Modern Domesticity: Liberating, or a Step Back?
Progressive women bake and sew to resist industrial influence
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 26, 2011 2:58 PM CST
Modern women in the kitchen: empowerment, or a reversion to the old days?   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Peek into your neighbor's house these days and you'll find a progressive woman canning jams, baking breads, knitting, or sewing. But "my baby boomer mother does not can jam. Or bake bread. Or knit. Or sew," writes Emily Matchar in the Washington Post. "Not did my grandmother. ... My, how things have changed." Matchar looks at the old-is-new DIY trend among young homemakers, with a 21st-century twist: "The homemade jar of jam becomes a symbol of resistance to industrial food and its environment-defiling ways."

One hip Brooklyn mom with "pixie-cut hair and inked-up biceps" tells Matchar it's empowering—a continuation of the feminist movement, even. Matchar more or less agrees, but notes that more women than men are being "empowered" in the modern kitchen. She also wonders whether we'll assign "moral and environmental claims" to domestic work until "it starts to feel, once more, like an obligation. ... If history is any lesson, my just-for-fun jar of jam could turn into my daughter’s chore, and eventually into my granddaughter’s 'liberating' lobster strudel."