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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Homeward Bound excerpt on Salon

In Salon today, an excerpt from Homeward Bound, from the chapter titled “Cupcake Feminists, Hipster Jam Canners, and “Femivores”: The New DIY Food Culture.”

In this excerpt, I talk about the sudden rise of interest in stuff like jam-canning and chicken-keeping among young, educated people, look at the perils of foodie nostalgia (was food really better in our great great grandmother’s day?), and examine the sexist and classist assumptions of celebrated food writers like Michael Pollan and Michael Ruhlman:

In progressive, middle-class circles these days, there’s the overwhelming sense that procuring and cooking the freshest, healthiest, most sustainably sourced food should be a top priority for any thinking person.

Food choices have become important political acts, with deep moral and environmental consequences. As self-righteous and irritating as this attitude can sometimes feel, it’s still speaking to a very real and scary truth. With rising obesity rates, a destructive system of factory farming, and terror-inducing 24/7 news stories about antibiotics in chicken and E. coli in spinach, many people have come to feel that their own food choices are among the most meaningful life decisions they can make.

…Our country is clearly in a dire state when it comes to obesity and the environmental impact of factory farming, so the fact that more people care about food is terrific. But the kitchen’s always been a fraught place when it comes to gender and class, and the twenty-first century is shaping up to be no different. For some, the new cooking culture is incredibly empowering. Others are finding themselves tied up in apron strings all over again…

Let me know what you think!

DON’T FORGET: Pre-order Homeward Bound by May 7, and we donate $1 per copy to the National Partnership for Women and Families.

3 comments to Homeward Bound excerpt on Salon

  • Joy

    This is fantastic! Very excited for your book and more myth-busting about feminism, etc. Your writing always wakes me up to the fact that I am very squarely situated in middle class culture, and I ingest these kinds of myths/beliefs/opinions daily. Thanks for helping us to sort it all out!

  • Emily

    Thanks, Joy!

  • Lena

    I enjoyed your Salon article. I haven’t read anything by Michael Pollan, that I’m aware of, but this quote was just so shocking: ““American women now allow corporations to cook for them”…

    American WOMEN allow corporations to cook for them? Because American men are such great cooks that they would never let a corporation do it for them? Or because they are robots that do not need food? Or because…oh wait, because they have had women cooking for them since the dawn of time. But now, if the corporations, run primarily by men, do a bad job of it, it can only be the fault of those women, for not cooking good enough in the house and letting the corporations take over. What a baffling, and deeply, deeply misogynistic, assertion. Amazing.