According to Peggy Aloi, writer for the Huffington Post, feminism has been lost on me. I’m officially girly and no longer a bad ass. That’s kind of a bummer because I’ve always thought of myself as pretty bad ass. I’ve thought of my other gardening friends as total bad asses too. Oh, and apparently my husband is no longer a bad ass and is now girly.
Last week she wrote an article about how woman have lost the fight for feminism and have returned ourselves back to the world or patriarchal oppression. Women who bake, knit, sew, and garden are girly. GIRLY.
I’m not quite sure which of her lines I like the most. Maybe it’s:
There are tough times ahead, and we need to be tough bitches to face them. Growing vegetables is useful; but so is learning how to shoot a gun, hot-wire a car, and manipulate our way into a bomb shelter.
Women are girly. Again.
Don’t believe me? The proof is in the blogosphere: Women who blog about cupcakes! Women who blog (okay, rant) about gardening, Hello Kitty, and knitting!
Maybe it’s the “new” (crappy) economy, or our fear of the imminent zombie-vampire-Tea Partier apocalypse, or the realization that teaching our kids self-reliance instead of whiny entitlement really is the best approach to parenting, but there’s so much emphasis on, well, ultra-femme domestic activity these days. This weird retro world of cooking, heirloom tomatoes and Jane Austen is starting to feel a bit smug and smothering. Where’s the fun?
This last one confuses me. Is she angry that we’re going back to doing domestic activities that she deems anti-feminist or is she pissed that a lot of those activities she feels are boring? Maybe she has a case of the inadequacies?
22 thoughts on “Gardening is Girly”
You quoted: There are tough times ahead, and we need to be tough bitches to face them. Growing vegetables is useful; but so is learning how to shoot a gun, hot-wire a car, and manipulate our way into a bomb shelter.
My question is, why can't we do it all? Why limit us to ONLY non-girlie activities? Does she consider us incapable of doing more than only hot wiring a car? Down with the oppressor! Give us our rakes and our hoes, our hand guns and our canning jars. We will not live within her artificially drawn boundries-we will resist her liberal oppression!
Feminism is over-rated. It quashed chivalry and good manners towards men the genders so that now no-one know who gets to open the door and walk through first! It also gave woman the chance to do three jobs at once (their must-have-career, house work and raising children) while their husbands still only have one job – their chosen career!
In a fair and unbiased society people should be allowed to choose whatever whatever hobbies they like.
Okay – could some gentleman help me down from this soapbox now please…
clearly this woman isn't reading blogs carefully enough. this past week i've pickled cukes, organized my domestic sphere, cared for my child, baked bread, tended to my animals, and cut out over 20 queen cells from my beehives while almost half of the bees from the hive coated my solely jean-covered ass (freaked the shit out of my intern). now those first ones sound all kinds of girly i suppose, but that last one is fucking bad ass. i dare that lady to contradict me on that one. this move back to the domestic sphere is not only about baking and sewing, but about doing it your fucking self – all the girly stuff PLUS fixing your own car, building a bomb shelter, and killing creatures with guns (or your bare hands). fuck you lady, i am a bad ass. i make jam AND I've hotwired my own car.
I agree with Kris – I'm a very good shot, an excellent gardener, a so-so knitter, and a total bad-ass! I can butcher a deer, fix a motorcycle, make my niece a cross-stitch for her birthday, and bake a cake. While the article's author may focus on the "bitchy" pursuits, they aren't going to do her much good if she can't fix her own clothes or grow her own food when the shit hits the fan. I guess I'm just a girly bitch. >shrug< I like it!
I didn't read the entire article, but there does seem to be quite a few contradictions. Like, it's cool to hot wire a car, but not feed your family (via gardening?).
Strange. Glad I missed the whole feminist thing.
There's nothing like a piece of self-hating and closet misogynistic writing to make me wonder when women (especially those like Ms. Aloi) are going to just learn to be who they are, embrace that, and knock it off with the fucking labels.
