noon EST. So if you want to ask me anything (about that piece, that is!), shoot!

I’ve been reading the comments below the piece this morning (500+ and counting) and I’ve been really fascinated to see some of the responses. I thought people might be calling me a hairy-legged radical feminist for even questioning whether a reclaiming of domestic work has any potential negatives (and some people are saying exactly that, to be sure). But other readers are suggesting that I’m belittling the work done by 1960s and 70s feminists or making fun of my mother and grandmother. And THAT really surprised me. Because that’s exactly the opposite of my point. In a nutshell, I’m saying this: that while reclaiming certain aspects of domesticity is awesome when it’s a free choice, if we moralize it too much or start suggesting it’s “natural” for women, we risk re-burdening ourselves with the kind of obligations that our mothers and grandmothers rightly and bravely sought to free themselves from.


6 comments to Live chat tomorrow at the Washington Post

  • Heidi Bone

    Emily- I left a comment before on the article post. I see what you are saying and all of us should be in agreement with you. As long as domesticity is kept a choice then it is no longer drudgery or a burden. However, if you tie this into the attachment parenting phenomenon, a heavier maternal emphasis is promoted solely because the mother is able to breastfeed and would more than often be the one assigned to babywear, etc. By Choosing this lifestyle…typically one in wich mom stays at home with children and dad works but included in attachment parenting techniques…I guess we would be redefining once again family roles but if it must be kept a choice (that is how my husband sees it..I’m happy…he’s happy) and children should be taught carefully that it is a choice not an obligation.

  • Loved the article. I had a big smile on my face and in my heart!

  • “…if we moralize it too much or start suggesting it’s “natural” for women…” Can I ask, who are the people (or groups) doing that?