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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Mormon mom bloggers, Evangelical Etsy vendors, Jewish urban homesteaders: New Domesticity and religion

I was inspired by a post by Danielle at From Two To One, on why feminism as a whole benefits from religious feminists. It’s a great post, and it got me thinking about religion and new domesticity. While I don’t identify as religious (I was raised Jewish and I still love to make latkes on Hanukkah and matzo ball soup for Passover dinner, but don’t go to synagogue), but I’m really interested in the ways religion shapes our identities as women and as people.

While I was researching the book, I interviewed a number of women whose domestic identities were deeply tied to their religious identities. I talked to a number of very conservative Evangelical women who ran Etsy shops because, in their communities, mothers didn’t work outside the home, so selling homemade goods online was one way for them to have some financial independence. I talked to Mormon mom bloggers who felt it was their calling to blog about motherhood in a positive, upbeat way to counteract anti-family messages in the mainstream media. I talked to a Jewish urban homesteader who felt that “reclaiming” lost domestic arts like canning and crocheting was a way to honor her the women who came before her.

Though I’m not observant, I think my heritage as a reform Jew helped shape my interest in gender equality at home and at work (at the synagogue I grew up in, women gave sermons and men baked hamentashen; very “Free to be You & Me”). Do you have religious backgrounds that have influenced your identity as a woman, and your participation in domestic life?


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