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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The reality of crafty, home-based businesses

image by camy west/flickr, via

My latest piece at The Atlantic looks at how the idea of crafty, home-based businesses (Etsy shops, artisan cupcake businesses, etc) is increasingly being sold as a solution for women’s work-life balance woes. Spoiler: it doesn’t work (at least not for the vast majority).  The problem, IMHO, is that mainstream businesses do such a crap job of family friendliness that women are driven to find other solutions, and that the media is happy to sell women on Horatio Alger story of work-at-home businesses (“Learn how these moms are living the work-at-home dream by starting an organic baby food businesses!”).

The piece is also generating a really interesting thread at Etsy, which has often been accused of selling women a “false feminist fantasy” of work-at-home riches.

2 comments to The reality of crafty, home-based businesses

  • [...] She’s making jewelry now! This is like a year old and you’ve probably all seen it, but I’m late to the Portlandia train and this clip just seems too perfect, especially in light of recent discussion about Etsy-as-solution-for-work-life-balance and the reality of crafty, home-based businesses. [...]

  • Sofya

    That is very true. I know how to make a lot of stuff, stuff so popular (from bread to clothes) that people constantly suggest I make it a business. It does not work without rock-hard commitment and I don’t have such. The reality of running a business is grim and dull compared with the joy of making a batch of this or that. In the end it is not worth the time. What is worth it however is stuff I do with my brain – blogging and I used to translate a bunch. That made a financial difference and the bookkeeping is minimal.