Inside Out 237: The New Domesticity

02.22.12 | Martha Manikas-Foster

More and more young women are gardening, canning, baking bread and choosing to stay home to rear children under the banner of something called the New Domesticity.

I’m uncomfortable with the word domesticity, so I’ve got to ask: “Is this a good thing?” Don’t get me wrong, I love the smell of baking bread. I smile at the sound of canning lids popping into place as the blueberry jam or sliced pears cool in the jars. I tried a garden, but the raccoons reaped the benefit. Most of the gifts I’ve given over my lifetime are gifts I’ve made.

But “domesticity?” It’s a word with a history of forced compliance. It’s a word that’s been used as a cudgel to limit gifting and potential. But the New Domesticity is different, according to our guest author and blogger Rachel Stone, who has written the recent her.menutics blog post “How We Can Harness the New Domesticity Without Diminishing Women”  (Click here: http://blog.christianitytoday.com/women/2012/01/new_domesticity_not_just_women.html)

“I think what really separates the New Domesticity from the old domesticity, or traditional domesticity, is that it’s acknowledged to be a choice,” Rachel Stone says. “So it’s not ‘I have to make yogurt because that’s what a godly woman does.’ It’s ‘I’m choosing to make yogurt because I like it, because I value homemade yogurt, or something else.’ And yes, I think that there are women who see this movement as regressive in some ways, because it does seem to reinforce old gender roles. But, again, I think that what sets New Domestics apart is that they see intrinsic value in knitting their own socks, or baking their own bread. They don’t see it as their God-ordained duty or even as something that’s particularly tied to their own gender.”

Join us for a conversation that ranges from the value of unpaid work to the call of God on our lives.

“We’re called to more than just making home a haven from the world outside,” Rachel says. “It’s that, but also, as Christians, we’re called to create a home that is outward looking, that is hospitable to the orphan, to the widow, to the stranger, or to, really, whomever Christ brings to our doors.”

For a list of Rachel Stone’s her.meneutics blog posts, click here: http://blog.christianitytoday.com/women/2009/03/rachel_stone.html

To access her daily blog, click here: http://eatwithjoy.org/

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Inside Out airs Wednesdays at 12:20pm EST during the Family Life Noon Report.

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