This is worse than the writer who parodied the Radical Homemakers when the book came out, writing a review of it in I think…. crap, was it Salon?
Do what you can, do it well, and let the chips fall where they may. Besides, hot-wiring doesn't put any food on the table, now does it. And she's mistaking equality on a stereotypical man's terms for equality on a stereotypical woman's terms. I've only met a couple cartoonish women like that who had axes to grind, and that was in a workshop on culture and gender at UCSC 21 yrs ago, and they were asked to leave because they insulted all the female students in the room.
I am woman, see me wallow in girlish fripperies? Shit on a stick… I'd rather leave gender out of the whole thing. People forget that Freud was wrong about anatomy being destiny.
so she thinks feminism has been lost. lets define feminism, well wikipedia has done it for me…"Feminism is a collection of movements aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights and equal opportunities for women. Its concepts overlap with those of women's rights. Feminism is mainly focused on women's issues, but because feminism seeks gender equality, some feminists argue that men's liberation is therefore a necessary part of feminism, and that men are also harmed by sexism and gender roles. Feminists are "person[s] whose beliefs and behavior[s] are based on feminism.""
so isnt having the choice to garden, can, make cupcakes etc whether you be man or woman also part of feminism " equal rights" doesnt exclude it embraces all choices.
I want the right not to have a career away from the home, I want my career to be 'the Home' I think maybe you hit it on the head, shes feeling inadequate
Kris – I was just going to say the same!
We CAN do it all!!! But I do have to work on the hot-wiring thing ;D
By insisting that we become "like men," so-called feminists actually DISEMPOWER the female, encouraging the idea that only traditionally male skills are of value.
You have to feel a little bit sad about women like this. She doesn't have a man who loves her and appreciates her contribution as a wife and homemaker so much that he's wiling to work overtime to help her raise his children. I don't know about everyone else, but I love being a homemaker and I love my garden. I love knowing what my son does each day without having to read a post it some underpaid nanny left for me. This is probably why I don't bother with main stream newspapers and favor Mother Earth News, Mary Janes Farm and other worthwhile publications!
When I tell people I can tomatoes that I grow in my own garden, you know what the most common theme is for the answers, "That's awesome!" or my personal favourite, "That's BADASS!" I thoughts are that I'm happy I'm in the kitchen. I can cook better than my husband. I'm glad I have a garden and preserve food. My food tastes so much better than the crap you buy at the store, no matter how much money you make at your job.
Sorry, I just can't agree that learning to take care of yourself and your family is "girly." I don't think there's anything wrong with learning sustainability and self-reliance. Sure, the more "domestic" skills are typically left for the women-folk, but really – the women who were doing all of this back in the day were DEFINITELY bad ass!
Ahh yes, I have no idea of the writers age but I see this idea of feminism a lot in the 20 somethings. Somehow the feminist message to this generation morfed from a right to choose how to live our life into a very strict template of what we should aspire to.
I know a lot of people in the generation I am talking about who are stridently anti-feminist for exactly that reason and it's a real shame. We need a full range of skills into the future and strong people, of all genders and interests, sharing information and communicating openly.
*rolls eyes back in head*
I am a feminist and a liberal and I'm not afraid to say so.
"Girly" is the 35 year old friend who looked at me – aged 20 – and winked and said, "Oh we don't have to turn the soil. We'll get the men to do that for us." I nearly fainted. Here was a woman from the generation who invented women's lib handing over her power.
I turn my own compost pile and dig my own bed, thank you very much, because I am liberated!
An how the hell is taking back your own destiny "girly"? Isn't this part of the same corporate Oh-you-can't-do-that-on-your-own-buy-it-from-us prison that we've all been consigned to?
Keep on being girly!
oh Peggy Peggy. she must live a wonderfully insulated life to have this romantic idea of the ease and girliness of gardening.
because i look totally femme when it's 100 degrees out and i've got dirt up to my elbows and sweat rolling down my face from my "ultra-femme domestic" gardening "hobby."
