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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This IS a first

An ad with a man doing the laundry. And not in a stupid, hee-larious “Mr. Mom” way either (“I just poured dish detergent in the washing machine. Doh!”). The is a real first. As Hanna Rosin writes in Slate:

I have been waiting all my life for this Tide and Downy ad. That lovely man, down in the basement, waiting for the dryer to stop so he can pull out his daughter’s favorite princess dress…

When I was a kid Carol Channing made me believe on my Free to Be You and Me album that by the time it was my turn to be a grown-up, we would all share the housework. And this is becoming true, to a certain extent, but that’s not what it looks like on the TV commercials. Lifetime breaks still serve up a steady diet of women with neat hair in pastel cardigans scrubbing the tub, mopping the floors, polishing pots till they gleam like new! Or if they update the old formula, they do it by having a woman scold her husband for what an idiot he is because he can’t understand a simple grocery list or eat a pizza in the living room without smearing sauce somewhere, thus reinforcing the concept that wife knows best.

These days, I’m just jealous of anyone who has a washing machine AND a dryer. We’re living in dryer-free place at the moment, and hanging the laundry on the drying rack is the most hated task in the house. Though we do share the job.

Who does the laundry in your house?

6 comments to This IS a first

  • I do 90% of the laundry in our house, which is good because my wife will wash her frilly underthings or merino sweaters without putting them in a lingerie bag.

    And this reminds me to go put a load in. I sure would like a little sunshine–I much prefer the clothesline for everything but socks.

  • Elaine

    My husband does all of the laundry (at the laundromat), as well as most of the cleaning. One day I dream of an in house washer and dryer, but in nyc that’s a rarity!

  • My husband does our laundry, lol. If anyone has questions regarding the best products for certain stains/fabrics, they’d rather ask him than me.

    That commercial is just so cute, by the way, and I also appreciated that it didn’t show the man as a doofus.

    By the way, have you seen this article?
    http://nymag.com/news/features/retro-wife-2013-3/ — The Retro Wife, Feminists who say they’re having it all by choosing to stay home.

  • [...] Matchar. “This IS a first.” New Domesticity. 13 March 2013. An ad with a man doing the laundry. And not in a stupid, [...]

  • Shannon

    My husband ALSO does almost all of the laundry! We both work full time, so when divvying up the housework, this just seemed to be one of the tasks that he minded doing less than me.

    As a side, my husband actually does a lot of the housework, but I do all of the cooking/meal-planning, and significantly more of the cleaning/organizing than he does.