Monday, June 22, 2009

Who Are You Calling Domestic?

I was talking to my Mom last night and telling her about how I had just made a batch of Pesto from the basil that I had grown – after I had done some sewing, and done a bit of gardening. Her response: “My, aren’t you domestic!” That comment irks me a little. What is so wrong with enjoying making things with your hands? If a man were to make a bench or fix a leaky pipe we would call him “handy” so why is it when a woman does traditional things she’s considered domestic?

I know that I can go to the store and purchase a jar of pre-made pesto, a necklace or a dress for the party I’m attending, or even as many tomatoes as I can fit in to my car but where is the joy in that? There’s a simple pleasure in producing something whether it’s sewn or home grown that you can’t get from picking it up off a shelf in the store. It may be more time consuming but at least you know what it is a product of.

I know that I made my favorite pajama pants, not some poor child laborer working for twenty cents a day in Indonesia. I know that the lettuce in my salad I grew from seed in my back yard, so I know it isn’t tainted with Hepatitis C or whatever the latest food outbreak is. The same goes for any other little thing that I create or grow, there’s a satisfaction in knowing where it came from and what went in to it.

I suppose that my adverse reaction is probably due to the word domestic itself. To me the word domestic causes a mental cross reference to animals that we have as pets or food stock – so domestic means they are no longer wild and untamable. The other image I get is the typical “bare-foot and pregnant in the kitchen”.

I guess one might even call it a cultural revolution that as of late gardening is growing in popularity and there seems to be a great number of people who still enjoy crafting and sewing regularly. My personal belief is that it needs a new name… instead of domestic just call me “make it yourself friendly.”

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