What i see here is someone completely disconnected from the process by which her fancy farmers market fruits and veggies are brought into existence. someone who has probably never met a farmer or rancher—OR their husbands or wives—someone who probably only has callouses from texting on her blackberry. if she had any true experience with the likes of us, i doubt she would have ever written this article.
i'd love to extend an invitation to her to come work in my yard for even just one day. so i can show her how unfeminist i am as i rip out hedge stumps by hand and wage war against bermuda grass with nothing but a shovel and a dig bar.
and i know how to shoot a gun. hotwire old Fords and Chevys.
AND build my own damn bomb shelter—on the door of which i should paint "Gardeners Only."
Yeah… she's got a few anger issues there.
Because I grow tomatoes.. literally.. I am trading them for several hands on lessons in field dressing deer, canning & baking on a wood stove, and how to operate a tractor to name a few things.
A point she clearly missed in her tirade.. is one that is probably the most important.. health. These "girly" activities I know have had a profound impact on my health, and I am sure I'm not the only one out there appreciating the benefits of this endeavor.
This bitch (her chosen word of empowerment, according to the article) clearly watches way too much TV.
I didn't know half of the cultural, fictional role model references she cites because I'm too busy doing shit with my life. Sorry if she thinks my shit – raising good critical thinking children, growing our own food, cooking it, educating others and participating in my community – isn't as good as hot wiring cars.
I'd suggest the author really has two choices here: either pick up a shovel and a chef's knife and find out how empowering "girly hobbies" really are, or TIVO her fictitious dream women and watch them over and over in happy screen time stupor and get the hell out of the way of the rest of us.
Whoo! Peg just got a smack down by Bust writer Debbie Stoller:
But isn't the basis for feminism having the CHOICE to do what we want?
Bad@ass is as overrated as feminism (which people, socalled feminists themselves, have 100% screw up the definition of! it is NOT acting like a guy or shooting a villain on TV or whatnot. it is freakin equal rights and having a choice). I dont see how getting stung by a bee or hotwiring your car is “bad@ass” anyway but all right.
I agree with your guys’ points though, but why is all that manly, action-y stuff only considered bad@ass? why can’t being a quiet, gentle, classy woman who prefers crocheting to video games or baking to car fixing be called that too? why are people so obsessed witg being “bad@ss” anyway? I’d rather be cool and strong and a lady than that. it’s immature.
Just for clarification (because it’s unclear i your comment) everything in italics is from the article, not from me.
My problem when reading this article is that for some unknown reason gardening is considered inherently girly in the first place. It’s something I’ve always come across being in my early 20’s and having always loved gardening I’ll say something like ‘I’m going to be gardening this weekend’ and everyone at Uni will say something tediously familiar such as ‘Gardening (short shocked gasp/giggle) but that’s for girls and old people!’ Let’s just deal with this supposed girliness of gardening; most girls I have known would never garden! It’s sweaty and hot in summer, cold and wet in winter so that everything gets coated in mud, you couldn’t really hope to maintain clean long fingernails whilst doing it, everything is coated in insects, it’s physically demanding (‘have you ever tried digging up a tree’ I will reply to my university friends) and it’s just generally dirty hardwork, it’s not all trowels and pansies. Most of the girls (and guys for that matter) that tell me gardening is girly would never ever garden! Gardening is not inherently ‘feminine’…fact! Neither is it ‘masculine’ ; it requires a knack for design, an eye for detail, an appreciation of shapes and colours, a love of plants, patience and nurturing instincts (the thrill of planting a seed to look after it and watch it florish). Thus, regarding the article, a feminist should have no trouble with women who garden as it is just a task, neither feminine or masculaine, just a hobby that varying people like to undertake regardless of genitalia! (and I would like to add, age!)
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