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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Is Etsy screwing over the craft community?

Roseanne earrings...yes!

I’m a huge Etsy fan. Without Etsy, I wouldn’t have some of my most favorite possessions: my leather Kindle case, a print of pigs and goats I bought my husband for our anniversary, a bowl made from a tree stump, a plush stuffed squid. Etsy also undeniably has loads of crap, from severely misguided crochet pants to horrifying chicken skin masks to, ahem, anatomically correct plush My Little Ponies. All this is chronicled hilariously on Regretsy.

For my book, I delved a bit deeper into Etsy and the culture of e-commerce. Though I talked with lots of very happy, successful Etsy sellers, I also met lots of very disgruntled ones. Some complained that Etsy drives down prices by allowing amateur hobbyists to compete with professionals (hobbyists can price their good lower, since they’re just doing it for fun). Others say Etsy takes advantage of women (Etsy sellers are almost entirely female) by promoting a “quit your day job” dream to harried mothers, despite the fact that it’s extremely rare to make a full living off Etsy.

The other day, the New York Observer looked at another problem: Etsy allows mass-made goods to be pawned off as “handmade.” One furniture maker was promoted the site as a Featured Seller; unfortunately, her “handmade” furniture was imported from Bali. One woman was devastated to find out that the $200 steampunk watch her husband saved up to buy her sold for $2 on eBay.

Etsy’s mission statement claims Etsy is trying to “change the way the global economy works” by empowering “very-very small businesses” and encouraging people to value authorship and authenticity. Most of these “very, very small businesses” are in fact women, many of them mothers who use Etsy to make money while taking care of their children (one of the highest concentrations of Etsy sellers is uber-conservative Provo, Utah, where many stay-at-home Mormon moms are trying to make a buck while juggling childcare). If Etsy doesn’t reign itself in, it’s these women who will suffer the most.

Any Etsy sellers with good or bad experiences?

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